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The 1954 French flap:

The index page for the 1954 French flap section of this website is here.

October 20, 1954, Grésigne, Tarn-et-Garonne:

Reference number for this case: 20-Oct-54-Grésigne. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


During the flying saucers flap of 1954 in France, the Parisian magazine Radar announced in their issue for October 17, 1954, a reward of one million francs for an authentic photograph of a flying saucer.

In the October 24, 1954, issue, the magazine showed several photographs received from applicants to the million franc contest.

Among them was one by a Mr Couthure, who had photographed children toys resembling a spaceship and to its crew:

Mr. Couthure obviously did not win the million francs.

The photograph was long forgotten when in 2004, when a "skeptical" ufologist made it reappear in "La Gazette Fortéenne"; it was then included as a case of photographic hoax, in the ufology catalogue "The Year 1954 in Photographs" by Spanish ufologist Juan-Vicente Ballester-Olmos.


[Ref. rdr1:] "RADAR" MAGAZINE:


- I did not dare to approach...


We must not look too closely at these 2 Martians taking the cool in the forest of Grésigne (T.-et-G.). At least that is how one of our readers presented them, a candidate for our reward. Despite the troubling comments with which he had thought fit to accompany his "sensational shot", our jury refused to validate it. Indeed, the slightest examination detects the hoax. Photographed from a certain angle and with a special lens, called a lens screen, simple toys which are currently very popular with children, give this curious effect. But we are far from the serious and unassailable bedrock expected from everyone.

M. Couthure must be an excellent dad. It was in the arsenal of his children's toys that he picked the accessories from his new staging. Plastic saucers and lead Martians are on sale at the local bazaard. But not a million!


GABRIEL VOISIN The famous plane and car manufacturer is adamant: "Not serious, but astronomers should give an explanation."

JULES CHEREAU Delegate general of the congress for scientific progress, president of the jury of the science-fiction novel, Mr. Chéreau detects the faking at the 1st glance.

MARCEL NATKIN The master photographer assisted by a collaborator: "I challenge anyone to succeed in a trick that cannot be discovered. And this is the case with those."



Date: 20 October 1954 (approximate date, a day from October 17th to 24th)


Location: Grésigne, Tarn-et-Garonne (France)

Format: Picture

Photographer: A Monsieur Couthure

Explanation: Fake

References: Radar, October 24, 1954, in Thierry Rocher, La Gazette Fortéenne, Volume 4, 2005, pages 66-67.

Remarks: In its issue of October 17th, 1954, Radar magazine had offered a one million francs prize for a genuine photograph of a UFO. This photo was submitted and several experts established it was done using simple children's toys that looked likke a spacecraft and its pilots.

[Ref. ubk1:] "UFO-DATENBANK":

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19541020 20.10.1954 Gresigne France


Photographic hoax.

Weekly magazine "Radar", at the time of the 1954 French saucer flap, started a first contest offering a million old francs to whoever would deliver a Martian to them. The magazine then launched a similar contest to reward any authentic photograph of a flying saucer:

This, of course, had to result in a number of photographic hoaxes, documented in my catalogue; this being one of them.

The date of "October 20" is kept for convenience; as noted in [jbs1], all that can be said is that the photograph was made between October 17 and 24, 1954.


(These keywords are only to help queries and are not implying anything.)

Grésigne, Tarn-et-Garonne, photo, hoax, Radar, Couthure


[----] indicates sources that are not yet available to me.

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
1.0 Patrick Gross October 10, 2016 First published, [jbs1].
1.1 Patrick Gross March 6, 2017 Addition [ubk1].
1.2 Patrick Gross April 27, 2020 Addition [rdr1].

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This page was last updated on April 27, 2020.