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October 3, 1954, Provin, Nord:

Reference for this case: 3-Oct-54-Provin.
Please cite this reference in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


In 1978, then again around 2017, the "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sightings in the Nord region for October 3, 1954, neglected by ufologists, including many that were previously unpublished, and mostly explainable by a red moon whose appearance was altered by clouds.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 for October 5, 1954:

At an unspecified hour, in Provin, Nord department, the mother of the town hall secretary saw a luminous craft passing with an engine noise, and others made the same statement to the gendarmes.

In 2020, Dominique Caudron publishes photographs of Press articles of the time, including the one from La Voix du Nord, shown below in this file.




Busy weekend for the flying saucers
who lose all discretion

A hundred testimonies in their favor in the region
of Annoeuillin, where they spend 25 minutes

One of them lands in a garden

Certainly the "saucers" invade our skies. More than a hundred people from Bauvin, Annoeuillin, Provin and the surrounding area, 20 kilometers from Lille, saw one or more luminous objects moving slowly, Sunday, between 8:45 p.m. and 9:10 p.m.. One of them saw the object land slowly in a garden and approached a few meters from the craft. But let's look at the facts.

A "saucer" came down
from the sky

Mr. Gaston Lecoeuvre, a miner domiciled on rue Georges-Mortelecq in Annoeuillin, smokes a cigarette on the doorstep. A bright spot appears on the dark screen of the sky and falls slowly: a shooting star, our man thinks. But now the fall of the star continues. It turns into an object that spins, it seems and, without noise, lands in a garden a few meters away.

Mr. Lecoeuvre rushes forward: a dome about three meters high and shining like a piece of nickel. The craft does not rest on the ground - no traces have been found. On the upper part there is a small dome, but there is no visible opening.

The miner stopped, as if petrified, a few meters from the "thing", his little dog barks with rage. And now a panic fear takes hold of the man who runs away shouting up to the Parsy cafe, a hundred meters away, where a dozen people consume or play billiards.

"Come, a saucer!..." the miner shouts. The players are rushing into the street.

Mr. Gaston Lecoeuvre is considered by his entourage as a serious man.

The sarabande of "saucers"

Fifteen men, women, and children are outside. The object is gone, after 15 or 20 seconds, Mr. Lecoeuvre estimates, because he declares to have perceived a whistling sound during his distraught run.

But here the residents of Annoeuillin distinguish in the direction of Provin, not one, but three brilliant objects. One of them was almost motionless, two others circles slowly around the first one: this is the version that several people spontaneously give us.

We interview Mr. Bourbotte, a young office worker who, despite the general fever, remains calm. When he joins his neighbors who, for a quarter of an hour, have observed the "phenomenon", he no longer distinguishes three, but two objects. Mr. Bourbotte checks his wristwatch: it is exactly 9:00 p.m. The "saucers" seeming to present an angle of approximately 45 degrees with respect to the horizontal, slowly following circles, he specifies. They turned in opposite directions and, at times, they appeared only in the form of a red dot. Then they got closer and one could better distinguish their swollen shape and their red-orange color.

This silent sarabande continued until 9:10 p.m., hour at which the spectators, who passed binoculars from hand to hand, saw the objects disappear behind a curtain of trees, in direction of Provin.

Other testimonials

At the other end of rue Georges-Mortelecq, Mr. Louis Deleflie hears a noise similar to that of an "airplane engine" and sees a luminous object rising above a haystack, three hundred meters away. He's going to get his wife. The object is still there, but one no longer hear any noise. Their cousin will join them soon, then a neighbor, Mr. Claude Loyez, retired from the mines, 45 to 50 people finally contemplate the silent object, "red like fire but not lighting" which oscillates sometimes and moves away slowly, then disappears behind trees, still in the direction of Provin.

In this locality, the mother of the town hall secretary observed the passage of a "luminous object" and heard a noise of "engine:" other residents made identical statements to the gendarmes. In Bauvin, a worker, Mr. Vankenkiste, reportedly saw, like the first group of Annoeuillin residents, three "saucers".

