A Bizarre Incident At The Roadside: The Highway 38 Humanoid Encounter

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
May 17, 2023
Estimated Reading Time
10 min read
Posted in
Aliens, Encounters

An intriguing encounter on a quiet road in France in the mid-seventies is intriguing for a number of reasons, not least the elements of missing, unrecalled time, and a strange substance that the witness was forced to ingest by astronaut-looking figures. What the reasons might have been for this bizarre encounter remain unknown, but the case remains of interest to UFO researchers and investigators today almost half a century later.

A depiction of two humanoids wearing helmets with visors

Just what happened on Highway 38?

It is also an incident that has several other very similar encounters that perhaps offer the strange case that bit more credibility. As did the fact that the witness in no way sought to make money from the encounter. In fact, they would refuse to speak about the incident in the months following it, largely due to the ridicule he received from the local community when he initially told of his encounter.

Perhaps also frustrating was the failure of potential evidence of the encounter to be captured – through no fault of the investigators themselves. The account entered the wider UFO arena in the April 1976 edition of Flying Saucer Review.

Something Strange Over The Bridge

At a little after 5:30 am on February 28th, 1974, the 59-year-old anonymous witness was making his way to work along Highway 38 on his moped. It was a journey he made multiple times before. This journey, though, would be one like no other. [1]

As he was coming over a bridge that stretched over the river Thon something strange happened. Suddenly, and without realizing it, he was no longer moving and was simply sitting on his moped at the roadside. He had no memory of braking or even slowing down. It appeared as if he had gone from coming over the bridge to this sudden stop in a millisecond.

Of more concern, though, were the two strange humanoids – who the witness referred to as “cosmonauts” due to the large helmets each wore – were standing right next to him. Once more, much like his mind couldn’t understand how he had come to a stop, he had no memory of these two entities appearing – they were all of a sudden just there.

He would later describe them as looking very much like astronauts. As well as the similar-looking helmets, they each wore a dark, one-piece astronaut-like suit. He also recalled that over the helmet was some kind of opening that he guessed contained a dark visor as he couldn’t see any details of the humanoids’ faces.

Two humanoids walking along a road with a spaceship in the background

A depiction of the scene at Highway 38

He could see no pockets, buttons, or other markings on the suits, and they appeared not to inhibit their movement in any way, with their movements being very much like those of a human. Strangely, the thing he remembered most about the humanoids were the long “five-fingered gloves” they were wearing. He would claim that these gloves went high up the arms and appeared similar to “gloves worn for artificial insemination of cattle”.

As he was already trying to reason what was happening he suddenly noticed a large circular object in a field near the roadside. He would later describe the object as a “dark, circular mass” with no lights visible and no sound. He would estimate it was approximately the size of two cars and appeared to be sitting on the ground as opposed to resting on legs.

He remained where he was, his foot resting on the ground as the two strange humanoids began touching the handlebars as if investigating what they were, all the while looking at him in a way that made him beyond scared. Then, an already strange encounter turned even stranger.

A Chocolate-Like Substance

As the bizarre encounter continued to unfold the two humanoids began to gesture at him, seemingly telling him that he should eat something. When he remained still and stared back at them, undoubtedly a mixture of fright and confusion on his face, the two beings turned to each other and appeared to communicate. After several moments, one of them reached behind him, as going to a pocket or even a bag that the witness couldn’t see.

He then produced a small square item that the witness would later recall appeared like a “piece of chocolate” before again gesturing to him that he should eat it. Too scared to decline, the witness reached out and took the item and placed it in his mouth. He recalled that it had a texture softer than chocolate, although it was tasteless. It is perhaps interesting to note the case of…, who claimed that the “pancakes” he was offered also had no taste.

Artist's impression of the Highway 38 encounter

Artist’s impression of the Highway 38 encounter (from FSR)

Bizarrely, the two entities remained quiet, staring at him and waiting for to finish eating the strange substance. Then, the moment he had swallowed it, they stepped away from him and motioned that he could now go on his way. Immediately he started his moped and sped off as quickly as he could.

Perhaps of interest, he would later tell UFO investigators that he had no memory of actually setting off, simply that moments after the entities motioned for him to leave he was suddenly speeding down the road. Whether he couldn’t recall setting off through fright or whether something similar to what he experienced after coming over the bridge had occurred is open to debate.

No Chance To Secure Medical Evidence

As UFO investigators carried out their investigation, despite the gaps in the witness’s account, a fuller picture began to come together.

The witness would notice no effects after having eaten the chocolate-looking substance, and perhaps of most intrigue, why the humanoids insisted that he eat it. Unfortunately, he didn’t visit a doctor following the incident, so no medical tests could be carried out as to what the substance might have been.

It is perhaps worth noting that in some alien abduction and close encounter cases, the witnesses are asked to drink a strange, clear liquid in order to block their memories. Although this was not a drink, might the apparent chocolate have been offered to achieve the desired effect? And if that is the case, just what memories of the encounter might have been blocked?

