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The 1954 French flap:

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October 5, 1954, Col des Echarmeaux, Rhône:

Reference number for this case: 5-Oct-54-Col-des-Echarmeaux. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

The Press for October 6, 1954, reported that there was a sighting at the Pass of Les Echarmeaux in the rhône department. Much later, a ufology database on the Web gave the date of October 5, 1954, without any other information.

Reports:

[Ref. lml1:] "LE MERIDIONAL" NEWSPAPER:

Scan.

THE MYSTERIOUS CRAFT
are multiplying in the sky

LYON. -- Several people stated to have seen in the area of Epinac-les-Mines (the Saone-and-Loire), a kind of large luminous ball evolving slowly in an odd way in the sky. Puzzled motorists stopped on the road and could observe this ball during several minutes before seeing it disappearing suddenly for Le Creusot.

A similar phenomenon was observed in the Ain and the north of the department of the Rhone, towards the Cole des Echarmeaux, as well as in the Isère, close to Morestel.

Near Le Havre

LE HAVRE. -- Mr. André Lefebvre, taxi driver, who was parked around 8 p.m., on the harbour, saw an incandescent disc which, at the West of Deauville, went up in the sky, leaving behind itself a phosphorescent trail and a light smoke. This phenomenon, which was visible during ten minutes, had also as witnesses several sailors regaining their boat.

In the Haute-Loire

LE PUY. -- Mr. and Mrs. Teyssier, of St-Etienne, who camped in Aurec-sur-Loire (the Haute-Loire) saw in the sky a luminous object giving the impression of a large headlight which moved at a fast pace at approximately 2.000 meters of altitude. The machine emitted a ray of light of orange red color, and followed a North-South trajectory. When it had disappeared, a second machine similar to the first and appearing to follow it appeared, followed the same direction and disappeared too.

Approximately at the same moment several people saw, above the bell-tower of Aurec, similar craft, which after having become motionless one moment crossed the sky at a fast pace in direction of the South-west.

A crescent splits in two

LENS. -- Sunday evening, around 09:30 p.m., in Ablain-St-Nazaire, a craft which had the shape of a pot and which rotated was seen in the sky by two people. It released a reddish gleam and quickly moved.

At the same hour, a craft which, this time, had the shape of a crescent was seen in the sky in Liévain. After having hovered during a few minutes, the crescent split in two. The higher part then remained motionless, while the other landed in a field, between two haystacks, from where it flew away little afterwards to go to reattach to the part that had remained in the air.

In the Charente

ANGOULEME. -- Sunday evening, at approximately 11:15 p.m. on the Montecreau-Ville-Bois-Lavalette road (Charente), Mr. Jean Allary, aged 22, saw very clearly, in the gleam of the headlight of his motorcycle, a kind of barrel high of approximately 1 m. 80, spread of gilded nails, which was oscillating on the edge of the road. When Mr. Allary had passed the mysterious machine, he turned back at a distance of approximately ten meters, but he did not see anything anymore.

Witnesses saw, at the very spot indicated by Mr. Allary, traces of approximately seven meters length in the grass which borders the road.

In addition, the same night, Mrs. Bellanger, resident of Cognac, saw at an altitude of approximately 300 meters, a machine in the shape of cigar, of orange color, moving slowly above the city.

On Clermont-Ferrand

CLERMONT-FERRAND. -- Residents of Clermont saw, around 7 p.m., in the sky, a luminous point of the dimension of a large star, which frequently changed color, passing from the white to the green while tainting itself of orange. The luminous point appeared animated of a rotary movement. While disappearing it left behind itself an orange plume.

[Ref. cpd1:] "LE COURRIER PICARD" NEWSPAPER:

Scan.

A pensioner from Beuvry-les-Béthine
made "flying saucers":

These were simple, luminous hot air balloons
oval in shape and several meters high

"I certainly haven't done them all" says the inventor
when asked about the mysterious interplanetary machines

LILLE, October 5. -- The discovery, in Beuvry-les-Béthune, of a manufacturer of hot air balloons that were regularly dropped in the skies of the Nord and Pas-de-Calais, triggered a certain hilarity in the region. The author of this good prank, Victor d'Oliveira, is 60 years old. Of Portuguese origin, he settled in the Pas-de-Calais, in Beuvry, in 1922, and created his home there.

It was in a small grocery store run by his daughter that the balloon lover received us in the presence of his wife. In retirement after having worked for many years at the Beuvry power station, the Portuguese is having a happy time.

"I learned to build balloons when I was very young in Portugal, and since then I always continued to do so. I like to see them rise in the sky in the evening. I built them in all sizes, from very small to very large over 6 meters high and 2 meters in diameter."

