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The 1954 French flap:

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

September 23, 1954, Le Puy-en-Velay, Haute-Loire:

Reference for this case: 23-Sep-54-Le-Puy-en-Velay.
Please cite this reference in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


The national newspaper Le Parisien Libéré for September 24, 1954, reported that Dr. Mercier, of Le Puy, said he observed twice over the city a silent round, shining object flying from south to north at a very high altitude. This machine was also seen by several farmers around Le Puy.

In the Puy-de-Dôme department, said this newspaper, new witnesses then came forward, saying that the craft was red, that it was a very oblong cigar, absolutely cleacut, without trail, and seeming to have flown very high.

In 1958, ufologist Aimé Michel gave the wrong date of September 24, 1954, and said that Dr. Mercier, MD, had seen the object pass, then come back, then go back north. He gave his source as France-Soir for September 26, 1954.




Saucers and cigars multiply in the sky of France

MP calls for official investigation

After the astonishing observations which excited and intrigued last week, more than a thousand Rome residents, in the course of the last forty-eight hours, many Frenchmen, in various regions, witnessed these phenomena in their turn.

It is confirmed once more (and this is the essence of this great mystery) that the reports match as to the strange evolutions of these unknown devices. Once again, too, the thesis of hallucination is hardly admissible. General perplexity is a fact on which everyone agrees, while "saucers" and "antisaucerists" will find there an exciting and inexhaustible conversation topic.

Michèle Morgan and an old gentleman saw "something" on the Esplanade des Invalides

The beautiful French movie star, Michèle Morgan, witnessed while passing on the Esplanade des Invalides a celestial phenomenon about which she stated:

"I'm sure it was not the lights of the Eiffel tower or the lights of an airplane, for I saw the craft going up vertically. An old gentleman, who was near me, and who had also noticed the phenomenon, ran away.

Her friends gently teased her by reminding her that she had played the part of Joan of Arc. But the star persisted in confirming what she had seen.

A ball of fire in the Seine-et-Marne

Until now, flying saucers had never been seen in the Seine-et-Marne. Everything happens, since, on Wednesday, around 8:30 p.m, two residents of Saint-Fargeau witnessed the moves of a ball of fire. These persons are worthy of faith, it is the appariteur Mr. Binet, and Mr. Ravot, butcher.

The latter was returning from Ponthierry when he saw through the windscreen of his car, just before him, a ball of fire moving in the sky.

"I was so surprised," he said, "that I stopped my car, I went out and followed the machine with my eyes for a few minutes. It moved horizontally, sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left, then disappearing in the clouds. It appeared four times, and I noticed in its back a small trail of light, not very long."

Back home, Mr. Ravot could not resist the desire of calling his neighbor, Mr. Binet. The two men inspected the sky, but in vain. Suddenly the butcher's little girl uttered an exclamation. The ball of fire had made a new appearance. Mssrs. Binet and Ravot saw it clearly. It paused for a few seconds before disappearing into the clouds.

Let us repeat this testimony of one of our readers, Mrs. Gamundi, living on 192 avenue Jean Jaurès, Paris. The day before yesterday, she was driving by car between Fontainebleau and Essonne, and for half an hour she watched a motionless luminous ball surrounded by a kind of smoke, from which other luminous balls were falling. The ball shifted suddenly and rose at high speed.

At the moment when returning from [...]

[...] cigar shape surrounded by a kind of purple blue steam.

- Another cigar, matching the characteristics of the one observed in Rome, was seen by three people from Lodève (the Herault). The craft seemed to tow a shining globe at a speed of 1,500 km per hour.

As of Dr. Mercier, of Le Puy, he declared that he had observed, twice above the town, a silent round, brilliant object, which moved from south to north at a very high altitude. This machine would also have been seen by several farmers around Le Puy.

- In the Puy-de-Dôme, new witnesses of the phenomenon became known. The craft had a red color. It was a very elongated cigar which, and this is the first time that this particularity is reported, flew sideways. It was absolutely clear, without trail, and seemed to fly very high.

The other night, around 11 p.m., three young boys aged 16 to 17, who were walking on the jetty of the harbor of Banyuls-sur-Mer (PO), saw in the sky an oblong object moving at high speed and from which seemed to come out red and green flames. A little frightened, the boys went to tell their story to various consumers who were on the terrace of a coffee shop, but thee latter watched the sky and saw no trace of the mysterious machine.

Mr. de Léotard asks the Ministry of the Air for an official investigation

Mr. de Léotard, MP of the Seine, in a written question, explained to the Secretary of State for the Armed Forces (Air) that recent testimonies relating to "flying saucers" and "flying cigars" are intriguing the public opinion, if not to worrying it, he asks:

(1) If instructions have been given for these phenomena to be systematically and scientifically observed;

(2) If these "saucers" or "cigars" could not be hunted for better observation so that the public would know exactly if come collective autosuggestion has to be dissipated or whether it is necessary to consider these phenomena to the point of view of security and national defense.



The gendarmes
are looking for a
"Martian" in the
Limousin maquis

From the Moselle to the Bidassoa, the "Martian" offensive is developing. It is now by squadrons that saucers and cigars fly over the territory. We counted up to six at a time, yesterday, above Lantefontaine-les-Baroches, in Lorraine. Several dozen workers saw them.

"We first saw," they said, "two 'cigars', then four more craft joined the first two. All of them stood perfectly still for a moment and finally disappeared instantly."

Their statements are confirmed by several other people.

In Bayonne, yesterday afternoon, three were seen. A peacekeeper, Mr. Corrions, who was in the Halles district, observed these three motionless craft, arranged in a triangle and slightly oval in shape. They were, he said, the size of a rugby ball and appeared to be at a considerable height.

In Le Puy, only one cigar, but the end was, it seems, glowing.

In Clermont-Ferrand, the same probably left behind a pink trail; in Langeac (Haute-Loire), it was a white glow.

In Epinal, it is no longer a cigar but a yellow saucer, "surrounded by a paler ring".

In the Charente-Maritime, three fishermen and a customs officer saw the other night a formation of three saucers which was scouring, while that with binoculars, yesterday afternoon, in Villebois-Lavalette (Charente), Mrs. Faubert and Miss Forgeron clearly distinguished a "slightly conical" cigar.

In the Limousin, terror reigns. In Roches (Creuse), the children no longer dare to go to school alone: a man of strange appearance who is hiding in thickets was seen. Two young shepherdesses also saw him near Chamboulève (Corrèze). One wonders whether the "Martian" who, the other day, kissed a Bugeat farmer and left without saying a word on board his saucer, left a companion who wanders through the Limousin maquis. The gendarmes are looking for the "Martian", but have not yet encountered him...

[Ref. lcx1:] NEWSPAPER "LA CROIX":


More saucers

More saucers to add to an already imposing pile!

It is a doctor from Le Puy who would have observed twice, above his city, a silent, round and shiny object.

In Charron (Charente-Maritime), three fishermen (moon fishermen, no doubt) and a customs officer would have seen a formation of saucers, moving very low, above the shore.

Bayonne residents claimed to have seen three mysterious objects, of light color.

Six flying cigars (note that they were not acrobats) would have crisscrossed the sky of Haute-Fontaine-les-Baroches (Meurthe-and-Moselle).

Mysterious craft were also reported above Epinal and Le Puy.

Certainly, the skies of France are very populated...

The Passer-By spends his time scanning the horizon. He even caught a painful stiff neck.

Fortunately, the English have just developed a flying "cage-bed", which will be of great service to saucer researchers.

A word of advice to those who find themselves in the presence of a "saucer" or a "cigar": be very... "diplomat"!


[Ref. aml1:] AIME MICHEL:

Ufologist and author Aimé Michel reports that on September 23, 1954, there were many witnesses in Puy in the Massif Central who rather precisely described a round object, silent and shining in the sunlight, it crossed the sky fast and at a high altitude from the South to the North.

The object was observed from Le Puy by doctor Mercier, M.D., who saw the object passing, then go back, then go away again towards the north.

Aimé Michel indicates that the case is briefly reported in the newspaper "France-Soir" for September 26, 1954.

It was seen from several villages by peasants who confirmed the statement by Doctor Mercier.

[Ref. jve6:] JACQUES VALLEE:

Jacques Vallée indicates that for the day of September 24, 1954, the French Press mentioned a number of sightings, including one in Le Puy, in the Haute-Loire, of a "single phenomenon".

Jacques Vallée indicates that the observation was of type "IV"; which he defines as an observation where a "abnormal object" was seen in translation movement in the atmosphere, whatever accelerations, luminous variations or rotations this movement would be associated to.

He notes that the observations of the type IV "could be considered insufficient", that half of testimonies of that day "would be rejected within the framework of an official investigation operating on the usual criteria".

[Ref. aml4:] AIME MICHEL:

This is how on September 24, 1954, there are in France (and there is only) nine observations: at Lantefontaine [Actually on the 23rd], Vichy [Actually without exact date], Gelles [Actually on the 17th], Ussel [Actually on the 20th], Tulle [Actually on the 22nd], Lencouaq [Actually on the 23rd], Bayonne [Actually on the 23rd], Langeac [Actually on the 22nd], Le Puy. To check this, one just needs to read "France-Soir" for the 26th, "Paris-Presse" fot the 28th, "La Croix" for the 28th, "Le Parisien Libéré" for the 27th, where these observations are recorded.

Checking four Parisian newspapers, it this so tiresome? This being done, let's search this places on a map. One finds that Vichy, Gelles, Ussel, Tulle, Lencouaq and Bayonne are on a single line that is absolutely straight, and that Le Puy and Langeac are on a line with Tulle. Only Lantefontaine is not on a line. So: a) is this true?; b) is this explainable? It is Vallée who went the deepest in the explanation. However he did let this alinement and numerous others unexplained; c) did I invent the four newspapers?; d) is it likely that local correspondents who did not know each other invented all this so that, three years later, it is discovered that they are in line on a large circle?

[Ref. gqy1:] GUY QUINCY:


September 23, 1954

daytime: Le Puy (Hte.Loire)

[Ref. jve1:] JACQUES VALLEE:

Among the alignments Michel thought he had succeeded in tracing, one in particular catches the attention at first glance. We will take it as an example.

For the single day of September 24, 1954, the French press reported the following sightings, here listed with their classifications: Lantefontaine [Actually Sep. 23], Type IV; Le Puy [Actually Sep. 23], Type IV; Langeac [Actually Sep. 22], Type IV; Tulle [Actually Sep. 22], Type IV; Ussel [Actually Sep. 20], Type I; Gelles [Actually Sep. 17], Type IV; Vichy [exact day not known], Type IV; Lencouacq [Actually Sep. 23], Type I; Bayonne [Actually Sep. 23], Type III.

At least half these eyewitness accounts would be rejected if studied within the limits of the usual official criteria. The Type IV sightings in particular could be judged insufficiently documented. Moreover, the phenomena reported at Tulle and Lencouacq were seen by only one witness. The Gelles sighting was of a "luminous cigar-shaped machine crossing the sky at a quite high speed and without sound." Must we immediately exclude it as being a meteor?

It is clear that the problem is one of method. To reject a measurement made on a known and reproducible physical phenomenon is certainly permissible when a new measurement may improve the accuracy; but to reject a piece of testimony concerning an unknown phenomenon deprives us of a certain quantity of information about the phenomenon and implies that the lost quantity is negligible. But how can we tell whether it really is negligible, since the phenomenon is unknown?

What Michel does is this. He draws a straight line from Bayonne to Vichy (see Figure 12.) This line passes through Lencouacq, Tulle, Ussel and Gelles; of the nine groups of sightings, six are along one and the same straight line. Tracing the straight line from Le Puy to Tulle, we see that it passes through Langeac, No single standard phenomenon (release of a balloon, aircraft flight, etc.) will account for this arrangement. To convince ourselves of this, it is enough to look at the times. The Bayonne and Vichy sightings are dated some time in the afternoon. The Lencouacq sighting falls four hours later. The Gelles sighting is at the beginning of the night. The one at Ussel is still later, and the Tulle case is at 11 P.M. Furthermore, the Bayonne sighting involves a triple object, whereas the other reports speak of single phenomena.


[Ref. jve5:] JACQUES VALLEE:

137 -003.88521 45.04500 24 09 1954 LE PUY F 151 C** 114

[Ref. gep1:] UFOLOGY GROUP "GEPO":

09 23 54 ( ) Le Puy massif central SE 101C2

[Ref. gep2:] "GEPO" UFOLOGY GROUP:

09 24 54 ( ) Langeac Le Puy 000000


Does the Bermuda Triangle have a little brother close to home? France also has its mysteries so why look any further.

[...other case...]

On September 24, 1954, an unidentified luminous object flew over Le Puy, coming from the Pot-au-Noir.

[...other case...]


The author indicates that on September 24, 1954, there were 9 sightings, 6 being on the Bayonne - Vichy line, one of those sighting was in Le Puy.


