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The 1954 French flap:

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

October 6, 1954, Puymoyen, Charente:

Reference number for this case: 6-oct-54-Puymoyen. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

The regional newspaper Sud-Ouest for October 8, 1954, reported that Claude Bourneix, 17, working in Angouleme and living in Pierres-Dures, commune of Puymoyen, 4 km. from Angoulême, returned Wednesday evening October 6, 1954, by bicycle, when near his home, he saw a bright glow, orange, towards La Couronne.

The glow got closer quickly, heading down to a barley field where it landed, 300 meters from the road.

The young man went to alert his brother and his father, but when they came back, there was nothing left. They found a pile of ash forming a circle.

The gendarmerie arrived at the place, and one also found twelve wicks, hollow, black and burned, of hard material, 12 cm. long, stuck into the ground every 40 cm., and which formed a circle of 1 m 50 in diameter. A wick was lighted, and it burned "very strongly like a rocket."

In the national newspaper France-Soir for October 9, 1954, a brief summary was published in which the "orange glow" had become an "orange disk."

The Gendarmerie's opinion is still unknown to me.

The case first surfaced in the ufology literature only in 1971 in the ufology magazine Lumières Dans La Nuit (LDLN), who quoted the Sud-Ouest article, and noted that An investigation was initiated by the LDLN ufology group.

This appeared again in the collective book "Mystérieuses Soucoupes Volantes" edited by Fernand Lagarde with the ufology group "Lumières Dans La Nuit." The Sud-Ouest article was republished there, and François Lagarde specified that at the moment when the book is getting printed, there was an investigation into the case. He oddly comments that he has no certainty "about the authenticity of the facts" but that "their reality is certain."

The result of the 1971 LDLN investigation and that Lagarde was talking in 1976 - probably the same - about was apparently never published.

Michel Figuet and Jean-Louis Ruchon summarized the case from the two previous sources (actually identiical of course) in their 1979 book on close encounters in France; then in the 1982 version of his FRANCAT catalog, Figuet put the case in the "dubious cases" category by making this common sense remark: "These buried and burned wicks suggest a human work rather than extraterrestrial work".

Yet the case is still presented on the Web, by the amercian ufologist Donald Johnson who does not speak of the "wicks" found in the ground, by the Belgian "skeptical" ufologist Godelieve van Overmeire who just quotes the 1979 Figuet and Ruchon version while refering to Lagarde, and the French ufologist Luc Chastan who both quote the 1979 version of Figuet and Ruchon.

Reports:

[Ref. sot1:] "SUD-OUEST" NEWSPAPER:

Mr. Claude Bourneix, aged 17, works in Angoulême and resides in Pierres-Dures, community of Puymoyen, at 4 km from Angouleme. He was returning home Wednesday evening October 6 riding his bicycle, when close to his house, he saw a very sharp orange gleam, in direction of La Couronne, which approached quickly, and moved while losing altitude towards a barley field where it landed, 300 meters off the road. He went to seek his father, his brother, but when they returned, there was nothing any more. They found a heap of ash forming an O. The Gendarmerie [French police forces attached to the army] came on the location, and one also found twelve hollow wicks, black and burned, made out of hard matter, 12 cm. of length, inserted in the ground every 40 cm, and which formed a circle of 1 m 50 of diameter. A lit wick burned very brightly like a rocket.

[Ref. fso1:] "FRANCE-SOIR" NEWSPAPER:

Scan.

Petrifying rays, flying eggs throughout France

[Ref. ner1:] "NORD ECLAIR" NEWSPAPER:

Scan.

DISCS
AND LUMINOUS
GLOBES
ALL OVER
FRANCE

(CONTINUED)

One saw again yesterday, flying over all of France, groups of mysterious and luminous objects: orange cigars, round saucers "like soccer balls", red discs and strange globes in Crbigny [sic] (Nièvre), Montlevicq (Indre), Orthez Basse-Pyrénées), Saint-Bihy (Côtes-du-Nord), Cholette [sic] and Dordives (Loiret). In Puymoyen (Charente) one discovered at the place where a saucer had landed, twelve small heaps of ash in the middle of a circle of one meter fifty in diameter and among the ashes little sticks. The gendarmes of Angoulême think that these sticks are strips of tubular powder used in artillery.

