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The 1954 French flap:

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

October 8, 1954, Cherbourg, Manche:

Reference number for this case: 8-Oct-54-Cherbourg. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

A dispatch from the AFP (Agence France Peesse) of October 9, 1954, indicated that in Cherbourg, several people saw a "luminous sphere" at a rather high altitude. After hovering over the city, it disappeared to the south.

Reports:

[Ref. afp1:] USAF PROJECT BLUE BOOK / AFP:

US Air Force Project Blue Book was in charge of studying UFO sighting reports, and thus collected media information about it. The text below is their translation into English of an Agence France Presse (AFP) news release for October 9, 1954.

Scan.

Mans, Cherbourg, Finistere, Indre & Mulhouse, France, October 8, 1954

Paris, Oct. 9 (AFP) -- On Friday, several mysterious craft were once more seen in the sky of France.

1. Near Mans, a milk collector declared that his truck stopped for an unknown reason and that, when he got out, he saw a luminous red and blue flying cigar, about a meter long, pass over him. When the machine had disappeared, the truck motor began again to operate.

2. At Cherbourg, several people saw a "luminous sphere" at a rather high altitude. After hovering over the town, this disappeared toward the south.

3. In Finistere, many people were alarmed by a luminous sphere maneuvering only about a dozen meters from the ground, which seemed to move toward them.

4. A resident of the Indre observed a gray-colored object motionless at about 100 meters of altitude. That craft then departed at a very brisk pace, leaving a sort of fog behind it. Another resident of this department declared that he saw a luminous pale red-orange object moving along a north-south axis.

5. Finally, a road-mender of the Mulhouse region says that he saw a hemi-spherical, internally illuminated cupola in a field. Before taking to his heels he had time to notice that a door was opening on the craft. The object maneuvered above him before disappearing.

[Ref. ppe1:] "PARIS-PRESSE" NEWSPAPER:

Scan.

THE "FLYING BELL" OF PONCEY

Three hypotheses:
saucer, hoax or
natural phenomenon

"We will have to clear up this matter..." said the gendarmerie commander

(From our special envoy Charles DAUZATS.)

DIJON, October 9.

"SEND the minutes relating to the mysterious traces of the Poncey-sur-l'Ignon phenomenon to Dijon, as a matter of urgency": such is the order sent yesterday by Major Viala to the investigators responsible for clarifying the enigma of the Côte-d'Or "flying bell".

- We need to clear this up, says the commander. Brigade reports will be forwarded to various authorities, the solution may depend on them. If one considers the facts reasonably, if one refers to the testimony of good people who, unfortunately, sin by their imprecision, or who, on the contrary, have formed an opinion after the fact, and mistook bladders from lanterns, we must, indeed, consider three possibilities:

"The first is this: one actually saw objects in the sky, but they could be helicopters. In our region, movements of such craft are not uncommon.

"Second possibility: the flying bell of Poncey, and its traces, are the work of pranksters. This hypothesis, I admit, hardly satisfies me.

"Finally, we must consider the hypothesis of an appearance of an extraterrestrial object."

At the Dijon Weathe stationr, the technicians saw nothing but very normal in the sky during the nights of Saturday and Monday.

Negative scientific reviews

At the Faculty of Science in Dijon, one submitted to Jaeger [sic, Geiger] a clod of grass taken from the meadow of Poncey-sur-l'Ignon where the bell-saucer was posed. No trace of radioactivity. No trace of metals either in another clod entrusted to the Institute of Geophysics.

The last word could remain with the airmen. General de Chassey, who commands the base in Dijon, received us.

"I have never seen a flying saucer, he tells us. But I know, from having tried the experiment, that it is possible to make very trained men believe in the presence of mysterious celestial things. One day, returning from Paris by plane, I saw under my aircraft a very curious optical phenomenon, due to the refraction of a pond on a cloud of mist. This mirage looked so much like a saucer turning in the atmosphere at 400 meters high that I alerted my mechanic who had not seen anything yet: "Look, slightly below us..." He remained dumbfounded for a moment, but, the plane passing vertically of it, he realized that he had been the toy of an illusion...

"Let's go back to the facts. Are these extraterrestrial craft? If they are piloted by beings from another world, these individuals are very little interested in knowing what is happening with us: each time we arrive, they leave. Their journey, then, is no longer understandable!

"New craft?... I affirm that if engineers had succeeded in developing them, that would be known in certain spheres at least.

Saucer psychosis

"Regarding the strange objects reported these days, I don't want to make any final judgment.

"I believe that in Côte-d'Or today there is a saucer psychosis, as in 39-40 there was, in France, a rocket psychosis.

"Certainly, there are some rather disturbing facts, in particular the case of three aviators from the 5th brigade, in Orange, who all saw a saucer, chased it until it disappeared behind the mountain.

*

Near Mulhouse, an SNCF employee, Mr. René Ott, who went to work early in the morning, said he had seen in a field a hemispherical dome lit inside. It was three meters from the road and one meter from the ground, Mr. Ott, going away - he was only half reassured - had time to see a door open in the "bell" that followed him for eight hundred meters.

The gendarmes did not find any traces in the field. They discovered, on the other hand, near Reims where a mechanic, Mr. Joseph Roi, saw a "cigar" or a flying gun shell. He was going home on the night of Wednesday to Thursday when he saw a bright gleam before him; he thought they were car headlights. Suddenly, the light went out and at the spot where he had seen it Mr. Roi distinguished at the edge of the road an odd object more than 3 meters long having the shape of a large gun shell pierced by portholes; at the front stood a vague silhouette which he could not define. The traces noted by the gendarmes will be examined.

Luminous globes were seen yesterday in Bournel (Lot-et-Garonne), in Montpezat-d'Agenais, in Cherbourg, in Orthez. A baker from Marcillac-de-Blaye saw a reversed funnel that flew at 70 meters.

[Ref. lgs1:] LOREN GROSS:

8 October. Cherbourg, France. (no time)

"Luminous sphere."

AFP dispatch: "At Cherbourg, several people saw a 'luminous sphere' at a rather high altitude.

After hovering over the town, this [object] disappeared toward the south." (xx.)

(xx.) Paris, Oct. 9 (AFP) NICAP files. Translator "AMD." CUFOS archives.

Explanations:

I do not think the date is well established: probably because the AFP dispatch is of October 9, 1954, Loren Gross decided the sighting must have taken place the day before.

As for the sighting, this is an "unidentified" to me, but with insufficient information and low strangeness.

Keywords:

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

Cherbourg, Manche, sphere, high, multiple, anonymous, luminous

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
1.0 Patrick Gross June 25, 2010 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross October 7, 2014 Addition [lgs1].
1.1 Patrick Gross August 14, 2019 Addition of the Summary. Explanations changed, were "Not looked for yet."
1.2 Patrick Gross March 3, 2020 Addition [ppe1].

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