1954 UFO Sighting in France
Sightings of UFOs began to be reported in great numbers after the Second World War. Probably the first recorded sighting of an unidentified flying object was by the American aviator and businessman Kenneth Arnold on June 24 1947.
During the following decades, many UFO sightings were reported. Alien visitation also became a major theme of various science fiction books, films and TV series.
Although many accounts of UFO sightings in the fifties came from the United States, reports also came from other countries. In Europe, one notable UFO sighting was in France in 1954.
Marius Dewilde was a railway metalworker who lived in a house close to the tracks of the railway station at Quarouble, Nord, France. On September 10, 1954, Dewilde's dog started barking at around ten thirty in the evening. Dewilde didn't pay much attention to his dog to begin with, but eventually curiosity got the better of him and he went outside with a flashlight to see what was happening.
Walking towards the tracks, he saw an object about six or seven metres away from him. As he moved, he could hear some steps. Pointing his flash light in the direction of the sounds, Dewilde saw saw two small humanoid figures. Dewilde later said that they were about 80cm to 1 metre tall. When he pointed a light at their heads, it was reflected as if they wearing a mirror helmet. They seemed to be wearing something which looked like diving suits.
According to Dewilde, a beam of light then came from the object. The light paralyzed him. He then saw what seemed to be a door opening in the object. The humanoid beings then boarded the object, which took off. It then changed colours as it flew upwards into the night sky.
Later when he had managed to recover from the bizarre and rather terrifying experience, he spoke to his wife and neighbour about what he had seen. Neither of them had seen or heard anything. He tried informing the local police and they sent officers to investigate.
Initially, Dewilde did not want to return to the scene of incident because it made him feel sick. His story was taken seriously though. The next morning, investigators were all over the scene.
Investigations into the Incident
During investigations which took place following the reported encounter, a passing train was brought to a loud and abrupt halt. It was later found that this was caused by a depression under the track in the exact spot that the UFO had landed.
Other details which were uncovered after the incident included small rocks under the train tracks which were carbonized, as well as marks on the sleepers between the steel lines.
After the incident, Dewilde is said to have suffered from respiratory problems. His dog died three days after the encounter. Cows in nearby farms were also found dead. Inexplicably, their bodies were found to be completely drained of blood.
Three weeks later a similar report was made by George Gatay, a building site foreman working at Marcilly-sur-Vienne. Gatay reportedly felt a 'peculiar drowsiness come over him' while he was working. He said that he felt compelled to walk, although he didn't quite know why.
When he stopped, he saw a humanoid being, wearing an opaque glass helmet, short boots and grey coveralls. He also noticed a rod like weapon in its hand and a square shaped electronic device on its chest. Behind the being was a dome shaped object which hovered 3ft above the ground.
When Gatay moved closer to investigate, the being vanished and the UFO flew off into the sky. Gatay and some of his men suffered from insomnia and loss of appetite for several days after the incident. Later, they all made a full recovery.
These two incidents were not the only ones to be reported in France during the year of 1954. There were a wave of such encounters in that year, many of which were associated with sightings of humanoid creatures. The French ufologist Aimé Michel wrote about these incidents in a book called, Flying Saucers and the Straight-line Mystery. Michel came up with a theory called orthoténie. He suggested that there were 'alignments': straight lines which corresponded to large circles. He suggested that UFO sightings could be concentrated along these grid lines.