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The 1954 French flap:

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

January 9, 1954, Auxonne, Côte-d'Or:

Reference for this case: 9-Jan-54-Auxonne.
Please cite this reference in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


An article in the regional newspaper La Bourgogne Républicaine for January 12, 1954, probably written by Charles Garreau, a journalist of this newspaper interested in flying saucers already at that time, reported that on Saturday morning, thus on January 9, 1954, a resident of Auxonne, who was traveling on the Pont de France, had seen in the north-east direction an "elongated craft" moving towards the East.

At a certain time a part of this "cigar" which until then had appeared of an orange yellow color extinguished, then all light disappeared.

The phenomenon had been observed for a few seconds, and the witness had immediately checked the time: it was 07:45 a.m.

The newspaper quoted many other concordant observations of this obvious meteor elsewhere in the region, but did not understand that it was the same thing, assuring that no one else has yet reported the phenomenon seen in Auxonne.

In his 1956 book "Alerte Dans le Ciel", the journalist of La Bourgogne Républicaine and pioneering ufologist Charles Garreau indicated that on January 9, 1954, in Auxonne, a college teacher, Mr. Leluc, noted the exact time (which Garreau does not give) and gave a detailed description of his observation: a cigar with rounded ends, flat below, convex at the top, with a movement in an arc of a large radius "which other observations confirm."

In 1979, the "skeptical" ufologists Gérard Barthel and Jacques Brucker took a map of the "craft trajectory" which made, according to Charles Garreau, "zigzags" in the region from 07:20 a.m. to 07:50 a.m., Garreau thinking it proved that it was not a meteor; Barthel and Brucker note with good reason that taking the approximate hours indicated by the witnesses as bulletproof hours is absurd.

But even later, at least one website still cite this observation and others, concordant ones, still without realizing that it was the famous meteor largely seen in the region that day.





New testimonies on the passage of a flaming fireball over our region


(From our private correspondents).

- Giant meteorite or "saucer"?

The question remains. In any case, many witnesses lean for this second hypothesis. In the Haute-Marne, in the Jura, and also in the Dijon region, here is what they saw:


One saw the flamboyant fireball in Montigny-le-Roy, where several people saw it around 7:45 a.m.

They gave a description identical to the others.

In Chaumont, a truck driver, Mr. Bourgeois, and Mr. Thibault, to whom "a luminous spot appeared in the sky. I followed it with my eyes for 10 to 15 seconds, before it disappeared. At its base, I recognized the shape of a disc."

In Langres, employees of the treasury, and Mr. Mache, municipal councilor and school principal.

Having seen the object, he called Mrs. Hunion, a lady on duty at the School, who had time to come up and see an extremely luminous craft, followed by a thin shining trail.


"Saturday morning, an inhabitant of Auxonne, who was traveling on the Pont de France, saw, heading north-east, an elongated craft moving eastward.

At some point a part of the "cigar" ? which until then appeared to be of a yellow orange color went out, then all light disappeared.

Our compatriot who observed this phenomenon for a few seconds, immediately looked at the time. It was 7:49 a.m.

Did other people see this phenomenon? So far, we have not been able to obtain any further information."


Around 7:50 a.m., Saturday morning, an entrepreneur from Dole, Mr. Marcel Girard, was at the intersection of avenue de la Paix and boulevard Wilson.

Looking up, he saw a strangely shaped craft in the sky, moving at great speed, in the direction, he said, from Mount Roland towards Salins-le-Bains.

The craft therefore cut Wilson Boulevard roughly at the height of the school.

The vision was very short. Mr. Girard estimates it to be about three or four seconds; the craft having slowed down very clearly above Wilson Boulevard, as if the occupants (?) intended to take a closer look.

Here is how M. Girard describes the craft: "It is an object whose general shape is reminiscent of a cigar, the tip of which has a dazzling blue color; on the other hand the lower part is orange or red, like if there were sparks at the rear; it was moving at a very high speed, but, for lack of landmarks, neither the speed of the craft nor its supposed height could be estimated. First, these measurements are very difficult to do, even by technicians; then the light was too far away."

On the other hand, an employee of the S.N.C.F., Mr. Maillot, who was on the "Pont de Mouchard", saw the craft at the same hour.

According to him, it was a circular object, which would have moved at a height of 3000 m. (?).

The craft moved silently, and Mr. Maillot was able to follow it with his eyes for four seconds.


Several residents let us know that they too were eyewitnesses to the strange phenomenon. This is how two trustworthy people: an employee of the P.T.T. and the young daughter of a tobacconist of the city, tell us that they saw and observed with understandable astonishment, Saturday morning at 7:50 a.m. exactly, a ball which seemed to move slowly vertically above the Pannessières mountains.

"This craft, "a large tangerine", the young girl would tell us, left behind, when it accelerated, an enormous glowing plume."

Other information received from La Marre, Mirebel, Crançot, further corroborate the assertions of our Lédonians.

All the witnesses also agree to point out the almost complete immobility of the craft for a few tens of seconds and its rapid start towards Switzerland.


