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The 1954 French flap:

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October 20, 1954, Arras, Pas-de-Calais:

Reference for this case: 20-Oct-54-Arras.
Please cite this reference in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


In the 1970s, Dr. Claude Poher, ufologist at the ufology group GEPA, the future leader of the official GEIPAN, created a computer catalog of observations in France for which the witnesses were officials and / or an official invesitgation had been conducted.

There is a recording of an observation of October 20, 1954, at 09:25, in Arras p.m., in the Pas-de-Calais department, the report coming from officials. The witnesses were 6, and there was an official investigation.

What was seen during "1 to 9 seconds" is noted as "orange or fire colored", "luminous or fluorescent", with "flames" and / or "sparks", producing no noise.



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 not 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:0640552010195421251JA6004010200010ZZZZ032400017000000000000000000000000000000000
Location:Arras - France
Case number:0640
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:6 = 6
Main witness named:0 = name is not indicated
Main witness age:0 = no indication
Main witness occupation:4 = army, police, fireman, constable
Official investigation:1 = an official investigation was made
Weather:0 = no indication
Duration:2 = from 1 to 9 seconds
Minimal distance witness - phenomenon:0 = no indication
Method of observation:0 = no indication
Number of "objects" observed simultaneously:01 = 1
Shape of the "object" (terminology of witness(es)):0 = no indication
Dimensions of the phenomenon:ZZZZ = no indication
Color of the observed phenomenon:03 = orange, fire color
Luminosity of the phenomenon:2 = luminous, fluorescent
Lights or projectors on the phenomenon:4 = "flames", "sparks"
Moving speed of the phenomenon:0 = no indication
Acceleration of the phenomenon:0 = no indication
Trajectory of the phenomenon:0 = no indication
Sounds perceived during observation:1 = no noise, total silence, object noiseless
Maximum angular height of observation (horizon = 0░):7 = altitude is indicated
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:0 = no indication
Structural details observed:0 = no indication

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates in his database that in the Pas-de-Calais in Arras on October 20, 1954 at 21:25 hours, "Six gendarmes observed during a few seconds a luminous orange object moving without noise and emitting showers of sparks."

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

[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 Arras France 21.25




The description fits a meteor.

There is at least one other almost identical observation of what would be this meteor at the same time in Ham in the Somme department, 60 km in the South-Southeast of Arras.



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

Arras, Pas-de-Calais, multiple, official, orange, luminous, flame, silent, meteor


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross December 6, 2004 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross March 24, 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 August 23, 2019 Addition of the Summary. Explanations changed, were "Not looked for yet. Description fits a meteor."

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This page was last updated on August 23, 2019.