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The alleged sighting at Cussac, France, August 29, 1967.

Questions of measures: point 1.

In my experiences of discussions relating to the case of Cussac in 1967, it occurred several times that when I discussed a particular point, it was argued that I should discuss some other point(s). I want to specify that what follows is neither a demonstration that the object allegedly seen was or was not an helicopter or an alien spaceship or whatever else, and that the following is not an act allegiance to any work or writings of anybody, neither a study of the exactitude of the distances between some stone wall and some UFO, neither an investigation into the case, nor a statement on the value or solidity of the case.

The items discussed here are in no manner a declaration infallibility of my share, they are not claimed to be "scientific", I never introduced myself as "a scientist" nor an "expert" about anything, I am not the puppet of anybody. I do not claim objectivity, I only claim I try to be. I will make note of any remark, correction, addition, comment, under the sine qua non condition that it contains no insults, nothing discourteous, nothing irrelevant, and no questioning of my intents.

The question I asked myself, that resulted in this page, is:

No more, no less!

This means neither that this is of no importance, neither that this would be absolutely capital, neither that it would be all that I would or should or could or will or must say on the case.

I cannot and do not want to reproduce the original images. Those are protected by the rights of their authors, and I want neither to pay fees, nor to ask for permissions. This is why, instead of copying the original images, I made sketches which are faithful to these images. The fidelity of these sketched can be checked by anyone since I indicate how to find them.

I will first indicate the nature, the sources and the aspect of four images indicating to differing degree and by various means the localizations of the object and/or occupants. I will then discuss the colors parts on the sketches.

Claude de Saint-Etienne, "L'Hebdo", 1968.

To see the original picture:

Nature of the original image:

According to sources' [a] and [b] I indicate above, the original image is a photograph published in L'Hebdo, edition of Toulouse for October 12, 1968. This publication is said to be the result of investigations by Claude de Saint-Etienne, collaborator of the ufology magazine Lumières Dans La Nuit (LDLN), who would have carried out these investigations on the sighting location apparently one year after the alleged sighting, that is to say at the end of August 1968 since the sighting is dated August 29, 1967. It it said to be a drawing on a photograph of the place where the object and its occupants were, with the object's departure trajectory. The photograph seems to be black and white, and is also given superimposed additional comments. [a] specifies that except a photograph by the GEPA (not GEPAN, GEPA, another group, non-official), before this one, there was no image of the site as seen by the witnesses. I can note that the GEPA photograph does not make it possible like these others to locate things in the vertical plane of the hedge as seen by the children. According to source [c] which gives the image without added annotations, obviously the one included in [a], the images comes from "Lumières Dans La Nuit #25"; it should be noted however that it is not possible that this issue of the magazine published this photograph, issue "25" was published before the sighting, and I think "25" is a confusion with the "investigator number" of Claude de Saint-Etienne. I think it is not true that the image comes from where [c] states it and that it comes in fact from [a]. I invite any person unearthing an LDLN issue containing this tell tell me which issue it would be, if this happens then if would cancel my suggestion that source [c] took it from [a] and not LDLN. Lastly, it is rather obvious that the sketch in the centerfold of the book "Mystérieuses Soucoupes Volantes" by the LDLN Group, Albatros publisher, 1976, mentioning the investigation by Claude de Saint-Etienne, is directly based on this image.

GEPAN, 1978.

To see the original picture:

Nature of the original image:

It is a xerox copy, flat black and white, of a photograph taken at the time of the investigation by the GEPAN in April 1978. One can see on the image that there were no leaves yet on the trees and that the trunks of the trees are visible. On the right is one of the two witnesses behind the theodolite, at the exact site where he stood during the sighting according to its memories of the sighting. A photograph in a probably better original quality is not available to date in my knowledge; however the xerox makes it possible to locate trunks of the trees and the annotations make it possible to locate the object relative to these trees in a lateral plan (on the left, on the right, of this or that tree.)

Eric Maillot, 2004.

To see the original picture:

Nature of the original image:

It is a downsized and possibly cropped version for web publication of a photograph taken on the location during a visit of the location by Eric Maillot and others on August 6, 2004. It is, according to writings on the image itself, a photograph taken from the road with a distance between the photograph and the hedge of 50 meters, with questions asked to the reader about a blackish silhouette near the hedge, the reader being challenged to tell the height, the distance behind the hedge, and if the silhouette is "normally proportioned." The answers are provided at the end of the web page as: a height of 1.88 meters for the silhouette, a distance between 10 and 15 meters behind the edge. It is also indicated that "very few details" of the silhouette are visible "at 50m" and even less "at 70 or 80m", it is also indicated that the eyes of children are better than those of the adult visitors of the site.

Grégory Gutierez, 2004.

To see the original picture:

This is, over the web-published reduced photographed taken on the location during a visit of the site by Eric Maillot and others on August 6, 2004, a reconstitution made by Grégory Gutierez meant to show how an helicopter Alouette III would look like, according to the caption, "Alouette III landed in the meadow, seen at 50 meters".


