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The 1954 French flap:

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October 18, 1954, Doullens, Somme:

Reference for this case: 18-Oct-54-Doullens.
Please cite this reference in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


Before heading GEPAN, the official research group on UFO reports within the CNES, Dr. Claude Poher had, in the 1970s, compiled a synthetic catalog of observations by official witnesses and / or subjected to official investigations.

He noted that on October 18, 1954 at 01:34 a.m., in Doullens, in the Somme, there had been an observation with 5 witnesses. It was at great distance, a disc or lens of changing colors or of several colors, luminous, of the intensity of a star, moving silently in a straight line or very broad curve, in a sky clouded at low altitude but without rain.

An official investigation had been conducted - without publication at the moment.



In 1968-1969, before the official GEPAN ufology effort started, its future head Dr Claude Poher was a member of the unofficial GEPA ufology group, and gathered a computer coded listing of more than 700 UFO reports on which multiple factors statistical computation could be run. In the file were a number of 1954 French UFO reports, among those this one.

For readability, a decoded interpretation of the data is provided here under the original 80 character encoded string. Decoding was done according to the original indications, the code number and its generic meaning is given. Please note that the generic meaning of each code is a predefined category, not the real specific details of the case. For example, if the main witness' age was 33, the coding would result in a number "3" which corresponds to a category "Adult from 21 to 59 years."

Original code:0619551810195401341JA5104014460011AA0B1350A0114000000000000000000000000000000010
Location:Doullens (Somme) - France
Case number:0619
Source code:55
Nature of the source:Reports from official French sources: Police, Gendarmerie, Army, Pilots
Type of Time:1 = local time
Number of witnesses:5 = 5
Main witness named:1 = name (s) indicated
Main witness age:0 = no indication
Main witness occupation:4 = army, police, fireman, constable
Official investigation:1 = an official investigation was made
Weather:4 = sky covered at low altitude, no rain
Duration:4 = from 1 to 19 minutes
Minimal distance witness - phenomenon:6 = larger than 3 km
Method of observation:0 = no indication
Number of "objects" observed simultaneously:01 = 1
Shape of the "object" (terminology of witness(es)):1 = disk, saucer, lenticular
Dimensions of the phenomenon:AA = angular size, 0B = "like a five Francs coin at arm length" (3 centimeters).
Color of the observed phenomenon:13 = several colors, changing color
Luminosity of the phenomenon:5 = luminosity evaluated as a star magnitude
Lights or projectors on the phenomenon:0 = no indication
Moving speed of the phenomenon:A = angular speed indicated
Acceleration of the phenomenon:0 = no indication
Trajectory of the phenomenon:1 = straight line or very wide curve
Sounds perceived during observation:1 = no noise, total silence, object noiseless
Maximum angular height of observation (horizon = 0░):4 = 45 to 60░
Nature of the landing place:0 = no indication
Number of contact points with ground:0 = no indication
Traces of landing:0 = no indication
Observation of "occupants":0 = no indication
Height of the occupants observed:00 = no indication
Garment of the occupants:00 = no indication
Garment:0 = no indication
General behavior of "occupants":0 = no indication
Interaction of "occupants" with witness:0 = no indication
Head, hair:0 = no indication
Voice, breathing, chin:0 = no indication
Skin:0 = no indication
Eyes:0 = no indication
Mouth:0 = no indication
Various details:0 = no indication
Thermal effects:0 = no indication
Luminous effects:0 = no indication
Magnetic effect (or electromagnetic):0 = no indication
Odor perceived by witness:0 = no indication
Physiological effects on the witness(es):0 = no indication
Psychological effect on the witness(es):0 = no indication
Effects on animals:0 = no indication
Other effects reported:0 = no indication
Nebulosity:0 = no indication
Oscillations, emission of matter:0 = no indication
Spin, formation flight:0 = no indication
Immediate disappearance:0 = no indication
Halo surrounding the phenomenon:0 = no indication
Interaction witness / phenomenon (complement to the other rubrics):0 = no indication
Drawing or photo:1 = a drawing or a photograph is added to the original report
Structural details observed:0 = no indication

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Somme in Doullens on October 18, 1954 at 01:34 hours, "Five gendarmes witnesses observed, in a covered sky at low altitude and during several minutes, a disc whose size was estimated as like a coin of five francs held at arm's length. It was rather far away from the witnesses, its colors were changing and it moved in straight line at a certain speed which was evaluated by the investigation, without any noise, and 45 to 60░ above the horizon."

The source is indicated as "Les Universons by Poher Claude **"

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

This database recorded the case twice:

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19541018 18.10.1954 Doullens France
19541018 18.10.1954 Doullens France 01.00 NL



The data is unfortunately too synthetic to allow a proper assessment of what it was. There is no obvious strangeness in the sighting. A misinterpretation cannot be ruled out.

In the local newspaper L'Abeille de la Ternoise for October 30, 1954, there was a mention of a "saucer" reportedly seen in Doullens on October 18, 1954, but betweel 8 and 9 p.m..


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

Doullens, Somme, official, multiple, investigation, duration, saucer, color, luminous, point, silent


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross February 6, 2006 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross June 6, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [lcn1].
1.1 Patrick Gross December 15, 2016 Addition [ubk1].
1.2 Patrick Gross January 21, 2019 Addition of the Summary. Explanations changed, were "Not looked for yet."
1.3 Patrick Gross October 29, 2020 In the Explanations, addition of "In the local newspaper L'Abeille de la Ternoise for October 30, 1954..."

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This page was last updated on October 29, 2019.