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The 1954 French flap:

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October 3, 1954, Nivelle, Nord:

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


According to ufological sources, the case appeared in the Press, in the newspaper of the region Nord-Matin and La Croix du Nord for October 6, 1954.

On October 3, 1954, around 1 a.m., Mr. Marcel Sénéchal, a 20-year-old steelworker, went home to Saint-Amand-les-Eaux on a bicycle along the towpath along the Scarpe canal. He was at the exit of Nivelle, at the height of the place called "the Vandeville pasture", when he heard a conversation in an unknown language.

Turning his head, he saw, below the path on his right, what he compared to a luminous haystack from which a luminous ray was emerging, and next to it two human shapes of about 1.20 meters, covered with a shiny garment.

According to Garreau and Lavier, he had told:

"I turned the head, and downwards of the way, in a pasture, at the pale light of the moon, I saw a ball of approximately 3 meters in diameter. Near it, were two small beings, whose size did not exceed 1 meter, they discussed. They had large heads. Their clothing was luminous."

Distraught, he fled on all pedals and went to tell his adventure at the police station of Saint-Amand-les-Eaux. The commissioner, Mr. Gravet, and two inspectors from the Air Police, went to the place, but found no trace.

In 1979, "skeptical" ufologists Gérard Barthel and Jacques Brucker claimed to have investigated the case with the authorities in Saint-Amand-les-EAux, and announced that all of this was an ivention of the witness.

Following them in 1979, the "skeptical" ufologist Dominique Caudron took note, adding that Marcel Sénéchal was a single man of 20 and that nothing came to deny the possibility that he invented what he told. He added with common sense that at that time, two "landings" had just been widely publicized in the presse of the region, one near Harponville, where the shape of the craft was described as that of a haystack, precisely, and that of Quarouble, in which the described beings are quite like those described by Marcel Sénéchal, not to mention the "ray"; in short, if he had wanted to invent a story that might seem "credible" in this context of the time, he would have told exactly what he told.




According to a astronomer from Kenia

"Visitors from another world
make a map of the earth"

One continues to report everywhere the appearance of mysterious craft that sometimes have the shape of saucers, luminous balls, incandescent discs. But all these testimonies add nothing new to the question. On the other hand, a scientist has just spoken to publicize the result of a personal observation.

Mr. G. Duncan Fletcher, vice-president of the Kenya Astronomical Association, himself recently observed an object flying over Nairobi. He was in his observatory (which is very well equipped), with four friends. It was 7:40 p.m., very low in the East, appeared a great gleam which had nothing to do with astronomy, nor with the planes which had just landed on the airport. The object was at a height of about 700 meters and was stationary. When Mr. Fletcher and his four friends saw it, he emitted a bright orange glow. This glow intensified until light yellow and the object rose, descended and rose again to finally disappear in the clouds.

Mr. Fletcher reports that saucers have been reported by highly experienced observers from all over the world and says "visitors from another world are observing the earth and probably mapping it."

Citing in support of his thesis the opinion of Dr. P. Foyle, professor of astrophysics at Cambridge and that of Sir James Jean, Dr. Fletcher declares that innumerable reasons militate in favor of existence many planets capable of harboring life, but life forms on other planets could be very different from anything we can imagine."

He adds that it may be just a coincidence, but he points out that these beings from other worlds have been interested in terrestrial activities since the first atomic explosion about seven years ago.

"There seems to be no doubt," Mr. Fletcher continues, "that these beings are extremely ahead of us. I think they approach us as we would if we were in their place."

A fireball in Sequedin

In the meantime, other mysterious craft have been reported over our region.

Sunday evening, at 9 p.m., Mr. Ferdinand Millecamps, 21, mason, living in Haubourdin, 22 rue Victor Loridan, on the bridge of Sequedin, saw, about 500 meters, between Sequedin and Hallennes, and on the railway, a ball of light, about the size of a tram. It was 4 or 5 meters above the ground and, after having remained motionless for a while, it set off vertically. Frightened by this fantastic appearance, Mr. Millecamps left the place precipitately, and later, still very moved, told his adventure while arriving at Haubourdin.

Two "Martians"
in St-Amand-les-Eaux

Saturday, Mr. Marcel Sénéchal, 20, living in St-Amand, at the place called "La Pannerie", had as usual spent the evening at Hauteville-Nivelle with his fiancée. He was returning by bicycle to St-Amand along the Scarpe canal, around 1 in the morning.