It is interesting to me to now look at the indications that can be obtained from these duly referenced images for which I specified the nature, all this being verifiable by anyone, and to consider what is known about the manned the object and/or the occupants were placed there relative to the trees.

Claude de Saint-Etienne, "L'Hebdo", 1968.

One notes on the original image the presence of the object, represented in the form of a sphere, and four occupants, on the left of the sphere, all added by hand.

I placed in the form of black vertical strips the situation of the four characters drawn on the original image. The vertical turquoise strip indicates on the one hand the situation of the object, drawn as a sphere on feet on the original image, and this strip indicates also the width or maximum diameter of the sphere as shown on the original image.

The methodology used by the investigator to lead to this drawing is unknown to me. It is described in none of the sources available to me currently.

I could only speculate that the investigator might have drawn what he wanted as he wanted. He might not have asked the children what they thought of it. But perhaps he did. Perhaps, he used a whole set of geometrician and calibration tools, took landmarks, perfectly indicated by the children. But just as possibly, he might have simply taken a photograph in the general correct direction, and added later, after printing the photograph, the object and the occupants based on his memories. Who can tell? Can the reader tell me?

However, Let us note this clear fact: the object is apparent in the first or second interval between trees on the left, and the occupants are at the left of the object.

As for the red dots under certain trees on the right of the object, they represent my failure to determine exactly a tree that could connect the various images between them. The difficulty is almost insurmountable here; it must be kept in mind that the images presented here are of 1968, 1978, 2004, and that it seems certain that trees had been recut, and that others grew, in time separating these images. With the next images, this problem is solved, as they do show a tree with identical features.

GEPAN, 1978.

One notes on the image the presence of two arrows marking points A and B that are the reference marks of the edges of the object. The turquoise strip indicates the location.

The methodology that was used by GEPAN was clearly told and explained, and partly shows on the image itself: this is one of the witnesses behind the theodolite directed in the correct. The theodolite is used, it is all done on the location, with the witnesses. [g1]

Eric Maillot, 2004.

On the image is a tiny small blackish thing appearing behind the hedge, a silhouette, which we are told is a man in a black sportswear supposed to be a reconstitution of an occupant of the UFO, explained as occupant of helicopter. I indicated his position by the turquoise vertical strip.

Absolutely no methodology at all is explained as to why he stood there and not more to the left or more to the right.

The red dot marks one or two trees with a recognizable shape in "V", trees that can be used as reference mark compared to the image of the GEPAN where it also appears. It is clear that sources GEPAN and Claude de Saint-Etienne place both the object and the occupants on the left of this tree, but that Eric Maillot places his simulated occupant on the right. No explanation justifies this.

And, more interesting, what about measurements? Is the distance between the camera and the character given?

A reader in a hurry could believe that it is so. Isn't it written, "50m"?

But great attention should be paid. It is not written that the distance of 50 meters is the distance between the camera and the man, not so, it is written that 50 meters is the distance between the camera and the hedge. It is enough to read the text superficially to make the error to believe that the character is behind the hedge which would be 50 meters of the photographer where the man stands, but no, it is not so.

Here is the reality:

Above: Here is a satellite picture of the site. You see the road, the trees bordering the road, and the famous hedge in the field. On the edge of the road, there is a small whitish spot. This is probably the small monument, which did not exist at the time of the observation, that can be seen in the foreground on the original photograph.

Satellite pictures of the site can be found in satellites images databases, for example via the free software Google Earth ( The geographical co-ordinates of the site are 44°58'52.23" North and 2°55'20.39" East, the Google Earth tool offers a ruler that you can put between two chosen places and gives the distance between these places, this is the tool I used here.

Let's place the photographer. We are certain that he stands somewhere with this small monument in foreground and somewhere on the road. He cannot be in the field behind the monument, but well somewhere behind the monument, and not just at the edge of the road but more withdrawn than the edge of the road. The photographer is the red point. I did not put him too far back of the monument, but perhaps I could have put him further: one does not know if the original photograph has been cropped of not, he might have been further withdrawn still. But he cannot be much nearer, he cannot be closer to the simulated occupant.

Then, let us place the UFO occupant according to the photograph. It is known that he stands behind the hedge. One meter behind, 10 meters behind, 100 meters behind? In theory, we are asked to guess that, but the answer is in the bottom of Eric Maillot's web page. He is at "10 to 15 meters" behind the hedge. Let's be generous, we put it simply just behind the hedge, but at least, correctly relative to the trees on his left and right like on the photograph. Let us now trace the line of sight from the photographer to the occupant, quite simply. It is the yellow line.

Well, as everyone can see now, the distance between the camera and the occupant is AT LEAST 100 METERS, which has nothing to do with any 50 meters.

"At least", because the photographer might be a bit further away from the occupant, and because the occupant I put quite "near" the hedge is said to be 10 to 15 meters from the hedge.