These are the testimonies collected from men and women of different ages, of all social categories.

In total, a hundred people watched the strange saraband for 25 minutes. Simple "images"... Are we going to start doubting it? If not, what clear and soothing explanation of the "phenomena" could we give?

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


Barrels, pots,
and other flying objects

Sunday evening, around 9:30 p.m., in Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, a craft with the shape of a pot and spinning was seen in the sky by two people. It gave off a reddish glow and moved quickly.

At the same time, a craft which, this time, had the shape of a crescent, was noticed in the sky, in Liévin. After hovering for a few minutes, the crescent split in two. The upper part remained motionless, while the other landed in a field, between two haystacks. Soon after, it flew away to go reattach the stay-in-air part.

Also on Sunday evening, around 11:15 p.m., on the road to Monmoreau-Villebois-Lavalette (Charente), Mr. Jean Allary, 22, saw very clearly, in the light from the headlight of his moped, a sort of barrel about 1.80 m. high, studded with golden nails, which dangled on the side of the road. When Mr. Allary had passed the mysterious craft, he looked back, at a distance of about 10 meters, but saw nothing.

Between Annoeuillin and Provins, near Lille, around one hundred people saw "flying crescents" in the sky.

A miner from Annoeuillin, Mr. Gaston Lecoeuvre, had alerted the customers of a cafe, telling them that he had just seen a crescent-shaped luminous machine, about 3 meters high, land in his garden. When consumers left the cafe, the "flying croissant" was flying through the sky with two other similar craft.

Soon a hundred people, both in Annoeuillin and in Provins and in the neighboring villages, were gazing at the three objects which only disappeared after twenty-five minutes. The gendarmerie brigades of the region have already collected numerous testimonies.

Saucers, cigars, discs, balls and other "flying" objects were seen in Chancelade (Haute-Vienne), Willer (Haut-Rhin), Gouesnach, near Quimper-Beautignecourt, Ambazac (Haute-Vienne), Dijon, Marcoing, near Cambrai, Pommier (Indre), Rouen, Ajaccio, La Rochelle, Quimper, Cholet, Valves.

In the Nord,
a hoaxer reportedly
built over a thousand
of "flying saucers"

A retired miner from Beuvry-lès-Béthune (Pas-de-Calais), known in his town as a joker, did not miss the opportunity offered by the mystery of the flying saucers to have fun at the expense of neighboring localities.

Inspired by the hot-air balloon system, the happy retiree made devices that reached 3 meters in diameter. The envelope was made up of sheets of strong gray paper, carefully glued. At the base of the "saucer" was a small receptacle in which rested a tuft of tow soaked in a flammable liquid. It was then enough to ignite the tow to see the machine rise and disappear with the winds, surrounded by yellowish and orange reflections.

It was following the discovery, near a stack of straw, of one of these devices, which had almost set fire to it, that the gendarmes were led to suspect the pensioner.

One was actually to discover at the latter's many models of "flying saucers" prototypes that their inventor was preparing to launch in the northern sky.

The hoaxer claimed he had already built and launched over a thousand of these devices. The ex-miner will undoubtedly be condemned to tickets for dangerous amusement.

[Ref. rdr1:] "RADAR" MAGAZINE:


"RADAR" reconstituted the course of a
saucer in Picardy and the Flandres


Mr. Gaston Lecoeuvre
At her bar, Mrs. Parzy
Bourbote clocks

More than 100 people, of Bauvin, Anoeuilin, Provin, localised at 20 km. from Lille saw "them". Mr. Gaston Lecoeuvre, a minor of Annoeuilin, tells: "Taking some fresh air on my doorstep, I see a luminous spot. Suddenly it turns, then, without noise, brilliant as a nickel coin, it seems to land, then sets out again at the end of 20 seconds." Mrs. Parzy, who holds the coffee shop of the place, sees 3 luminous objects. Mr. Bourbote, employed, states: "They evolved during 25'."

