The weather was splendid, and the four decided to stop and have lunch under the sun in a small clearing of the wood, close of the road from Cluj to Bucharest.
Emil Barnea went to seek seasoned wood for a campfire. There was no wind, and the only sounds were the birds singing.
Barnea came back from the clearing and looked at what her girlfriend indicated to him: above the clearing where they were, there was a round craft in the sky, rather large, of metallic appearance, which reflected the sunlight as if it were silver plated. The machine slowly flew above the wood, without any noise.
Barnea then rushed towards his bag of which he extracted his camera, he estimated the lighting and the distance and took a first photography. As the machine went always rather slowly, it had more than enough time to take a second shot.
He noticed variations of luminosity of the craft, and its fluctuating flight.
At this time, the craft suddenly accelerated, going up, and Barnea had just the time to take two more photographs before the machine was too far away to be seen. His fourth photograph was never publicly published because the other couple appeared on it, and they really did not want to be identified. This fourth photography was nevertheless shown by Emil Barnea to ufologists Florin Gheorghita and Ion Hobana later, it shows the machine who had become very small in relative size and as lost in a sort of cloud.
The four witnesses had followed all the maneuvers of the machine, which had lasted approximately two minutes, and then stood quite some time in awe and not knowing what to say. At the end of a few days, the shock which this incident had caused them had dissipated. At the end of one week or two, the film roll in Emil Barnea's camera was finished, and he developed it and made some prints. he was hesitant as of what to do about the observation and of the photographs, knowing that people talking of flying saucers were generally ridiculed.(From UFO Phenomenon at Close Sight)
FEBRUARY 28, 1968
"He's at 11:30, has one flashing red light and three - now four red lights strung out - one red light turned to green." At this point, Capt. Reilman "prepared to take evasive action." The center radioed back that they had spotted no targets on their radar scope. "Come on," Reilman responded, "he's going right by us at our 9:00 position." The center still replied that they had no targets and that no balloons were in the vicinity. "I dropped the subject and proceeded to Miami," the Captain concluded. Pacings of ground vehicles have often badly frightened the witnesses, showing that official debunking and denials have not abated fears of UFOs. If anything, they have increased such fears, since many citizens believe the facts are kept from them.
Plaine des Caffres, La Réunion, France-- July 31, 1968:
On July 31, 1968, at approximately 9 hours in the morning, Luce Fontaine, a creole, a "drunk cowboy" according to sources making fun of the event and a farmer married to a shcoolteacher according to other sources, 22 years old, was gathering grass for his rabbits in a small clearing, at the center of an acacias wood at the location"Le Tampon" in the Plain of Cafres, Reunion island.
He said to have seen there, during about fifteen seconds, an object of oval shape, with a translucent center and dark blue ends, stationed four or five meters above him at a distance of 25 meters. The machine measured some 5 meters broad and 2 meters 50 height.
Of blue and white color, the object emitted a raw whitish light compared with that of an welder. Sorts of large feet of metal were above and below the machine:
Drawing in J.P. Lavilgrand's report.
In the center of the craft, behind the translucent part, Luce Fontaine saw two characters of the humanoid type, of approximately 90 centimetres in height, dressed from the feet to the head of a kind of bumpy cosmonaut suit, which he called the "Michelin babas" since they resembled the famous mascot of the tires manufacturer. The two beings carried sorts of helmets which partially masked their face.
At the end of a few seconds, the two beings seemed to realize the presence of Luce Fontaine, they turn their back to him and the machine disappears in a few seconds in a dazzling flash of light and a hot air blast.
Luce Fontaine, according to various local journalistic sources, is presented sometimes as "a farmer considered as sober and honest", or "a cowboy who was returning of a party where alcohol abunded." The accounts do not specify if it is him who spontaneously went to find the Gendarmes to report what he saw or if the gendarmes came to challenge the man about a spread story, in any event, the Gendarmes of the island noted his statement to them as:
"I saw during about fifteen seconds an object of ovoid shape stationed at four or five meters above the ground. The object emitted a light like that of an electric welder. It had four to five meters in diameter and approximately two meters and a half in hieght. It was blue and white in its upper and lower parts. I was incomodated by the powerful light, but I could nevertheless distinguish, behind a blue screen, two characters who seemed to me to measure approximately 90 centimetres. The two characters were in an astronaut's suit."
"They resembled two "Michelin Babas", one of them was showing his back whereas the other faced me. When these two kind of cosmonauts saw me, there was a white flash and the apparatus flew away."
His interrogation by the Gendarmerie, within the framework of the investigation directed by Gendarmerie Captain Maljean, of Saint-Pierre, did not end in the publication of a commonplace explanation nor in the exposure of a hoax and the reports are not classified.
After the investigation by the Gendarmerie, it was the director of the departmental service of fire and help, Captain Léopold Legros, who had some knowledge as regards nuclear power, chemistry and biology, who realized that Luce Fontaine's hat and trousers were radioactive in proportions higher than the natural rates. He had used the detection equipment of Gillot airfield to that effect.
Legros then inspected the sighting's premises and also detected an abnormal radioactivity there, on six specific points aligned three by three on the ground. In addition, Luce Fontaine had a bleeding nose during the eight days which followed his observation, but there was no other noted consequence on his health.