And the inventor shows us one of them; which he inflates to make us happy, but without letting it go, because the winds, he says, are unfavorable today. It is a large oval, comparable to a gigantic rugby ball, inside which to heat the air and allow the ball to rise, Mr. d'Oliveira places, held by two light wires, a tow made of old rags and sometimes asbestos soaked in petroleum, which he sets on fire.

Continued on the second page under the title:

MANUFACTURER OF FLYING SAUCERS

Scan.

Manufacturer of flying saucers

(Continuation of the 1st page)

"Before the war," he continues, "I found silk papers of all colors and I made very beautiful ones. For local festivals, I was asked to build them and I hung firecrackers on them that burst into the air. I don't understand why people are surprised today by my activity, because here, everyone is aware of it and it doesn't hurt anyone."

The material used for construction is very simple. Wrapping paper from the grocery store, advertising papers, and even labels for oil bottles stuck together with methodical care.

It takes more than two hours to build medium-sized balloons, to which should be added the long wait necessary for the glue to dry. When the weather is not nice or the winds are unfavorable (because Mr. d'Oliveira is a perfect aeronaut, as he practiced this curious sport for long), the balloons pile up in the hangar where he builds them. When everything is going well, he sometimes drops two or three of these apparatuses in the same day, preferably in the evening, "because that's when we can best see their brightness", he adds, with the utmost seriousness.

"I sometimes tried to know how far the objects of my making were going. For that I put papers with my address, and I thus learned, before the war, that one of my balloons had traveled 17 kilometers. In the sky, they reach varying heights depending on the air currents, but it is common for them to climb 1,000 meters and go much further."

As he is asked what he thinks of flying saucers, a broad smile blossoms on his face happy with his creations and he just answers: "Some are perhaps simple confusions with my balloons... But anyway, I certainly don't make them all..."

As for the number of devices manufactured, Mr. d'Oliveira says that more than 5,000 would have been dropped by him, to which his wife adds: "It is exactly the 5.850th that he just manufactured. Details, we care about order."

This unexpected advertisement does not do little to the curious manufacturer, who receives with good grace many journalists and photographers who shoot him on all angles: "If I had known that I would have so many visits, he is satisfied to say, I would have gone to spend the day somewhere else."

But we do know, however, that man is happy to see many people interested in his little craze. And as we leave him, he smiles again, thinking of the "flying saucer" which, in the sky very close to Sailly, amazed three inhabitants before crashing on the ground, where only paper was found; which is now waiting another fate on the premises of the Beuvry police station.

***

However, in Le Havre, Mr. André Lefeuvre, taxi driver, who parked yesterday evening around 8 p.m. on the port, saw an incandescent disc which, west of Deauville, rose in the sky, leaving behind it a phosphorescent trail and a slight smoke. This phenomenon, which was visible for ten minutes, was also witnessed by several sailors returning to their boat.

Mr. and Mme Teyssier, from Saint-Etienne, who were camping in Aurec-sur-Loire (Haute-Loire), saw, in the sky, a luminous object giving the impression of a large headlight moving at high speed, at about 2,000 meters above sea level.

The craft emitted a red-orange light beam and followed a North-South trajectory.

When it had disappeared, a second craft, similar to the first one and seeming to follow it, appeared, followed the same direction and also disappeared.

Around the same time, several people saw, above the Aurec steeple, similar craft which, after having stopped for a moment, crossed the sky, at high speed, towards the south West.

Sunday evening, around 11:15 p.m., on the road to Montmoreau-Villebois-Lavalette (Charente), Mr. Jean Allary, 22, saw very clearly in the light of the headlight of his moped, a kind of barrel, about 1 m. 80 high, studded with golden nails, swaying on the side of the road. When Mr. Allary had passed the mysterious craft, he looked back at about ten meters away, but saw nothing anymore.

Witnesses saw, yesterday afternoon, at the very place indicated by Mr. Allary, traces of about seven meters in length, in the grass which borders the road.

Several people said they saw in the region of Epinac-les-Mines (Saône-et-Loire), a kind of big luminous ball moving slowly, in a strange manner, in the sky.

A similar phenomenon was observed in the Ain and in the north of the Rhône department, towards the Echarmaux pass, as well as in the Isère, near Morestel.

[Ref. ads1:] "L'ARDENNAIS" NEWSPAPER:

The dance of the flying saucers continues

Two pranksters will be prosecuted

Saucers, cigars, barrels, discs, pots, crescents and other objects continue their dance in the sky.

