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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Apr > Apr 9

Half Of French UFOs Remain Unexplained

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Mon, 09 Apr 2007 08:20:46 -0400
Fwd Date: Mon, 09 Apr 2007 08:20:46 -0400
Subject: Half Of French UFOs Remain Unexplained

Source: The National Post - Don Mills, Ontario, Canada


Monday, April 09, 2007

Half Of French UFOs Remain Unexplained

1,600 cases; France puts three decades of archives online
Allison Hanes
National Post

For three decades, an arm's length branch of France's national
space agency quietly gathered reports of strange apparitions in
the skies over the republic, from bright lights zig-zagging in
the dark night to calls about flying saucers.

A small team of investigators dutifully probed each sighting,
and either reached a logical conclusion, or consigned it to

Now, after decades under lock and key in dusty filing cabinets,
France went public with its 'X-Files' late last month. The
Centre national d'etudes spatiales decided not only to
declassify more than 1,600 cases, but to scan each official page
and post it online for all to see.

"When the site went live, it was hit by so much traffic it went
down almost immediately," said Chris Rutkowski, a co-ordinator
for the Winnipeg-based Ufology Research Centre, noting the
popularity of the project.

With more than 100,000 documents the archives of GEIPAN, the
Groupement pour l'etude et l'information sur les phenomenes
aerospatiaux non indentifier, contains official police reports,
statements by witnesses to bizarre scenes - even colourful
hand-drawn diagrams resembling children's artwork.

Each incident has been slotted into one of four categories:
definitely solved, likely solved, unsolved for lack of
sufficient information or unsolved mystery. More than half - 58%
- of the phenomena investigated by the experts remain
unexplained while just 9% have been definitely figured out.

For example, when two farmers in Royan came across a 50-
centimetre metal cylinder in a field in 1985, GEIPAN launched a
thorough investigation that involved contacting NORAD about
satellite orbits and missile tests. It was finally determined
the two men had discovered a piece of Nazi-era war machinery
left behind when the Third Reich retreated.

An explanation was more elusive when GEIPAN inherited a case
that had taken place 11 years before the body's creation.

Two children out herding cows in Cussac in 1967 came upon a
sphere hovering over a field with little black beings running
around underneath. The strange creatures were sucked into the
sphere headfirst, which then flew away moving in an upward
spiral pattern.

The frightened children ran home crying, to tell their parents,
who summoned the gendarmerie. The adults who returned to the
scene remarked a strong odour of sulphur that lasted for days as
well as burn marks on the grass five metres in diameter.

France is not the first country to peel back the layers of
bureaucratic secrecy often surrounding the official study of
bizarre phenomenon - though it is the first to make its data so
universally accessible.

The vault of the national Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa
contains information from five different departments on UFO
sightings and investigations in Canada, although the bulk of it
can only be consulted in person. Britain's Ministry of Defence
released a chunk of information last year and Sweden, Italy and
Chile have made some data public.

While many governments have kept their UFO research under wraps
or simply denied its existence, France has released "absolutely
all" of its collection to the masses for the sole purpose of
furthering science.

Jacques Patenet, who oversees GEIPAN for the French national
space program, is quick to emphasize the distinction between
studying unidentified flying objects in the literal sense of the
term and the stigmatized pseudoscience of UFO visitors from
outer space.

Most sightings are simply lights dancing in the sky, he said in
a statement posted on the space agency Web site, adding he is
hopeful the release of the data may yield new meteorological or
astronomical discoveries.

"Scientists must absolutely separate the UFO file from the
paranormal," he said. "It's an subject of inquiry like any
other. At GEIPAN, we regularly collect observations from
tangible facts brought to our attention by witnesses in good
faith and we attempt to explain what happened. In the cases
where hypotheses elude us, we want to call on scientists to help
and make all our investigative reports available to them to

The material is a motherlode for UFO research, said Mr.
Rutkowski, and it will be interesting to see if countries like
the United States and Russia follow France's lead.

"In terms of real verification of data, or well-investigated,
high quality data, there are very few other examples," he said.

Chris Matzner, a physics professor at the University of Toronto,
said he sees the online archives being good public relations
aimed at piquing the curiosity of the general public or arousing
the interest of school children.

"It's an interesting cultural phenomenon if nothing else," he

Marc Nantel, a physicist at the Ontario Centres of Excellence,
said he doubts there is much of strategic or scientific value to
be learned in the GEIPAN archives.

"To me what this says is that the French government [agency]
said: 'This isn't worth anything. Let's give the people bread
and circus'."

But to those who actually believe there may be proof of alien
life contained in France's files, the opening of the archives is
a "breath of fresh air," in the words of one Canadian

"It's not right to lie to people and if we are in fact being
visited by beings from other worlds, should anyone be able to
keep this information from us?" Nick Balaskas of Toronto said.

c. National Post 2007

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