UFO Conjectures

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

An August 12th, 1914 UFO in France

Spanish UFO researcher Jose Antonio Caravaca, our colleague, inserted this letter from a police department in France, with an archival dating of August 16, 1914, on his Facebook page:


Senor Caravaca provided this link so you can read more about the sighting. (Use Google Translation if necessary):


While some of us are fixated on UFOs in the era of 1947 onward, the records of earlier sightings are fascinating, and indicate that UFOs have either been an ongoing, physical phenomenon or an hallucinatory manifestation unique to human kind, going back to primitive man.

(If you are a Facebook habitue, you would do well to seek out Jose Caravaca's page or Gilles Fernandez page and ask to be "friended." Both researchers provide UFO reports and events that have been missed on this side of the Atlantic.)



  • Hello,

    Dominique Caudron have already made analysis of such cases of "phantom planes". In :


    BLURGS BARON NOIR, PIGEON VOLE!, SCIENCE & VIE n°854, 11/1988, p 50.

    COMMUNICATION n° 52, novembre 1990, p 219.



    English : http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/DomCaudron.html

    I suggest José or anyone to contact Dominique Caudron in our French forum which would be an erudit source for such cases:

    Our forum: http://ufo-scepticisme.forumactif.com/
    His member nickname is "Oncle Dom" for PM's.


    Gilles F.

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Tuesday, February 12, 2013  

  • Fascinating. I agree that these older reports are more credible because the motivations for reporting them were not yet tainted by the toxins of modern day Ufology. What gain or glory could have come from reporting this in 1914 France?

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Tuesday, February 12, 2013  

  • Well, the link between such reports and Extraterrestrials is a little fast imho. Many cases like this have been documented by Dominique Caudron concerning Europe (ie in the links above).

    August 1914 was a special period (start of the WW1 in France, General Mobilization the 1srt) and people reported "fantom balloons or plans", and this in other such special periods, confusing Venus, etc. by ennemies plans or ballons spying, approaching, etc.
    So panic, special attention on the sky on prosaïc candidats despite not recognized, etc. could be speculate without invokating Zeta Reticuli invaders...

    You have the "Battle of Los Angeles" there in the US^, as comparison^of what I mean...

    One more time, Dominique Caudron is our "Expert" here, so People interrested could contact him, I'm just summerazing in very short and not specialized about...



    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Wednesday, February 13, 2013  

  • There was also the then famous "Astre Cherbourg" in the spring of 1905, which appeared for several nights in the sky over Cherbourg. Described to be moving at times.

    Camille Flammarion said emphatically that it was Venus. Perhaps Gilles can throw more light on this. At least it was not due to war fever as it was 9 years before 1914. It is quoted in one of Charles Fort's books.

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, February 13, 2013  

  • The Venus explanation has always baffled me.

    I (and you too I bet) have seen Venus in the night or morning sky and it has never looked like anything other than a bright star.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, February 13, 2013  

  • It depends how near the horizon it was. It can give the impression of moving if close to horizon and there is a temperature inversion. Also the fact that it appeared several nights in succession is very suggestive.

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, February 13, 2013  

  • A sighting of Venus, near the horizon or anywhere else, and thought to be a UFO (or flying saucer) is daft.

    And temperature inversions are always eschewed by me as a UFO explanation since Menzel used it to skewer real UFO sightings.

    As soon as someone inserts Venus or temperature inversions as a UFO explanation, I write them off.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, February 13, 2013  

  • Got to agree with RR. There's nothing about Venus in the morning or evening sky that can be confused with a moving object, even when viewed through the window of a moving car.

    I've never known anyone who misinterpreted it as anything other than a bright star rather than a planet. Since it's regularly on display twice a year, it's a very familiar sight in the sky, right after the Sun, Moon, and Orion (in the Northern Hemisphere).

    Venus has always seemed a very weak or questionable explanation for sightings of things a bit more exotic than our planetary neighbor. Yes, the likelihood is high this wasn't an alien craft, but Venus is the least likely explanation for what it really was.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Wednesday, February 13, 2013  

  • Last week around midnight I was awakened by the wind shaking the house (the bedroom is on the 3rd floor and it is an old house). I got up and looked out the window to see if a storm was blowing in. What I could see was a surprisingly large object moving in the sky. It appeared to be on a common helicopter flight path, and I expected it to turn to its left soon, but it did not. Instead it fluttered about. The window was so designed that the object was doubled, so I was stooping down at an angle to get rid of the false image. I woke my wife who is a foot shorter than me, and asked her to take a look. I said "It reminds me of Mars that time..."