Arriving at the height of the Vandeville pasture in Nivelle, he suddenly heard a conversation held in an unknown language and seeming to come from his right. He turned his head to this side and to his great agitation then saw a luminous mass in the shape of a haystack as well as two human forms of 1.20 m. approximately in height, covered with a shiny garment. A ray of light came out of the craft.

The mysterious characters were probably unable to see the approach of the young cyclist who was riding in the dark, a breakdown having immobilized his lighting.

The frightened young man, went off with all pedals and returned to his home moved to the extreme and reported these facts to his family and neighbors.

Informed by public rumor, the Commissioner of St-Amand, Mr. Gravet and two inspectors in charge of the Air Police attached to Lesquin aerodrome went to the scene and carried out searches; but they couldn't find any traces.

A strange phenomenon
in the Somme

Residents of Boves in the Somme witnessed a strange phenomenon on Sunday evening.

It was 8:50 p.m., Mr. and Mrs. Dheilly who had visited friends, were going home. As Mr. Dheilly sought in the dark to open his door, Mrs. Dheilly suddenly noticed an orange half-disc, low in the sky, towards the end of the street. She alerted her husband and both could see the disc slowly moving towards a wooded ridge.

Two of their neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Quin, in turn warned, could also see the mysterious half-disc which, still slowly, moved away and disappeared behind the trees of the nearby marsh.

Confirmation, in indirect manner, of this "appearance" was given by residents of Demuin, Mr. and Mrs. Deslarides, workers farmers, who claim to have seen around 9:15 p.m., a kind of phosphorescent "flying lampshade" that moved silently and seemed to want to land.

A luminous ball in a
garden in Saint-Souplet

A resident of St-Souplet, in the Cambrai area, received an odd visit during the night from Sunday to Monday.

Awakened by a dry clickink sound, the witness said: "I first thought of a fire in the opposite building, but it was in fact a luminous ball, which rose to the sky. A door window was blown and the glass reduced to hundreds of small pieces was scattered in the adjoining room. At the place where the craft had just left, the vegetables from the garden were all lying in the same direction, a few being uprooted, just where the ball had landed. Apart from the broken glass which can be explained by the movement of air from the craft, no other damage was done to the property."




1. Our special correspondent participated in the launch of a
"flying cigar"

one of the 5,800
hot air balloons
sent by Mr. Oliveira

above the rooftops
de Beuvry-l.-Béthune

The unfortunate combination of circumstances which had until now deprived journalists of hanging, them too, "their" saucer or "their" cigar in the register of various facts and personal memories have just been swept away by the wind. I saw a flying cigar which, at night, shows the famous red glow... I felt it from every angle and even participated in the launch of one of these craft that some claim to be coming from another planet. This is neither a crazy story, nor even a debauchery of the imagination after reading some anticipatuin novel. There is no need to pinch yourself to be convinced of the reality of the thing. The clarity of the evidence would have struck the most skeptical minds and those most reluctant to the hypothesis of an exploration of the earth by some space travelers.

It is a long, a very long story whose starting point is in Portugal at the beginning of this century. H.C. [sic, G.] Wells, the author of "The War of the Worlds" did not yet have the slightest awareness of his advance on the Future... In fact of flying machines, Clément Ader and the Wright brothers were only trying to give practical application to the theories of "heavier than air"...

In a small Portuguese village, when the light wind coming from the sea subsided, a young boy, Victor Oliveira, made "hot air balloons" which he then inflated with hot air... The well-known principle of the lighter than the air made fly these graceful envelopes, which drifted according to the whims of the wind.

Arrived in France shortly before the 1914 war, Mr. Oliveira bravely fought and took part in the battle of La Couture. After a short stay in Portugal, he settled in 1922, in Beuvry-les-Béthune. Until his retirement last December, he held the post of burner operator at the Beuvry Power Station.

However, the favorite pastime of his younger years did not suffer from the well-known phenomenon of disaffection that stamp collections suffer, for example, in adolescence. Married, surrounded

Read more on the last page, under the title: "CIGARS"

2. A professor from the Faculty of Sciences
de Lille shows that last Sunday
the flying saucer was only a lunar phenomenon

Mr. Antoine Bonte, I.D.N. engineer, professor of applied geology at the Faculty of Sciences of Lille, kindly provided us with a scientific explanation of the phenomenon observed by dozens of people on Sunday evening in our region. He writes to us: "I was impatiently awaiting this morning's newspaper and I took great pleasure in reading the accounts of your correspondents, because on Sunday evening I also saw the 'flying saucer'."

