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UFology in France

Article translated from French magazine
“20 Minutes” Magazine, Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Unusual: Every first Tuesday of the month, ufologists gather at La Defense in Paris.

UFOs are among us

“In the 18th. Ordener Street. Not far from the metro station Jules Joffrin.” The map is handed over like if it was the address of a new restaurant. But no, it’s just the place where UFOs have been sighted recently. The first Tuesday of each month, ufologists meet in the cafeteria of Casino at the Quatre Temps shopping center, at La Defence, to discuss this kind of news. The ritual is immutable. At 6:30 PM, each participant moves, a meal tray in hand, toward the back room. Impersonal tables are arranged in an arched circle. Basically, a place is reserved for the speaker of the evening.

“Every month there is a different speaker”, says Richard sipping his non-alcoholic beer. “There are serious people who come. Sitting in the same places. But not all the time. Two years ago, the guy who was supposed to have been kidnapped by aliens was bogus!” In a mixed smell of couscous and fries, audiences keep coming. “They share the view that they have seen something out of the ordinary,” says Guy Loterre, the organizer of these “ufological meals.” “For most, they are UFOs. For some aliens.

Mainly, John assures us, to read the future in the clouds. A “sixth reincarnation,” is ready to predict the arrival of the “third nuclear war.” The speaker of the evening, Jean Claude Sidoun, presents his latest book on UFOs. Before giving him the floor, a facilitator presents the latest news urological: the discovery of a human skeleton 10 feet high in South America. Jean-Claude Sidoun takes the microphone and starts talking about “outer space”. In the back, Louis turns to his neighbor: “I wonder why they still do not show up if they exist,” he whispers. The windows of the cafeteria glow red, blue and violet. The neon lights of La Defense have been turned on.

10% of observed phenomena are unidentified

As in science fiction films, the observation of UFOs is a military affair. Except in France. Since 1977, there is a civilian agency that is responsible for this task: the Geipan (le Groupe d’études et d’information sur les phénomènes aérospatiaux non identifiés). With a € 400,000 budget, this group based in Toulouse collects and verifies evidence. “We analyze the oddness of the case,” says Xavier Passot, an engineer at Geipan. “If it is a bright light going in a straight line, Geipan usually finds that they originate from nearby airports.”

But if the witness speaks of odd shapes or random paths, then Geipan sends an investigator on site. “It checks if the witness is credible, gets additional testimonies, and seeks the origin,” says Xavier Passot. Sometimes unsuccessfully. “In 2011, 220 observations have been reported, he continues. In the end, about 10% of aerospace phenomena remain unidentified…” The truth is elsewhere? “Like everyone, I have a personal opinion”, concludes Xavier Passot. “But my job keeps me from telling you. “
Some supernatural stories

The Geipan’s mission is to inform the public. On its website (Www.geipan.fr), there is an account of every phenomenon observed since 1977. Excerpts follow:

The balls of Landrecies. It is 9:30 PM, 26 September 2006. A Landrecies (Nord), a woman was watching TV with her children when she heard “a thud that shook the house.” Outside, she saw “two orange balls in the sky that stopped “before moving off and separating. A follow-up by Geipan indicated that two fighter jets during maneuvers at the Cambrai Air Base.

The Chaudron in the mist. Awakened by a “loud noise”, a resident of Chaudron (La Reunion) saw a bright, white ball. Within seconds, the next villa was bathed in red light. The ball disappeared into a mist. The phenomenon has never been identified by Geipan.

Rocket fire at Châteaufort. In July 2011, witnesses – excited – spend ten minutes photographing “rockets on fire” in the sky at Châteaufort (Yvelines) and didn’t know “what to think”. According Geipan, it was Thai lanterns launched nearby.
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