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The 1954 French flap:

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

September 17, 1954, Clermont-Ferrand, Puy-de-Dôme:

Reference for this case: 17-sep-54-Clermont-Ferrand.
Please cite this reference in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


The regional newspaper La Montagne, of Clermont-Ferrand, for September 22, 1954, reported that the testimony of four people who said they saw last Friday evening a "flying cigar" in the sky of Clermont-Ferrand had caused an influx of testimonies, about "something" that had flown, but that almost all observers had given the relevant reasons that made them think that it was simply a jet plane.

One of the witnesses said that that while it is true that a craft had passed over the Puy-de-Dôme on Friday at 07:15 p.m. he could not, in the half-light, observe the craft flying at very high altitude leaving behind a train of condensation very characteristic of jet plane.

He said that a jet plane had been seen flying over Giat at that hour, and that whereas the plane was not visible, the condensation it was leaving behind created a trail that id was in the shape of a cigar, and was red since it was in the rays of the setting sun. He explained that the witnesses who claimed to have seen an interplanetary craft were sincere, but must have taken this red trail for the craft.

Another witness said that on that day he was at his home, rue Champleury, in Clermont-Ferrand, and saw around 07:15 p.m., a small pink cloud over the Puy de Dome, which intrigued him by its shape. He took landmarks from the power lines and saw that it was moving. He pointed at the cloud a small 25x telescope, but he did not have time to mount it on its foot, and the trembling produced by his hand prevented a good observation.

He nevertheless realized that it was undeniably a flying machine, he saw a big black dot before the luminous trail. He noted that it was impossible for him to estimate his distance and speed, and that he thought for a moment that it was a jet plane whose trail was illuminated by the sun as it declined. But he said he was perplexed nevertheless because he had never seen a jet plane produce such a luminous trail, and because it suddenly disappeared.

The case was taken up in other newspapers, then in the ufology literature, but almost always without any mention of the possibility nor especially of the certainty of one of the witnesses that it was just a jet plane contrail lit by the setting sun. Only Aimé Michel evoked it vaguely, only to reject it without any valid reason.




Still flying saucers and cigars

Clermont-Ferrand, September 22 (from our own correspondent). -- As one could expect, the statements of the four people who affirmed to have seen, in the evening of last Friday, a "flying cigar" in the sky of Clermont-Ferrand provoked an influx of testimonies.

These testimonies confirm the passage of "something" in the Auvergne atmosphere. But almost all observers give the relevant reasons why they believe it was simply a jet plane.

"Whereas it is true that a machine passed over the puy de Dôme, Friday at 7:15 p.m., said one of these witnesses, the first, I could not observe the aircraft in the half-darkness, which was flying at a very high altitude, leaving behind a trail of condensation typical of jet planes.

And this precision:

- At a time when one says that a jet plane was seen over Giat, a jet plane was flying over this area. Given the altitude of this aircraft, we could not see it, but the condensation of the gases it left behind formed a trail that actually had the shape of a cigar and was red, as it was in the rays of the setting sun. So I think witnesses who claim to have seen an interplanetary craft are in good faith, but had mistaken that red trail for the craft.

A third, finally, confirms these two statements:

- Last Friday, I was at my home, rue Champleury, in Clermont-Ferrand. I saw, around 7:15 p.m., a little pink cloud above the puy de Dôme. It intrigued me by his shape. Taking landmarks by means of the power lines, I saw that it was moving. I have directed upon this cloud a small telescope I possess, and which gives a magnification of about twenty-five times. Unfortunately, I did not have time to put it on its foot, and the tremor produced by my hand prevented a good observation. However, I realized that it was undeniably a flying craft. I could see a big black dot before the luminous tail. It was impossible for me to assess the distance and speed. I thought for a moment that it was a jet aircraft whose trail was illuminated by the declining sun. However, I was perplexed because I never saw a jet plane produce such a luminous trail and it disappeared suddenly.

Another mysterious machine was seen in the Moselle

Metz, Sept. 22 (from our own correpondent). -- Several inhabitants of the Moselle claim to have witnessed the moves of a mysterious apparatus - saucer or flying cigar - but it was only after three days of silence that the spectators decided to make their observations public.

It is Mr. Louis Moll, a rural guard at Oberdorf, who informed the gendarmes of what he had seen.

"I did not want to say anything sooner," said the rural guard, "for fear of passing for a visionary among my fellow-citizens. But what I saw seemed so extraordinary to me that I could not keep quiet any longer.

"It was Sunday evening," he said, "and I returned to my home at about 9:15 p.m. when my attention was attracted by a strange gleam coming from the east and approaching the ground a few hundred yards from the road, towards Tromborn, where the craft, which was at a very low height, stayed in place for about forty seconds before rising vertically and disappearing in a southeasterly direction.



After the "saucers" the "flying cigars"

Their "passage" reported in Rome, in the Allier and the Puy de Dôme

The "passage" of mysterious "flying cigars" is reported in Italy and France. Friday, in Rome, several thousands people observed the strange phenomenon. The "craft" moved above the city at an altitude evaluated as 10.000 meters, then descended much lower, leaving a trail of smoke behind.

In France, a resident of Moulins who was, Sunday, in Rongères, small commune in the Allier, saw a similar craft in the sky.

In addition, several residents of Clermont stated to have seen, above the Puy-de-Dôme, a luminous "machine" fly, of very lengthened oval form seeming to move rather slowly towards the North-East.

Four people in particular affirmed to have observed the "machine" during two minutes before it disappeared by taking altitude. All the witnesses are affirmative: no noise was heard. It could not be a plane.

Many explanations are advanced which, for the majority, do not deserve to get any attention. Let's report however that, according to Italian scientists, the "flying cigar" would not be a celestial body, but an aircraft of a type unknown so far.

Invasion of "balls of fire" in Holland

In Holland, it is an invasion of "balls of fire" which invades the journalistic chronicle.

Our fellows report that the 194 residents of the small village of Zuidlaardevereen, in Groninguen, have been hit by collective insomnia for a week, fearing to be the next victims of an invasion of balls of fire which, according to the assertions of one of the farmers of the village, M. Va[n] Der Veen, occurred in his own home.

Mr. Van Der Veen was chatting, the other evening, in the closed bed, in Brittany fashion, he shares with Mrs. Van der Veen, when he noticed that a small ball of the size of a marble, emitting a yellow gleam and surrounded by a black circle, floated above the bed.

As he tried to catch it, the ball started to grow bigger and disappeared.

A few moments later, under the horrified eyes at Mrs. Van Der Veen, about fifteen small balls were formed and started to roll under the covers. The couple jumped off the bed and, while Mr. Van Der Veen made an effort with a shaking hand, to light an oil lamp, the balls rose and merged in a long ribbon, which, while twisting itself, circle around the room room to disappear at the time even when the lamp ignited.

The adventure of Mr. Van Der Veen, supported by the credit of his solid personality, met few skeptics in his village.

[Ref. gqy1:] GUY QUINCY:


17 septembre [1954]

07:15 p.m.: Above the Puy-de-Dôme (Puy-de-Dôme): cloud-cigar, oblique

[Ref. aml1] AIME MICHEL:

Aimé Michel indicates that on September 17, 1954, in France, there was a whole series of observations, especially in the center of the country and especially in Clermont-Ferrand, from 07:15 p.m. on, three quarters of an hour after the Ciampino observation in Italy.

He quotes one of the witnesses:

"I was last Friday at my home, rue Champfleury, in Clermont-Ferrand, looking out the window, I saw around 07:15 p.m. a small pink cloud over the puy de Dome. It intrigued me because of its shape, taking the landmarks by means of the electric lines that block the sky in front of my window, I could see that it was moving.

"I then went to get a small telescope that I own and that enlarges about twenty-five times. I did not have time to mount it on its foot, so my observation was a little shaky. I fully realized that it was a flying machine, I could see a big black dot before the luminoust tail, and it was impossible to estimate the distance and the speed."

"I thought for a moment that it was a jet plane whose trail was illuminated by sunset... However, I was puzzled because the trail was exceptionally bright, and most importantly the object and its trail disappeared suddenly."

Michel said a dozen other witnesses reported the same details, and five of them who did not know each other, and were at the time of the observation in different places were more precise: the object resembled a sort of cigar, and the two witnesses who made the most accurate statement - and also did not know each other - reported a cigar in an oblique position.

Michel argues that although with the reading of the testimonies one may think that it was possibly all about a plane, in the more global context of other testimonies as well as official statements in Italy, a plane does not seem to really be the explanation. This is why, sometimes, the press of those days seemed to have a tone which could appear too much convinced.


The magazine indicates that on September 17, 1954, at 07:30 P.M., in Clermont-Ferrand, according to Aimé Michel, a craft has been seen going towards the Puy-de-Dôme mountain.

[Ref. lgs1:] LOREN GROSS:



[... Other cases...]

More French cases on the 17th.

"A little pink cloud."

Some 45 minutes after the "cigar" sighting at Rome, the "cigar" moving off in a northwest direction toward France, a series of UFO sightings were made in central France, the main region being the Puy-de-Dome Department.

One of the French observers remarked:

"Last Friday I was at home, in the Rue Champfleury, Clermont-Ferrand. Looking through a window at about 7:15 p.m., I saw a little pink cloud above Puy-de-Dome. Its shape made me curious. By using the electric wires against the sky opposite my window as checkmarks, I could tell that it was moving.

"I got a small telescope that I own, of about 2SX power. I didn't have time to mount it on its tripod, so that my view was a little wavering. But I could determine perfectly clearly that it was a flying craft. I could see a black dot in front of a luminous tail, but I couldn't estimate the distance and speed.

"I thought for a moment that it must be a jet plane with its contrail illuminated by the sunset. But I was puzzled, for the trail was exceptionally luminous, and besides, the object and its trail disappeared abruptly." 84.

An engineer and his wife were motoring on a mountain road in the area. The husband said:

"We wanted to continue watching, so I started the car, and we were able to see it again after several turns in the road. My wife and I observed it at leisure for six minutes altogether. At first I thought it some unusual kind of a comet. But when I read the papers later and learned that a similar object had been seen over Rome three quarters of an hour earlier, I attached more importance to my observation." 85.

[... Other cases...]


3786: 1954/09/17 19:20 6 3:00:00 E 45:46:20 N 3333 WEU FRN PDD 6:A



[Ref. nip1:] "THE NICAP WEBSITE":

*Sep. 17, 1954 - At 7:15 p.m. a cigar-shaped object was seen through a 25x telescope and was witnessed by at least 11 people in Clermont-Ferrand, Puy-de-Dome, France. It was black with a luminous tail, and the trail was exceptionally luminous. (Source: Aime Michel, Flying Saucers and the Straight Line Mystery, p. 57).

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the "Puy de Dômes" in Clermont Ferrand on September 17, 1954 at 19:15 hours "the witness is in his residence when looking by the window he observes a curious small pink cloud above the Puy de Dôme. He notes that the object moves. Taking a telescope he then observes a large black point preceding a luminous tail. The whole disappears suddenly. Three other witnesses describe the object as a kind of cigar. But it is said there were about ten witnesses."

The source is indicated as "M.O.C. by Michel Aimé ** Arthaud 1958".

[Ref. uda1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 17 September 1954 at 19:15 in Clermont-Ferrand, France, "Seen through 25x telescope, black with luminous tail. Trail was exceptionally luminous."

And: "At 7:15 p.m. a cigar-shaped object was seen through a 25x telescope and was witnessed by at least 11 people in Clermont-Ferrand, Puy-de-Dome, France. It was black with a luminous tail, and the trail was exceptionally luminous."

And: "A cigar-shaped object was observed. Multiple independent witnesses. One luminous cigar-shaped object was observed by over 11 witnesses at a mountain for over six minutes."

The sources are indicated as "Michel, Aime, Flying Saucers and the Straight-Line Mystery, S. G. Phillips, New York, 1958; Vallee, Jacques, Computerized Catalog (N = 3073); Hatch, Larry, *U* computer database, Author, Redwood City, 2002".

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

This database recorded this case four times:

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19540917 17.09.1954 Clermont Ferrand France 19.15 NL
19540917 17.09.1954 Clermont Ferrand France 19.15 NL
19540917 17.09.1954 Clermont Ferrand France 19.15 NL
19540917 17.09.1954 Clermont-Ferrand France



Jet plane contrail in setting sun.

Aimé Michel said there were multiple observations; which would exclude a plane as an explanation of some of the September 17, 1954, sightings. I need to summarize the actual situation.

This is a map of the places indicated in the various versions of the sightings to consider, those of September 17, 1954, between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Puy-de-Dôme and not too far:


The width or the territory shown on this map is about 200 km.

The cases are, in reality:


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

Clermont-Ferrand, Puy-de-Dôme, object, craft


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross April 16, 2003 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross June 15, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
1.1 Patrick Gross May 29, 2010 Addition [ler1].
1.2 Patrick Gross November 15, 2014 Addition [nip1].
1.2 Patrick Gross January 20, 2017 Additions [lmo1], [ubk1]. Explanations changed, were "Not looked for yet".
1.3 Patrick Gross June 30, 2019 Additions [aml1], [lhh1], Summary. Explanations changed, were "Not looked for yet. Plane?"
1.4 Patrick Gross March 7, 2021 Addition [gqy1].
1.5 Patrick Gross March 18, 2021 Addition [lgs1].

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