"The descriptions given of it agree in every way with my personal observations. I only disagree with their interpretation because, in this case, it was simply a moonset.

"Sunday, at nightfall, the moon shone on a clear day first in the form of a crescent. Later it disappeared into the hazy area above the horizon, only to reappear for a few moments, reddish is distorted - which is normal at this height - and crossed out with a line when passing behind a stratus. Finally, it faded definitively when entering again in the clouds.

"So, in this particular case, it is quite a trivial phenomenon that our fathers would not have even paid attention to.

"Moreover, in most of the other cases, it is about analogous phenomena as I could note it several times. The psychosis of the flying saucers is a phenomenon of collective hallucination which responds to a natural need for the marvelous maintained by a large-run press and fed by a whole category of illustrations for children or... adults. The descriptions of the so-called Martians are so close to Tintin-style spacesuits that we cannot stop smiling.

Continued on last page,
in the sixth column, under the title


The flying saucers

"If the Martians - assuming they existed - were really to visit us, do you think they would have exactly our physical looks, that they would use devices and clothing similar to those designed by our engineers or who only saw the light of day in the overflowing imagination of the authors of anticipation novels: do you believe above all that the nature and the degree of their scientific evolution can be analogous to ours. improbabilities!

"Happy journalists who haven't seen your flying saucer! Take comfort in thinking that, for serious readers, this is a guarantee of honesty and objectivity. But do more, by welcoming only with undisguised skepticism the testimonies of correspondents whom-we-can-be-trusted, in good faith or who prefer to remain anonymous. It is even your duty to fight against this weakening of critical thinking which characterizes our era of culture, universal, but far too superficial."


In a study that he was kind enough to share with us, Mr. Bonte also examines several cases of celestial phenomena reported in recent years and gives an explanation for each of which we will appreciate the strength. He demonstrates that the majority of alleged flying saucers are natural phenomena that occur at high altitude. He observed and photographed in particular, in the region of Lons-le-Saulnier, "a luminous trail that was red orange and stood out clearly against the dark background of the sky. This trail came from a dot which moved slowly from the south to the south - north in the western part of the sky of Lons-le-Saulnier.

"Witnesses of this display would have gladly seen in this meteor a manifestation of a flying saucer; they unhesitatingly rallied to my explanation.


"This was the wake of a jet plane moving at great altitude and at great distance, hence the apparent slowness of the luminous trail and the lack of the characteristic roar. The red in the wake was simply due to the altitude of the aircraft which was still lit by the sun, although it had been set down for a long time. Everyone saw stratus clouds colored in red above the horizon after the disappearance of the sun, which obviously corresponds to the same phenomenon."

"... There are also other phenomena which, unknown to the uninitiated or even to specialists, have credited the legend of the flying saucers... The Director of the Algiers meteorological station has revealed that the alleged saucers observed in this region were none other than sounding balloons equipped with a luminous device; the currents prevailing in the upper atmosphere made these devices move in an apparently disconcerting manner.


"The illumination of clouds by powerful light sources can also give rise to bewildering maneuvers of shiny objects. The intersection of the light beam with the surface of a cloud can give images of all shapes from the circle up to more or less elongated ellipses, the images being able to be uniformly bright or, on the contrary, dark in the center, and brightly lit at the edges. This phenomenon could explain the extraordinary speed of certain "saucers" and their instantaneous changes of direction, characteristics reported by some observers.


"Recently, an American physicist, Mr. W, Scott, demonstrated that it was possible to artificially produce meteors similar to flying saucers in the laboratory, as spheres surrounded by shiny rings. This is not unlike the rings that occur when puffs of smoke are passed through a circular hole, and all smokers have had fun "making circles" with their mouths. Atomic experiments may not be unrelated to the formation of previously unknown meteors.

"Scott's experiment has been criticized by Professor G. Ray Watt, of the Carnégie [sic, Carnegy] Institute in Washington, who claims that the conditions necessary for the formation of these rings do not exist in upper atmosphere. Meteorology is, however, a very young science to authorize such assertions: the normal atmosphere is already not so well known, let alone the upper atmosphere.


"The most important argument to demonstrate the inanity of flying saucers is certainly this information which comes to us from America. A formation of flying saucers having been reported in the skies of Washington, Andrews Air Force bases and of Ballingfields are ordered to intercept them at all costs. Courageously, the jets rushed at 1,000 an hour, one can say "in the fog", and cross without suffering the slightest damage, their supposed adversary who was nothing else than kinds of clouds.

