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The 1954 French flap:

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

January 9, 1954, Dole, Jura:

Reference number for this case: 9-Jan-54-Dole. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


The regional newspaper La Bourgogne Républicaine of January 12, 1954, reported the numerous observations made in the region on January 9, 1954.

One of them occurred in Dole around 7:50 a.m.:

An entrepreneur from this city, Mr. Marcel Girard, was at the intersection of Avenue de la Paix and Boulevard Wilson, when he looked up and saw in the sky "a strange-shaped machine that was moving at a great speed in a direction, he said, from Mont Roland to Salins-le-Bains, so the craft cut Boulevard Wilson at about the level of the school."

He only saw it for three or four seconds, and he states that the "craft" had made a noticeable slowdown over Wilson Boulevard, "as if the occupants (?) had intended to watch from closer."

He said:

"It is an object whose general shape is reminiscent of a cigar whose tip is dazzling blue, but the lower part is orange or red as if there were sparks in the back: it was moving a very high speed but for lack of landmarks reference neither the speed of the machine nor its height could be evaluated. First these measurements are very difficult to make even by technicians, then the light was very weak."

The newspaper also reported that an employee of the S.N.C.F. state railway co, Mr. Maillot, who was on the "Pont de Mouchard" saw the craft at the same time. According to him, it was a circular object, which would have moved at a height of 3000 m. (?), without any noise, and he could observe it for 4 seconds.

On January 13, 1954, the regional newspaper Le Bien Public indicated for the same observation that it was "a big fireball that seemed to graze the roofs and disappeared in record time" from the eyes of witnesses. The best placed were merchants who were on the national square and who spread the news. On the other hand, a Miss Jeanne Perrin living rue des Noches, told them that this "Saturday morning January 9 at 7:50 a.m., driving to work on my bicycle work, my gaze was drawn towards the sky by a light, I saw a huge star, as big as an orange, which was racing north-south. It had a luminous, sparkling, short tail, 25 to 30cm, narrow on the side of the star, widening and seeming formed of multitudes of small stars with rainbow colors, not very high in the sky. I saw it during 5 to 7 seconds ".

Charles Garreau, then journalist of La Bourgogne Républicaine and already a flying saucers enthusiast, had put the observations of this day on a map to show that since the thing had zigzagged, it was not a meteor. He had naively taken for granted the hours quoted, giving 07:50 a.m. to the Dole sighting, whereas most of them were, of course, only approximate hours. It is because of this that some still speak of a "sudden change of course" of phenomenon, but it was not so.

This obvious meteor was explained as such by the "skeptical" ufologists Gérard Barthel and Jacques Brucker in their 1979 book, but some continued to cite the observation as if it were "unexplained".





New testimonies on the passing of a
fiery bolide above our region


(From our special correspondents)

-- Giant meteorite or "saucer"? The question remains open. In any case numerous witnesses choose the second hypothesis. In the Haute-Marne, in the Jura, and also in the region of Dijon, here is what they saw.


The fiery bolide was seen in Montigny-le-Roy, where several people spotted it at approximately 7:45 a.m..

They gave a description identical to the others.

In Chaumont, a delivery man, Mr. Bourgeois and Mr. Thibaut to whom "appeared a luminous spot in the sky. I followed it with my eyes from 10 to 15 seconds before it disappeared. At its base I recognized the shape of a disc."

In Langres, employees of the Treasury, and Mr. Miche, city councilman and schoolmaster:

Having seen the object he called Mrs. Hanloc, service woman at the School, who had time to run to see an extremely luminous machine, followed by a thin brilliant trail.


"Saturday morning a resident of Auxonne who circulated on the Bridge of France saw in direction of the North-East, a lengthened machine which moved towards the East.

At a certain time a part of the "cigar" which hitherto appeared of an orange yellow color went off then all light disappeared.

Our compatriot who observed this phenomenon during a few seconds, looked at the hour at once. It was 7:45 a.m.

Did other people see this phenomenon? Up to now, it was not allowed to us to obtain other information."


At about 7:50 a.m. Saturday morning an entrepreneur of Dole, Mr. Marcel Girard, was at the intersection of the avenue de la paix and boulevard Wilson.

Looking up, he distinguished in the sky a craft of a weird shape that moved fast in a direction eh said, from Mount Roland to Salins-le-Bains. So the craft crossed boulevard Wilson at about the level of the school.

The vision was very short. Mr. Girard estimates it at approximately three or four seconds; the machine having carried out a very clear deceleration above the Wilson boulevard, as if the occupants (?) intended to look at it more closely.

Here is how Mr. Girard describes the machine: "It is an object whose general form looks like a cigar whose point is of a dazzling blue color; on the other hand the lower part is of orange or red color as if there were sparks at the back: it moved at a very great speed but for lack of reference landmarks neither the speed of the machine nor its height could be evaluated.

First such measurements are very difficult to make even by technicians; then the light was very defective."

In addition an employee of the S.N.C.F. [National railway company], Mr. Maillot, who was on the "Pont de Mouchard" [bridge] saw the machine at the same moment.

In his opinion, it was an object of circular form, which would have moved at a height of 3000 m. (?) The machine moved without any noise and Mr. Maillot could follow it with his eyes during 4 seconds.


