The Extraordinary World Wide UFO Panic Of 1954

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
August 28, 2017
Last Updated
November 14, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
6 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Waves

We recently looked at the strange experience of Marius Dewilde in our article concerning paralysis at UFO sightings. In truth, that incident was just one of a plethora of sightings over France in general, which in turn were part of a worldwide surge of sightings. Although over half the reported sightings in 1954 would occur in and around Europe, sightings around the world were up in general, with all incidents globally seeming to peak in October of that year.

A picture of an alleged UFO

Does this picture show a real UFO?

Reports of huge spaceships firing laser beams and landing were aplenty. Some encounters would even speak of “strange humanoid creatures” who, on occasion, would temporarily paralyze local residents. While there have been many other similar waves, they tend to be (although not exclusively) limited to a certain area in a specific time period. In 1954, the sightings seemingly happened all over the world through most of the year. In the days before the internet, with only limited “international” news, it is surely unfeasible that all of the incidents in question were of a “copy-cat” nature.

While there may be several reasons for these bizarre sightings, the fact that they occurred should not be in doubt. A wealth of witnesses would go on record, with multiple witnesses at several sightings. In short, there remains a lot to investigate about the 1954 wave.

Surge of Sightings In France

While the aforementioned Dewilde’s encounter was one of the first of the apparent wave over French soil, reports would pour in from concerned residents for the following two months.

On 28th September, a vineyard owner would witness a luminous glow settle on his land. He went to investigate. Upon being no more than fifty yards away, three beings exited the glowing craft. When they noticed him, he suddenly became victim to some kind of paralyzing force before losing consciousness. He would awaken to find the three creatures and the glowing craft gone.

Only three nights later on 1st October, a similar encounter would befall a resident of the small town of Bry as he walked his dog. That same evening in Bergerac, a gentleman would become paralyzed when he noticed a strange silver disc “resting on three legs” close by as he went to close his gate. When the disc took off, he regained the use of his limbs.

Four nights following this encounter, on 5th October, a group of people out in the country near Clermont-Ferrand noticed a large craft in the sky heading in their direction. As it approached they all experienced a strange feeling in their limbs. They were rapidly unable to move until the object had passed completely. Two days later, in Monteux, a local resident would suffer a similar fate as he ran towards a strange craft resting in a field. The use of his limbs only returned when the craft had disappeared.

The Strange Experience of Henry Gallois and Louis Vigneron

On 11th October, while driving near Sassier, Henry Gallois and Louis Vigneron, would feel what they would later describe as “an electric shock through the body!” At the same time, their car came to a sudden halt. All electrics, including their headlights, would also fail. More worrying for the pair, was they could no longer move. They were essentially, glued to their seats.

Suddenly, around fifty meters in front of their vehicle, they could make out what appeared to be a machine-like object. Three strange creatures approached it and went inside. The strange object rose into the air and vanished in an instant. As it disappeared, the car came back to life, and they were free to move as they wished.

Two nights following their experience, in Baillolet, Dr. Henri Robert’s encounter would almost mirror that of Gallois and Vigneron. Dr. Robert had noticed four strange objects in the sky when suddenly one of them approached. As it did, he felt an “electric shock” surge through him and his car engine and headlights died completely. Unable to physically move, he watched the object, clearly piloted by a strange being, for several minutes. Only when it vanished did his vehicle burst back into life and the paralysis ceased.

Mass Sighting at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence, Italy

One of the most intriguing sightings during this time would unfold in front of a packed football stadium in Florence, [1] in Italy. On 27th October, Fiorentina were thirty minutes into a local derby against rivals, Pistoiese, when the evening would take a most unusual and dramatic turn.

In front of ten-thousand people, the players suddenly stopped in their tracks, the ball left to come to a lonely stop on the pitch. Not that the thousands of onlookers would have noticed the players. An absolute hush had taken hold of the Stadio Artemio Franchi, with all eyes looking upwards to the sky.