"What then to think of certain disturbing testimonies emanating from informed observers such as airplane pilots, professor of scientific institutions, etc.? Let us first recall that the phenomena which occur in the atmosphere are far away to be all known, even from specialists. On the other hand, critical thinking is sometimes lacking even in respectable scientists. Finally for those who know the atmosphere of certain military circles, the mystification is not excluded vis-à-vis of some more naive comrades.

"Meteors have been observed all along, but they weren't given the same attention as today when everyone wants to see their flying saucer. This is a trivial case of collective illusions from which scientific circles themselves are not exempt.


"It is possible, however, that new aircraft sometimes cross the sky. There is no doubt that the Americans and the Russians, each on their side, are seeking to develop new weapons and some of the flying saucers are perhaps a reality. But both sides have an interest in ensuring that their research is ignored by the adversary, hence the flood of contradictory news.

"It is announced, for example, in America, that the flying saucers are a myth; the next day a craft of the same name is discovered in Spitsbergen and its measuring devices bear inscriptions in Russian language. As if by chance, the drop-off point is in an uninhabited region.

"Depending on the circumstances, we feign ignorance or, on the contrary, we boast of an unbeatable superiority. We know too much, to have suffered from it, of the misdeeds of propaganda to be influenced by information that is lacking impartiality. If there really are new aircraft, there will always be enough time to worry about them when they are used, if they are ever used. There is absolutely no need to worry beforehand.

"In conclusion, it can be said that 90%, if not 99%, of the alleged flying saucers are due only to incomplete observations of natural phenomena and are a matter of pure imagination. Some are undoubtedly attributable to meteors of known or new origin. Finally, in a few special cases, they may be new aircraft being tested.

"As for the extraterrestrial origin of the flying saucers, it is not based on anything positive and we could sleep soundly if we had only this apprehension. We have, alas, more to fear from our neighbours than from Martians."


of his children, Mr. Oliveira continued to glue paper and inflate his hot air balloons. Somewhat surprised at first, his neighbors were quick to put this little dangerous distraction into the realm of normal things. Mr. Oliveira? Ah! yes, the one who makes hot air balloons? "Some breed pigeons, assures Mr. Oliveira, others train roosters for fights. I do this..."

Of medium height, mischievous eye behind large-rimmed glasses, tanned complexion, wearing a gray jacket and patched knee-length pants, lively despite his sixties (he looks barely forty) Mr. Oliveira seems completely surprised by this sudden entry into the news. Sometimes he wants to send journalists and photographers to hell and barricade himself in the shed cluttered with paper from packing cases, which serves as his manufacturing workshop.

He lives in fact with his children, Mr. and Mrs. Lenfant, who run a food house, route de Béthune, in Beuvry.

Spread over a few crates, the carcass of one of the machines awaits inflation. Something to inspire the imagination of some people in need of flying saucers and contact - at a distance - with the Martians or other neighbors of our planet, since it now seems accepted that the "evening visitors" can come from another system as that where the Earth continues its eternal gravitation.

of hot air

The appearance of the hot-air balloon immediately reveals the primary character of a technique that dates back several centuries. The one that will serve as experience and testimony is about three to four meters. It takes the shape of a diamond very swollen in the center and made of simple wrapping paper, thin and resistant. A circular opening, reinforced with a thin wire, serves as a base. Apart from the frame itself, Mr. Oliveira has a tripod of wire which holds a large piece of tow soaked in petroleum, gasoline or oil. The fuel issue is hardly a problem.

Now let's tackle the "launch" part of the balloon. It is kept in the vertical position. Under the opening, Mr. Oliveira has some newspapers in a baste [sic] terracotta pot... We are far from the ramps of V1, V2 and others... Under the action of the hot air, the carcass inflates rapidly and tends to undertake its upward movement. Mr. Oliveira then inflames the gasoline rag, hangs the tripod on the wire which keeps the opening rigid and... the machine begins its course which can be prolonged very far if it encounters favorable winds; which gives it very few jerks. During an experiment made in the morning, the hot air balloon lay down and caught fire about ten meters above the ground.

Beware of illusions

Spirits beiieving in the probability of flying saucers will smile. Those who claim to have seen one of these craft in their exploration of the earth's crust will shrug their shoulders in a gesture of generous commiseration. The fact remains that, in the dark, the red glow given off by the flaming rag, combined with the reflections which it makes dance on the paper, can abuse the most reasonable. It would also be necessary to possess a critical mind and a very extraordinary amount of modesty not to proclaim oneself the witness of the phenomenon that one automatically assimilates to the "incomprehensible."

