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The 1954 French flap:

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

Between July 25 and August 5, 1953 or 1954, Sainte-Cécile-d'Avès, Tarn:

Reference for this case: Jour-Mois-54-Sainte-Cécile-d'Avès.
Please cite this reference in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

In the "Contact Lecteurs" supplement of the ufology magazine Lumières Dans La Nuit of May 1970, LDLN investigators A. Lourenço and C. Heilles report a case whose date was between July 25 and August 5, 1953 or 1954:

The witness was Mr. André Couminal, then a farmer in Sainte-Cécile-d'Avés, a hamlet located 3 km from Gaillac in the Tarn, 61 at the time of the investigation and living in Gaillac with his family.

Around 5:30 a.m., at daybreak, he was driving to Saurs, a village 3 km from Sainte-Cécile-d'Avés, in clear weather.

As soon as he left the hamlet, he saw in the sky, not very high, and about 300 meters away, an unusual object, part of which was luminous. Continuing on his way, he noticed that the object was moving on a northeast-southwest trajectory close to his route at a fairly slow speed slightly lower than his own which was 50 - 60 km/h.

The altitude of the object was difficult to assess, it was not very high, its trajectory was straight and regular.

The witness was struck by the unusual nature of the object; he realized that it was something abnormal, something he had never seen before.

The central part was of an intense, white-yellow, non-glare luminosity, comparable to that of a neon tube. This light diffused upwards, which allowed him to distinguish the unlit upper part, but not downwards. This made it difficult for him to distinguish the lower shape with precision. In its visible part the craft had a clear contour without halo. It did not have a porthole, spotlight or position lights, and did not change shape or color during the observation period, no particular movement was observed.

The car came noticeably closer to the craft, and after traveling a few hundred meters, he estimated that the apparent size of the object was that of a 5 centimes coin that would have been placed on the windshield.

Having traveled 800 meters, the witness had the impression that the object was going to cross his road, in front of him, when suddenly it veered to the right in a dazzling acceleration and disappeared towards the north-west, suddenly, "like a light that goes out".

The object could be observed for about a minute, the witness did not see it again. He is still amazed to have been the only witness to this phenomenon which remained mysterious to him.

He hadn't heard any noise, hadn't felt anything, hadn't noticed any anomaly on his car whose headlights were on, nor on his watch.

I show below in this file that the thing observed was probably the Moon and the date probably July 26, 27 or 28, 1953.

Reports:

[Ref. ldl1:] UFOLOGY MAGAZINE "LIGHTS IN THE NIGHT":

Scan.

OLD, BUT INTERESTING OBSERVATION

Investigation by MM. A. Lourenço and C. Heilles

[Sketch captions:]

U.F.O.

dark part clearly perceived

white-yellow luminous part

darker part difficult to define

Sainte-CECILE-d'AVÈS

The fact in question dates back to 1953 or 1954, the witness cannot specify the year, between July 25 and August 5. This is Mr. André Couminal, then a farmer in Sainte-Cécile-d'Avés, a hamlet located 3 km from Gaillac in the Tarn. Nowadays, aged 61, he lives in Gaillac with his family.

One morning around 5:30 a.m. he drove to Saurs, a village 3 km from Sainte-Cécile-d'Avés. The weather is clear, day is breaking. As soon as he left the hamlet, he saw in the sky (not very high, and about 300 m away) an unusual object, part of which was luminous. Continuing his route, he realizes that the object moves on a north-east south-west trajectory close to his route at a rather slow speed slightly lower than his which is 50 - 60 km/h. The altitude of the object is difficult to assess, it is not very high, its trajectory is straight and regular. The witness is struck by the unusual nature of the object, and he realizes that it is of something abnormal, which he has never seen. The car comes noticeably closer to the craft, and after traveling a few hundred yards, he compares its apparent size to that of a 5-cent piece placed on the windshield.

Having traveled 800 m, Mr. Couminal had the impression that the object was going to cross his path, in front of him, when it suddenly moved to the right in a dazzling acceleration and suddenly disappeared, "like a light which turns off".

It disappears to the northwest after being observed for about a minute. The witness did not see it again, heard no noise, felt nothing, did not notice any anomaly on his car with the headlights on, nor on his watch.

The object (see sketch).

Its size is difficult to assess: at an angle of 17 mm at 0.50 m at 200 m it would have 6.80 m +- which is the classic dimension of these objects.

