lundi 20 novembre 2017

Maurice Masse Encounter (Valensole, 07/01/1965): Hoax inspired by a French Comic Book?


When something is strange, very strange, we may resort without much fear to the improbable explanations, simply referring to prosaic things in extraordinarily improbable situations.
Lorsque quelque chose est étrange ou très étrange, nous pouvons recourir sans trop de crainte à d'improbables explications se référant simplement à des choses prosaïques dans des situations extraordinairement improbables.

Manuel Borraz & Kentaro Mori in Extraordinary Explanations.


This article proposes a finding and hypothesis by Raoul Robé. It is then not my work.
Cet article propose une trouvaille et une hypothèse de Raoul Robé. Ce n'est donc pas mon travail.

Avec l'aimable autorisation de Raoul Robé / With the kind permission of Raoul Robé.

The Covert of the Comic Book...

Add-on 12/01/2017: An investigator ("UFO-skeptic" himself) and friend, who have the comic too, sent me all the story contained in the comic he summarized for me.
I must admit that now, having all the "Tintin" story, I (Gilles Fernandez) have the opinion the scenario as unlikely (of course, not impossible): Few similarities and too much differences in my humble opinion.

Abstract: In the recent years, French investigator and comic books collector, Raoul Robé, discovered a French comic book edited in 1955 and re-edited in 1960 containing many of the ingredients of Maurice Masse encounter, including the place (the comic book story is taking place in Arles -South of France -).
This findind drived Raoul Robé to present an alternative hypothesis to the ones already proposed (from a real encounter of the third kind to something involving an helicoper).

I should summarize the hypothesis with this scenario:

Maurice Masse discovered in his field a trace he recognized as a "lightning impact". 

In parallel and during his free time, he have the habit to meet his friends at "Café des Sports" (sort of French pub, so to speak). Like in all French Cafés in rural area or not, people are commenting the news, from sports to politic and social.

We well know that Michel Figuet French investigator met him and he have qualified him as "a kidder/teasing" (the French term was joueur). As many people reading the local press, Masse and the inhabitants were aware about the 1954 French wave, or "flying saucers/UFO" in general.

Coincidentally, he came accross a French comic book, where the action is taking place in his own area (Provence, Arles city).
This is enough to draw his curiosity and attention to read the full comic: He is discovering other ingredients: A Flying Saucer is landing in in his own area, with grab inhabitants/pilots paralysing a witness with a weapon emitting a beam ray, pilots examining him and speacking a foreign language, etc...

A idea is germinating in his "kidder" mind, a "galéjade" as we say here in South of France, with the lightning trace as the main support (hardware material), and the comic for the other ingredients (narrative material). So, he goes to boast at the "Café des Sports". The rumor is spreading in this little area where oral "stories" are very fast to spread. Because French Gendarmes will be involved, the French media are interested and the story becoming national and international. 

Masse is "trapped" in his "galéjade" and cant way back (like Renato for Trans-en-Provence other "famous" French case?)...


The Case examined from another Angle, by Raoul Robé (translation of a 2015 received Raoul Robé's draft by the author of this blog, so probable typos, but under correction)

Ufologists, often city inhabitants themselves, sometimes have the unfortunate tendency to misjudge the malice of witnesses living in the countryside.

The famous case of Valensole (July the first 1965) is often told to us by these ufologists (for example, here), but Raoul Robé proposes to consider it from another angle.

Maurice Masse is a farmer and he knows his work very well, but also the environment in which he works daily. At the end of June 1965, he discovered a trace in his field of cultivation of lavender plants. He knows very well, for having already seen, that it is about a trace left by the lightning (one can consult in this respect, the excellent French work directed by P. Vachon & P. ​​Seray, Marliens et les Cas similaires- 2014 -).

The Covert of Vachon & Seray 2014 Book...

To relax, Masse has a habit of joining his friends at the "Café des Sport" where he finds a very friendly atmosphere: It discusses political, economic or social news.
According to some investigators (Figuet, cited by Seray p.203 Ibid.), the witness is qualified as a "joueur" (Kidder/Teasing ).

Maurice has of course already read, like everyone else since the great wave of 1954, articles speaking about "flying Saucers" in the local and regional press, and perhaps even in the coffee. He stumbles upon a small comic book (small format / petit format we call them here) abandoned by a village kid or other possibilities. The eye-catching cover shows a young rider and a flock of good bulls passing a flying saucer. The introduction speaks of flying saucer ... in Provence!

The Introduction of the Comic Book mentioning a flying saucer and taking place in Maurice Masse French Provence...

The idea of ​​a good galéjade (A galèjade is a local/familiar South of France term meaning a tall story) germinates in the teasing spirit of our farmer. The trace found earlier will serve as a support for this joke.

He tells his adventure to his coffee friends. The affair is quickly spread. The French Gendarmerie (French Army corp having a Police duty) intervenes, the press seizes it. 
Because there are these very concrete traces, this story will go around the world!


At the beginning, Masse describes the landing of unknown craft, but like for Marius Dewilde encounter, in Quarouble 1954, the description of the small pilots and their reaction will come gradually (embellishments, one will be able to consult about Quarouble, the article in French by Dominique Caudron).

Please note that in Maurice Masse narrative, the little men are bald, speak an unknown language, are benevolent, armed with a paralyzing ray weapon, they examine the body of the witness then immobilized .... exactly as in the scenario of the comic strip.

In the comic, the witness discovers the landing of a flying saucer and bald pilots...

In 1975, Lob & Gigi (Dargaud Ed, 1975) interpreted and depicted Maurice Masse narrative when the bald pilot is paralyzing the witness with a ray weapon. In our comic, the bald pilot is paralyzing the witness and his horse with a ray weapon.

Lob & Gigi 1975/Maurice Masse narrative (1965) versus our comic (1955 & 1960)...

The witness is examined by the pilots in both the Maurice Masse narrative and our comic book.


Few words about this Kind of Comic Books.

This kind of comics we call here "petits formats" were sold on newsstands or press houses all around France.
The owner of this blog collected them in the 70's and they were easily found in my local town markets as "used" by many vendors. We buy them for half the original price and it was possible to "buy" other comics when giving back the ones we bought previously (for a quarter of the original price this time ^^).
It was also very common that these comic books as being passed from friend to friend/from hand to hand.

That's among other reasons why we must not be surprised by the delay/decay between Maurice Masse testimony (1965) and the two editions of the comic book (1955 and 1960).

Gilles Fernandez, November 2017. Copyright Raoul Robé.