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The 1954 French flap:

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October 20, 1954, Mers-les-Bains, Somme:

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

Summary:

The regional newspaper Centre-Matin, of Montluçon, for October 22, 1954, reported various testimonies of October 20, 1954, from various places of France.

It was stated that "last night", "a craft violently lit, and posed in a field to the left of the road of Saint-Valery-en-Caux, let escape luminous discs that were quickly taking height to reach again their starting point."

The newspaper article is not very clear, but it seemed to indicate that there were several witnesses, including a Miss Michelle Vitkosusky, notary clerk, and that the unidentified apparatuses maneuvered for two hours.

It was added to that, "A flying cigar executed the same carousel", and that "two other craft seen not far from the cliff of Mers-les-Bains, seemed to comunicate by signals with the first group, and that the gendarmes who carried out an investigation on the spot, did not find any trace of this mysterious carousel."

In the 1960s, Jacques Vallée published a summary he said was based on Paris-Presse for October 22, 1954, indicating that on October 20, 1954, at "Saint-Valéry", several unknown objects maneuvered for 2 hours near this village; one of them was very bright and landed in a pasture, and two others were seen near the cliff at Mers, apparently communicating by luminous signals with "another group".

Then in the 1970s, a computer listing by Claude Poher indicated that in Saint-Valery-sur-Somme, on October 18, 1954, at 08::40 p.m., there had been three officials witnesses, for one object, and that an official invesitgation had been conducted.

Reports:

[Ref. cmn1:] "CENTRE MATIN" NEWSPAPER:

A flying saucer of car size land in Oran

THE FLYING SAUCERS APPEARED LAST NIGHT MAINLY ABOVE NORMANDY. IF WE ARE TO BELIEVE SEVRAL PEOPLE, AMONG THEN MISS MICHELLE VITKOSUSKY, CLERK OF NOTARY, SEVERAL UNIDENTIFIED MACHINES HAVE EVOLVED DURING TWO HOURS. OF A MACHINE VIOLENTLY ENLIGHTENED, AND POSED IN A FIELD, AT THE LEFT OF THE ROAD OF SAINT-VALERY-EN-CAUX, ESCAPED LUMINOUS DISCS WHICH TOOK ALTITUDE QUICKLY, TO THEN REGAIN THEIR INITIAL LOCATION.

A flying cigar carried out the same things. Two other machines seen not far from the cliff of Mers-les-Bains, seemed to communicate by signals with the first group. It should be added that the gendarmes who carried out an investigation on the spot did not find any trace of this mysterious carrousel.

A phenomenon a bit similar is said to have been observed above Vic-Bigorre, by a group of ten students who were training on a sports ground. They are said to have seen four discs in formation which seemed to rotate at high speed.

Several testimonys were gathered in Alsace. One of the witnesses, Lucien Fiesch [Fisch] saw close to Issenheim a spherical machine of approximately 6 meters in diameter which stationed within one meter of the ground. Frightened, Mr. Fiesch [Fisch] went away and regained his workplace.

In Guebwiller, Mr. Pierre Ackerman stated to have seen in the sky a brilliant disc which moved silently at approximately 400 meters of altitude. Two schoolboys confirmed this statement.

A resident [female] of Soultzwatt [Soultzmatt], stated to have observed a machine of elongated form which moved at very high speed.

Another testimony comes from the Nievre. The Lormes-Nevers bus moved towards this latter city, when, near Saxi-Bourdon, the driver stopped and exclaimed: "a saucer", all the passengers went down and distinguished, if they must be believed, a disc shining like aluminum, at 70 or 80 meters of altitude.

The last testimony is that of a factor of the Saint-Pierre-la-Cour station, who saw a disc in the sky, spreading luminous orange rays.

* * *

Wednesday morning, around 3 hours, Mr. Gaston Blanquère, resident in Oran, was returning with passengers on board his car. A little after the village of Jean-Mermoz, the attention of the motorists was attracted by a sharp gleam coming from the south and which grew bigger quickly.

A luminous disc crossed the road above them, descended a few hundreds meters further and appeared to contact the ground.

The machine had the size of a small car. It was composed of a higher cupola from which came out a yellow gleam. The lower part of the disc let escape a bluish luminous sheaf. Kinds of very powerful headlights swept the plain.

Ten minutes later, the luminosity dimmed and the machine, taking height, moved away quickly and without noise.

The police chief of the Sig, during his investigation, had these statements confirmed by a fellah of a nearby douar.

[Ref. ppe1:] "PARIS-PRESSE" NEWSPAPER:

Scan.

The latest flying saucer trend is in the shape of a 4 CV.

The most disturbing thing about the mystery of the flying saucers is that they show themselves to the eyes of people that higher primary education and the gravity of their functions protect from vulgar superstitions and the dreams of old women.

How to doubt the word of Mr. Jean Gambier, sworn police officer in Hesdin (Pas-de-Calais) and Mrs. Michèle Vitkosusky, notary clerk in Normandy! Mr. Jean Gambier going to his service saw, above the forest an elongated apparatus whose upper part was bright red. The center of a bright white and whose lower part left behind a trail of stars. The craft quickly took to the vertical and disappeared at a dizzying pace.

Other observers have seen the saucer of Mrs the notary clerk. It was near Saint-Valery-en-Caux. Several unidentified objects - saucers, dammit! - have maneuvered for two hours. One of them, violently lit, landed in a field. Two others, seen not far from the cliff of Mers-les-Bains, seemed to correspond with the first group. Alas when the gendarmes arrived, to fine them, gosh! The saucers were gone: they must not have been in good legal standing.

The Lormes-Nevers coach driver and his passengers, also saw a saucer. Mr. Lucien Fiesch, from Issenheim in Alsace, also, who seized with fear is still running. And also Mr. Pierre Ackermann, from Guebwiller. And again Miss Fleck, from Soulzmatt (Bas-Rhin). Without forgetting the Pyreneans of Vic-Bigorre, the postman of Saint-Pierre-la-Cour station, Mr. Roumy, Houard and Fressard, at Cheverron [sic]; and the students of the Saint-Cyr Institute, in Clevers.

Flying pumpkin

The most extraordinary case was noted by an Algerian motorist, Mr. Gaston Blanquère who, near the village of Jean-Mermoz saw a saucer in the shape of a 4 CV Renault. It consisted of an upper dome from which a yellow glow came out, let out a bluish luminous spray at its lower part and finally swept the plain of very powerful headlights.

Impossible to confuse this saucer with the humble pumpkin emptied and lit by a candle that the villagers of Momy (Basses-Pyrénées) chased yesterday armed with pitchforks, picks and rifles.

[Ref. nnm1:] "LE NOUVEAU NORD MARITIME" NEWSPAPER:

Scan.

They know the song

The "flying saucers"
come
see Normandy again

Paris, 21. -- During the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, the flying saucers appeared mainly over Normandy. According to various people, several unidentified craft evolved over two hours. From a violently lit machine, and posed in a field, to the left of the road to Saint-Valery-en-Caux, escaped from the luminous discs which quickly took height, to regain, then, their starting place. A flying cigar performed the same ride. Two other craft seen near the cliff of Mers-les-Bains seemed to communicate by signals with the first group. It should be added that the gendarmes who carried out an investigation on the spot did not find any trace of this mysterious carousel.

A somewhat similar phenomenon was reportedly observed above Vic-Bigorre by a group of ten students who were training on a sports ground. They reportedly saw four discs in formation which seemed to spin on themselves at high speed.

Several testimonies were collected in Alsace. One of the witnesses, Lucien Flesch saw near Issenheim, a spherical machine about 6 meters in diameter which was stationed at one meter from the ground. Frightened, Mr. Flesch walked away and returned to his work place.

A resident of Soultzmatt, Mrs. Fleck, said that yesterday she observed an elongated machine moving at very high speed.

Another testimony comes from the Nièvre, the Lormes-Nevers bus was heading towards this last town when, near Saxi-Bourdon, the driver stopped and exclaimed: "A saucer". All the passengers came out and distinguished, if they were to be believed, a disc shining like aluminum, at 700 or 800 meters of altitude.

The last testimony is that of a postman of the Saint-Pierre la Cour station, who saw in the sky a disc spreading bright orange-colored rays.