Since 1922, Mr. Oliveira has launched nearly 5,800 hot air balloons. No one in the area is moved by it anymore. But outside of this small circle, some people are likely to be troubled and their certainty of not being the victim of a hallucination further strengthens their intransigence. To such an extent that a person from Sailly brought back to the Beuvry police station a hot-air balloon spotted on the inside with drops of oil and blackish marks. Everyone laughs and the carcass, with burnt shreds, does not even constitute evidence.

What begins almost like a fairy tale can end like a fable dear to La Fontaine. How to disentangle the illusion from reality? The difficulties encountered by this concern for accuracy and truth only make the problem more complex. But it also serves as a reassuring argument for those who fear an interplanetary invasion.

We do not believe that we are authorized, because of this personal experience, to settle the debate. Let us only wish that this report inspires more measure and restraint to some people. Flying saucers and cigars get really bulky. There are jokes that should not be prolonged too much beforehand.

[Photo caption:] Mr. OLIVEIRA had a lot of fun reading, in a sensational weekly, a report on flying saucers.



The region of Saint-Amand-Nivelle would also have had its flying saucer, at least according to the words of young Marcel Sénéchal, 20, living in Saint-Amand at a place called La Pannerie.

It was in the night from Saturday to Sunday, around 1 a.m.

That evening, Marcel Sénéchal had, as usual, spent the evening with his fiancée in Hauterive-Nivelle. He then returned by bicycle to Saint-Amand along the course of the Scarpe.

Arrived at the level of the "Vandeville pasture" he suddenly heard a conversation in an unknown language, which came from his right.

Turning his head quite naturally in this direction he then saw to his great agitation, a luminous mass in the shape of a haystack and two 1.20 meter-tall human in shining garment. A ray of light came out of the mysterious craft.

The frightened young man pedalled away at full speed to return to his home where quite upset he reported these facts to his family and neighbors.

Informed by public rumor, the commissioner of Saint-Amand, Mr. Gravet and two inspectors in charge of the Air Police, attached to the Lesquin aerodrome, went to the scene yesterday and proceeded to research. They could not find any trace.


The two French ufologists Charles Garreau and Olivier Lavier write in their book that on October 3, 1954, at 0:15 A.M., in Nivelles [sic], Marcel Sénéchal of Saint-Amant-les-Eaux [sic], was returning at his home riding his bicycle while following the tow path of the channel which skirts river Scarpe. By reaching the exit of Nivelles, he heard voices talking in a language which was unknown to him.

He stated:

"I turned the head, and downwards of the way, in a pasture, at the pale light of the moon, I saw a ball of approximately 3 meters in diameter. Near it, were two small beings, whose size did not exceed 1 meter, they discussed. They had large heads. Their clothing was luminous."

He fled, very frightened, and made a statement at the gendarmerie the following day.

[Ref. agd1:] ALAIN GAMARD:

031 03/10/1954 00.15 Nivelles 59 Marcel Sénéchal


The weekend of October 2-3 appears on all graphs as the maximum-maximorum of the 1954 wave. Although the work of counting the press of the time is not yet finished, the 118 various issues of newspapers and magazines I have been able to analyze for this period gives us an almost complete overview, in any case very broadly representative of the regional observations which were reported in the press for Sunday, October 3. I included the observations of the Somme which seemed to me inseparable from those of Nord - Pas-de-Calais and which also appear in the chapter entitled "Zigzag on the mining country" of the book by A. Michel: "Mystérieux Objets Célestes."

I count, as one case, each observation made by an independent group of witnesses. The astonishing quantity of observations reported below, shows once again the interest of thoroughly searching the newspaper archives.

OCTOBER 3, 1954:

1) 01 h. NIVELLES - 59. Mr. Marcel Sénéchal, 20 years old, was walking along the Scarpe canal when he reached the "Vandeville pasture" and heard a conversation in an unknown language. Turning his head to the right, he saw a luminous haystack from which came out a ray of light and two human shapes of 1.20 m. coated with a shiny garment. The witness fled with all pedals. Mr. Gravet, commissioner of St. Amand and two air police inspectors came to the scene but could not find any traces. (Nord-Matin, p.10, Croix du Nord, p.8)

[... other cases...]



Case nr 1) 01 o'clock NIVELLES -59-

Two Parisian ufologists have already carried out a re-investigation with the authorities of St Amand. Their conclusion is that this is a hoax.

On this matter it should be noted:

- that nothing we know can support the view that the witness is incapable of making a joke: the witness is a single man aged 20.

