France Opens Secret UFO
Files Covering 50 Years Breitbart.com,
Mar 22, 2007
the first country to open its files on UFOs Thursday when the
national space agency unveiled a website documenting more than
1,600 sightings spanning five decades.
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
"It is a world first," said 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, said Patenet.
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
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
Of the 1,600 cases registered since 1954, nearly 25 percent 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," Patenet said.
On January 8, 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 meters (eight feet) in diameter land in his
field about 50 meters (yards) away.
A dull-zinc grey, the saucer took off, he told police, almost
immediately, leaving burn marks. Investigators took photos, and
then collected and analyzed samples, and to this day no
satisfactory explanation has been made.
The nearly 1,000 witness who said they saw flashing lights in
the sky on November 5, 1990, by contrast, had simply seen a
rocket fragment falling back into earth's atmosphere.
Patenet's answer to questions about evidence of life beyond
Earth was sure to inflame the suspicions of those convinced the
government is holding back: "We do not have the least proof that
extra-terrestrials are behind the unexplained phenomena."
But then he added: "Nor do we have the least proof that they
The CNES fields between 50 and 100 UFO reports ever year,
usually written up by police. Of these, 10 percent are the
object of on-site investigations, Patenet said.
Other countries collect data more or less systematically about
unidentified flying objects, notably in Britain and in the
United States, where 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 said.
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 organized
and complete, even including scanned copies of police reports.
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