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The 1954 French flap:

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January 9, 1954, Dole, Jura:

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


The regional newspaper La Bourgogne Républicaine of January 12, 1954, reported the numerous observations made in the region on January 9, 1954.

One of them occurred in Dole around 7:50 a.m.:

An entrepreneur from this city, Mr. Marcel Girard, was at the intersection of Avenue de la Paix and Boulevard Wilson, when he looked up and saw in the sky "a strange-shaped machine that was moving at a great speed in a direction, he said, from Mont Roland to Salins-le-Bains, so the craft cut Boulevard Wilson at about the level of the school."

He only saw it for three or four seconds, and he states that the "craft" had made a noticeable slowdown over Wilson Boulevard, "as if the occupants (?) had intended to watch from closer."

He said:

"It is an object whose general shape is reminiscent of a cigar whose tip is dazzling blue, but the lower part is orange or red as if there were sparks in the back: it was moving a very high speed but for lack of landmarks reference neither the speed of the machine nor its height could be evaluated. First these measurements are very difficult to make even by technicians, then the light was very weak."

The newspaper also reported that an employee of the S.N.C.F. state railway co, Mr. Maillot, who was on the "Pont de Mouchard" saw the craft at the same time. According to him, it was a circular object, which would have moved at a height of 3000 m. (?), without any noise, and he could observe it for 4 seconds.

On January 13, 1954, the regional newspaper Le Bien Public indicated for the same observation that it was "a big fireball that seemed to graze the roofs and disappeared in record time" from the eyes of witnesses. The best placed were merchants who were on the national square and who spread the news. On the other hand, a Miss Jeanne Perrin living rue des Noches, told them that this "Saturday morning January 9 at 7:50 a.m., driving to work on my bicycle work, my gaze was drawn towards the sky by a light, I saw a huge star, as big as an orange, which was racing north-south. It had a luminous, sparkling, short tail, 25 to 30cm, narrow on the side of the star, widening and seeming formed of multitudes of small stars with rainbow colors, not very high in the sky. I saw it during 5 to 7 seconds ".

Charles Garreau, then journalist of La Bourgogne Républicaine and already a flying saucers enthusiast, had put the observations of this day on a map to show that since the thing had zigzagged, it was not a meteor. He had naively taken for granted the hours quoted, giving 07:50 a.m. to the Dole sighting, whereas most of them were, of course, only approximate hours. It is because of this that some still speak of a "sudden change of course" of phenomenon, but it was not so.

This obvious meteor was explained as such by the "skeptical" ufologists Gérard Barthel and Jacques Brucker in their 1979 book, but some continued to cite the observation as if it were "unexplained".





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 aerial object observed on January 9 is not a meteor

Could it actually be a flying saucer
that flew over our region for a long time?


After the celestial phenomenon of August 12 which, from the Jura to the Morvan, had thousands of witnesses, the appearance of November 9 [sic] seems to be a date, in turn, in the voluminous file of "non-identified aerial objects."

Information has poured in from all over the region.

Our correspondents, our readers have communicated to us the observations they have gathered.

Observations which cast a strange light on the extraordinary object which, on Saturday morning, moved for nearly two hours over eastern France.

The first reports left the door open to all hypotheses: meteor, balloon, jet plane... or saucer!

Those that we have since collected allow us to reject outright the hypothesis of a meteorite [sic], whose trajectory is perfectly regular in direction and speed, always very high: around 40,000 km. per hour.

They also make it possible to reject the hypothesis of the balloon, as its apparent speed cannot exceed those of the most violent currents: 300 km.-hour.

Indeed, what did we see on Saturday?


Saturday morning, 6:15 a.m. With a flash of blinding light, a craft of round shape tears the sky of Lunéville. It flies from North to South. No noise.

7:20 a.m.: in Neuvelle-les-Champlitte, a red glow casts a reflection of blood on the snowy countryside. Very high up, a rather long object, followed by an incandescent trail, describes an immense arc of a circle and heads north.

From Lunéville to Neuvelle: 130 km, in straight line, that the craft covered in one hour.

7:40 a.m.: in Nancy, a yellowish disc spins in the low sky, trailing behind it, a beam of light. Its size seems approximately that of a quarter of the moon.

From Neuvelle to Nancy: 125 kilometers, covered in 20': the pace, although still reduced, increases: 375 km per hour.

7:45 a.m. Chaumont-Montigny-le-Roy-Langres-Gemeaux. In a few tens of seconds, at an altitude which seems relatively low to the witnesses, a dazzling craft, with a capricious trajectory, splits the emerging day with its intense light, red at the front, clearer at the rear, with greenish reflections forming like a triangular bundle.

In Gemeaux, change of direction: the craft veers clearly towards the east. We see it in Oisilly, Vesoul, where a witness gave the exact time of his passage: 7:46 a.m.

Watch mismatch or temporary slowdown? It was not seen in Besançon until 4 minutes later.

New change of direction, less accentuated: Dole is overflown. From Chaumont, the object traveled about 250 kilometers, in 5 minutes. The morning snail has given way to a real racing car: 3,000 km.hour! (approximately).

And the extraordinary journey continues: Poligny, where it is seen as a disc of red yellow color, seeming to spin on itself, and followed by a bluish trail. Lons-le-Saulnier, where it moves slowly, stopping almost completely for ten seconds, before starting abruptly towards Switzerland, leaving behind it, as it accelerates, a huge glowing plume.