From all this information, what can we conclude? A lot of information is still lacking, in particular on the exact hour of the passage, the direction of the object, its changes of pace and direction, to be affirmative one way or the other.

Let us hope that readers will have proved to be precise observers, and will communicate their remarks to us.

In the meantime, the mystery remains whole...


The journalist, author and pioneer ufologist indicated that on Saturday January 9, 1954, at dawn, there was a "flash invasion" on the east of France; which according to him "seems to be a highlight in the voluminous 'flying saucers' file."

Garreau indicated that from "all places" in the region, information flocked to his desk, about an object that "flew for almost two hours above the East."

He said that the first reports left the door open to all hypotheses, meteor, balloon, jet plane, "or saucer!", but that the reports which reached him later would eliminate all these hypotheses except that of the flying saucer.

He recalled that meteors always have a perfectly rectilinear trajectory, a relatively high constant speed of 30.000 to 40.000 km/h, and that balloons have an apparent speed which cannot exceed that of the strongest stratospheric currents, from 300 to 400 km/h.

He indicated that in Auxonne, a few kilometers west of Damparis, a college teacher, Mr. Leluc, noted the exact time (which Garreau does not give) and gave a detailed description of his observation, that of a cigar with rounded ends, flat below, convex at the top, with a movement in an arc of a large radius "which other observations confirm."

He explained that no meteor or balloon could have engaged in the "zigzag" shown according to him by the observations of this morning, and that no plane of the time could have been able "to stop then accelerate at more than 3,000 per hour", performances which he deduced from some of the observations and distances between observation spots relative to the reported observations hours.

Garreau added that "to leave no doubt", he had questioned the various regional weather stations, and that he had been told that no balloon had been launched.

At the American base in Semoutiers, near Chaumont, he was told "It was neither a balloon, nor a plane, from here."

He added that the Besançon observatory had seen nothing, and that the Contrexéville and Dijon radar sets as well as the Perrogney goniometer in Haute-Saône had seen nothing, since their specialists only took their duty at 8 a.m.

He added that the "Scientific bureau" had hesitated to take a position, saying that the only possible "natural" explanation would be that of a meteor, but "the journey described by the object is such that it could not have been a single meteor. It would therefore have to be admitted that it was a swarm of meteorites which crossed "(under the clouds !!!)" the sky of eastern France following different trajectories."


The authors give two sketches, the one on the left is the trip of the flying saucer according to Charles Garreau, the one on the right is the trajectory of the meteor according to them:

The authors fustigate [rightly] the ufologists who like Charles Garreau took the hours of observations given in the newspapers literally [as if people were then provided with stop watches! These hours are generally only approximations made a posteriori] and then believed in a complicated flying saucer travel where a meteor had actually passed.

Barthel and Brucker specify that the North-West to South-East trajectory of the meteor of 7:50 is confirmed by testimonies coming from other countries.


This magazine listed this case:

54 01 09 7:49 a.m. NL Auxonne



[...Other cases...]

JANUARY 9, 1954

The aerial object that flew over the Côte d'Or left the door open to various assumptions: meteor, balloon, jet plane or saucer, according to the newspapers! The witnesses describe it as an object at the speed of a (Burgundian) snail, then as a fireball describing an extraordinary journey: Nancy, Neuvelle les Champlittes, Chaumont, Langres, Gemeaux, Besançon. It was reportedly also seen in Dijon, Oisilly and Auxonne. It was also described as a reddish trail or yellow disk, depending on its speed and angle of observation (ref. 21)

[...Other cases...]

The source "ref. 21" is indicated further on, as "21 - Bourgogne Républicaine for 1/13/54, Mystérieux objets célestes by Aimée [sic] Michel, page 96 to 99 -"


54 01 09 / AUXONNE / 7H49 / NL / P /

A resident who was traveling on the pont de France, saw in the North-East direction, an elongated craft that moved towards the east.

(Source: Bourgogne républicaine 1/12/54 and 1/13/54)

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the "Côte d'or in Auxonne" on January 9, 1954, at 07:49, there was an "Observation of a discoidal object of a dazzling red luminosity with trail. Far towards the North East."

The source is indicated as "Les soucoupes volantes viennent d'un autre monde by Guieu Jimmy ** Fleuve Noir 1954". [Note: numerous sighting reports of January 9, 1954, are mentioned in this source, but not this one.]


The January 9, 1954, 07:48 a.m. meteor.


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

Auxonne, Côte-d'Or, yellow, cigar, elongated, orange, luminous, bridge


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross October 3, 2005 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 10, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Addition [lcn1].
1.1 Patrick Gross November 2, 2016 Addition of the article scan for [bre1].
1.2 Patrick Gross January 25, 2019 Additions [via2], [via1], Summary.
1.3 Patrick Gross May 17, 2019 Additions [via3].
1.4 Patrick Gross January 4, 2020 Addition [cgu2]. In the Summary, addition of the paragraph "In his 1956 book..."

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This page was last updated on January 4, 2020.