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UFOs in the daily Press:

Dr. Martinet's saucer explained, France, 1954:

The article below was published in the daily newspaper Carrefour, France, pages 1 and 3, on October 6, 1954.


grasp the problem of the

... While the U.S.S.R. declares itself ready to send a rocket to the Moon!

THE ASSAULT of the flying saucers that we are witnessing at the moment is so spectacular that a deputy, Mr. de Léotard, thought it necessary to ask, in a written question, the Secretary of State for Air, to ask him if instructions have been given so that these phenomena are systematically and scientifically observed, and if these "saucers" or "cigars" could not be pursued to be better observed, so that the public will know if it is about collective self-suggestion to dissipate, or if it is necessary to take into account the phenomenon from the point of view of security and National Defense...

For our part, let's try with the disparate elements that exist to make an opinion - approximately, of course - on this question. First of all, one fact seems certain: a very high percentage of the "observations" of flying saucers come either from outright illusion, or from an optical illusion. This is the case in the recent cases of the Quarouble steelworks worker or the farmer of the Millevaches plateau.

But, if we compare the various observations which are regularly published, the extreme diversity of the objects seen seems to prove, at first glance, that those who have, in good faith, reported them, have actually seen very diverse celestial phenomena. Are there "saucers" among these phenomena? We will not decide the question. But few of these observations seem worthy of further investigation.

An example shows this well: last September 29, the Parisian press headlined: "A serious testimony on the flying saucers". This was followed by the observation, apparently very precise, of a man who seemed to be worthy of faith. It was Dr. Martinet, a well-known doctor from Chambéry, who had seen above La Croix de Nivolet, the maneuvers of flying saucers. The doctor gave a precise description of these machines, "masses of a dark aluminum gray". He followed the moves of the "saucers" for several minutes, as they descended in dead leaf motion. He looked very clearly, in front of him, at one of them, and described its shape - a deep plate - the lighter area of ??its center and the brown spots spread around it. The craft descended slightly, then disappeared. About fifteen people around the doctor also saw the astonishing appearance and confirmed his testimony.

Everything in this observation seemed to prove its truth. Precise, told with measure, it emanated from a serious man experienced in scientific techniques.

Alas! It did not take long to be disillusioned. Two days later an aviator, Mr. Cuyard, asked Dr. Martinet to come and see him. The aviator, too, thought he saw a saucer. He jumped on his plane and left, courageous-

(Continued on page 3.)

Robert CLARKE.

[Photo caption:] This luminous phenomenon, known as of Bouffioulx, had also been observed, nine months earlier, by the Villacoublay weather station.

[Photo caption:] This photo, taken by a photographer from Bulawayo (Southern Rhodesia), was declared "authentic and not faked" by the journalists who examined it.



(Continued from the first page)

ly, to meet the craft... to disperse a flight of starvings. The doctor, after the two men had compared their respective visions, quite easily agreed that he must indeed have been mistaken, and that the "saucer" which he thought he saw should in fact only be a flock of birds...

This story seems to be full of lessons. Not that we in principle refuse to believe that flying saucers exist. But it seems to us to throw a heavy doubt on all the other testimonies with which we are daily supplied.

Especially since the truth calls for this precision: exactly as with each "epidemic" of the appearance of mysterious craft in the sky of France, we see today a lot of saucers observed everywhere, after two spectacular reports were published by the press. The mysterious craft were indeed very discreet during the summer. But, on September 8, Mr. Renard "sees" a flying saucer in the shape of an unfinished haystack, placed in a field. He describes it with a luxury of almost convincing details. Three days later, Mr. Dewilde does better: he sees 80 cm tall Martians running towards their saucer, which flies away immediately. Since then, the apparitions of Martians, some tiny, the other giants of more than two meters, have multiplied dangerously.

On September 17, another sensational fact made headlines: a "flying cigar" crossed the sky of Rome in the afternoon. It is seen by thousands of people who follow its brilliant trajectory. On the order of the commander of the Ciampino aerodrome, the radar observers lean on their devices. They see there the trace of the mysterious machine around 7 p.m. The craft, flying first at very high altitude - 10,000 meters? - descends a few hundred meters; then he sets off again at an extravagant speed, goes back up and disappears.

This observation, common to many Italians, and in particular to aviators, would be the subject of a close examination of the authorities and astronomers of the observatory of Rome. In France, it resulted in the flowering of innumerable more or less tapered objects, called cigars, stove pipes or rugby balls, of very different hues and behaviors, which evolved over all corners of the country.