    She said it was to our right of Orion and she could see light clouds scuttling by. Checking a sky chart we identified it as Jupiter (the only planet in the sky at the time). My comment about Mars referred to the last close transit when we viewed it out in the high desert. It, like Jupiter, appeared to scintillate, but not because of clouds but because of the heat rising up between us and the sky.

    We're pretty good at identifying things in the sky, but have been momentarily non-plussed by what we see. Someone with not much experience or knowledge could be fooled.

    I have had two experiences of objects I have not been able to identify, one in the desert at night, one in the city during the day. They're my "ufos".



    By Blogger Don, at Wednesday, February 13, 2013  

  • Stars and planets rise from the Eastern horizon, set on the Western horizon and proceed smoothly from the former to the latter at sidereal rate (i.e., one complete circuit approximately every 24 hours). If I'm translating the French article correctly,the witness was in Paris, and described the object as moving FROM the apparent direction of Versailles TO the apparent direction of Corbeil--in other words retrograde, compared to sidereal motion. This would eliminate the possibility of the witness having seen Venus, or any other planet or star.

    Also, there is no such psychiatric diagnosis as "war fever". People do, of course, become anxious about the prospect of impending war, but there is no accepted and conventional theory of psychodynamics by which generalized anxiety would produce precisely the kind of misinterpretions, delusions, etc. that result in UFO descriptions. "War fever" is a fictitious entity like "war nerves", and "time compression" that skeptics and debunkers make up on the spot and ascribe just the right characteristics to, in order to explain away observations which would otherwise be puzzling and troublesome. This is very suspicious reasoning.

    By Blogger Larry, at Wednesday, February 13, 2013  

  • Being trained in psychology and working in the field over the years I tend to agree with you Larry, however, apprehension over pending events can produce a predilection toward hysteria and/or hallucinatory episodes.

    Gilles Fernandez, a psychologist of note in France, is better able to answer you than I, as he's familiar with the public psyche in the time-frame of the sighting covered above and others.

    Your observation about the direction of travel of the sighted object or UFO is well-taken, and dispenses with that loopy Venus explanation.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, February 13, 2013  

  • The transits of Jupiter and Mars are far less predictable to the average person because their disappearances and reappearances in our skies generally appear random to non-astronomers. They can be seen anywhere within a large (but predictable) area of sky.

    Venus, on the other hand, is very "dependable" due to its regular twice yearly appearances and disappearances. Because it's inside Earth's orbit (unlike all the other planets except Mercury), it's always seen within a much smaller area of the sky; easily found and identified by its sky location and the season of the year in which it's observed.

    A misidentification of Mars or Jupiter is easy to accept. I'm a regular eyes-only observer of the night sky and still couldn't with certainty find and identify Mars or Jupiter without first glancing at a sky chart.

    But, knee-jerk identifications of a large number of unknowns as Venus is as wrong headed as calling them Reptilian star cruisers. It just doesn't wash much of the time.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Wednesday, February 13, 2013  

  • Hello,

    The 13 august 1914 around 20h the tandem Venus Mars (with Mars few visible) seems to be closed to the horizon, appearing, mooving and hidding during a 15 to 20 mn period. There is Capella mooving NW to NE too imho. Verify, cause I'm still not quite comfortable with Sky reconstitution softwares.

    There are previous cases in Europe, ie. Iaroslav in Galicie, Austria (January 1913), Autrichians believing Russians were spying with planes (An Article of "Le Petit journal" claims they destroyed one^^) and this during several days. Venus was very bright following Dominique Caudron...

    In the link http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/comm_0588-8018_1990_num_52_1_1792 p.234 Dominique wrote about several of such cases.

    "Espionite", Dominique calls it in French, which is difficult to translate for me, something with Spy + a suffixe of a disease (ie like in meningit), meaning here the war atmosphere/tension drived people, soldats to panic, mass delusions on celestrial objects (Jupiter, Venus, etc.).

