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October 7, 1954, Bournel, Lot-et-Garonne:

Reference for this case: 7-Oct-54-Bournel.
Please cite this reference in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


In his 1958 book on the 1954 French wave, ufologist Aimé Michel reported that on October 7, 1954, in Bournel, Mr. Quinaud and Mr. Lasserre, topographers, were doing field measurements for a plan when they were witnesses to an observation described as follows:

"A machine of circular shape, evolving silently in the sky while throwing red and green gleams. It went down to an altitude of 200 meters, then disappeared in a few seconds in an extraordinary acceleration."

The same year in an article in which he defended the idea that the case is inexplicable since the place is in a straight line with other places of observations that same day, he gave a source, the newspaper Combat for October 12, 1954.

In 1979, the two "skeptical" ufologists Gérard Barthel and Jacques Brucker stated that for this case in the morning of October 7, 1954, according to their investigation, "the" witness had told them that it had been a "luminous, fast, and unimportant phenomenon, much exaggerated by the press."

For the moment, in the contemporary press, I only found a mention of Bournel as one of the places where "yesterday" globes of light were seen, in the national newspaper Paris-Presse, on page 5 for October 10, 1954.





Three hypotheses:
saucer, hoax or
natural phenomenon

"We will have to clear up this matter..." said the gendarmerie commander

(From our special envoy Charles DAUZATS.)

DIJON, October 9.

"SEND the minutes relating to the mysterious traces of the Poncey-sur-l'Ignon phenomenon to Dijon, as a matter of urgency": such is the order sent yesterday by Major Viala to the investigators responsible for clarifying the enigma of the Côte-d'Or "flying bell".

- We need to clear this up, says the commander. Brigade reports will be forwarded to various authorities, the solution may depend on them. If one considers the facts reasonably, if one refers to the testimony of good people who, unfortunately, sin by their imprecision, or who, on the contrary, have formed an opinion after the fact, and mistook bladders from lanterns, we must, indeed, consider three possibilities:

"The first is this: one actually saw objects in the sky, but they could be helicopters. In our region, movements of such craft are not uncommon.

"Second possibility: the flying bell of Poncey, and its traces, are the work of pranksters. This hypothesis, I admit, hardly satisfies me.

"Finally, we must consider the hypothesis of an appearance of an extraterrestrial object."

At the Dijon Weathe stationr, the technicians saw nothing but very normal in the sky during the nights of Saturday and Monday.

Negative scientific reviews

At the Faculty of Science in Dijon, one submitted to Jaeger [sic, Geiger] a clod of grass taken from the meadow of Poncey-sur-l'Ignon where the bell-saucer was posed. No trace of radioactivity. No trace of metals either in another clod entrusted to the Institute of Geophysics.

The last word could remain with the airmen. General de Chassey, who commands the base in Dijon, received us.

"I have never seen a flying saucer, he tells us. But I know, from having tried the experiment, that it is possible to make very trained men believe in the presence of mysterious celestial things. One day, returning from Paris by plane, I saw under my aircraft a very curious optical phenomenon, due to the refraction of a pond on a cloud of mist. This mirage looked so much like a saucer turning in the atmosphere at 400 meters high that I alerted my mechanic who had not seen anything yet: "Look, slightly below us..." He remained dumbfounded for a moment, but, the plane passing vertically of it, he realized that he had been the toy of an illusion...

"Let's go back to the facts. Are these extraterrestrial craft? If they are piloted by beings from another world, these individuals are very little interested in knowing what is happening with us: each time we arrive, they leave. Their journey, then, is no longer understandable!

"New craft?... I affirm that if engineers had succeeded in developing them, that would be known in certain spheres at least.

Saucer psychosis

"Regarding the strange objects reported these days, I don't want to make any final judgment.

"I believe that in Côte-d'Or today there is a saucer psychosis, as in 39-40 there was, in France, a rocket psychosis.

"Certainly, there are some rather disturbing facts, in particular the case of three aviators from the 5th brigade, in Orange, who all saw a saucer, chased it until it disappeared behind the mountain.


Near Mulhouse, an SNCF employee, Mr. René Ott, who went to work early in the morning, said he had seen in a field a hemispherical dome lit inside. It was three meters from the road and one meter from the ground, Mr. Ott, going away - he was only half reassured - had time to see a door open in the "bell" that followed him for eight hundred meters.

