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The 1954 French flap:

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

Beg. October, 1954, Grand-Laviers, Somme:

Reference for this case: 3-Oct-54-Grand-Laviers.
Please cite this reference in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


In 1978 already, then again around 2017, "skeptical" ufologist Dominique Caudron, based in the Nord, cataloged sightings in the Nord region for October 3, 1954, neglected by ufologists, including many that were previously unpublished, and mostly explainable by a red moon whose appearance was altered by clouds.

One of these observations was reportedly in the regional newspaper Abbeville Libre, page 1, for October 6, 1954, as:

"Mr. Carton, Mr. and Mrs. Leconte and two other people saw at 8 or 10 km towards Noyelles-sur-Mer a ball of light twirl and change color. They followed it with the eyes before it disappeared towards Boulogne.




In the century of flying saucers

After the basin
here is the... flying hive

Two young people saw this
mysterious apparatus on a road near Vron

It's the talk of the day.

"Did you see a flying saucer?"

No... and you... However, I seemed to me that I saw something strange, said a sales representative to a customer in our town these past few days.

And you gendarmes, who are often on tour day and night, did you see anything?

- Absolutely nothing...

And yet, there are some of these mysterious craft in the Picardy sky... of different shapes... and little men who, dressed in spacesuits, wander around this craft which transmitted electric rays making the approach difficult.

It is Friday, around 6:45 p.m., that two young men from Vron, Bernard Duvoisin and René Condette, 18 years old, who were returning from their work site following the road from Ligescourt to Vron, had their attention attracted to a craft... which had landed on the path they were following by bicycle.

This craft was orange, and how was this mysterious craft?

bell-shaped, they said.

And when we were about 70 meters from it, this bee hive ... without bees, but supposedly containing two little men, flew away and disappeared into the horizon.

So, everywhere cigars, saucers, basins, discs, light trails and odd people are seen...

The future will tell us what these craft are... but we remain skeptical while awaiting events.



Sunday, around 9:10 p.m., Mr. Georges Galand, butcher in Rue, who drove a car and had his wife by his side, was at a place called "Pont-à-Cailloux", Quend territory, when he saw a strange craft having the shaped like a cigar.

Having slowed down the speed of his car to better observe it, he noticed that this machine was flying at a reduced speed and at low altitude. This is how the Galland couple were able to follow it for eight kilometers.

It then turned towards Saint-Quentin-en-Tourmon.

Also, Mr. Georges Savary, of Rue, also had his attention attracted by the presence of a machine, having the shape of a red disc, which, according to his declarations, would have landed in a grassland about 400 meters from his home.

This craft would have left a few minutes later, in the direction of Le Crotoy. No traces were found at the landing site.



Around 9:10 p.m., Mr. Carton, employed at the Saint-Frères factory, in Abbeville and living in Grand-Lavier, saw in the sky, about 8 to 10 kilometers away, in the direction of Noyelles-sur-Mer, a ball of fire, spinning and giving the clear impression of changing color.

This ball had the shape of two thirds of the moon and did not seem to fly at a crazy pace, since during a few minutes he followed it with the eyes as well as the Lecomte couple and two other people.

Then this mysterious ball... disappeared in the direction of Boulogne.



The weekend of October 2-3 appears on all charts as the maximum-maximum of the 1954 wave. Various newspapers and magazines that I have been able to check for this period give us an almost complete overview, in any case very broadly representative of the regional observations that were reported in the press for Sunday October 3rd. I have included the observations of the Somme which seemed to me inseparable from those of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and which appear moreover in the chapter entitled "Zigzag on the mining country" of the book by A. Michel: "Mysterieux Objets Célestes." I count, as one case, each observation made by an independent group of witnesses. The astonishing number of observations reported below, once again shows the interest of thoroughly digging into the newspapers archives.

OCTOBER 3, 1954:

[...other cases...]

31) Date only probable, 9:10 p.m. GRAND LAVIERS _80_ Mr Carton, Mr and Mrs Leconte and two other people saw 8 or 10 km towards Noyelles-sur-Mer a ball of light spinning and changing color. They followed it with their eyes before it disappeared towards Boulogne. (10/8, Abbeville Libre, p.1)

[...other cases...]


We know that that evening, at 9:30 p.m., the crescent Moon was setting in the southwest and that according to case 9 it was distorted by low clouds...

Disaster! This bundle of suspicions throws a total discredit on this magnificent series of observations, one of the most beautiful that we have ever found yet. We will have to verify certain data, the direction of certain sightings, the weather conditions, but already the doubt is too great for us to be able to classify these sightings as UFOs.



Dominique Caudron drew up an inventory of observations in the Nord on October 3, 1954, containing 51 reports, including this one:

The Fabulous day of October 3, 1954


Chronology of the observations of October 3.

We give here only a summary of what was published in the press of the time, for the nord region, regardless of what the ufologists could later say. We have numbered all these observations, the first of which have nothing to do with the setting of the moon, in order to be able to study them globally in a table. Some are already the subject of a special file.

[... other cases...]

31) Date only probable, 21 h 10, GRAND LAVIERS (80)

- Mr. Carton, Mr. and Mrs. Leconte and two other people saw at 8 or 10 km towards Noyelles-sur-Mer a ball of light twirl and change color. They followed it with the eyes before it disappeared towards Boulogne.

(Abbeville Libre 6/10 page 1)

[... other cases...]

All this is only a compilation of the information given by all newspapers of the time, including local editions, and of which ufologists only used a part.

We will see that the analysis of this information makes it possible to eliminate the hypothesis of a flying saucer, in favor of those of multiple observations of the moon, whose image was reddened and deformed by clouds, which also gave it a illusory apparent movement.


Analysis of the observations of October 3, 1954

[... other cases...]

31) Date only probable, 09:10 p.m., GRAND LAVIERS (80)

Insufficient information

[... other cases...]



The data is indeed meager. However, we can reasonably assume (without making any certainty of that since the newspaper does not appear to show scientific precision) that the witnesses would have seen the thing from Grand-Laviers, and that it was towards Noyelles-sur-Mer, therefore, Northeast, while the Moon on October 3, 1954, at 09:10 p.m. was setting in the Southwest.

In support, the distance of "8 or 10 km". It does not mean anything that can be applied to the thing seen, but it is precisely the distance between Grand-Laviers and Noyelles-sur-Mer. The witnesses thinking that the "thing" was above Noyelles-sur-Mer may have known this distance, or checked it later on a map, for example.

The ball would have "disappeared" in the direction of Boulogne, which is almost to the North. In the days before and after, the moon is obviously never north-west or north.

A "ball of light" that twirls and changes color is more like a star or planet very low whose light is diffracted by a cloud of ice crystals, or altered by observation with binoculars. Venus is not a good candidate here for the same directional reasons as the Moon.

A star would suit: Capella. It was brilliant, at 39° azimuth, 19° elevation, so just above Noyelles-sur-Mer at 09:10 p.m., and actually "going" in the direction of Boulogne more towards the North. But it does not "disappear" behind the horizon, it "rises" in the sky. If Capella was the cause of the observation, then we need a cloud that hid it at the end of observation, which is naturally possible.


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

Grand-Laviers, Somme, Carton, Leconte, multiple, Noyelles-sur-Mer, ball, luminous, twirl, color change, move, Boulogne.


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
1.0 Patrick Gross May 27, 2019 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross March 8, 2020 Addition [ale1].
1.2 Patrick Gross July 7, 2022 Addition [dcn1]. In the Summary, "Around 2017" changed to "In 1978 already, then again around 2017".

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This page was last updated on July 7, 2022.