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The 1954 French flap:

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

June 7, 1954, Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône:

Reference for this case: 7-Jun-54-Marseille.
Please cite this reference in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


In the autumn of 1954, the Parisian magazine Radar had launched a contest offering a million Francs of the time to the first person able to send them a photo of a flying saucer that their jury would declare authentic.

Among the numerous photos that were sent to them, there was an image sent "by Mr. Atez, engineer architect", the magazine declaring that it shows a craft flying over Marseille at a height of 300 meters on June 7, 1954. The magazine published this on page 3 on October 31, 1954.


The following week, Radar published the verdict of their jury, which rejected the photo, without however giving other reasons than some commonplaces comments, "we see nothing" or "This maybe the sun, the moon..." or "I think I would get a picture similar to that of Mr. Atez if I wanted to bother."

In a later issue, where they published a second photo sent by the same person (whose name was then written "Ates") they explained that they had rejected this first photo.

In reality, this Mr. "Ates", with one "Mr. Alyons", had sent several other alleged photos of saucers, very different from each other, as if they had had the incredible privilege of seeing many saucers pass in front of their camera. In the magazine Semaine du Monde, these two men are presented with three other of their alleged photos of saucers, as being correspondents of this magazine.


[Ref. rdr1:] "RADAR" MAGAZINE:


Document sent by Mr. Atez, engineer architect. The craft flies over Marseille at a height of 300 m. on June 7, 54.


The hunt for saucers and the "Radar" million continues. Among the many submissions that have reached us, our jury will indulge this week in in-depth examination of three of them. Here they are. General L. Max Chassin, Chief Commander of the territory's air Defense, and Mr. Audoin Dolfus, aeronaut, attached to the Meudon Observatory, agreed to join MM. Gabriel Voisin, Louis Cheneau and Marcel Natkin whom we introduced last week to our readers. Remember that all documents must be accompanied by the necessary supporting documents. In addition, this document must never have appeared in any other publication.

[Ref. rdr2:] "RADAR" MAGAZINE:



With a delay of eight days, our jury examined the three shipments retained last week. The group of jurors chaired by General de l'Air Chassin, Commander-in-Chief of the Territory's Air Defense, was joined by MM. Paul Mendel, director of "Le Photographe" magazine, and Ananoff, pioneer of astrophysics. We thought that the candidates for the "Radar" million would have likely captured the rare bird which has the name flying saucer. After examination, our technicians could not crown anyone...

[.. other photo...]

As for the shipment of Mr. Atez, architectural engineer, the jurors have no doubts. The ball of fire which passed over Marseilles at a height of 300 m., on June 7, 54, is only a light effect, decrees General Chassin. Very brief, Louis Chéreau specifies: "It can be the sun, the moon..." As for Mr. Paul Montel, his disappointment bursts out: "This document does not mean anything. Since it is a snapshot, the luminous ball should present shapes, even incomplete. However, here, absolutely nothing." Mr. Ananoff is very severe: "I believe that I would get a picture similar to that of Mr. Atez if I wanted to take the trouble." Smiling, after this verdict, its author adds: "And as long as we don't see anything, we can admit everything..." So therefore, on this second document, the four jurors are unanimous. General Chassin, who wrote "Les Conquérants de l'infini", a science-fiction novel, thinks that these mysterious or Venusian appearances are "highly improbable". However, he patiently awaits other tests, honestly believing that it is anti-scientific to use the word "impossible" for a scientist in the twentieth century.



Photographic hoax.

The other alleged saucer photographs by Misters "Ates" and "Alyons":

The explanation as a hoax can therefore be made from the observation that Mr. "Atez" or "Ates" photographed a lot of saucers, a perfectly incredible privilege.

But the Radar jury was unable to see this, even though other "saucer photographs" by this gentleman had appeared elsewhere in the press and magazines La Semaine du Monde and France-Nord.

This is not the only sin of the infamous jury:

For my part, I would first like to recall my position on alleged UFO photographs: I hardly see any chance that any photo has the value of proof. Faking is always possible, it just may be proven, likely, or less obvious. But totally excluded? Certainly not.

Regarding this photo, I notice a strong illumination with a gradient starting from the corner at the bottom left of the image (no comment from the Radar jury on this matter). This illumination is not explained by an observation report, it should have been, the "witness" should logically have reported this if he had really had it before his eyes. In the middle between the right and the left margins, we have the so-called "ball of fire". It is not a ball, but a kind of rounded cone with a half sphere bottom. I suspect that all this was a reflection effect of a lamp on a window. Mr. Atez probably took a favorable position in front of a window to obtain a photo of these reflections.


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

Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, Atez, Ates, photograph, photographic hoax, reflection, lamp


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1.0 Patrick Gross April 26, 2020 First published.

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