    There is an illustration of the Iaroslav event for those who likes to collect such pictures : http://oncle.dom.pagesperso-orange.fr/paranormal/ovni/cas/baron_noir/galicie.jpg
    (source : http://oncle.dom.pagesperso-orange.fr/paranormal/ovni/cas/baron_noir/baron_noir.htm )

    One more time, I'm not erudit about such cases than Dominique could be...


    "Same" it is concerning the 1896/97 wave. Two of the princeps sightings (November 1896 Sacramento and Oackland) seems to corroborate Venus as good candidat when comparing azimut/hours/"mooving direction" allegued by the witnesses in Newspapers and Sky softwares reconstructions, as we have already done in our forum/work.

    I have started an article in my blog (not finished for the part two) developping a complex mass delusion hypothesis (several factors/variables included).

    Probably, as interresting and departure factor imho, because illustrations of such Airships, as patents, etc. were published BEFORE the Wave in Newspapers as "I" have found and this precisaly in the same area of the future wave (California), making that people were waiting such airships to fly (effet d'attente in French).
    So people were perfectly "conditionned" culturaly/by ambiance to transform and elaborate Airships from prosaic stimulis (cognitive projective transformations and elaborations, as I state in my little blog).

    After, there was maybe contamination by newspapers, hoaxes, publicity, etc., I mean the traditionnal mecanisms of a mass delusion.

    After, of course, Ufologists are free to prefer Aliens or Gaïa or other exotic/fortean hypothesis to explain this wave or the others pre-Arnold sightings...

    I will not revolutionize the belief in UFO and have not such pretention ;)



    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Thursday, February 14, 2013  

  • Gilles:

    Perhaps we can also have your ideas on the 'Astre Cherbourg' of early 1905. (seen several days in succession). Flammarion insisted it was Venus, stating that "the ignorance of some people was quite 'inenarrable'". I believe he watched the object himself so presumably he knew what he was talking about.

    By Blogger cda, at Thursday, February 14, 2013  

  • Hello Christopher and the others friends,

    I "translate" with my very top English what Dominique Caudron wrote in his Book Chapter "Le Baron Noir et ses Ancêtres" (Black Baron and his Ancestors).

    [i]Cherbourg, April 1905[i]. A luminous object appeared episodicaly in the sky and defied the sagacity of the experts. English captive balloon? Comet? New star? Electrical meteor? Maybe the Moon? Here again, the public powers were worried/concerned. The Marine ministry asked an investigation to the Préfet Maritime. The mysterious craft almost never be found. The Officers of the cruiser [i]Chasseloup-Laubat[/i] ended however to understand that there was the Venus planet.

    End of quote.

    I will ask Dominique about the Camille Flammarion possible self-watching or why he stated it.


    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Thursday, February 14, 2013  

  • Venus, as an explanation, is weak Gilles....a cop-out.

    People may be dumb but not that dumb.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, February 14, 2013  

  • Dunno about which cases do you are speacking, Rich.

    For the Sacramento and Oackland princeps sightings of the 1896/97 Airship wave, I'm sorry, but there is a match with Venus.


    ===> To S.F. then S.W direction

    1896, a 17H30 Pacific Time, Sighting of Charles Ellis, sky software reconstruction :

    Concerning Sacramento, same : http://cdnc.ucr.edu/cdnc/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=SFC18961119&e=-------en--20--1--txt-IN-San+Francisco+Chronicle----#

    Some quotes of the article: STRANGE CRAFT OF THE SKY
    moved slowly away in a southwesterly direction[...]
    toward the southwest[...]
    moving in a southwesterly direction[...]
    its southwesterly course.[...]

    Like Venus curse again....



    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Thursday, February 14, 2013  

  • Gilles...

    So as not to upset you, I appreciate that you find the Venus explanation worthy.

    I (and I believe PG) do not.

    It's a toss-up (sort of).


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, February 14, 2013  

  • Re,

    @ Christopher and Friends,

    Dominique Caudron have written an internet page on his site about the Cherbourg April 1905 case (In French):




    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Thursday, February 14, 2013  

  • Merci Gilles....

    The link you provide is very interesting and should be read by visitors here.

    (Use Google translate unless you're fluent in French.)


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, February 14, 2013  

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