Close encounters of the Var kind, will they be back?
The Var wants the reputation as a “green” department but perhaps the green they have in mind doesn’t quite equate to the skin colour of visitors from another planet. In June however, that’s what we got ... maybe.
A couple from Toulon reported strange goings-on in the sky one evening around midnight near Baoudes Quatre Oures. Yves described a large glowing ball, much larger than a star, which changed directions rapidly in ways that an aircraft could not. He saw glowing green lights around the object, and his wife saw them, too. They reported the incident to the gendarmerie but weren’t taken very seriously until another 30 sightings were also reported within minutes near Nanteuil-lès-Meaux in the Seine-et-Marne department, much further to the north. The descriptions of the object were identical. The very official branch of the French space agency, Geipan (Groupe d’études et d’informationssur les phénomènes aérospatiaux non identifiés) has not released the full names of the witnesses as they only do this when given permission. They do, however, confirm the reports.
Corsica is the French department where reports of OVNI – objet volant non identifié or UFOs – sightings are the most common but the Var comes a close second and one particular sighting is thought to be credible, even by serious military UFOlogists aroundthe world.
On January 8th, 1981, there was a sighting at Trans-en-Provence at approximately 5pm and it has been the object of intensive studies ever since. Renato Nicolaï, a retired stonemason, reported a UFO landing near his garden; the object was round, saucer like,and grey in colour. It landed without engine noise and then disappeared vertically and very quickly, leaving traces on the ground. Renato immediately called his neighbour who was a gendarme and together they examined the landing site and took samples of the vegetation before calling in other gendarmes and Geipan. Biochemical examinations found that the circular imprint left behind must have been the result of 600°C heat. The traces on surrounding vegetation suggested exposure to microwaves over a wide area, certainly not possible to fake without very specialised equipment.This was confirmed by INRA – the institute for agricultural research.
To this day, the Trans-en-Provence incident remains the most credible UFO sighting in France.