WHEN THE GEIPAN TURNS 40
One or several witnesses are the starting point of a GEIPAN case. They have seen something that literally appears “out of the ordinary”, and they entrust GEIPAN about it :
- Yes, it is really bizarre… The witness does not understand what has been seen, it is puzzling and inexplicable. Whatever
the explanation that will be later given by the GEIPAN, initially it is really “extraordinary” for the witness
- They entrust us by relating how it happened. It is never easy to talk about it…Can this person be considered mentally disturbed? The GEIPAN ensures complete anonymity for the witnesses.
The intensity of this lived experience is filling testimonies collected by the GEIPAN:
- In the written testimonies, “it was not a dream”, “I confirm that I do not drink”, “please, believe me”, “I do not sleep anymore” can frequently be found,
- The emotion of the witness is also perceivable from his/her voice during phone calls or in sketches that are often very
The witness wants to give us all details, in order to increase the chance to get a feedback with a clear explanation.
During the last 40 years, 8000 testimonies were collected by the GEIPAN. It is mainly 4 decades of emotions in the sky.
For most of them, sightings are explained by the GEIPAN. It is its main mission.
But only some of them, when no objective explanation can be found, are drawing attention. Explanation issue for some, enigma, mystery or confirmation of various hypotheses for others, these unexplained cases draw attention of ordinary people, journalists and probably interest you, reader of these lines.
Contemporary weirdness in the sky is called flying saucers or UFOs since 1947
In June 1947, in the United States, private pilot Kenneth Arnold claimed that he saw a string of nine, shiny unidentified objects flying at high speed “like to saucers skipping on water”. Arnold's expression quickly led the press to use the term “flying saucer” not for describing the trajectory but for describing the object shape, whereas the Arnold descript the shape like a single flying wing or a boomerang ! Media’s impact already!
Then, in the US but also all over the word, a lot of sightings with high levels of weirdness occurred: the Washington D.C. 1952 incident (two nights during which US Air Force jet fighters chased unidentified lights and radar signals on the sky above the Capitol) or in France, the 1981 Trans-En-Provence case (a person witnessing a saucer landing and taking off from the edge of his garden and finding traces on the ground).
But the sky has been strange since the beginning of mankind
Human beings have always passionately observed the sky and numerous observations of celestial phenomena are mentioned in the most ancient writings or paintings of mankind.
And the science plays its role ... Weirdness can be transformed into known phenomena
In 1803, Jean-Baptiste Biot visited the french village of L’Aigle, where “some stones fell from the sky”.
He made a report considered to be the first proof of the non-terrestrial origin of meteorites…
Since that time, we do know that a lot of ancient reports of frightening, bright lights in the sky correspond to meteoride crashes on earth. More recently, the intriguing ball lightning phenomena, along with some sightings of immobile or moving lights in the sky, found rational explanations.
Scientific expertise is one of the important aspect of the GEIPAN work: a group of experts of the each of the concerned scientific fields is working hand-to-hand with the GEIPAN, bringing a useful help for its investigations, but also benefiting from results from these investigations, whatever they are, to enlarge their own field of research.
A recent revealing example: how a c-130 Hercules transport plane was taken for a flying saucer
This case CONCHES-EN-OUCHE (27) 23.02.2016, involves four witnesses, three of them in a car driving on the road and the last one in a stationary car: Reports of the sighting include weirdness such as “like a stationary flying saucer emitting a cone of light” for the group of three or “a huge and slow triangle” for the fourth witness.
Quite rapidly, by using radar trace analysis, the GEIPAN is aware of the presence of a c-130 Hercules transport plane on the sighting location. Indeed, an agreement with the French Defence department CNOA (“Centre National des Opérations Aériennes”) allows the GEIPAN to have access to radar traces. But providing a feedback to witnesses to explain that they saw a plane is not enough, our mission is also to explain the perceived weirdness.
- For witnesses in the car, the illusion of a stationary UAP is due to a “pivot effect”: the witness and the phenomenon are both in movement and the axis between them is rotating around a point (or a particular zone) which gives the illusion to the witness to see a stationary phenomenon. The special lighting, here the indirect moonlight, is reflecting on the huge rounded airplane cabin and not on the wings (whose flatness favour the transient light reflexion more than the long-lasting one) creating by then a stationary saucer effect. The moon, low under horizon, enlighten the treetop creating a halo interpreted by the witnesses as a cone of light providing from the saucer.
- With its unusual size and lights, the plane is not recognized by the witness seated in the immobile car. The perception of a strange displacement is due to a perceptive mistake: one tends to evaluate the angular velocity by estimating the time taken by the plane’s tail to reach the position of the nose, leading to believe that a A380 is flying slower than a A320.
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