- that the description of the phenomenon corresponds exactly to what the public knew at the time about the flying saucer landings in the Nord region and which is made of only to two cases widely publicized in the press: the quasi-landing of [illegible] of September 7, and the landing of QUAROUBLE on September 10. In the first case, the characteristic detail is the shape of the machine: like a haystack. In the second case, the shape was badly perceived, but one saw two small beings on which the beam of a lamp was reflected as on glass and a light ray which left the craft. And what does the witness of NIVELLES describe to us? A haystack-shaped object, two small beings of 1.20 m dressed in shiny clothes and a light ray which started from the object. In other words, if the witness had made a hoax, he would not have said anything else. But of course, one can always say that the flying saucer was there, but that it was invisible, and that by induction in the witness's brain, it suggested that he made a hoax!


The authors indicate that in the area of Nivelle Mr Sénéchal heard snatches of conversation from entities with large luminous heads whereas he rode by bicycle.


The authors indicates that on October 3, 1954 at 0:15 in Nivelle, Marcel Sénéchal, 20-year-old metal worker, goes back to Saint-Amand-les-Eaux by bicycle, following the tow path which skirts the Scarpe.

At the level of the "Vandeville" pasture at the exit of Nivelles, he hears speak in an unknown language, and downwards of the way, on his right, he sees a luminous grinding stone 3 meters in diameters from where a luminous ray comes out, and two 1.20 meter-tall human forms, with large heads, dressed in shining outfits.

He is terrified, flees, and he will tell this to the police station of Saint-Amand. Mr. Gravet, the police chief, and two inspectors, go on the spot but cannot find any traces.

The authors indicate that the sources are "Face aux Extraterrestres" by C. Garreau and R. Lavier at page 128; Nord Matin and La Croix du Nord; the GNEOVNI bulletin #5 "Chronologie d'un Dimanche fantastique" by Mr. Dominique Caudron.

[Ref. mft1:] MICHEL FIGUET:

Nr of the J. C. Fumoux list N° of the Francat list Localization Date Class Credibility Sources Number of W
022 118a Nivelles 10/03 CE3 NI [= Not indentified] 2-p. 111 1 W

[Ref. mft2:] MICHEL FIGUET:

119a CE3 10 03 1954 00.15 Nivelles 59230 D5 OVNI: p. 111

[Ref. jsr1:] JEAN SIDER:

Ufologist and author Jean Sider indicates that on October 3, 1954, at 0:15, Mr. Marcel Senechal was going to St-Amand-les-Eaux by bicycle by a towpath along the river Scarpe.

At the end of Nivelle, at the height of the locality Pâture Vandeville, he perceived words in an unknown language.

Down below, on his right, he noticed a light haystack-shaped apparatus which dispensed a ray of light. Two silhouettes of about 1m20 came out, dressed in shiny suits.

Seized with fear, the witness fled and went to tell his misadventure to Mr. Gravet, the police commissioner in St-Amand.

Jean Sider indicates that the source is "Figuet, p.110-111."


3929: 1954/10/03 00:20 3 3:27:40 E 50:28:00 N 3333 WEU FRN NRD 8:6


Ref#217 Jean SIDER: Le DOSSIER 1954 (2 vol.) Page No. 181 : ROAD+RAILS


Godelieve van Overmeire indicates that in 1954, on October 3, in France, in Nivelles (Nord), at 0:15 Marcel Sénéchal goes back to St Amand les Eaux by bicycle. He follows the tow path of the channel which skirts the Scarpe. At the exit of Nivelle he heard speak in a language which is unknown to him. "I turned the head and downwards of the way, in a pasture, I saw in low light of moon, a ball approximately 3 m in diameter. Near it there were two small beings, whose size did not exceed 1 meter, they discussed. They had large heads. Their clothing was luminous." Terrified he flees. The next day he reports to the gendarmerie.

The source is indicated as "Face aux extra-terrestres" - Delarge 1975 - J'ai Lu, p. 132.

[Ref. lgs1:] LOREN GROSS:

3 October. Near Saint Amand-les-Eaux, France. (12:15 a.m.)

Large heads, luminous outfits.

Our source states:

"About 15 minutes after midnight, a metallurgy worker, Marcel Senechal, was riding his bicycle on a canal towpath when he heard voices; in a nearby meadow he saw a spherical object some three meters in diameter near which were two beings, one meter tall, who were talking to one another. Their heads were very large and their outfits luminous. The witness fled. Next morning he reported it to the gendarmes who were unable to find any traces when they returned to the site." (xx.)