[Ref. gqy1:] GUY QUINCY:

Beginning of October [1954]

[...other cases...]

: Provin (Nord): 2/10?.

[...other cases...]



The weekend of October 2-3 appears on all charts as the maximum-maximum of the 1954 wave. Various newspapers and magazines that I have been able to check for this period give us an almost complete overview, in any case very broadly representative of the regional observations that were reported in the press for Sunday October 3rd. I have included the observations of the Somme which seemed to me inseparable from those of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and which appear moreover in the chapter entitled "Zigzag on the mining country" of the book by A. Michel: "Mysterieux Objets Célestes." I count, as one case, each observation made by an independent group of witnesses. The astonishing number of observations reported below, once again shows the interest of thoroughly digging into the newspapers archives.

OCTOBER 3, 1954:

[...other cases...]

39) idem [= time not specified] -PROVIN -59-: The mother of the town clerk saw a luminous craft passing by with the sound of an engine. Other residents made the same statement, to the gendarmes. (VdN 5/10, p.3)

[...other cases...]


We know that that evening, at 9:30 p.m., the crescent Moon was setting in the southwest and that according to case 9 it was distorted by low clouds...

Disaster! This bundle of suspicions throws a total discredit on this magnificent series of observations, one of the most beautiful that we have ever found yet. We will have to verify certain data, the direction of certain sightings, the weather conditions, but already the doubt is too great for us to be able to classify these sightings as UFOs.


In his article, Dominique Caudron listed 46 cases for October 3, 1954 in the north of France; he explained that this corresponds to hundreds of witnesses who do not know each other within an hour and a half time interval, which gives an impression of a "real phenomenon".

He noted that the times do not always match, that there are gaps of up to 40 minutes for the same case depending to its different versions.

He noted that "all these cases are a bit similar", listing the part of the cases where the phenomenon splits in two, or where is said that a disc detached to go to the ground, and recalls that one of the witnesses, Mr. Bonte, explained that the moon was barred by a stratus.

He noted that in 5 of the cases the object is described as a crescent, in others it is a disc, a dome, a collar, in others it is compared to the moon. In 7 cases, the object is said to follow a moving car, but stops when the car stops.

He indicated that in 13 of the cases there was an indication of direction, always the southwest, where the moon was.

He indicated that in 7 cases the object was lowering on the horizon, and that the moon was indeed setting.

He noted that some cases may be explained by the hot air balloons of the retiree from Beuvry-les-Béthune.


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...]

39) Hour not specified, PROVIN (59)

- The mother of the town hall secretary saw a luminous craft passing with engine noise. Others made the same statement to the gendarmes.

(La Voix du Nord 10/5 page 3)

[... 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.


Analysis of the observations of October 3, 1954

[... other cases...]

39) Hour not specified, PROVIN (59)

Insufficient information.

[... other cases...]



The information is certainly insufficient; the engine noise suggests a possible plane or helicopter to me.

Many sightings of that night in the area were caused by a red moon barred by a cloud. In some testimonies from the area that evening, the mention of "engine noise" appears several times; the gendarmes of Marcoing also mentioned that an airplane circled the sky just after their observation. So there is the possibility that this was that plane, or a plane.


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

Provin, Nord, town hall secretary, craft, luminous, noise, sound, engine, multiple, gendarmes


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
1.0 Patrick Gross May 28, 2019 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross April 20, 2020 Addition [vdn1]. In the Explanations, addition of the paragraph "Many sightings of that night..." in the Summary, additionof the paragraph "In 2020, Dominique Caudron..."
1.2 Patrick Gross April 30, 2020 Addition [rdr1].
1.3 Patrick Gross January 17, 2021 Addition [lcx1].
1.4 Patrick Gross April 21, 2022 Addition [gqy1].
1.5 Patrick Gross July 9, 2022 Addition [dcn1]. In the Summary, "Around 2017" changed to "In 1978, then again around 2017".

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This page was last updated on July 9, 2022.