January 8, 1981: UFO Leaves Physical Evidence!

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A Brief History

On January 8, 1981, a close encounter with a UFO left actual physical evidence!

Digging Deeper

Digging deeper, we find what Popular Mechanic’s magazine (May 2001) called “…the most completely and carefully documented sighting of all time.”

Popular Mechanics first cover (January 11, 1902)

A French farmer working outside on his farm near Trans-en-Provence, France was alerted by a loud whistling noise and watched in amazement as a UFO landed on his field about 150 feet away.  He later described the UFO as looking like two saucers on top of each other and being a bit over 2 meters in diameter.

The farmer reported the UFO landed only briefly and then took off.   He said he could see some sort of devices under the UFO extending several inches from the bottom.

Official photograph by PHILCK06.

Police examined the scene, took samples and also notified government space authorities.

The remarkable thing about this incident was the rare physical evidence left behind.  Burn marks on the ground and compacting of the soil were verified by GEIPAN, an investigative unit of the French space agency, as were trace elements not expected to be found there.

Official photograph by PHILCK06.

It was determined that the burn marks were caused by a temperature of 300 to 600 degrees Celsius and that the ground was compacted by at least 4 tons of force.

As with virtually all UFO reports, this one has its champions and its skeptics.  A major fault critics see with this incident is that only the farmer witnessed the event.  The farmer himself thinks the object was some sort of military secret device, as a military installation was located near the scene.  But there is the physical evidence!  Question for students (and subscribers): What do you think really happened?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

Official photograph by PHILCK06.

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Historical Evidence

Fortunately, the aforementioned issue of Popular Mechanics is still available over on Amazon.com:

When UFOs Land.”  Popular Mechanics, May 2001.

The featured image in this article, a photograph by PHILCK06, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

You can also watch a video version of this article on YouTube:


About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.