J.P. Lavilgrand, of Daint-Denis de la Reunion, was the first "civilian" ufologist to learn about the case and he published a report, followed by a report by Mr. Albany of the GEPA ufology group. Captain Legros told J.P. Lavilgrand about the radioactivity measured on the site:
"In a radius of five meters around the point flown over by the UFO, eight points of radioactivity caught our attention. On grass tufts, on stones, we detected up to 60 milliRöntgens."
These measurements are not alarming, but quite abnormal. J.P. Lavilgrand furthermore pointed out that the measurements were made 10 days after the events, and that the abundant seasonal rains might have washed up the ground. He also noted the statement of Luce Fontaine, as follows:
"I was at kilometer 21 in a small clearing in the center of a wood of acacias. Bent towards the ground, I collected grass for my rabbits that morning, when I suddenly saw in the clearing a kind of oval cabin 25 meters away of me, hovering at 4 or 5 meters of the ground. Its ends were dark blue, the center was clearer, more transparent, a little like the windshield of a 404 car. Above and below, there was like two feet of brilliant metal glass."
"In the center of the cabin, two individuals, stood with their backs turned towards. That of left turned the head and thus faced me. He was upright, small, 90 cm approximately, wrapped feet to head in a kind of suit like the Michelin man. The one at my right-hand side simply turned the head towards me, but I nevertheless had time to glimpse on his face, partly masked by a kind of helmet."
"Both then turned their backs at me, and there was a flash as violent as that of the electric spark of a welding machine. All became white around me, a strong heat came, then like a blow of air, and a few seconds later there was nothing any more."
"I then approached the place where the machine had been; there was no trace. This object measured 4 or 5 meters in diameter and 2 meters 50 of height approximately. It was of bluish color, white on the higher and lower parts. I told all that to my wife and to the gendarmes, all believed me immediately."
The story was published in the local press, under the heading: "Flying saucer in the Plain of Cafres? Radioactivity slightly higher than the normal noted on clothing of the single witness, a farmer named Luce Fontaine who claims: "Two Michelin men were in the apparatus"." It then came to the press in mainland France, with numerous articles in newspapers like "Centre-Matin", "Le Courier de l'Ouest", "l'Alsace", "Nice Matin", "Le Provençal", "L'Alsace ", "Nice Matin", "Le Provençal": obviously, the fact that the Gendarmerie had investigated, and the traces of radioactivity, made the journalists more comfortable on whether the event was worthy to be reported.
On the very spot of the observation, one of the most famous night clubs of La Reunion was later built, and called "The Flying saucer", and the story is now as much the subject of the gibes in the island as a minor classic of the ufologic literature:
The Flying Saucer: a discotheque in the outer limits
It is the last house on the road of the Plains. In 1958, a named Luce Fontaine, cowboy, returning from a party where there was large amounts of alcohol, saw an unidentified flying object crash on its current site. The myth of the "Flying saucer" was born. Today and for forty years, inhabitants of the four corners of the island and all generations have perpetuated the myth while shaking their hips on java, tango and techno music. A dance hall not like any others, where couples form and split, and forget their daily concerns.
Several more times, and notably a few years later in 1975, the Michelin men and their flying saucer came back to visit the island of La Réunion.
ABOVE: Incident at Redlands, California (4 Feb 1968)
This case concerns the reported sighting by some
twenty observers of an object with seven lights on the bottom,
which appeared as jets, and a row of eight to ten lights on top
which were alternating in color. The object was reported to have
proceeded at a low altitude (estimated about 300 feet) in a
northeasterly direction for about a mile, to have come to a stop
and to have hovered briefly, jerked forward, hovered again, then
to have shot straight upward, stopped, hovered again, then wavered
to the northwest, gained altitude, and then to have shot off to
the northwest with a strong burst of speed. It was under
observation for about 5 minutes. The object was estimated to have
been at least 50 feet in diameter. The estimates of 300 feet
altitude and 50 feet must be considered jointly; only the apparent
diameter can be judged, of course, but on the assumption of a
given distance the estimate of 50 feet was arrived at. Clearly,
if the object had been several miles away, the unchanged apparent
diameter would lead to an unbelievably large object.
Early on the morning of July 30, 1968, a couple (names on file at NICAP) finished working on their new house in the Robert's Hill district of Claremont, New Hampshire and were preparing to retire. Some lights in the field back of the house, apparently about 200 feet away, attracted their attention and they went to the window to see what was going on.
To their astonishment, they saw a dome-shaped object hovering about 10 feet off the ground. The underside of the object was illuminated, and the light covered an area about 20 feet in diameter on the ground. Since they were in a fairly isolated area with no telephone (they had just moved into the house), the couple became frightened. They could hear a buzzing sound, like a transformer, coming from the object. The time was about 2:30 a.m.
Mr. and Mrs. John Meloney of the New Hampshire NICAP Subcommittee investigated the report in close cooperation with the Claremont police. In their interview with the couple, they learned that the UFO had remained over the field until about 4:30 a.m. Then the humming became very loud, the light grew to high intensity and the UFO moved away at a low angle upward to the west and disappeared. In the garage, the family dog whined loudly as the UFO departed. Two separate groups of witnesses have been located by the Subcommittee. The reports seem to indicate beyond a reasonable doubt that something unexplained was in the area.