The central part was of an intense, white-yellow, non-glare luminosity, comparable to that of a neon tube. This light diffused upwards, which allowed him to distinguish the unlit upper part, but not downwards. This made it difficult for him to distinguish the lower shape with precision. In its visible part the craft had a clear contour without halo. It did not have a porthole, spotlight or position lights, and did not change shape or color during the observation period, no particular movement was observed.

Mr. Couminal is still surprised to have been the only witness to this phenomenon which remained mysterious to him.

N.D.L.R. - How many facts lie ignored waiting for the investigator?

Explanations:

Map.

Reading the story, I cannot convince myself that the UFO would be anything else than the Moon.

So I check this solution:

A first difficulty is the uncertainty of the date. Between "July 25 and August 5, 1953 or 1954" gives us a multitude of dates, and the interval is not even certain.

The time is "around 5:30 am". Whatever the date, we are at daybreak, more or less advanced.

I then note the positions and states of the Moon on the different possible dates and at 5:30 a.m.:

DateDirection:Elevation:Phase:
25 juillet 1953N/A, set since 03:53 a.m.
26 juillet 1953N/A, set since 05:11 a.m.
27 juillet 1953236°99% (Full Moon).
28 juillet 1953229°20°96% (Full Moon).
29 juillet 1953221°32°90% (Full Moon).
30 juillet 1953210°44°82% (Waning).
31 juillet 1953195°53°72% (Growing).
1 août 1953173°60°61% (Growing).
2 août 1953145°61°49% (First crescent).
3 août 1953120°28°38% (First quarter).
4 août 1953103°50°28% (First quarter).
5 août 195391°41°19% (First quarter).
25 juillet 1954102°47°26% (First quarter).
26 juillet 195490°37°16% (First quarter).
27 juillet 195481°26°9% (New moon).
28 juillet 195473°15°4% (Nes Moon).
29 juillet 195467°1°(Nouvelle Lune).
30 juillet 1954N/A rise at 06:10 a.m.
31 juillet 1954N/A rise at 07:19 a.m.
1 août 1954N/A rise at 08:26 a.m.
Etc.Moon not visible.

As the description suggests, if it was the moon, a rather low and full moon, the possible dates are therefore July 27, 28 and 29, 1953; so the sighting is probably not from 1954, in any case, there is was suitable Moon for the 1954 dates, either it hadn't risen yet or it was a thin crescent.

There are geographic considerations to be made.

Sainte-Cécile-d'Avès is a small hamlet around a church; we are told that the witness went by car to Saurs, 3 km from Sainte-Cécile-d'Avès.

We are told that the witness saw the phenomenon "as soon as he left the hamlet"; Saurs is also a hamlet, barely larger than that of Sainte-Cécile-d'Avès, it nevertheless seems logical to think that the "exit of the hamlet" would be the exit of Sainte-Cécile.

There, the witness was driving in the direction of 118° for 300 meters, or 174° for 270 m, depending on the route taken at the start of the trip. To go towards Saurs, he must then branch off to his right, direction 231°. The road keeps this direction for 400 m, forks very slightly to the right towards 245°, keeps this direction for 300 m, then until Saur, there are only a few bends, just as light, longer, with a overall 246° direction.

However, about 800 meters from the first fork, the one going on this road, there is a left then right, slight, turn, bypassing a few houses.

With the full moon at 236° on July 27, 1953, we have a good match, but not perfect. He should have seen the object passing very suddenly from his right to his front after around 300 m after Saint-Cécile-d'aAvès, then an object remaining in front of him, which does not "stick" well with a trajectory "close to his journey" - but the expression should perhaps not be taken as anything other than an illusion of pursuit in the same direction; and few "manoeuvres" thereafter. The end of the observation "disappears towards the northwest" could correspond very well to the turn to the left for the entry into Saurs.

Let us add that the witness should have seen - and mentionned - the moon in addition to his "object" since it was almost in front of him, that the angular size corresponds, that dark clouds could have prevented him to recognize the Moon as such, that the neon color matches, that the investigators obviously did not think of the Moon.

In the end, the Moon on July 27, 28 or 29, 1953 could well be the right explanation, since many elements correspond to it.

Map.

Keywords:

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

Sainte-Cécile-d'Avès, Tarn, André Couminal, farmer, morning, sunrise, car, Saurs, low, object, luminous, movement, slow, intense, white, yellow, neon, maneuver, extinction

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
1.0 Patrick Gross March 22, 2022 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 22, 2022.