We only want, by these two examples, to attract the attention of those who would be too quick to take argument of the real existence of unknown machines crisscrossing the sky, based on the multiplicity of observations. The attention of the public drawn to the possibility of such phenomena certainly facilitates optical illusions, even hallucinations. This is a fact well known to all psychologists, and there is no need to insist on it.

This does not prevent the question from being asked. It is likely that some of these "visions" actually correspond to actually existing celestial objects.

If these objects exist, what are they? Everyone now knows the most classic theories on the subject. They have been popularized on numerous occasions, both in France and in the United States (I).

The first is that of craft from another world. An abundant literature has been written on this topic, as it is the hypothesis most commonly accepted by all those who have studied the matter closely. Major Keyhoe, former commander of American "marines", assures that the military authorities of his country have a file proving that the saucers come from another world and that they refuse to make it public, for fear of panic. Aimé Michel, on his side, writes that there is a 60% chance that the "saucers" exist. And, in that case, there is a 99% chance that they would be propelled by a form of energy that we are absolutely powerless to produce, but which we can however imagine in theory. And that it is therefore possible that beings living on another planet, and having a more advanced technique than ours, have perfected this revolutionary mode of propulsion.


Aimé Michel alludes, in connection with this new energy likely to animate flying saucers, to the theory that a young military technician, Lieutenant Plantier, repeatedly developed in "Forces Aériennes Françaises" magazine. He supposes that it should be possible to harness the energy trapped in the cosmic radiation which continuously bombards the Earth. This energy would be used to create a variable and orientable "force field", similar to a kind of extremely strong magnetic field. This "force field" would be able, according to Lieutenant Plantier, to support and direct an interplanetary spacecraft, just as the water jet supports what shooters aim at the fair.

According to the technician, the ideal machine likely to be carried by this "force field" should have exactly the shape of a saucer. And its maneuvers, silent and extremely fast, would be those which have been observed by those who describe the mysterious craft crisscrossing the skies. Even the color changes often noted would really be those who occur to the object imagined by Lieutenant Plantier.


But, until one of these hypothetical inhabitants of another planet has kindly pushed kindness to manifest in a more direct and less theoretical way the reality of his existence, it is still permissible to think that the "evidence" of the existence of these interplanetary craft is still insufficient.

Especially since there is a second group of scientific hypotheses that explain the phenomenon. It is the one where the specialists call upon other physical data and consider that the "saucers" are in reality only celestial objects, very real certainly, but in no way mysterious.

Professor Haffner, well-known German astronomer, has just agreed to take part publicly in the debate on "flying saucers" by setting out his personal hypothesis; which falls into this group:

"The saucers", he says in substance, are probably fireballs produced by lightning at very high altitudes. The size, shape, speed, color, duration and mode of disappearance of these fireballs, he adds, are remarkably similar to the descriptions which have been made most often of the phenomena observed almost everywhere.

Professor Haffner shows that these balls, rarely observed in good conditions, but about which one knows a lot, however, emit sometimes very bright light rays, can change their shape and direction in a tiny fraction of a second, as a result of magnetic influences, and sometimes explode, disappearing quickly, giving the illusion of fading into the atmosphere.


It seems, in the light of these facts, that it is still impossible to pronounce either on the reality of the "saucers", or on the evidence that one or the other of the hypotheses put forward on the explanation of the phenomenon offers. Two things are certain, in our view. The first is that a very large part of the so-called "observations" have no scientific value, either that their authors were the object of an optical illusion or that those who comment on them were the victims of a prank.

The fact remains that some disturbing observations would warrant close investigation. But it is possible to believe that if these investigations bring the least element likely to build a valid hypothesis, the organizations concerned - army, police force and scientific body - would not scoff to do all that would be possible to deepen the problem. Both in the United States and in Europe, the official authorities in no way take the mystery of flying saucers lightly. The mere fact that the U.R.S. had recently announced on Radio Moscow that the Soviets were certain of being able to send a rocket to the Moon soon would certainly prevent this problem from being dealt with seriously. The wisest is therefore undoubtedly to wait until the specialists bring us the solution of the mystery...

(1) See in particular: Donald Keyhoe "The Dossier of flying saucers" (Hachette); Aimé Michel: "Gleams on the flying saucers" (Mame).

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