UFO RELATED MATERIAL
CNES FRENCH SPACE AGENCY UFO FILES
FRANCE Updates: New Scientist: France becames the
first country to open its files on UFOs
France became the first country to open its files on UFOs on
Thursday when the national space agency unveiled a website documenting more
than 1600 sightings spanning five decades.
France opens up its UFO files
- 20:57 22 March 2007
- NewScientist.com news service
- New Scientist Space and AFP
The online archives, which will be updated as new cases are reported,
catalogues in minute detail cases ranging from the easily dismissed to a
handful that continue to perplex even hard-nosed scientists.
"It is a world first," says Jacques Patenet, the aeronautical
engineer who heads the office for the study of "non-identified
Known as OVNIs in French, UFOs have always generated intense interest along
with countless conspiracy theories about secretive government cover-ups of
findings deemed too sensitive or alarming for public consumption.
"Cases such as the lady who reported seeing an object that looked like a
flying roll of toilet paper" are clearly not worth investigating, says
But many others involving multiple sightings – in at least one case
involving thousands of people across France – and evidence such as burn
marks and radar trackings showing flight patterns or accelerations that defy
the laws of physics are taken very seriously.
A phalanx of beefy security guards formed a barrier in front of
the space agency (CNES) headquarters where the announcement was made, "to
screen out uninvited UFOlogists," an official explained.
Of the 1600 cases registered since 1954, nearly 25% are classified as
"type D", meaning that "despite good or very good data and
credible witnesses, we are confronted with something we can't explain",
On 8 January 1981 outside the town of Trans-en-Provence in southern France,
for example, a man working in a field reported hearing a strange whistling
sound and seeing a saucer-like object about 2.5 metres in diameter land in his
field about 50 metres away.
A dull-zinc grey, the saucer took off almost immediately, leaving burn marks,
he told police. Investigators took photos, and then collected and analysed
samples, and to this day no satisfactory explanation has been made.
The nearly 1000 witnesses who said they saw flashing lights in
the sky on 5 November 1990, by contrast, had simply seen a rocket fragment
falling back into Earth's atmosphere.
"We do not have the least proof that extra-terrestrials are behind the
unexplained phenomena," says Patenet, adding: "Nor do we have the
least proof that they aren't."
The CNES fields between 50 and 100 UFO reports ever year, usually written up
by police. Of these, 10% are the object of on-site investigations, Patenet
Other countries, notably Britain and the US, collect data more or less
systematically about unidentified flying objects. In the US, information can
be requested on a case-by-case basis under the Freedom of Information Act.
"But we decided to do it the other way around and made everything
available to the public," Patenet says.
The aim was to make it easier for scientists and other UFO buffs to access the
data for research. The website
itself – which crashed host servers hours after it was unveiled due to heavy
traffic – is extremely well organised and complete, even including scanned
copies of police reports.
France Makes Its Official UFO Files Public
UFOs are something we are all aware of, some people take no notice of them,
some show a mild interest and some study them seriously. Whatever level of
interest people may have about UFOs most people will be somewhat intrigued by
To date countries around the world have been very tight lipped about the UFO
information they possessed, trying their best to keep it from the general
public. Today France made a bold move by becoming the first country in the
world to make its official UFO files available to the public.
The information has been made available today through a new
website developed by the French national space agency. The UFO information
revealed occurs during a fifty-year time span and includes 1,600 sightings.
The new online UFO archive will receive regular updates when
new UFO sightings occur in France. Each case included on the UFO website
contains every little detail about the sighting, no matter how unbelievable
the sighting may have been. Many of the UFO sightings will be easy to dismiss
or explain, but there are still a number of calls that have stumped scientists
Jaques Patenet, an aeronautical engineer that heads the
"office for the study of non-identified aerospatial phenomena" has
said, "It is a world first." He then went on to discuss some of the
UFO sightings found on the website. One of the most outlandish reports
Patenent mentioned is "the lady who reported seeing an object that looked
like a flying roll of toilet paper."
There was one case that at first seems quite interesting.
This is because the UFO sighting had thousands of witnesses around France. The
incident occurred on November 5, 1990 and witnesses described seeing flashing
lights in the sky. However when the sighting was investigated it had a simple
explanation. It had apparently been rocket fragments entering the earth's
atmosphere and burning up.
One of the most intriguing and mystifying UFO sightings in
France happened on January 8, 1981 near the southern village of Trans-en-Provence.
A man who was out working in his field reported the incident. The man states
that he heard an unusual whistling sound and that he saw a saucer shaped
object. The man estimated that the object was about eight foot wide and that
is had landed about 50 yards from him. The man said that the UFO was dull-zinc
grey in colour and that it took off again within seconds of landing. The UFO
left burn marks in the man's field. On receiving the sighting report
investigators took samples for analysis from the site and also to photos of
the burn marks left by the UFO.
When Patenet was questioned about the government having
knowledge about extra terrestrial life he gave an answer that does not answer
any questions. Patenet said, "We do not have the least proof that
extra-terrestrials are behind the unexplained phenomena." "Nor do we
have the least proof that they aren't."
Each year France gets around 50 to 100 UFO sightings
reported to the police. Around 10 percent of these sightings are subject to on
Many other countries systematically collect UFO information.
Two of the biggest collectors are the United States and the United Kingdom.
The website is currently extremely busy and the unexpected
large amounts of traffic cause the server to crash shortly after launch. It
has a wealth of information that would interest even the mildly intrigued.
Expect the site to be busy and a little slow until it can make adjustments to
service the traffic. At the moment you visitors to the site will be able to
look at around 400 UFO cases. The rest of the files will be added over the
next few months.
France Opens Its Official UFO Archives
France on Thursday became the first country to open its
official archives on unidentified flying objects (UFO), said Jacques Patenet,
the head of the UFO study group at the National Centre of Space Studies (CNES).
"It's a world first," Patenet said. "It's true that in the
United States you can ask for information on a case-by-case basis. But we
have done the opposite by putting all the information at the disposition of
The archives are available at http://www.cnes-geipan.fr/geipan/
and currently contain 400 files, about one fourth of the approximately 1,600
UFO sightings reported in France since the 1950s.
All of the files are scheduled to be online by the end of the year, Patenet
"We are working on the principle that there is nothing we will not put
online with one exception: protecting an individual's privacy," he
The files comprise principally witness statements taken by police officers,
with personal data erased.
Patenet cautioned that "ufologists will not find any scoops or unknown
cases in this database."
© 2007 DPA
Alfred Lambremont Webre, JD, MEd
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