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The 1954 French flap:

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October 16, 1954, Tergnier, Aisne:

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

Summary:

An article in the Aisne edition of the regional newspaper La Voix du Nord for October 19, 1954, reported that one saw, instead of "saucers", a "flying funnel" in Tergnier:

Saturday evening, around 9:30 p.m., a gleam crossed the sky of the region. It seemed to come from the direction of Laon and was leaving at high speed towards Frières-Faillouët. Are we in the presence of an atmospheric phenomenon or is it a saucer? This phenomenon was observed by trustworthy people Mr. Joseph Thierry told us to have seen a craft being at approximately 200 or 300 meters of altitude and having the shape of a funnel. An intense glow followed it. The craft was heading towards Frières-Faillouët. Mr. Dr. Cerf and Mr. Bouché who were with Mr. Thierry also observed this phenomenon.

People who were on the road to Frières have the same observation.

In their 1979 book "La Grande Peur Martienne2 ("The Great Martian Scare") meant to "debunk" the French wave of 1954, the "skeptical" ufologists Gérard Barthel and Jacques Brucker indicated that on October 16, 1954, at 09:30 p.m., in Tergnier in the Aisne department, there was an observation whose description was obviously that of a meteor, and whose witness, that they do not name, was "not found after investigation."

Reports:

[Ref. vdn1:] JOURNAL "LA VOIX DU NORD":

Scan.

Instead of saucers

TERGNIER GOT
A "FLYING
FUNNEL"

Saturday evening, around 9:30 p.m., a gleam crossed the sky of the region. It seemed to come from the direction of Laon and was leaving at high speed towards Frières-Faillouët. Are we in the presence of an atmospheric phenomenon or is it a saucer? This phenomenon was observed by trustworthy people Mr. Joseph Thierry told us to have seen a craft being at approximately 200 or 300 meters of altitude and having the shape of a funnel. An intense glow followed it. The craft was heading towards Frières-Faillouët. Mr. Dr. Cerf and Mr. Bouché who were with Mr. Thierry also observed this phenomenon.

People who were on the road to Frières have the same observation.

Saucer, funnel, who says (or will see) better?

[Ref. aml1:] AIME MICHEL:

Aimé Michel 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. bbr1:] GERARD BARTHEL AND JACQUES BRUCKER:

The two authors note this case of October 16, 1954:

"Tergnier - 02 - 09:30 p.m.: witness untraceable after investigation. Obvious description of a fireball."

Further in their book, they claim that "the few serious investigators" who had admitted the fact that it was a meteor which had generated this type of observations were the technicians of the scientific office of the Air Force.

[Ref. jsr1:] JEAN SIDER:

Jean Sider lists among the cases from page 185 and on of Barthel and Brucker's book "La Grande Peur Martienne", which they had summarized and decided categorically without the slightest indication of what they had undertaken to be definitive in their verdict, there was:

Tergnier. Witness not found after investigation. Obvious description of a meteor.

Explanations:

Map.

The October 16, 1954, 09:30 p.m. meteor.

Frières-Fallouët is to the north-west of Tergnier; we are told that the "craft" was heading there but we are not told which direction it came from.

Keywords:

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

Tergnier, Aisne

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross December 26, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
1.1 Patrick Gross December 17, 2019 Addition of the Summary.
1.2 Patrick Gross September 23, 2021 Addition [jsr1].
1.3 Patrick Gross September 28, 2021 Addition [vdn1]. In the Summary, addition of the information from [vdn1].

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