The gendarmes did not find any traces in the field. They discovered, on the other hand, near Reims where a mechanic, Mr. Joseph Roi, saw a "cigar" or a flying gun shell. He was going home on the night of Wednesday to Thursday when he saw a bright gleam before him; he thought they were car headlights. Suddenly, the light went out and at the spot where he had seen it Mr. Roi distinguished at the edge of the road an odd object more than 3 meters long having the shape of a large gun shell pierced by portholes; at the front stood a vague silhouette which he could not define. The traces noted by the gendarmes will be examined.

Luminous globes were seen yesterday in Bournel (Lot-et-Garonne), in Montpezat-d'Agenais, in Cherbourg, in Orthez. A baker from Marcillac-de-Blaye saw a reversed funnel that flew at 70 meters.

[Ref. aml1:] AIME MICHEL:

French ufologist Aimé Michel reports that on October 7, 1954, in Bournel, Messrs Quinaud and Lasserre, topographers, made measurements on the ground for a blueprint when they became the two witnesses of the sighting described as follows:

"A machine of circular shape, evolving silently in the sky while throwing red and green gleams. It went down to an altitude of 200 meters, then disappeared in a few seconds in an extraordinary acceleration."

[Ref. aml2:] AIME MICHEL:


As of 2 October, the number of daily observations is increasing dramatically. On October 3, there are hundreds, and probably thousands of "witnesses". And the places of observation continue to line up, forming very characteristic networks whose layout evokes a spider's web, with a sort of star-shaped center from which most of the straight lines radiate. A large proportion of cases are also located on several different alignments (at their intersection).

An example of this complex and rigorous provision is offered by the observations of October 7 (see map).

That day, on the territory of France, hundreds of "testimonies" make it possible to plot 23 observation places, of which only one is erratic, in the area of ??Toulouse. The other 22 are organized in 17 alignments:

- One seven spots line: Cherbourg; La Ferte-Macé; Saint-Jean-d'Assé; National 23, east of Le Mans; Lavenay; Montlevic; and finally Cassis.

- Three lines of four spots:

a) Marcillac; Puymoyen; Montlevic; Corbigny.

b) Isles-sur-Suippe; Montlevic; Bournel; Montpezat.

c) Saint-Savinien; Saint-Plantaire; Montlevic; Jettingen.

Finally, thirteen alignments of three spots. One can, at first glance, wonder whether three-spot alignments require an explanation other than chance. But on reflection, chance turns out to be insufficient. Indeed:

  1. On the map to the millionth used for this study, the accuracy of the alignments is of the order of a millimeter, equivalent to one kilometer, for distances sometimes exceeding 1000 kilometers;
  2. But above all, it must be emphasized that most of the spots are at the same time on several alignments (At their intersections): when one plots two spots on a surface, one gets a straight line; if four points are plotted, one gets six lines (the sides of a quadrilateral and its diagonals), determining, in addition to the four primitive spots, three spots of intersection at most; therefore, if one plots three new spots at random, what is the chance for these spots to intersect? Virtually none. The realization by chance of such a provision is therefore highly improbable. If coincidence happens regularly every day for weeks, the chance explanation becomes almost impossible.
  3. Finally (and this is perhaps the most troubling part of the case), how can it be explained by chance that this provision lasts only 24 hours?

In-depth analysis of all these alignments is beyond the scope of an article. A glance at the corresponding map is more eloquent than a long speech. We discover this feature, which I have tentatively called "orthoteny" (2), until further studies allow, if necessary, to relate it to some phenomenon already known and provided with a name existing in the dictionary.

Provisionally, therefore, the "orthoteny" is the rectilinear disposition, generating networks, of the vast majority of flying saucer observations of the Fall of 1954. This arrangement is so surprising that one must, a priori to adopt a systematic distrust about it. Before recognizing it for a real event, one must consider every possible means to reject it.

On October 7, 1954, France is furrowed with observations in a straight line.