Several residents of Lons-le-Saulnier told us that they were also visual witnesses of the strange phenomenon. That's how two people worthy of faith - a P.T.T. employee [Mail worker], and the young daughter of a tobacconist of the city, claim to us that they saw and observed with a quite understandable astonishment Saturday morning, at 07:50 a.m. exactly, a ball that seemed to move slowly at the vertical of the Pannessières Mounds.

"This machine, "a large tangerine" the girl told us, left behind it, at the moment of its acceleration, an enormous reddish plume."

Other information that came from La Marre, Mirebel, Crançot, corroborate all the more the claims of our Lons-le-Saulnier residents.

All the witnesses agree also to report the almost complete immobility of the machine during a few tens of seconds and its rapid start in direction of Switzerland.


With all this information, that to conclude? Much information is still missing such as the exact hour of the passage, the direction of the object, its changes of pace and direction, to be affirmative one way or another.

Let us hope that readers would reveal to be precise observers, and we will communicate their remarks.

Til then, the mystery remains whole...


French journalist and pioneer of French ufology Charles Garreau drew the map underneath to plot sightings which all occurred on January 9, 1954, between 06:15 A.M. and 7:50 A.M. in the East of France.

Though no narrative is joined, it is visible on the map that according to Garreau a sighting of some sort occurred on January 9, 1954, at 07:50 a.m., in Dole.


The journalist, author and pioneer ufologist indicated that on Saturday January 9, 1954, at dawn, there was a "flash invasion" on the east of France; which according to him "seems to be a highlight in the voluminous 'flying saucers' file."

Garreau indicated that from "all places" in the region, information flocked to his desk, about an object that "flew for almost two hours above the East."

He said that the first reports left the door open to all hypotheses, meteor, balloon, jet plane, "or saucer!", but that the reports which reached him later would eliminate all these hypotheses except that of the flying saucer.

He recalled that meteors always have a perfectly rectilinear trajectory, a relatively high constant speed of 30.000 to 40.000 km/h, and that balloons have an apparent speed which cannot exceed that of the strongest stratospheric currents, from 300 to 400 km/h.

He indicated that the "craft" had flown over Dole.

He explained that no meteor or balloon could have engaged in the "zigzag" shown according to him by the observations of this morning, and that no plane of the time could have been able "to stop then accelerate at more than 3,000 per hour", performances which he deduced from some of the observations and distances between observation spots relative to the reported observations hours.

Garreau added that "to leave no doubt", he had questioned the various regional weather stations, and that he had been told that no balloon had been launched.

At the American base in Semoutiers, near Chaumont, he was told "It was neither a balloon, nor a plane, from here."

He added that the Besançon observatory had seen nothing, and that the Contrexéville and Dijon radar sets as well as the Perrogney goniometer in Haute-Saône had seen nothing, since their specialists only took their duty at 8 a.m.

He added that the "Scientific bureau" had hesitated to take a position, saying that the only possible "natural" explanation would be that of a meteor, but "the journey described by the object is such that it could not have been a single meteor. It would therefore have to be admitted that it was a swarm of meteorites which crossed "(under the clouds !!!)" the sky of eastern France following different trajectories."


The authors give two sketches, the one on the left is the trip of the flying saucer according to Charles Garreau, the one on the right is the trajectory of the meteor according to them:

The authors fustigate [rightly] the ufologists who like Charles Garreau took the hours of observations given in the newspapers literally [as if people were then provided with stop watches! These hours are generally only approximations made a posteriori] and then believed in a complicated flying saucer travel where a meteor had actually passed.

Barthel and Brucker specify that the North-West to South-East trajectory of the meteor of 7:50 is confirmed by testimonies coming from other countries.



Saturday morning, several residents of Dôle saw in the sky, a large ball of fire that seemed to graze the roofs and disappeared in record time from their eyes. The best placed were the merchants who were on the national square and who spread the news. But already, a few days earlier, Mr. Roger Bouhan, who was leaning on a window of his apartment, in the evening, saw the same fireball. For a few seconds. Is it the same meteor that crossed the neighboring localities? We can suppose it. On the other hand, Miss Jeanne Perrin residing rue des Noches, confirms to us: "Saturday morning January 9 at 7:50 a.m., going to work on my bicycle, my eyes were drawn to the sky by a light. I saw a huge star, big like an orange that raced north-south, it had a luminous, sparkling, short tail, 25 to 30cm, narrow on the side of the star, widening and seeming formed of multitudes of small stars with rainbow colors. Not very high in the sky. I saw it for 5 to 7 seconds."

The source is given as the newspaper Le Bien Public.

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Jura in Dôle on January 9, 1954, at 07:50 "Observation of a discoidal object of a dazzling red luminosity with trail. Coming from north east and going towards the south."

The source is indicated as "Les soucoupes volantes viennent d'un autre monde by Guieu Jimmy ** Fleuve Noir 1954".


The January 9, 1954, 07:48 a.m. meteor.


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

Dole, Dôle, Jura, Marcel Girard, Jeanne Perrin, Maillot, cigar, round, elongated, fast, sparks, high, silent, red, orange


[----] indicates sources which I have not yet checked.

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross August 9, 2004 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 10, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Addition [lcn1].
1.1 Patrick Gross November 2, 2016 Addition of the article scan for [lbr1].
1.2 Patrick Gross January 26, 2019 Addition of the Summary.
1.3 Patrick Gross January 29, 2019 Addition [via1]. In the Summary, addition of the paragraph "On January 13, 1954..."
1.4 Patrick Gross February 5, 2020 Addition [cgu2].

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