"But then," might the perplexed reader exclaim, "what were these 50 meters? A false measurement, a falsification?"

These 50 meters are really the distance between the photographer and the hedge, just like Eric Maillot wrote. But this distance, it is the red line, not the yellow line!

It should well be realized that Eric Maillot did not give at all the distance between the photographer and his occupant, or between the photographer and the hedge near his occupant, but explicitly the distance between the photographer and the hedge. As can be seen here, it is not the same thing at all!

Of course, you might believe that all readers have seen that it is not the same, that they are attentive, and did understand that the distance between the photographer is not 50 meters but AT LEAST the DOUBLE, at least 100 meters.

All we need to do is to look at the next image to get the proof that people are mistaken and believe the 50 meters apply to the yellow line!

Grégory Gutierez, 2004.

The red point marks one or two trees with the recognizable "V" shape, trees which can be used as reference mark compared to the image of the GEPAN where it also appears. It was noted that the sources GEPAN and Claude de Saint-Etienne place the object and occupants on the left of this tree, that Eric Maillot places his occupant on the right, and Grégory Gutierez places his helicopter at this same place. No explanation justifies this placement. The turquoise vertical feature marks the position and width of the helicopter as on the original image by Grégory Gutierez.

And there you go! Here, Grégory Gutierez ensures to have put his Alouette III helicopter, placed at the same trees as the "occupant", on same photograph, as "seen at 50 meters"!

He wrote it on the image!

To see that:

No, the helicopter is not "seen as if it was at 50 meter," but, at the minimum, as seen as if it was 100 meters away!

This does prove that the way of indicating distance by Eric Maillot has the result to mislead the reader, even presumably attentive!

A factor 2 mistake!

And it is just as obvious that Eric Maillot too did not see that this distance "photographer - helicopter" of 50 meters is false and at least the double since he did publish the image by Grégory Gutierez with the erroneous distance in his own web page.


Authors who introduce themselves as applying skepticism ensure that the passage of time makes the case more and more "extraterrestrial" from one version to the next.

In reality, it can be seen that on this particular point, this is false. The object is increasingly distant with the passing of time, not making it "more and more extraterrestrial" but more and more distant, i.e. "smaller and smaller"; which makes it "less and less extraterrestrial" as time goes by.

Authors who introduce themselves as applying skepticism charge that the investigators make mistakes, and the charge is particularly against GEPAN investigators.

In reality only GEPAN seriously collected and indicated the data, indicated how they were obtained, and they gave the most reliable measurements, without neglecting errors margins and by noting clearly that these measurements are based on the memories of the witnesses.

As for the distance between the object where the occupants and the closest edge of the road, it is totally obvious that GEPAN measured 30 meters according to the boy and 33 meters according to the girl, whereras the unjustified placement by Eric Maillot here puts it at least at the double, 60 meters (green line):

Actually, it is blatant that whatever criticism of the GEPAN investigation is to be put out, a skeptic author makes a ill-considered placement, without any justification, and with a formulation of a distance that misleads at least one reader who then created a "reconstitution" with at least a factor 2 error, accepted and published without more checking by the skeptic author, mislead too by his own formulation.

The only decent measurement, with explanations, of the distance between the object and the road, is the one carried out by GEPAN, on location, with the witnesses, with a decent and well explained methodology [g1]. It is given as the distance, parallel to the hedge, between the center of the object and the nearest edge of the road, 30 meters according to the boy [g1] and 33 meters according to the girl. [g1]

The positioning of the occupant by Eric Maillot is not justified in any manner. It is not known if the intention was really to put things properly at their right place or just to casually "show some images". One does not know why the character is so much on the right, one does not know why he indicates a distance of 50 meters that is not the distance that was advisable to indicate, as it had misleading effects on at least two readers, himself and Grégory Gutierez. When one sees the criticisms carried against the GEPAN by the skeptics authors, one can only note that criticism must be re-directed at the skeptical party here.

Claude de Saint-Etienne places the object slightly more on the left. Either it was a rough placement, without solid base, and indeed he does not seem to give any methodology, or, contrary to what is alleged here and there, as years go by, the witnesses, on this matter, did not change their memories in a way "favorable" to an extraterrestrial explanation, but in unfavorable manner, since they moved the object away - slightly - and thus incresaing the sighting distance with the passage of time.

There of course, I expose one point only concerning these images and their skeptical presentation. There are other observations to be made in connection with these images... and thus this is to be continued.


Document history.

Version: Created/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross April 21, 2008 Creation.
1.0 Patrick Gross April 21, 2008 First publication.
1.0b Patrick Gross April 27, 2008 [Re1] answer to first reaction.

Feedback history.

Date: From: Content: Response:
April 21, 2008 First publication.
April 23, 2008, found April 26, 2008. "DAR" Claim: "In August 2004, no known and accessible image indicated the alleged location of the sphere and the figures compared to the line of trees" and other claims. [Re1] April 27, 2008: Check of this false claim and other claims here.

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This page was last updated on April 27, 2008.