1. CHERBOURG ...One saw luminous globes! (Paris-Presse - 10-10-1954)

2. DUCLAIR ...Mr. X, blinded y a luminous beam, reopened the eyes, saw a ball that disappeared in a few minutes. (Parisien Libéré - 9-10-54)

3. ISLES-SUR-SUIPPES ...on the edge of the road, an object of more than 3 m in length like a big shell pierced with portholes... (Paris-Presse - 10-10-54)

4. PLOZEVET gleam, dense smoke... (France-Soir - 10-10-54)

5. SAINT-BIHY ...luminous globes... (France-Soir - 9-10-54)

6. LA FERTÉ-MACÉ ...a mysterious craft, which was rising vertically, leaving behind itself a white trail... (Black out sur les soucoupes volantes, Jimmy Guieu, Fleuve Noir publishers)

7. HENNEZIES ...A "spaceship" and its occupants seen by two children... Egg-shaped object, red, the top pointed at the yky... (Black out sur les soucoupes volantes, Jimmy Guieu, Fleuve Noir publishers)

8. SAINT-ÉTIENNE ...three craft produced a violent white light; - one of the craft was round like a saucer, the two other elongated like cigars. (France-Soir - 9-10-54)

9. SAINT-JEAN-D'ASSÉ ...a gleam of an intense blue color.. (Aurore - 9-10-54)

10. BALLON ...stars as big as the Moon (sic!). (France-Soir - 9-10-54)

11. LAVENAY ...a flying egg... (France-Soir - 9-10-54)

12. DORDIVES ...a weird object... (France-Soir - 9-10-54)

13. CHALETTE oval-shaped luminous craft. (France-Soir - 9-10-54)

14. LES AUBIERS ...a red disc... (France-Soir - 9-10-54)

15. CORBIGNY Craft of cylindrical shapes, emitting red-orange gleams when they were horizontal and of a dazzling white when they rose vertically. (Aurore -8-10-54)

16. BERUGES ...a lighted mushroom... (France-Soir - 10-10-54)

17. SAINT-SAVINIEN ...a luminous disc. (Sud-Ouest - 14-10-54)


19. MONTLEVIC ...saucers, cigars, luminous globes and flying discs... (Paris-Presse - 9-10-54)

20. JETTINGEN ...a half-spherical cupola. (France-Soir - 10-10-54)

21. PUYMOYEN ...A the place where a saucer had landed, twelve samll heaps of ash in the middle of a 1,50 m circle and, among the ashes, small sticks... (Paris-Presse - 9-10-54)

22. MARCILLAC ...shape of inverted funnel. (Combat - 12-10-54)

23. BOURNEL ...circular shape... (Combat - 12-10-54)

24. MONTPEZAT ...a luminous circle, orange-colored... (Combat - 12-10-54)

25. BEAUVOIR ...a mysterious craft flying at a rather slow pace. (Parisien Libéré - 9-10-54)

26. MONTEUX ...a phosphorescent craft and of 2,50 m height... (local Press - oct. 54)

27. BOMPAS ...a formation of saucers... (Black out sur les soucoupes volantes, Jimmy Guieu, Fleuve Noir publishers)

28. CASSIS ...the object, which seemed to be in aluminum, was very shiny. (Provençal)

Alignments exist. What do they mean? This is a mystery...

The case file is not faked

First question to ask: Is it true that the observation spots are aligned as this article claims?

To check this, just look for the spots in question on a chosen map in such a way that the lines of the map correspond as exactly as possible to the great terrestrial circles in the considered place. For France, it is the millionth map, Bonne projection, in the trade by Michelin (Michelin map nr 989). Ones locates the spots by looking for them in a dictionary of the communes, for example that of Berger-Levrault.

Second question: did the author invent all or part of these observations in order to find alignments? To enable researchers to answer this question, I have used in my research only observations that were already made public.

Third question: Did the author choose the observations that are aligned, creating a phenomenon that would not exist if other unreported observations restored the disorder of chance?

Of course, I cannot hope to know all the sightings because many of the witnesses did not say anything. But I used in my work all observations made public, as one can check by studying my book. To prepare the maps, I therefore only used published cases, and I used them all. There was no invention, no selection. Anyone can completely redo the work I did: one only needs to consult the collection of newspapers of the time, taking care though, however, of dates, not of the newspapers publication of course, but of the reported phenomena.

We come to the most delicate aspect of the problem posed by these strange alignments. What do they mean?

I have shown in detail the results of my research to several prominent scientists, including two Masters of Research at the C.N.R.S. It is very unfortunate that orthotenia is linked to the "saucer phenomenon", so discredited, because all these scientists, whom I cannot name, are now convinced that the alignments show a real and original phenomenon.

Real, that is, objectively taking place in space, not in the imagination of the witnesses.

Original, that is, not related to anything known so far. Neither airplanes, sounding balloons, sundogs, meteors, lightning bolts, nor hallucinations, lies, and facetious inventions are observed along lines forming networks. It is something else. What is it?