Flying saucers
4 C.V. format
in the Oran area

Oran, 21. -- Yesterday morning, around 3 a.m., Mr. Gaston Blanquère residing in Oran, was returning with passengers in his car. Shortly after the village of Jean Mermoz, the attention of the motorists was attracted by a bright gleam coming from the south and rapidly growing. A luminous disc crossed the road above them, descended a few hundred meters further and appeared to make contact with the ground. The craft was the size of a small automobile. It consisted of an upper dome from which a yellow glow came out. The lower part of the disc let out a bluish luminous spray. Kinds of very powerful headlights swept the plain.

Ten minutes later the light dimmed and the craft, gaining height, moved away quickly and silently.

Sig's police superintendent saw these statements confirmed by a fellah from a nearby douar during his investigation.

[Ref. nll1:] NEWSPAPER "NORD LITTORAL":

Scan.

THE FLYING SAUCERS
in Normandy and Alsace

Paris, Oct. 21

The flying saucers mainly appeared last night, over Normandy. To believe several people including Mademoiselle Michèle Vitkosuski, notary's clerk, several unidentified vehicles moved for over two hours. From a violently lit machine, and posed in a field, to the left of the road to Saint-Valéry-en-Caux, luminous discs escaped which quickly took height, to then return to their starting spot. A flying cigar performed the same ride. Other machines seen not far from the cliff of Mers-les-Bains seemed to correspond by signals with the first group. It should be added that the gendarmes who carried out an investigation on the spot did not find any trace of this mysterious carousel.

A somewhat similar phenomenon was reportedly observed above Vic Bigorre, by a group of ten students who were training on a sports ground. They reportedly saw four discs in formation which seemed to spin on themselves at high speed.

Several testimonies were collected in Alsace. One of the witnesses, Lucien Fiesch, saw near Issenheim, a spherical craft about six meters in diameter which was hovering one meter above the ground. Frightened, Mr. Fiesch went and returned to his workplace.

In Guebwiller, Mr. Pierre Ackermann said he had seen in the sky, a brilliant disc which moved silently at about four hundred meters of altitude. Two middle school students confirmed this statement.

A resident of Soultzmatt, Miss Fleck, said that she had observed this afternoon, an elongated machine which was moving at great speed speed.

Another testimony comes from the Nièvre. The Lormes-Nevers bus was on its way to the latter town when, near Saxi-Bourbon, the driver stopped and shouted: "A saucer!". All the passengers alighted and distinguished, if they were to be believed, a disc shining like aluminum, at an altitude of seven or eight hundred meters.

The last testimony is that of a postman from Saint-Pierre-la-Cour station, who saw in the sky a disc spreading orange luminous beams.

[Ref. jve5:] JACQUES VALLEE:

378 20 10 1954 RTE P. MERS-SOMME F 001 44 G

[Ref. fru1:] MICHEL FIGUET AND JEAN-LOUIS RUCHON:

The two authors indicate that in Mers-les-Bains in the department of the Somme, on October 20, 1954, two objects were seen close to a cliff. They seemed to be in communication by light signals with another group of four objects which were between Mers-les-Bains and Saint-Valery-sur-Somme. The observation had lasted two hours.

The authors indicate that the sources are case 293 of the Vallée catalogue, Quincy, and Paris-Presse for October 22, 1954.

[Ref. mft1:] MICHEL FIGUET:

CASE Nr CLASSIFICATION DATE HOUR PLACE ZIP CODE CREDIBILITY SOURCE
242 CEl 10 20 1954 hnp [=hour not speified.] St-Valery-sur-Somme
Mers-les-Bains
80230 Bl
80350
RS [=Sparse information], OVNI : p. 189,
RS [=Sparse information] Quincy and Vallée

[Ref. rlt1:] RENAUD LECLET - "LES MYSTERES DE L'EST":

Renaud Leclet lists cases having in his opinion "similarities with the helicopters" by the fact of landing, including this one:

SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE UFO LANDINGS AND THE HELICOPTERS:

10/20/54 St Valery-en-Caux (76): a brilliant craft on the ground makes signals with a group of Mers-les-Bains.

[Ref. goe1:] GODELIEVE VAN OVERMEIRE:

The Belgian ufologist indicates in her chronology that in 1954, on October 20 in France in Saint Valéry, "Several unknown objects operated during 2 hours close to this village. One of them was very shining and landed in a pasture. One saw two others of them close to Mers, which seemed in connection with objects of another group by light signals."

The sources are indicated as "Paris-Presse, 22 oct 1954" and "Jacques Vallée: 'Chronique des apparitions ET' - DENOEL 1972 - COLL. J'AI LU - p. 287".

[Ref. djn1:] DONALD JOHNSON:

On this Day

October 20

[...]

1954 - Several unknown objects maneuvered for two hours near the village of St-Valery, France. One of them was very brilliant and landed in a pasture. Two others were seen near a cliff in Mers, France. They appeared to be in communication with UFOs in another group by means of light signals. (Source: Jacques Vallee, Passport to Magonia: A Century of Landings, p. 235).

[...]

[Ref. jbu1:] JEROME BEAU:

Wednesday, October 20, 1954

[...]

Several unknown objects operate during 2 h close to the village of Saint-Valéry (France). One of them is very shiny and lands in a pasture. One sees 2 others of them close to the cliff in Mers, which seem in connection with objects of another group by light signals.

[...]

Jérôme Beau indicates as sources: "Paris-Presse, 22 octobre 1954".

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates in his database that in the Somme in Mers les Bains on October 20, 1954 at an unknown hour, "Two objects are seen close to a cliff. They seem in communication by light signals with another group of four objects which are between Mers and St Valery sur Somme. Duration of the observation two hours."

The source is indicated as "Ovni, Premier dossier complet... by Figuet M./ Ruchon J.L. ** Alain Lefeuvre pub. 1979".

[Ref. uda1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 20 October 1954 in "Mers.Bains", France, "One object was observed."

The sources are noted as: Bowen, Charles, The Humanoids: FSR Special Edition No. 1, FSR, London, 1966; Vallee, Jacques, Challenge to Science: The UFO Enigma, Henry Regnery, Chicago, 1966; Vallee, Jacques, Preliminary Catalog (N = 500), (in JVallee01); Schoenherr, Luis, Computerized Catalog (N = 3173).

[Ref. nip1:] "THE NICAP WEBSITE":

*Oct. 20, 1954 - Several unknown objects maneuvered for two hours near the village of St-Valery, Somme, France. One of them was very brilliant and landed in a pasture. Two others were seen near a cliff in Mers, France. They appeared to be in communication with UFOs in another group by means of light signals. (Source: Jacques Vallee, Passport to Magonia: A Century of Landings, p. 235, case 293; Paris Presse, October 22, 1954).

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

This database recorded this case 3 times:

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 Mers Bains France
19541020 20.10.1954 Mers Bains France
19541020 20.10.1954 Mers Bains France

Explanations:

Not looked for yet.

The distance between Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme and Mers-les-Bains is 21 kilometers in straight line. The distance bewteen Saint-Valéry-en-Caux and Mers-les-Bains is 53 kilometers in straight line.

So, whether it was Saint-Valéry-en-Caux or Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme, the idea by Renaud Leclet that a helciopter there made signals "to a group of Mers-les-Bains" does not make sense.

However, there may have been no witnesses at Mers-les-Bains, but it was mybe the witnesses in Saint-Valery-sur-Somme who saw lights in the direction of Mers-les-Bains.

The date is not clear, note the incident reported by Claude Poher on the 18th, not the 20th. Note that the place Saint-Valery is given variously as Saint-Valery-en-Caux and Saint-Valery-sur-Somme.

Things are so confusing in the sources I have at the moment that nothing is excluded; it could actually be military maneuvers, for example.

Keywords:

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

Mers-les-Bains, Somme, Saint-Valery-sur-Somme, objects, light, signals, four, cliff

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross September 2, 2005 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross March 19, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [goe1], [dj1], [jbu1], [lcn1], [uda1].
1.1 Patrick Gross June 30, 2010 Addition [jve5].
1.2 Patrick Gross October 25, 2014 Addition [nip1].
1.3 Patrick Gross March 6, 2017 Addition [ubk1].
1.4 Patrick Gross August 25, 2019 Additions [mft1], [rlt1], Summary. Explanations changed, were "Not looked for yet."
1.5 Patrick Gross January 2, 2020 Addition [ppe1].
1.6 Patrick Gross February 28, 2020 Addition [nnm1].
1.7 Patrick Gross June 8, 2020 Addition [nll1].

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