(xx.) HumCat. #1889. Also: Mesnard and Bigorne, "Les Humanoides en France." (unpublished rns.), p.135, citing Face aux Extraterrestres, by Chas. Garreau and Raymond Lavier.

[Ref. ars1:] ALBERT ROSALES:

Location. Near Saint Amand-les-Eaux Nord France
Date: October 3 1954
Time: 0015A

About 15 minutes after midnight, a metallurgy worker, Marcel Senechal, was riding his bicycle on a canal towpath when he heard voices; in a nearby meadow he saw a spherical object some 3 meters in diameter near which were two beings, one meter tall, who were talking to one another. Their heads were very large and their outfits luminous. The witness fled. Next morning he reported it to the gendarmes who were unable to find any traces when they returned to the site.

Humcat 1954-20
Source: Joel Mesnard and Jean Marie Bigorne
Type: C


The ufologist indicates that on October 3, 1954 towards 1 a.m., Mr. Marcel Sénéchal, 20-year-old, metal-worker, reached the town of St Amand les Eaux by bicycle by the tow path skirting the river Scarpe. At the exit of Nivelles, at the level of the locality "la pature Vandeville", he heard a conversation in an unknown language. Looking on the side he saw way on his right what he compared to a luminous ["meule", haystack or grinding stone] from which a luminous beam came out and at the side two human shapes approximately 1 m 20 tall, covered of a shining clothing.

Thrown into a panic, he fled pedaling as fast as possible and went to tell his adventure to the police station of St Amand. The police chief, Mr. Gravet, and two inspectors, went on the spot, but did not find any trace.

The references given are the newspapers "Nord Matin" and "La Croix du Nord", and the Bulletin du GNEOVNI #5.


DATE: October 3, 1954

PLACE: Nivelles nord


REF: book « Rencontres rapprochées » of M. Figuet page 110


Mr. Marcel Sénéchal, the witness: joined St-Amand-les-Eaux by bicycle, by a towpath along the Scarpe river. At the exit of Nivelles, near the place called Pâture Vandeville, he perceives words in an unknown language. Below, on his right, he notices a luminous craft in the shape of a haystack which dispenses a ray of light. Two silhouettes of about l 20 m emerge from it. They are coated with a brilliant diving suit. Seized by terror, the witness fled and told his story to Mr. Gravet, police commissioner in St. Amand.

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Nord in Nivelle on October 3, 1954 at 00:15 hours the witness goes back to St Amand les Eaux by bicycle. He follows the tow path of the channel which skirts the Scarpe. At the exit of Nivelle he hears speak in a language which is unknown to him. "I turned the head and downwards of the way, in a pasture, I saw in the weak glow of the moon, a ball approximately 3 m in diameter. Near it there were two small beings, whose size did not exceed 1 meter, they discussed. They had large heads. Their clothing was luminous." Terrified, he flees. The next day he makes his statement at the gendarmerie.

Luc Chastan indicates that the source is "Face aux Extra terrestres by Garreau and Lavier ** DELARGE 1975,"

[Ref. djn2:] DONALD JONHSON:

Donald Johnson says the first CE3 on October 3, 1954, occurred at 12:15 a.m. in Nivelles, Nord, France. A 20-year-old metallurgist, Marcel Senechal, witnessed a spherical object three meters in diameter land in a meadow near a canal. Two one meter tall beings were seen talking to each other. Their heads were very large, and they wore luminous suits.

The sources are noted: "Sider, Jean, Dossier 1954 et l'Imposture Rationaliste, p. 181; Michel Figuet & Jean-Louis Ruchon, OVNI: Le Premier Dossier Complet des Rencontres Rapprochees en France, pp. 110-111."


The author says that a close encounter of the third kind took place in Nivelles, in the Nord, on October 3, 1954, the witness being Marcel Sénéchal, 20 years old, metal-worker.

He was going back to his home in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux by bicycle, following the tow path which skirts the Scapre, and on the level of the "Pâture Vandeville", at the exit of Nivelles, he heard speak in an unknown language.

Downwards the way, on his right, he saw a luminous haystack approximately three meters in diameter from which came out a luminous ray and two human forms of 1.20 meters dressed of brilliant clothing.

He became terrified, fled, and told his adventure at the police station of Saint-Amand.

He indicates that Mr. Gravet, police chief of Saint-Amand, and two inspectors, came on the spot but did not find any trace.