It even seems that for a few hours, this luminous carrousel intensified, unless the French, worried about the extent taken for some time in their newspaper by "the saucers chronicle" began to scrutinize feverishly the sky in order to finally see one of the mysterious machines one talks about so much.

Here is a new list of the latest public events of the "Uranids" and their extraordinary nacelles.

LE HAVRE. -- Mr. André Lefèbre, cab driver, who was stationed Monday evening, around 8 p.m., on the harbor, saw an incandescent disk which, west of Deauville, rose in the sky, leaving behind a phosphorescent trail and a slight smoke. This phenomenon, which was visible for ten minutes, was also witnessed by several sailors returning to their boat.

LYON. -- A Lyon journalist claimed to have observed with a binocular, above the St Foy hill, south of the Fourvière basilica, an orange red light disc.

This was followed by other shiny, smaller discs. The phenomenon lasted about 20 minutes.

NANCY. -- Thirty people claimed to have seen a luminous disc of green color descending on the village of Benestroff between Vergaville and Kerprich (Moselle) on Sunday evening.

(Read more on page 5)

The dance of the flying saucers

(Continued from page 1)

Several witnesses drove by motorcycle to the alleged landing site of the craft, but when they arrived, the craft had resumed altitude and disappeared.

A few hours later, a disc of the same color was observed over the same region. A circular craft had been seen the day before at the same hour.

Saucers, cigars, discs, balls and other "flying" objects were seen at Chancelade (Haute-Vienne), Willer (Haut-Rhin), Gouesnach, near Quimper, Beutignecourt, Ambazac (Haute-Vienne), Dijon, Marcoing near Cambrais, Pommier (Indre), Rouen, Ajaccio, la Rochelle, Quimper, Cholet and Vannes.

LE PUY. -- Mr. and Mrs. Teyssier, of Saint-Etienne, who camped at Aurec-sur-Loire (Haute-Loire), saw in the sky a luminous object giving the impression of a large headlight which moved at a rapid pace at about 2000 meters of altitude.

The craft emitted an orange-red light beam and followed a north-south trajectory. When it had disappeared, a second craft similar to the first and seeming to follow it appeared, followed the same direction and also disappeared.

At about the same time, several people saw similar apparatuses flying over the Aurec steeple which, after stopping for a moment, crossed the sky at a brisk pace towards the southwest.

ANGOULEME. -- Sunday evening, around 11:15 p.m., on the road to Montmoreau - Villebois - Lavalette (Charente), Mr. Jean Allary, 22, saw very clearly, in the light of his moped headlight, a kind of barrel about 1 m 80 high, studded with golden nails, which swayed on the edge of the road.

When Mr. Allary had passed the mysterious craft, he looked back, at a distance of about 10 meters, but saw nothing.

Witnesses saw Monday afternoon at the exact spot indicated by Mr. Allary, traces of about seven meters in length in the grass that borders the road.

LYON. -- Several people reported seeing a kind of large luminous ball in the Epinac-les-Mines (Saône-et-Loire) region moving in a weird way in the sky.

A similar phenomenon has been observed in the Ain and in the north of the Rhône department, at the Col des Echarmaux, as well as in the Isère, near Morestel.

Should the witnesses who reported all these things be held to be sincere? It is hard to say. But in general, let us welcome their statements with a lot of reservations. Many mystifications have already been discovered, mystifications that will also cause some trouble to their authors. One does not joke with the saucers with impunity.

He made saucers

LILLE. -- A retired miner from Beuvry-les-Bethune, known in his community as a joker, did not miss the opportunity offered to him by flying saucers, for to have fun at the expense of people in nearby communities.

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

It was the discovery near a straw stack to which one of these machines had almost set fire, that the gendarmes were brought to suspect the retiree. One also found many models of "flying saucers" prototypes that their inventor was preparing to launch in the northern sky.

The hoaxer claimed that he had already built and launched more than a thousand of these machines. The ex-miner will probably be sentenced to a fine for dangerous amusement.

The Uranids had left too human traces

Melun. -- Roadmenders who worked along the Coulommiers-Meaux road, said they had noticed, several days ago, around 5 p.m., in a field not far from the aerodrome of Voisins, Maisoncelles commune, a flying saucer resting on three crutches.

One of them, Mr. Goujon, even said that 150 meters from the machine, he had been paralyzed by an electric beam while the saucer rose slowly in the sky to disappear. The roadmender, who had provided the journalists with all the details, had also shown to various witnesses the traces left by the crutches of the saucer.

The Coulommiers gendarmerie decided to question the witnesses. Many retreated immediately stating that they had bad eyesight, that they were not very sure of what they had seen, or even that they had not seen anything at all. But the principal concerned, Mr. Goujon, remained very firm in his statements.