A depiction of aliens wearing helmets on a quiet road

Were the humanoids extraterrestrials?

One thing that investigators also noticed is that the more time went by after the incident, the less the witness wished to speak of his bizarre encounter. In fact, as soon as he had made his way from the scene on the morning in question, he was simply relieved to be out of the situation. When he finally arrived at work a short time later, he was unable to finish his shift such was his mental agitation.

It was during this shift at work, after relentless questioning from his colleagues as to what was causing him such distress, that he revealed to them what had happened. Perhaps not surprisingly, he was ridiculed by many who listened to his account, which ultimately caused him to only speak of the events to a very limited number of people. Further details, however, would still emerge.

A Discovery Of Evidence Of The Encounter

Although the witness nor his family returned to the location of the incident, several of his neighbors, after learning of the affair, decided they would do so. Much to their surprise, at the location where the witness claimed to have seen the strange craft in the field, were strange marks or depressions, suggesting that something of considerable weight was indeed sitting there. They would further recall that in an almost perfectly circular area, the grass had been completely squashed to the ground.

When investigators spoke with the neighbors who had ventured to the apparent landing site, they found them to be credible and reliable witnesses and believed they had seen what they claimed they had. Unfortunately, by the time investigators themselves reached the area, the depression was no longer there.

A depiction of a strange object hovering in a field

Just what was witnessed that night in early 1974

Ultimately, although investigators agreed that something very strange did indeed happen that evening on Highway 38, what it was would remain a mystery. It would very much appear that these entities were of an extraterrestrial nature, but given that the witness couldn’t see their faces, it can’t be ruled out that they were, in fact, human beings. And if that was the case, what was the reason for the encounter?

Could it have been that the witness stumbled onto some kind of top-secret experiment, and is that why he was forced to eat the strange chocolate-like substance? Was it, as we mentioned earlier, an attempt to block his memory of what he had seen? Might this procedure have even been the experiment itself?

Further Sightings Of Interest

Investigators also managed to uncover other sightings in the area at the same time as the incident on Highway 38.

The first occurred several earlier when several people in the Les Routieres area witnessed strange “luminous red balls” over the area over the course of 10 days. Witnesses would state to investigators that the sphere-like objects first appeared on the slopes that overlooked their homes. They would then descend into the valley with breakneck speed before rising again and then disappearing into the woodland.

Less than a week later, on the evening of March 5th, another encounter occurred, this one also on Highway 38. According to the report, Mr. Theeten was driving along the highway with his wife at just before 8:30 pm when they noticed a strange, yellow cigar-shaped object that was moving through the air over one of the fields that was approximately 150 feet below them.

A depiction of a man watching a UFO standing in front of his car

Was the cigar-shaped object connected to the Highway 38 sighting

Intrigued by what they were seeing, Mr. Theeten pulled the car to the side of the road in order to see the object more clearly. To begin with, he thought they had lost sight of it. Then, around 20 seconds later it came into view once more. He would later recall that the object appeared to be around 50 feet long and remained completely silent.

It remained in sight for around 10 seconds before disappearing from their view. The husband and wife would report the sighting to the local police. Despite arriving at the location, they could find no evidence of the strange craft.

The following week, however, Mr. Theeten would witness another strange craft. This time he was driving in Etreaupont when he witnessed a large, red glowing object seemingly hovering in a field at the roadside. There was a flashing light coming from the object at regular intervals. Even more amazing, he would attempt to take his vehicle closer to the object, but each time he did so it would move away and put distance between them once more. Eventually, when the flashing lights stopped, the witness drove on his way.

Another Humanoid Encounter In Petite-Ile

There were also several sightings from France later in the year that are worthy of examination here. For example, two weeks before the Highway 38 incident, at around 1:30 pm on February 14th in Petite-Ile, a local man was walking along a country road when they a sudden “tingling sensation” ran through him. [2] At the same time, he felt a strange force “pulling at him”.

A depiction of a man standing staring up at a UFO

Were the humanoids witnessed the same as those on Highway 38

A moment later, the perplexed man looked around and saw a white disc-shaped object with a domed top hovering close to the ground a short distance away from him. As he watched, a suddenly appearing beam of light came from the craft straight toward him. Even stranger, he could see three “small beings”, each around three feet in height that appeared to be going back and forth to the object, entering it through some kind of opening on one side.

From where he was standing, these strange entities were wearing the same style of one-piece suit which appeared to be “metallic”. He watched for several more moments, now quite panicked at the surreal events unfolding in front of him before the mysterious creatures went back inside the object. Then, the opening closed and the object rose into the air and disappeared into the distance. Incidentally, the witness would experience intense headaches for several days after the encounter and also had trouble with their vision.

The Feignes Incident

At around 9 pm on August 26th in Feignes, an anonymous witness stepped outside of his house, slightly concerned that his daughter was a little late returning home from a festival in the town. As he did so, he noticed something strange in the night sky. He would describe the object as a “perfectly round black hole” which was approximately 700 feet from where he was standing, and which stood out significantly. The more he watched it, the more it appeared to be descending, albeit slowly.