Which meteorite, which balloon would have indulged in such astonishing maneuvers, and, for a balloon, at such speeds?

However, to leave no doubt, we questioned the various weather stations in the region.

"No ballon was released" we were told.

Same answer at the American base in Semoutiers: it was neither one of our planes, nor a balloon launched by us!".

The Besançon observatory saw nothing, and for good reason: employees do not take service until 8:30 a.m.!

So, no question of balloons, even if we tried to admit an error of approximation of speed, speed otherwise confirmed by the figures.


These two hypotheses being eliminated, what remains?

There are only two possible explanations left: unmanned earthly vehicle... or a saucer.

However, to our knowledge, since the removal of the Mailly test station, there is no longer either in France or in Western Europe any launching base for such devices.

So here we are, once again, in front of a beautiful question mark: what was it then?


Another troubling point adds to the problem. At the same time as Haute-Marne, Doubs, Côte-d'Or, Jura were flown over, the region of Beaujeu and Mâcon also saw a circular, yellowish object moving quickly in the NNW-SSE direction, and seeming to move at a fairly low altitude.

It seems unlikely that this is the same object. Indeed, a simplified triangulation determines fairly approximately the "necessary and sufficient" conditions for the craft to have been seen from both Nancy and Beaujeu, 350 kilometers away in straight line!

Required altitude: 30,000 meters, in formal contradiction with the estimates given by witnesses, and which vary between 1,500 and 3,000 meters.

Minimum diameter so that the object has been seen as a single point (assuming that the separating power of the eye is equal to 1°) and not as "a large tangerine" or a disk as big as a quarter of the moon: a hundred meters.

And these conditions are all theoretical. They require, indeed, perfect visibility, which was not the case, many nebulous clusters covering certain places of the region.

In Dijon, and its surroundings, for example, there were two eighth covers, at 1,000 meters, at the time of observation. In Besançon: five eighths at 400 meters. In Nancy, no ceiling. The wind was calm everywhere.

We can therefore reasonably assume that it is not just one, but several unidentified objects, which furrowed the sky on Saturday morning.

[Map caption:] From Lunéville (top, right) to Lons-le-Saulnier, here is, roughly reconstructed from the testimonies collected, the extraordinary journey of the strange "unidentified object." Better than long comments, this sketch highlights the changes of direction and the variations in pace noted by the witnesses. A question mark: was it another craft that was seen at the same time in Saône-et-Loire?

And these objects were not optical illusions. Too many reliable witnesses (among them professors, school directors, engineers) in too many different places, gave details which clearly locate a material object:

What remains then as an explanation?

Those who have seen have their opinion more or less fixed: they saw one of these mysterious saucers, whose appearances in all parts of the globe have unleashed the most heated controversies.

To the others, I leave it to them to draw the conclusions that they find most satisfactory.

Anyway, here's a nice extra piece to the bulky "unidentified aerial objects" file!


What does the
U.S. Air Force knows

After America, France increasingly sees strange objects appear in its sky...

What are they? Where do they come from? The question, so far, has remained unanswered.

But the United States Air Force, the first, has opened an investigation that has dragged on for seven years.

Very soon, under the signature of an American expert [Donald Keyhoe] our journal will start publishing a fascinating series of articles; which will reveal to our readers some of the secret files of the US Air Force.


French journalist and pioneer of French ufology Charles Garreau drew the map underneath to plot sightings which all occurred on January 9, 1954, between 06:15 A.M. and 7:50 A.M. in the East of France.

Though no narrative is joined, it is visible on the map that according to Garreau a sighting of some sort occurred on January 9, 1954, at 07:50 a.m., in Dole.


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 the "craft" had flown over Dole.

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.



Saturday morning, several residents of Dôle saw in the sky, a large ball of fire that seemed to graze the roofs and disappeared in record time from their eyes. The best placed were the merchants who were on the national square and who spread the news. But already, a few days earlier, Mr. Roger Bouhan, who was leaning on a window of his apartment, in the evening, saw the same fireball. For a few seconds. Is it the same meteor that crossed the neighboring localities? We can suppose it. On the other hand, Miss Jeanne Perrin residing rue des Noches, confirms to us: "Saturday morning January 9 at 7:50 a.m., going to work on my bicycle, my eyes were drawn to the sky by a light. I saw a huge star, big like an orange that raced north-south, it had a luminous, sparkling, short tail, 25 to 30cm, narrow on the side of the star, widening and seeming formed of multitudes of small stars with rainbow colors. Not very high in the sky. I saw it for 5 to 7 seconds."

The source is given as the newspaper Le Bien Public.

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Jura in Dôle on January 9, 1954, at 07:50 "Observation of a discoidal object of a dazzling red luminosity with trail. Coming from north east and going towards the south."

The source is indicated as "Les soucoupes volantes viennent d'un autre monde by Guieu Jimmy ** Fleuve Noir 1954".



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


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

Dole, Dôle, Jura, Marcel Girard, Jeanne Perrin, Maillot, cigar, round, elongated, fast, sparks, high, silent, red, orange


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross August 9, 2004 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 26, 2019 Addition of the Summary.
1.3 Patrick Gross January 29, 2019 Addition [via1]. In the Summary, addition of the paragraph "On January 13, 1954..."
1.4 Patrick Gross February 5, 2020 Addition [cgu2].
1.5 Patrick Gross January 9, 2021 Addition [bre2].

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