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The 1954 French flap:

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October 16, 1954, Montmirey, Jura:

Reference for this case: 16-Oct-54-Montmirey.
Please cite this reference in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


In 1956, in an article published in a saucerist bulletin in the United States, Aimé Michel discussed the sightings in France on the evening of October 166, 1954.

He mentioned one, resembling the others, in Montmirey around 09:25 p.m., of an elongated "object" with a luminous trail seen for half a minute, heading northwest like the others.

He obviously did not accept that it could have been a meteor, as the Air Force had indicated, on the grounds that among the observations, one on Paris included a "turn" of the thing. He also does not accept that the (small!) time differences indicated by various witnesses explain very well, as the Air Force had said, by the fact that people did not have at that time necessarily always set their mechanical watches to the exact time, and by the fact, I add, that the witnesses did not necessarily look at their watch at the time - when they had a watch!

Taking the most divergent hours of the series of observations, Michel believed that this proved that the "thing" had flown for 8 minutes, hence at 2400 mph; which would have excluded a meteor, had the hours been exact, which had no chance of being the case.

In his 1958 book, Aimé Michel did change his mind: he said it was meteor, stating that whereas some witnesses had sometimes interpreted it as a "flying saucer", they had, however, correctly described a meteor, the one that had passed over France that evening.

Much later, a US ufologist and a French ufologist, although both of whom know Aimé Michel's book in 1958 well, kept silent on this change of mind by Aimé Michel, and presented the observation as one of an authentic unidentified flying object.


[Ref. aml7:] AIME MICHEL:

[... other cases...]

At Montmirey [than around 9:25 on October 16, 1954] it [a lens shaped "object" with a luminous trail] was seen for half a minute, still heading Northwest, The witnesses' descriptions correspond almost exactly [to the other sightings that night].

[... other cases...]

The French Air Force Inquiry Commission, after studying the case [of the October 16, 1954 sightings in the night], concluded that the object was a "slow meteor." The Commission did not take into account the change of direction of the last Paris sighting. To the several witnesses who saw the UFO halt in the sky, the Commission answered: "Optical Illusion," and since this time differentials reported suggested a meteor traveling at an impossibly slow speed (2400 miles per hour), the Commission supposed that the witnesses' watches had broken.

[Ref. gqy1:] GUY QUINCY:


October 16 [1954]

09:30 p.m. (approximately): Center-East and East of France, Orly (Seine), Metz (Moselle), Montmirey (Jura), Hurecourt (Hte.Saône), Mailly-la-Ville (8 km 500 SSW. Vermenton--Yonne), Moulin? (Allier),: big luminous ball with a tail (slow meteor, speed=3.000 km/h?)

[Ref. aml1:] AIME MICHEL:

Aimé Michel reports that on October 16, 1954, at about 09:30 P.M., in Montmirey near Dôle, a witness observed something crossing the sky from horizon to horizon and evaluated the duration of the crossing as 30 seconds long.

The phenomenon having been seen since of very many places in France, there was an investigation by the "saucers commission" of the Air Force which concluded that it was a "slow meteor."

The ufologist friend of Aime Michel, Charles Garreau, looked further into the investigation and found that the slow meteor had to be really too slow since according to his averages based on the many testimonys it took it nearly 10 minutes to cross 500 kilometers. This is why Aimé Michel regards the explanation by a "slow meteor" as relatively suspect.

Aimé Michel additionnaly wrote about the October 16, 1954, 09:30 p.m. meteor:

THE TEST OF THE METEOR. October 16, as if it was purposely, a splendid meteor crossed the north of France towards 09:30 p.m.. It was observed on a score of departments by thousands of people, from the Allier to Lorraine and from the Swiss border to Paris. Naturally many witnesses believed to have seen a Flying Saucer and said so. The newspapers printed "Flying Saucer in Orly", or "in Montididier", or "in Metz." But once again the description made by all these weak brains appeared of a remarkable honesty.


The innumerable gathered testimonys show indeed that even when the witnesses called "Flying saucer" the observed object, their description is identical on 200.000 square kilometres where the visible phenomenon was visible: an "orange ball followed by a trail", a "large luminous ball with a tail", a "flying egg followed by a trail", a "bottle's bottom with a trail of thirty times its diameter", etc. The same phenomenon is uniformly described.


[Ref. lgs1:] LOREN GROSS:

October 16th [1954]

[...other cases...]

More "meteor" sightings

[...other cases...]

At 9:25 p.m. residents of Salins, France, noticed something coming out of the southeast sky from the direction of northern Italy. As the thing passed overhead it appeared as a dull-glowing lenticular shape trailing a luminous stream of smoke. Moments later the lenticular body passed over the cities of Dole and Montmirey still on a northwest trajectory. The elongated form was then spotted at Damparis and Dijon. The object was at a high altitude since observers some distance to the right and left of the object's course could see the thing travel from horizon to horizon. At 9:35 p.m., continuing in a straight line, the lenticular body appeared over Paris, causing some concern at Orly airport which put all air traffic on hold while the phenomenon was in sight. Some people in the French capital claimed they saw the object come to a stop while others even asserted the object made a turn to the west.

The French Air Force Inquiry Commission looked into the case and concluded that a "slow meteor" was responsible, and that those who said they had seen a course change had merely suffered from an optical illusion. To explain the duration of the object's passage, the French Commission suggested that witnesses' timepieces were not set properly.

Aime Michel thought more of the case than the military because he had knowledge of a sighting near St. Malo, a town that lies west of Paris on the coast of Brittany. The time of this sighting was not known but there may have been a connection with the "slow meteor." What was seen at St. Malo, however, did not resemble the supposed meteor. According to the witness two objects raced across the sky and a third object was seen intercepting the first two at a right angle. This new formation of three objects sped away leaving a thin vapor trail behind them. 138.

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Jura in Montmirey the la Ville on October 16, 1954 at 21:30 hours, "Several people observe a dazzling disc, surrounded by red and oranges gleams moving at high altitude, horizontally from East to West, the object remained visible about thirty second in a total silence. "

The sources are indicated as my website at "Les OVNI vus de près by Gross Patrick **" and "Alerte dans le ciel by Garreau Charles ** Alain Lefeuvre 1981".

[Ref. ubk1:] "UFO-DATENBANK":

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19541020 20.10.1954 Montmirey Ville France NL



The meteor of October 16 at 09:30 p.m.

Note that next to Montmirey-la-Ville is Montmirey-le-Château; the sighting comes from one of the two places but I don't know which one.


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

Montmirey, Jura, duration, meteor


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross December 26, 2004 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross December 27, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Addition [lcn1].
1.1 Patrick Gross March 6, 2017 Addition [ubk1].
1.2 Patrick Gross February 24, 2021 Additions [aml7], [gqy1], [lgs1], Summary.

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This page was last updated on February 24, 2021.