So the gendarmes took him there, in the presence of several Parisian scientific personalities. The holes left by the saucer were photographed; they had been dug out by the hand of the roadmender, whose fingerprints the earth had kept.

The roadmender admitted to having made up this strange story from scratch. He was brought before the judge of Coulommiers.

[Ref. prs1:] UNKNOWN NEWSPAPER FOR OCTOBER 6, 1954:

Scan.

To mystify his compatriots

A prankster built flying saucers

Lille, 5 October. - A retired mine worker of Beuvry-les-Bethune, known in his commune as a prankster, did not miss the opportunity offered to him by the mystery of the flying saucers to amuse himself at the expense of the inhabitants of the neighboring localities.

Inspired by the hot air balloon system, the happy retired man built machines that were three meters in diameter. The envelope consisted of sheets of gray paper, strongly glued together. At the base of the "saucer" was a small receptacle in which lay a tuft of tow impregnated with a flammable liquid. It was then enough to ignite the tow to see the machine rise and disappear at the winds, surrounded by yellowish and orange reflections.

It was after the discovery of one of these devices near a stack of straw, to which it had almost set fire, that the gendarmes were led to suspect the retired man. In fact, there were many models of "flying saucers" at his place, prototypes that their inventor was preparing to launch in the sky of the Nord.

The mystifier claimed that he had already built and launched more than a thousand of these devices. The ex-mine worker will no doubt be sentenced to fines for dangerous amusement.

Those who have seen...

Le Havre. -- Mr. André Lefèvre, a taxi driver, who was parked yesterday evening at 8 p.m. on the harbor, saw an incandescent disk which rose to the west of Deauville, leaving behind a phosphorescent trail and a slight smoke. This phenomenon, which was visible for ten minutes, was also witnessed by several sailors returning to their boat.

The Puy. -- Mr. and Mrs. Teyssier, of Saint-Etienne, who camped at Aurec-sur-Loire (Haute-Loire), saw in the sky a luminous object giving the impression of a large headlight moving at a rapid pace at about 2000 meters altitude. The craft emitted an orange-reddish light beam and followed a north-south trajectory. When it had disappeared, a second apparatus, similar to the first, appeared to follow it, in the same direction, and disappeared in its turn.

At about the same time, several persons saw above the bell-tower of Aurec similar machines which, after being immobilized for a moment, crossed the sky at a rapid pace towards the south-west.

Lens. -- Sunday evening, around 9:30 p.m., in Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, a machine that had the shape of a pot and which rotated on itself was seen in the sky by two people. It emitted a reddish glow and moved quickly.

At the same time, a craft which, this time, had the shape of a crescent, was seen in the sky of Liévin. After hovering for a few minutes, the crescent split in two. The upper part then remained motionless, while the other landed in a field between two haystacks, from which it took off shortly afterwards to join the part that was in the air.

Angoulême. -- Sunday evening, around 9:15 p.m., on the road from Montmoreau to Villebois-Lavallette (the Charente), Mr. Jean Allary, 22, saw very clearly, in the light of his moped's headlight, a sort of barrel high of about 1.50 meters, studded with gilded nails, which swayed on the side of the road. When Mr. Allary had passed the mysterious machine, he looked back, at a distance of about ten yards, but he saw nothing.

Witnesses saw, yesterday afternoon, at the very place indicated by Mr. Allary, traces about seven meters long in the grass that borders the road.

Autun. -- Several people said they saw in the region of Epinac-les-Mines (the Saône-et-Loire), a kind of large luminous ball moving slowly in a bizarre manner in the sky.

A similar phenomenon has been observed in the Ain and in the north of the Rhone department, towards the Col des Echarmaux, as well as in the Isère, near Morestel.

Nevers. -- In Chateau-Chinon, five persons whose sincerity could not be doubted, saw a phenomenon which occurred several times before their more astonished than frightened eyes.

At 9 o'clock a luminous spot of oval shape, seemingly motionless at a very high altitude, appeared in the sky. At one point the spot began to rotate at full speed, changing color several times. Then all went out, but after a few minutes the luminous spot reappeared, split again, and began to rotate.

[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
19541005 05.10.1954 Col Echarmaux France NL

Explanations:

Not looked for yet.

Keywords:

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

Col des Echarmeaux, Rhône, André Lefebvre, taxi, evening, disc, incandescent, luminous, Deauville, rise, trail, phosphorescent, smoke, duration, multiple, sailors

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
1.0 Patrick Gross December 30, 2016 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross February 25, 2020 Additions [cpd1], [ads1], Summary. Explanations changed, were "Not looked for yet."

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