He adds that in the years 1970, the witness confirmed his initial story to investigator Jean-Marie Bigorne of the group Lumières Dans La Nuit.

Julien Gonzalez indicates that the sources are "Face aux Extraterrestres" by C. Garreau and R. Lavier on page 128; Nord-Matin et Croix du Nord; the bulletin N° 5 of the GNEOVNI, investigations by Dominique Caudron; Michel Figuet and Jean-Louis Ruchon in "OVNI: le Premier Dossier des REncontres Rapprochées en France" pages 110-111, and Jean Sider, "Le Dossier 1954 et l'Imposture Rationaliste" page 181.


Location: Near Saint Amand-les-Eaux Nord France

Date: October 3 1954

Time: 0015A

About 15 minutes after midnight, a metallurgy worker, Marcel Senechal, was riding his bicycle on a canal towpath when he heard voices; in a nearby meadow he saw a spherical object some 3 meters in diameter near which were two beings, one meter tall, who were talking to one another. Their heads were very large and their outfits luminous. The witness fled. Next morning he reported it to the gendarmes who were unable to find any traces when they returned to the site.

Source: Joel Mesnard & Jean Marie Bigorne

[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
19541003 03.10.1954 Nivelles France 00.15 CE III
19541003 03.10.1954 St. Armand Eaux France 00.15 CE III


October 3 1954. 0015hrs.


Marcel Senechal, a metal worker, was cycling home to Saint Amand-les-Eaux along the tow path by the river Scarpe when he heard strange voices. He then saw, in a field called Vandeville, he saw something that looked like a luminous millstone 3m diameter. From it came a beam of light and by it were two human like beings, 1.2m tall and with large heads, dressed in luminous suits. Marcel fled to the police station in Saint Amand but when the police investigated there was no trace of the thing.

Evaluation - I give the form used the Wikipedia and other sources for the place name rather than Nivelles


Dominique Caudron drew up an inventory of observations in the Nord 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...]

01) About 01, NIVELLE (59)

Mr. Marcel Sénéchal, 20-year-old, was riding a bicycle on the towpath along the Scarpe Canal, when he arrived at the "Vandeville Pasture" and heard a conversation in an unknown language. Turning his head to the right, he saw a kind of luminous haystack from which came a luminous ray and two human forms of 1.20 m, covered with a shining garment. The witness flees on all pedals. Mr. Gravet, police commissioner of St. Amand and two inspectors of the air police came to the scene but could not find any trace.

(Nord-Matin, 10/6 page 10, La Croix du Nord, 10/6 page 8)

(this observation has nothing to do with those of the evening, but is about a quite terrestrial vehicle)

[... 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 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.


Some sources spelled "Nivelles", but Nivelles is in Belgium. the correct name is Nivelle, in the Nord department. We also get "Saint-Amant" or "Saint-Amant-les-Eaux", this is Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, also in the department of Nord.

The witness returns to Saint-Amand-les-Eaux in the Nord from Nivelle which is 3 km in a straight line to the Northeast.

A misinterpretation caused by an earthly vehicle as suggested by Dominique Caudron is quite possible, but it does not seem that this is a proven fact.

January 23, 2020 update:

I just found the previous version "Requiem for a zigzag" by Dominique Caudron, with an explanation that seems far more plausible, that of pure and simple invention.


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

Nivelle, Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, Nord, Marcel Sénéchal, language, voice, ball, sphere, object, landing, occupants, humanoids, clothing


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross June 24, 2001 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 9, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [fru1], [goe1], [lcn1].
1.1 Patrick Gross April 23, 2009 Addition [bbr1].
1.2 Patrick Gross February 28, 2010 Addition [djn2].
1.3 Patrick Gross March 15, 2010 Addition [jdt1].
1.4 Patrick Gross September 13, 2014 Addition [lgs1].
1.5 Patrick Gross October 4, 2014 Additions [jsr1], [tai1].
1.6 Patrick Gross October 14, 2016 Addition [jgz1], [ubk1].
1.7 Patrick Gross July 12, 2019 Additions [lhh1], [prn2], [dcn1].
1.8 Patrick Gross January 23, 2020 Additions [agd1], [dcn6], [dcn7], [jdt2], [mft1], [mft2]. In the Summary, addition of the "Barthel and Brucker" and "Dominique Caudron" paragraphs. In the Explanations, addition of the "January 23, 2020 update" part.
1.9 Patrick Gross April 29, 2020 Additions [nmn1].
2.0 Patrick Gross February 23, 2021 Addition [lcd1].

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