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UFOs in the daily Press:

The 1954 French flap in the Press:

This article was published in the daily newspaper Le Quotidien de la Haute-Loire, France, October 22, 1954.


A stratojet plane which, each day, flies over the valley of the Rhone at an altitude of approximately 10000 meters, was mistaken Tuesday, by some people, for a flying saucer. The president instructor of the Flying-club of Vienne (Is re) dissuaded the too imaginative witnesses at once, but a strange phenomenon occurred after the passage of the powerful jet. It formed indeed, in the sky, some sort of animated parachutes with odd movements and having the aspect of light veils which soon reached the ground. The witnesses of the phenomenon grabbed this very soft matter which had a little the consistency of rubber. While arriving on the ground, the matter volitilized, probably under the influence of the temperature. One of the witnesses put some of the substance in a box and made a photograph of it at once. A few hours afterwards, what remained in this limps, that was sealed however, had evaporated. This phenomenon, due to condensation in the rarefied and cold atmosphere of certain elements of the fuel of the stratojet can cause white or iridescent formations moving at high speed, great altitude and give place, thus, to more or less whimsical interpretations. This observation, made above the Aerodrome of Vienne is identical to that already reported in its time [1952] by an inhabitant of Oloron.


The director of the Roupy airfield (Aisne), gave to a newspaper of this department some explanations on natural phenomena interpreted by some as flying saucers. Here is his statement. It has been fashionable, for some time, to be able to say to have seen a weird machine in the sky, and soon undoubtedly, those who do not have seen anything will themselves be phenomena! As we fear that we are among this category of individuals, we will talk about false "saucers" observed in the area. We do not want to formally deny the existence of such machines, for it seems there are irrefutable observations; but many of the people imagine that they witnessed a mysterious phenomenon, whereas it is something completely ordinary. Thus frequently, when we carry out a survey of the night, the rare passers by who see the lampion provided with a candle which is balanced at the end of a balloon, stop and shout at the miracle, believing to be confronted to an extraterrestrial machine. Almost 15 years ago, these same balloons were for people ill of the espionnite, inflated with yperite and one of us had troubles in Orl ansville because the Algiers-Oran express train had reversed vapor at the sight of one of these balloons. Other times, we are called at night by nightbirds who see something... Often, it is the planet Mars whose red-orange glare is different to other stars, or more simply a plane and its side-lights. There is also the phenomenon of paraselene. The paraselene is a luminous spot with the colors of the rainbow, the purple red being the most visible, it is roughly at 22 on the right and on the left of the moon. Often only one of these spots is visible. The paraselene is sometimes prolonged to the bottom by a kind of tail called oblique arc of Lowitz which is then mobile and fugacious. The same phenomenon occurs with the sun and then bears the name of parhelion. This phenomenon is related to halation, a large luminous circle which one frequently observes around the moon and the sun, and has the same cause. All these luminous phenomena are due to the scattering of the light emitted or reflected by the star when it crosses a layer of very high clouds, called cirrostratus and made of ice crystals. Solidified water serves as a prism, and depending to the shape and the orientation of the crystals, the nature of the phenomenon varies.

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