[Ref. fle1:] FERNAND LAGARDE:

The ufologist Fernand Lagarde believed he found a connection between the locations of UFO sightings and the locations of earthquakes or geological faults.

He published a map centered on the Charente-Maritime department, with parts of the surrounding departments, with these cases (his list is incomplete) represented, all dates October 1954:

"N 150 between Saintes and Royan 10.54"
"Taupignac 10.54"
"Pont L'Abbé 10.54"
"St Savinien 10.54"
"Birac 10.54"
"Soudran 10.54"
"Tourriers 10.54"
"Angouleme 10.54"
"Puymoyen 10.54"
"Marcillac 10.54"
"Nessier 10.54"
"Béruge 10.54"
"Lusignan 10.54"
"St Maixent 10.54"
"Niort 10.54"
"La Rochelle 10.54"
"Angles 10.54"
"Luçon 10.54"

Map by Fernand Lagarde

[Ref. ldl1:] MAGAZINE D'UFOLOGIE "LUMIERES DANS LA NUIT":

Friday October 8, 1954 ANGOULEME

Mr. Claude Bourneix, 17, works in Angoulême and lives in Pierres-Dures, commune of Puymayeu [sic], at 4 km. Returning Wednesday night October 6 at his home by biyclette, near his home he saw a glow, very bright, orange, towards la Couronne, which approached quickly and losing altitude headed for a barley field where it landed 300 m from the road. He went to fetch his father, his brother, but when they came back there was nothing left. They then found a pile of ashes forming an O. The gendarmerie came to the place and one also found 12 hollow wicks, black and burned in hard matter, 12 cm long, stuck into the ground every 40 cm, which formed a circle 1 m 50 in diameter.

A lighted wick burned very brightly like a rocket.

Editors note. - An investigation was initiated by LDLN.

[Ref. fle1:] FRANCOIS LAGARDE:

In his book, French ufologist François Lagarde indicates that it is Mrs. Geudelot, who lead the Lumières Dans La Nuit group section of Mont-de-Marsan in the Landes, and archivist of the LDLN magazine, who found the article of the Sud-Ouest newspaper of October 8, 1954, reproduced in the book.

François Lagarde specifies that at the time when the book was goind to be printed, an investigation into the case was not finished, that he does not have any certainty on the authenticity of the facts but that their reality is certain (what lets think that François Lagarde considered that the facts are true but that he is not sure that they relate to a "genuine" flying saucer).

He adds that one cannot help to notice similarities between the circle in this case and a circle in the case known as of Moron.

[Ref. fru1:] MICHEL FIGUET AND JEAN-LOUIS RUCHON:

The two authors indicate that in Puymoyen in the department of Charente, Claude Bourneix returned fromf Angoulème in the evening of October 6, 1954, when while approaching his home at the location "La Pierre Dure", on his bicycle, he saw a very sharp orange light in direction of La Couronne.

This gleam approached quickly and moved towards a barley field and lost altitude, then landed there.

The witness seeked his father and his brother, but when they returned, the luminous phenomenon had disappeared.

A heap of ash forming a circle was discovered, as well as twelve black and burned hollow wicks, inserted in the ground every forty centimetres and forming a circle of one meter fifty of diameter. A lit wick burned very strongly like a rocket. There was an investigation by the gendarmerie.

The authors indicate that the sources are "Mystérieuses Soucoupes Volantes" pages 82,83; and Sud-Ouest for October 8, 1954.

[Ref. mft1:] MICHEL FIGUET:

Michel Figuet noted in his listing of dubious cases:

10/06/1954

Pierres Dures
Puymoyen

"Mystérieuses soucoupes volantes" and "OVNI" p. 125. "These buried wicks which burn suggest a human hand rather than extra-terrestrials" (communication P.G.)