At this point, he returned inside to get his wife so she could view the object also. She went outside with her husband, immediately noticing the object overhead, now lower than it had been earlier. The pair remained where they were, watching as the object continued to descend to around 70 feet above the ground.

As they continued to watch, a corona of light that had been visible around the circular object suddenly split from the middle, and now appeared like to letter Ds as they moved. Then, they split apart into two separate objects. They then moved independently of each other, with one of them either shrinking away or disappearing into the distance. The other remained in sight.

A depiction of a man standing staring at a UFO

The humanoids witnessed in Feignes were almost identical to those on Highway 38

The pair watched as the remaining D-shape had the appearance as though an invisible hand was pulling a curtain across it. Then, the two witnesses looked in shock as two humanoids, dressed in clothing that looked almost identical to astronauts – including helmets – were visible to them. We might recall the two helmeted humanoids from the Highway 38 encounter that the witness described as “cosmonauts”. From their position the suits appeared a grey-white color and they appeared to be made from some kind of metallic-looking material.

The more they watched the pair, the more they could see that they moved “more like puppets” and that they had a two-dimensional look to them. They would watch them for around 40 minutes before the husband finally stated he was going to drive into the town to look for their daughter. With the black object still overhead and with the two figures still moving around awkwardly inside it, the witness’s wife returned indoors.

By the time the witness had returned (their daughter now with him), the object had seemingly disappeared. Although the case was investigated by UFO investigators, it remains completely unexplained.

A Strange Multi-Witness Encounter In Causses

It is also worth our time briefly exploring an incident that occurred a little a week later in Causses. On the evening of September 8th, at around 10:30 pm, several residents of the town witnessed a strange orange-red glowing object that appeared over a nearby hill.

The object remained a short distance away. That was until one of the witnesses flashed his car headlights in its direction. In response, the object suddenly rushed toward him with great speed, coming to a stop directly over the top of him. The witness would later state that when the glowing object was overhead, he could hear a low humming sound coming from it.

A depiction of a glowing object over the woods

Multiple people witnessed the strange, glowing red object

After several moments, the object suddenly moved away once more. It then began to head off into the distance, the residents able to see its movements by the land underneath being lit up from it.

It is also worth noting that in the first half of 1974, there were several UFO encounters involving humanoid entities in metallic-looking astronaut-like suits with similar helmets as the one described by the witness on Highway 38 and the incident in Feignes in various parts of Europe, including Spain, Italy, and Belgium, all of which share a border with France. With that in mind, it is perhaps not that much of a stretch of the imagination that these sightings could be connected to the ones we have examined here.

An Encounter With An Agenda Or One Of Pure Chance?

Of course, whether there is a connection between these other sightings and the events on Highway 38 is a matter for debate. It is perhaps also worth noting that these incidents occurred only months after the wave of UFO and humanoid sightings of late-1973. We might ask, then, if the incident on Highway 38 was another of those encounters.

And what should we make of the witness, essentially, being forced to eat the chocolate-like substance? For what purpose did that serve? If, as we speculated earlier, this was some kind of agent that cause the witness to forget certain parts of the encounter, then just what else might have happened during the encounter?

Perhaps one interesting theory was offered by F. Lagarde (the editor of Lumieres dans la Nuit), who offered, if we assume the entities were extraterrestrial in nature, that it could merely have been to witness how humans eat, quite possibly in the same way we might be interested in how an alien might consume food if it was different to us.

It is certainly an interesting case. It is, though, one that is unlikely to see any new information come to light, not least due to the witness wanting to distance himself from the events. However, when it is put up alongside other cases, it remains of important in building up a fuller picture of the UFO and alien question.

The video below examines some of the most intriguing alien humanoid encounters on record.


1 “Forced Feeding” By UFO Entities, J.M. Bigorne et al, Flying Saucer Review, Vol. 21, No. 6, April 1976
2 1974 UFO Chronology, NICAP http://www.nicap.org/chronos/1974fullrep.htm

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

Fact Checking/Disclaimer

Fact Checking

The stories, accounts, and discussions in this article may go against currently accepted science and common beliefs. The details included in the article are based on the reports, accounts and documentation available as provided by witnesses and publications - sources/references are published above.

We do not aim to prove nor disprove any of the theories, cases, or reports.  You should read this article with an open mind and come to a conclusion yourself.  Our motto always is, "you make up your own mind".  Read more about how we fact-check content here.

Copyright & Republishing Policy

The entire article and the contents within are published by, wholly-owned and copyright of UFO Insight.  The author does not own the rights to this content. 

You may republish short quotes from this article with a reference back to the original UFO Insight article here as the source. You may not republish the article in its entirety.

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to our free newsletter and join our subscribers. Receive the latest articles directly in your inbox weekly.

If you don't like what you read, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *