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The famous Belgian UFO flop
The famous Belgian UFO wave which lasted between November 1989 and 1992 was characterised by apparently triangular craft which were allegedly capable of performing fantastic manoeuvres.
Sceptic Jean-Michel Abrassart explained away all sightings as radical false memories of conventional private aircraft. While memories of details can relatively easily be distorted by the mind through contamination of testimonies, striking elements of a sighting are unlikely to be considerably altered, especially in the coming weeks and months. What’s more, given the strong famousness of the Belgian flop and its huge number of cases, it seems highly unlikely that no owner of such private aircraft would have come forward and revealed its involvement in the sightings.
Given that, the late French Sceptic Renaud Leclet provided us with a far more convincing explanation. Instead of attributing all planes and helicopters to average citizens like you and me, he considered them as military helicopters testing both the physics of the craft and the psychological reactions of the locals.
To me, it seems to be the most likely explanation of this wave of sightings. But can it account for everything?
A UFO over Ars Sur Moselle?
Ars sur Moselle is a small town located in Lorraine at approximately 100 km of the border of Belgium (albeit not necessarily where the peculiar objects were massively sighted).
A weird object was observed by a young couple during the same period as the Belgian wave.
The official investigation of the gendarmerie (French military police) came up blank.
Summary of the investigation
Summary: The 27-th February 1990, a round oval silent object with 3 mighty beamers was observed.
Description: on that day, a young couple driving a car sighted an object similar to a ball of rugby with three powerful white beamers. This object with a diameter of around 2. 5 or 5 metres flies slowly at a very low altitude and silently.
After having followed this object for approximately 10 minutes, they saw it disappear at a very fast speed.
The investigation hasn’t allowed the identification of this object with any known flying objects or any other phenomenon.
Report of the police
On 27.02.1990, at 9 p.m. (21:00) P.L. came to us and informed us that he just noticed the presence of an unidentified object at 8:50 p.m. (20:50).
Near the entrance to the highway, he observed the object, that was moving at a very low altitude and at a low speed before disappearing in the sky in a southern direction.
He was accompanied by miss A.M. [his girlfriend] who also witnessed the event and corroborated his testimony.
As soon as we were apprised of the information, we scrutinised the sky, to no avail.
At 21:20 we informed our superiors.
No patrol has signalled any similar phenomenon.
According to the testimony of the teenagers who witnessed the incident, as they were driving on a road at 20:50, they saw a strong white glow in the distance. Intrigued by it, they stopped their car to observe it. They saw a vehicle of small size, equipped with three powerful projectors/beamers, which slowly moved forward at a low altitude, at less than 100 metres of their position.
The weather was as follows:
- humidity but no rain
- no wind: quiet period between two gusts.
- Orientation of the wind before and after the apparition of the UFO: from south-west to north-east.
- sky partially cloudy
- the moon was black but its lowest part was „crunched“
No movement of aircraft has been signalled between 20:00 and 21:30. No unidentified flying object has been detected by the control tower.
The incident wasn’t made public and no other witness came forward.
The sincerity of these persons shouldn’t be called into question. The information they provided us with can be considered plausible.
27.02.1990 at 22:30 at the office of the military police.
Testimony of the man
On this evening, I was driving with my 18-year-old girlfriend. This probably occurred at 20:50. I then noticed something peculiar coming towards me. I was intrigued by a strong white glow.
I thought I was seeing the headlights of an all-terrain vehicle on the hill but the illumination was too powerful.
I stopped my car to take a look at this.
This glow had moved towards us while staying at a certain height and keeping a low speed.
The object flew back to a local graveyard.
I followed it with my car.
Thereupon it descended at a very low altitude.
Without halting, it overflew the graveyard and flew over a fair field, located between an old bridge and the central crossroad.
It moved forward very slowly, at the speed of a running man, and was located at roughly 25 metres above the ground.
I stopped my car after the crossroad facing the fair. I stepped out of my vehicle to observe it. My fiancée winded down her window but she stayed in the car.
The object moved then to the other side of the road, thereby facing a tennis field.
It was 60 metres away from me and was staying at the height of the poplar trees.
I watched that thing for forty seconds outside of my vehicle.
It moved again a bit.
I jumped into my car in order to pursue it. It passed over the police station of the highway whilst I drove around the round-about in order to head to the highway.
I still see it relatively low, moving a bit faster, and then all of a sudden it rose up and disappeared like lightning.
I describe the object as follows: round-oval, similar to a ball of rugby. I ignore its colour because I was dazzled by three powerful projectors/beamers which might have had a diameter of 50 cm and that were emitting a white light akin to the headlights of German vehicles. I also made out a red luminosity.
The device had a diameter between 2.50 and 3 metres.
It didn’t make any noise. I didn’t hear any whistling sound. It was fixed and did not rotate around itself. It was no helicopter. I haven’t made out anything else.
I assert having seen this object for approximately ten minutes. My fiancée could bear witness to this. She’s the one who pushed me to signal our sighting.
She’s a student and told me that our testimony could be useful to researchers.
A few vehicles crossed us in the reverse direction. I ignore if other drivers have noticed the presence of that object.
After the disappearance of the device, we immediately went to the closest police station of the highway.
We have related the facts and have asked the policemen if they’d seen the same phenomenon. They advised us to go to the brigade to give them a report of our experience.
I am entirely sincere. I was so impressed that tears had formed in my eyes.
I was forced to believe in what I’d seen. The object never landed on the ground.
I apprised you of this in the hope this can be useful to you.
27.02.1990 at 23:10
Testimony of the woman
The fiancée of the man was interrogated separately at 17:30 on the next day.
Towards 20:30, on yesterday evening, my boyfriend picked me up at my house. I had just finished doing my homework. We went to a nearby self-station to buy cigarettes.
We immediately headed back to my home.
Shortly after the end of the village, my boyfriend called my attention to a white light near the tower of Mount St. Quentin.
I then actually saw that light which was facing us, to the left of the tower and at roughly the same height. We drove forward while observing this light. I thought it was a helicopter flying at night.
I then noticed that the ball was slowly moving. As we arrived at a somewhat higher spot, we were obliged to realise that it was actually neither a light-ball nor a helicopter but a vehicle of small size, equipped with three powerful headlights emitting a white light. It was advancing very slowly above the ground at an altitude of 50 metres.
My fiancé had parked his vehicle on the backside and left it.
As for me, I was sighting the craft and opened the window of the door of the car. My boyfriend had switched off its engine. The craft didn’t make any noise. The headlights were pointing towards our direction so that I could not distinguish its shape. We could observe it for 15/20 seconds. The craft has slowly overflown the poplar trees and at that time my boyfriend got back into the vehicle and headed for the crossroad.
As we arrived there several seconds later, I saw the craft over the police station of the highway. At that very moment, the craft disappeared. I never saw it again.
I had to convince my fiancé to get to the police station because he was fearful of being considered as a lunatic.
I am entirely sincere. I’ve been truthful in all what I’ve stated. It’s the first time I had such an experience. I have never suffered hallucinations.
I estimate that the craft has a small diameter between 3 and 4 meters.
I have also noticed small red lights.
It didn’t rain when the incident occurred and the visibility was very good.
Is it possible that the sighted object was a helicopter?
Several facts fly in the face of this hypothesis.
- The three strong headlights
The intensity of the three headlights was so strong that it dazzled the observers and prevented them from recognising the shape of the object.
But a helicopter has only ONE searchlight which could be that intense.
2. The absence of noise
While the car engine had been shut down and the wind was quiet, no sound was emitted by the object. Whilst it is not impossible, it is highly unlikely that a helicopter hovering at the level of treetops and located at less than 100 meters from the witnesses would be silent.
3. The low height of fly
The alleged helicopter flew extremely low and was at one point just above the tops of poplar trees. This manoeuvre is incredibly risky (or was at least back then). Why would the pilot take such a risk?
4. The lack of radar detection
One possible answer could be that the pilot wanted to avoid being detected. But what might have been his or her motives?
Even so, the helicopter was seen at the height of Mount Saint Quentin, a local hill overlooking the valley of the Moselle. It seems unlikely that it could have escaped detection if it was nothing more than a conventional helicopter.
5. The velocity of the object
During most of the sighting, the vehicle was very slow, its speed having even been likened to that of a running man. And then it rose up and disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Could a helicopter display such a behaviour?
The object sighted by the young couple was most likely no helicopter.
Its behaviour seems at odds with that of drones existing at that time.
It is quite implausible that the two witnesses saw a normal helicopter and that they misremembered the number of spotlights and other weird features of the object. In that context, it is worth noting that they did not mention the objects being sighted in Belgium. In that case, it seems safe to assume they really saw what they described to the police.
This has one important consequence: not all triangular unidentified flying objects need to be the product of illusions or delusions.