[Ref. mft2:] MICHEL FIGUET:

Nr of the J. C. Fumoux list Nr of Francat list Localization Date Class Credibility Sources Number of W
043 139 Pierre-Dures, Puymoyen 10/06 TD [= Very Dubious] poss misinterp. comm P.G. 1 W

[Ref. mft3:] MICHEL FIGUET:

CASE Nr CLASSIFICATION DATE HOUR PLACE ZIP CODE CREDIBILITY SOURCE
139 CE2 06 10 1954 evening Pierres-Dures Puymoyen 16400 C4 TD [= Very dubious] OVNI: p. 127 F

[Ref. goe1:] GODELIEVE VAN OVERMEIRE:

The Belgian ufologist indicates in her catalogue that in 1954, on October 6, in France, in Angoulème in Puymayeu, in the evening, Claude Bourneix, aged 17, was going back by bicycle when he saw a sharp orange gleam which approached fast. It moved while losing altitude towards a barley field where it landed 300 m of the road. He went to seek his father, his brother: but when they returned, there was nothing any more. They found a heap of ashes forming a "O". The gendarmerie came on the spot and one also found 12 hollow wicks, black and burned, made of a hard material, 12 cm in length, inserted in the ground every 40 cm which formed a circle, 1,50 m in diameter. A lit wick burned very fast like a rocket.

The source is indicated as "L.D.L.N. "Mystérieuses Soucoupes Volantes" - ALBATROS-ETAPES 1973, p. 82, 83".

[Ref. djn1:] DONALD JOHNSON:

Encounters with Aliens on this Day...

October 6

1954 - 1954 - Seventeen-year-old Claude Bourneix was bicycling home in Puymoyen, France when he saw an orange light shoot off from about 300 meters away and fly in the direction of La Couronne. A circular landing site was discovered in the area. (Source: Sud-Ouest, October 8, 1954; Fernand Lagarde, Mystérieuses Soucoupes Volantes, pp. 82-83; Michel Figeut & Jean-Louis Ruchon, OVNI: Le premier dossier complet des rencontres rapprochees en France, pp. 126).

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Charente in Puymoyen on October 6, 1954, at an unknown hour, the witness returns from Angoulème in the evening. Ad he approaches his home at the place "Pierre Dure", by bicycle, he sees a very sharp orange light in direction of La Couronne. This gleam approaches quickly and moves, losing altitude, towards a barley field where it lands. The witness seeked his father and his brother, but, when they return, the luminous phenomenon had disappeared. A heap of ash forming a circle was discovered, like twelve black and burned hollow wicks, inserted in the ground every forty centimetres and forming a circle of one meter fifty of diameter. A lit wick burned very highly like a rocket. Gendarmerie investigation.

The source is indicated as "Ovni, Premier dossier complet... by Figuet M./ Ruchon J.L. ** Alain Lefeuvre pub. 1979".

[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
19541006 06.10.1954 Puymoyen France 19.15

Explanations:

We have two or three investigations mentioned; the first by the Gerdarmes who came on the scene at the time according to the press of the time, the one mentionned in LDLN in 1971, and the one which Fernand Lagarde alluded to as ogoing in 1976. But I found no publication of their findings so far.

As indicated by Figuet, the "wicks" found in the ground point to a trivial explanation, without any "encounter with aliens on that day". I am thinking of a pyrotechnic prank.

The farce, of course, could have been set by youngsters of the village; but other culprits should have been considered: the two journalists, Agnelet and Laforet, of the Samedi-Soir weekly, who at the beginning of October 1954 started to circulate in the South-West of France and by means of fireworks and "Martian" disguise, intended to demonstrate that the witnesses of the "flying saucers" were fools.

Because these journalistes did not publish a specific schedule of their experimental journey, there is no certainty about their involvment here. But I wonder why nobody even thought about them...

Keywords:

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

Puymoyen, Charente, Claude Bourneix, light, orange, fast, landing, unique, rocket, petard, Gendarmerie, Gendarme, joke, hoax, hole, ground, traces, burned

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross May 6, 2005 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 20, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [goe1], [lcn1].
1.1 Patrick Gross December 3, 2016 Addition [ubk1].
1.2 Patrick Gross January 3, 2017 Addition [fso1].
1.3 Patrick Gross December 3, 2019 Additions [ldl1], [mft2], [mft3], Summary. Explanations changed, were "Not looked for yet. Attempt of prank?"
1.4 Patrick Gross April 6, 2020 Additions [ner1], [fle1].

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