Stadio Artemio Franchi

Stadio Artemio Franchi

There, in plain sight for all to see, was an oval-shaped object, slowly making its way over the stadium. One of the players, Ardico Magnini, would later recall, “…..also, there was some glitter coming down from the sky. Silver glitter!”

The “glitter” substance to which he refers is largely known as “angel-hair” and is something that we wrote about here before.

Even the official match records show the referee’s report as saying the match had been suspended due to “something in the sky!” Some onlookers would report seeing “multiple smaller crafts” around the oval-shaped object. This is an interesting observation – if accurate – which we will look at shortly.

Incidentally, there were numerous other reports of UFOs in the region over the following days. Several of these reports would even speak of seeing a “ray of white light” piercing the sky on its way to the ground.

The British Airways Goose Bay Incident

Three months prior to the breakout of sightings in France, on June 1954, during a long distance flight from New York to London (via Goose Bay), Captain James Howard would report a strange object following him as he piloted the British Airways jet. [2]

Shortly after leaving New York, orders would arrive telling Howard to hold his position near the coast of Rhode Island. He did so for around ten minutes before finally receiving permission to proceed with the flight. The only reason Howard could imagine he would have to hold would be due to other air traffic passing in his path.

Aside from mild annoyance, Howard largely forgot the incident. That was until three hours later when he noticed several strange objects seemingly following him. One of these was significantly larger than the others. Were these the “traffic” that he had held for?

Boeing Stratocruiser, G-ALSC - the actual aircraft involved in the incident.

Boeing Stratocruiser, G-ALSC – the actual aircraft involved in the incident.

He would report the smaller craft remaining in formation for a prolonged period, before a hatch opened on the “mothership”, allowing the smaller objects to fly inside. With that, the gigantic craft vanished from view. Much like the sighting over Florence, the size of the craft was “off-the-scale” compared to man-made aviation (even now).

As an interesting side-note, numerous leaked reports of military films showing such gigantic crafts hosting other smaller (but still large in their own right) flying objects are on record. One of the most credible is perhaps that claimed by Budd Hopkins. According to one of Hopkins’ high-level sources, the CIA had short films of such crafts, one in particular in crystal-clear clarity, taken by the Australian Air Force, sometime in the fifties or sixties, on a photo-mapping exorcize.

Check out the short video clip below. It features Captain Howard speaking of his UFO encounter.

As Always, More Questions Than (Solid) Answers

While the number of UFO sightings in 1954 goes well into the thousands, some sightings stand out a little more than others. [3]

In Tananarive, Madagascar, on 16th August, a sighting of a strange “green ball” was seen by thousands of people. Some witnesses would recall that behind the green ball as if attached by an invisible thread, was a metallic silver disc-shaped object.

What is perhaps interesting, coincidentally or not, is that Madagascar was under French colonial rule at the time (and was until 1960). As a further twist, the sighting occurred near where mail for Air France employees was flown in – on a Lockheed Constellation. Given Lockheed’s apparent involvement with black budget projects, some of which claim to utilize reverse engineered alien technology, it is certainly worth noting at the very least.

Just under a fortnight later on 29th August, off the coast of Greenland, the entire crew of a Royal Dutch Airlines plane would report seeing up to four “lens-shaped” objects flying in formation over the Prince Christian Sound, [4] which connects the Labrador Sea and the Irminger Sea. Interestingly, this sighting occurred (relatively) close to the aforementioned Goose Bay incident.

Were these sightings across the face of the entire planet some kind of scouting mission by an extra-terrestrial intelligence? Or might it have been a prolonged period of military testing? If so, given the seemingly advanced nature of the technology, would this be the fruits of reverse-engineered crashed alien craft?

Is it also a coincidence that the alleged secret meetings between (then) US president, Eisenhower and alien beings also took place in 1954?

The short video below is further archive audio of the Goose Bay incident.


1 The day UFOs stopped play, Richard Padula, BBC, October 24th, 2014
2 UFOS Follow British Airliner Over Labrador, Timothy Good, NICAP
3 1954 UFO Chronology and the Great Wave of 1954, NICAP
4 Lens-Shaped Objects Veer North, Brad Sparks, NICAP

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.

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