3819: 1954/09/23 15:00 1 3:53:00 E 45:03:00 N 3333 WEU FRN HLR 6:6


Ref# 30 FIGEUT[sic]&RUCHON: OVNI: Le 1er Dossier Page No. 84 : PASTURE


The Belgian ufologist indicates that in 1954, on the 23rd or 25th of September, in France, in Le Puy (the Haute Loire) "Around 15 hours, observation of a cigar whose front was glowing red."

The source is indicated as "M. FIGUET/J.L. RUCHON: 'Ovni, le premier dossier complet..' - Alain Lefeuvre pub. 1979, p. 83".

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates in his database that in the Haute Loire à Le Puy on October [sic] 23, 1954 at an unknown hour, "many witnesses rather precisely described an object round, silent and shining with the sun which crossed the sky quickly at high altitude from the South to the North. The object was observed in Le Puy even by a doctor, who saw the object passing, then return, then to set out again towards the North. It was seen in several villages by peasants who confirmed the statements of Doctor Mercier."

The source is indicated as: "Les OVNI vus de près by Gross Patrick **".

[Ref. lcn2:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates in his database that in the Haute Loire in Le Puy on September 23, 1954 at 15:00 hours there was an "Observation of a round object shining with the sun and silent which quickly crosses the sky at high altitude from the south to the north. Reportedly observed in several villages."

The sources are indicated as "Ovni, Premier dossier complet... by Figuet M./ Ruchon J.L. ** Alain Lefeuvre pub. 1979" et "M.O.C. by Michel Aimé ** Arthaud 1958".

[Ref. lcn3:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Haute Loire in Le Puy on September 25, 1954 at 15:00 hours "It is observed an apparatus of oblong form of which the front glowed red."

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 23 September 1954 at 15:00 in Le Puy, France "Red cigar moves in continuous trajectory, follows Tulle-Langeac orthotenic line. Explanation: Re-entry."

And: "A cigar-shaped object was observed. One red cigar-shaped object was observed by numerous witnesses in a pasture for over one minute (Mercier)."

The sources are indicated as "Michel, Aime, Flying Saucers and the Straight-Line Mystery, S. G. Phillips, New York, 1958; Vallee, Jacques, Computerized Catalog (N = 3073); Hatch, Larry, *U* computer database, Author, Redwood City, 2002".

[Ref. rbt1:] RENAUD BENOIST:

The author indicates that on 23 September 1954 between 17:00 and 17:30, several witnesses in several villages in the Puy-en-Velay region reported "a bright, silent round object rapidly crossing the sky at high altitude from the north And heading towards the Cévennes and Mont Mézenc".

The journalists of the "Quotidien de la Haute-Loire" interviewed many people and published two complete articles on September 24, entitled "A flying cigar would have been seen Saturday in the sky of Puy-en-Velay".



The information is not sufficient to discriminate between a "UFO", an unidentified flying object, and a more ordinary object, such as an airplane. The red color hardly seems to indicate an airplane, it is true. Was it a red balloon? The round trip doesn't make that well assured either.

It should be noted that according to press reports, Dr. Mercier saw a "round" object, the other witnesses a "very elongated cigar". But the position of the witnesses, the trajectory of the thing, are not specified.

I would therefore classify this case as an unidentified case of moderate strangeness, with insufficient information.


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

Le Puy-en-Velay, Haute-Loire, multiple, doctor, Mercier, peasants, round, silent, shining, daylight, fast, manoeuvers


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross September 15, 2005 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 24, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Addition [lcn1].
1.1 Patrick Gross February 10, 2010 Additions [jca1], [goe1], [lcn3].
1.2 Patrick Gross June 17, 2010 Addition [jve5].
1.3 Patrick Gross July 2, 2010 Addition [jve6].
1.4 Patrick Gross December 5, 2016 Addition [ple1].
1.5 Patrick Gross January 26, 2017 Addition [rbt1].
1.6 Patrick Gross May 11, 2019 Additions [aml4], [lhh1].
1.7 Patrick Gross September 24, 2019 Addition of the Summary. Explanations changed, were "Not looked for yet."
1.8 Patrick Gross January 8, 2021 Addition [lcx1].
1.9 Patrick Gross March 14, 2021 Addition [gqy1].
2.0 Patrick Gross March 15, 2021 Addition [ppe1].
2.1 Patrick Gross April 13, 2022 Additions [gep1], [gep2].
2.2 Patrick Gross June 14, 2022 Addition [jve1].
2.3 Patrick Gross July 16, 2022 Addition [jrr1].

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