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The 1954 French flap:

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

October 1954, Aurillac, Cantal:

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

Summary:

In their 1979 book "La Grande Peur Martienne" ("The Great Martian Scare"), the "skeptical" ufologists Gérard Barthel and Jacque Brucker claimed to quote the newspaper La Montagne for October 16, 17 and 19, 1954, form the "Lumières dans la nuit" file, indicating that in Aurillac, Cantal, the population noticed a strange object immobile in the sky at high altitude, 6000 to 7000 meters.

At 5 p.m., it was still visible.

"Luc", (a journalist) and his friend Mr. Marthe, took off at 3:00 p.m. from the Tronquière airfield, climbed at 2500 meters, and the craft they observed for an hour seemed to them increasingly transparent and also smaller than seen from the ground, as if it had moved away from the approaching plane.

Seen in the binoculars, it had an ovoid shape with two incandescent spots opposite. A corolla in the colors of the rainbow seemed to gravitate around it. The plane returns to the ground.

At 5 p.m., a second approach was attempted, the plane climbed at 2600 meters, and the observation was identical to the first but lasted less.

At night, they made a third attempt, approached, and found that the craft appeared illuminated. In the binoculars, they noticed the presence of the multicolored luminous halo around this "very big" craft. At its altitude, there was a wind of 5 to 15 knots but the craft remained motionless for 12 hours.

Barthel and Brucker "specified" that "whatever the nature of the observed phenomenon was", the multicolored halo is explained because it is sufficient to use "a pair of improperly set binoculars!"

In fact, Barthel and Brucker were simply unable to understand that this was the famous Italian stratospheric balloon seen in those days, particularly in this area, reported by Aimé Michel in his 1958 book.

Reports:

[Ref. bbr1:] GERARD BARTHEL AND JACQUES BRUCKER:

The two authors quote an article of the newspaper "La Montagne" indicating that in Aurillac, in the Cantal...

"The population noticed a strange motionless object in the sky at high altitude (6 to 7 000 m. At 5 p.m., was still visible. Luc, (a journalist) and his friend Mr. Marthe, took off at 3 p.m. from the Tronquière airfield. They went up to 2500 m (3150). The machine appeared then increasingly transparent to them and especially smaller than seen from the ground, as if it had moved away from the plane which approached it. Seen with the binoculars, it had an ovoid shape with two opposite incandescent points. A corolla with the colors of the rainbow seemed to revolve around ir. The plane landed again... At approximately 5 p.m., a second attempt at approach was carried out. The plane went up to 2 600 m (3 250). The observation was identical to the first attempt but lasted less longer (1 hour the first time). The two observers waited the night for their third attempt, when it was effective, they approached and noted that the apparatus appeared illuminated. In the binoculars they could note the presence of the multicoloured luminous halation. The apparatus was very large. At its altitude, a wind from 5 to 15 knots blew but the apparatus however remained motionless during twelve o'clock."

The two authors "specify" that "whatever the nature of the observed phenomenon", the multicoloured halation is explained, because it is enough to use "poorly adjusted binoculars!"

In footnote they indicate that their source is the newspaper "La Montagne" for October the 16th, 17th et 19th of 1954 "according to the Lumières dans la nuit file".

[Ref. mlr1:] MARC LEMONNIER:

Ten appearances of UFO in the French sky in 1954

[... Other cases ...]

4 - Aurillac (Cantal)

On October 16, 1954, the daily newspaper La Montagne tells: "The population noticed a strange motionless object in the sky at high altitude (6 to 7 000 m. At 17 o'clock it was still visible. Luc, (a journalist) and his friend Mister Marthe, took off at 15 o'clock from the Tronquière airfield. They went up to 2500 m (3150). The craft appeared then increasingly transparent to them and especially smaller than seen from the ground, as if it had moved away from the plane which approached it. Seen though the binocular, it had an ovoid form with two opposite incandescent points. A corolla with the colors of the rainbow seemed to revolve around it."

[... Other cases ...]

More about this:
Le Dictionnaire de la France Insolite et Bizarre, Marc Lemonier, City Publishers, 2009

Explanations:

It was obviously the high altitude balloon of the University of Padua.

The multicolored halo is not caused by "poorly adjusted binoculars", but is caused by the difraction of light on the transparent envelope of the balloon. Its apparent immobility despite the wind was due to the fact that it was much higher than the witnesses thought; it was a stratospheric balloon, floating at a height at which the winds are not necessarily the same as those indicated by the witnesses.

The photo of the balloon by the Haute-Provence Observatory:

See also what Aimé Michel wrote about this in 1958, and the 1968 note by Raymond Veillith on the same affair.

Keywords:

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

Aurillac, Cantal, object, motionless, duration, colors, rainbow, pilot, multiple, oval, points, corolla, weather, halation, luminous, night, day

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross December 7, 2005 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross March 1, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
1.1 Patrick Gross April 5, 2010 Addition [lm1].
1.2 Patrick Gross December 15, 2019 Addition of the Summary. Explanations cnahed, were "Not looked for yet."

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This page was last updated on December 15, 2019.