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The 1954 French flap:

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

October 3, 1954, Haillicourt, Pas-de-Calais:

Reference number for this case: 3-Oct-54-Haillicourt. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


Around 2017, "skeptical" ufologist Dominique Caudron, based in the Nord, cataloged sightings in the Nord region for October 3, 1954, neglected by ufologists, including many that were previously unpublished, and mostly explainable by a red moon whose appearance was altered by clouds.

One of these observations was reported in the regional newspaper La Voix du Nord, in their Béthune issue ofr October 10, 1954:

At an unspecified hour, in Haillcourt in the Pas-de-Calais department, witnesses reportedly saw a mysterious object coming from Béthune (to the northeast).

The journalist thought of one of the hot air balloons launched by Beuvry's retiree as a "saucer" prank.

Dominique Caudron indicated that within the 4 observations of October 3, 1954, in the Nord region that did not correspond to the moon, there was this one in Haillicourt, where the direction of observation is incompatible with the moon; so it might have been a hot air balloon of that prankster.



Dominique Caudron drew up an inventory of observations in the Nord region on October 3, 1954, containing 51 reports, including this one:

The Fabulous day of October 3, 1954


Chronology of the observations of October 3.

We give here only a summary of what was published in the press of the time, for the nord region, regardless of what the ufologists could later say. We have numbered all these observations, the first of which have nothing to do with the setting of the moon, in order to be able to study them globally in a table. Some are already the subject of a special file.

[... other cases...]

40) Hour not specified, HAILLICOURT (62)

- Witnesses saw a mysterious object coming from Bethune (to the northeast). The journalist thought of one of the hot air balloons launched by Beuvry's retiree.

( La Voix du Nord-Béthune -issue 10/10 page 5)

[... other cases...]

All this is only a compilation of the information given by all newspapers of the time, including local editions, and of which ufologists only used a part.

We will see [dcn4] that the analysis of this information makes it possible to eliminate the hypothesis of a flying saucer, in favor of those of multiple observations of the moon, whose image was reddened and deformed by clouds, which also gave it a illusory apparent movement.


Analysis of the observations of October 3, 1954

[... other cases...]

40) Hour not specified, HAILLICOURT (62)

Direction incompatible with the moon, supposed montgolfier, but not proven.

[... other cases...]

In his conclusions, Dominique Caudron indicates that within the 4 observations of October 3, 1954, in the Nord region that do not correspond to the moon, there is Haillicourt where the direction is incompatible.


In the beginning of October 1954, police officers arrested Victor d'Oliveira, 60, a retired miner of Beuvry-lès-Béthune who built Chinese lanterns, and bragged that he released "thousands" of them. He may not have released so many, but according to the Press, police officers found "numerous models" of his handcrafted mini hor air balloons at his place.

This was reported widely in the French Press from October 5 and 6, 1954 and on, and then also in the foreign Press.

(See the file for sources and more details.)

For long, I did not find any 1954 French case that would be obviously explained by the man's prank; this is the first one I found that could have this explanation, with Caudron's suggestion of this explanation. In Caudron's file of the alleged saucers in the Northern region of France on October 3, 1954, some other sightings, but a minority of them, may have the same explanation, though most of them were caused by a red moon distorted by clouds.

For this observations the geographical landmarks are as follows:

This is interesting since, if the Chinese lanterns of the minor are the explanation, as we learn that the wind had to blow from the Northeast to the Southwest in the region this October 3, 1954 at a certain time of that day. And we also learn that these lanterns could travel at least 5 or 6 kilometers, to even a little over 12 kilometers, the distance between Beuvry and Haillincourt in a straight line being 8.8 km.

(I tried to get the corresponding weather data, but did not find them for now.)

(Beuvry-lès-Béthunes amalgamated with Béthune at the end of 1993 and took the name of Beuvry.)


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

Haillicourt, Pas-de-Calais, object, Béthune, Chinese lantern


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
1.0 Patrick Gross May 26, 2019 First published.

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This page was last updated on May 26, 2019.