In my opinion, we are not close to knowing it. But perhaps the demonstration of the geometric superstructure revealed by the wave of 1954 will finally incite a greater number of scientists to worry about it. Allow me to express the wish here. Personally, the discredit that is attached to this research begins to put me down. It is overwhelming in the long run to have my curiosity viewed like a sin.

Aimé Michel


[Ref. aml3:] AIME MICHEL:

Aimé Michel explained that since December 1957, he was convinced that the "alignments" of cases on straight lines, such as those of October 7, 1954, are inexplicable, or more exactly, that they can only be explained "by the reality of the flying saucers", and that his opinion "is also that of a large number of scientists, among whom several are world-renowned."

He published a map of these alignments for this date, indicating that all the observations of October 7, 1954, are reported there:


For the case of this file, he noted:

23. BOURNEL: ..circular shape.. (Combat for 12-10-54).

[Ref. gqy1:] GUY QUINCY:


October 7 [, 1954]

[... other cases...]

? [= unknown hour]: Bournel (6 km WSW.Villeréal--Lot-et-Garonne): circ.craft+red and green gleams + getting 200 m close ground

[... other cases...]

[Ref. jve5:] JACQUES VALLEE:

252 -000.99351 44.62020 07 10 1954 BOURNEL F 3012 C** 242


This ufology bulletin published a map supposed to show alignements of cases of October 7, 1954, and it included a cas in Bournel:



The two authors note this case of October 7, 1954:

"Bournel - 47 - morning: investigation. the witness specified to us: luminous phenomenon, fast and of no importance, very exaggerated by the Press.

[Ref. gep1:] UFOLOGY GROUP "GEPO":

10/7/54 (Day) Bournel... 107902 Y

[Ref. lgs1:] LOREN GROSS:

7 October. Bournel, France. (no time)

Descended as low as 600 feet.

Michel wrote:

" ... a sighting with no appreciable deviation was recorded at Burnel, some 30 miles northeast of Montpezat. The two witnesses, MM. Quinaud and Lasserre, were topgraphers, on their way to a surveying job. They saw 'a circular object maneuvering silently in the sky, and emitting red and green lights. It descended as low as 600 feet, then disappeared in a matter of seconds in a prodigious burst of acceleration." (xx.)

(xx.) Michel, Aime. Flying Saucers and the Straight-Line Mystery. p.144.


4002: 1954/10/07 06:00 2 0:40:40 E 44:37:20 N 3332 WEU FRN L&G 7:7



[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Lot et Garonne in Bournel on October 7, 1954, at an unknown hour, "Two witnesses, topographers, made measurements on the ground for a plan when they made the observation described as follows: 'a craft of circular form, moving silently in the sky by throwing red and green gleams. It went down to an altitude of 200 meters, then disappeared in some seconds in an extraordinary acceleration.'"

Luc Chastan indicates that the source is "M.O.C. par Michel Aimé ** Arthaud 1958".

[Ref. uda1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 7 October 1954 at 06:00 in Bournel, France, "An unusual object was sighted, that had unconventional appearance and performance. One object was observed by two witnesses on a farm (Quinaud)."

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; Vallee, Jacques, Challenge to Science: The UFO Enigma, Henry Regnery, Chicago, 1966; Vallee, Jacques, Preliminary Catalog (N = 500), (in JVallee01); Hatch, Larry, *U* computer database, Author, Redwood City, 2002.

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

This database recorded this case 4 times:

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19541007 07.10.1954 Bournel France Daytime DD
19541007 07.10.1954 Bournel France CE II
19541007 07.10.1954 Bournel France CE II
19541007 07.10.1954 Bournel France



The information is quite meager, and the opinion of Barthel and Brucker makes the case less interesting than it might appear.


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

Bournel, Lot-et-Garonne, Quinaud, Lasserre, topographers, multiple, circular, round, machine, craft, low, silent, green, red, gleams, light, fast, speed


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross June 29, 2004 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross May 1, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [lcn1], [uda1].
1.1 Patrick Gross June 22, 2010 Addition [jve5].
1.2 Patrick Gross October 7, 2014 Addition [lgs1].
1.3 Patrick Gross February 20, 2017 Addition [ubk1].
1.4 Patrick Gross October 8, 2019 Additions [aml2], [aml3], [pis1], [lhh1], Summary. Explanations changed, were "Not looked for yet."
1.5 Patrick Gross March 3, 2020 Addition [ppe1]. In the Summary, addition of the paragraph "For the moment, in the contemporary press..."
1.6 Patrick Gross April 30, 2022 Addition [gqy1], [gep1].

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