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France Opens Its Official UFO Archives



FRANCE Updates: New Scientist: France becames the first country to open its files on UFOs


France opens up its UFO files

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.
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 aerospatial phenomena."
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 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 seriously.
No explanation
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", Patenet says.
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.
Flashing lights
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 says.
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.
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France Makes Its Official UFO Files Public

By Griff
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 them.
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 for years.

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 site investigation.

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.


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France Opens Its Official UFO Archives
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 public."

The archives are available at 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 said.

"We are working on the principle that there is nothing we will not put online with one exception: protecting an individual's privacy," he noted.

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."

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