Date: March, 1958
Location: Bouhamama, Algeria
Legionnaire N.G., was on sentry duty at a Foreign Legion camp at Bouahmama during the Algerian War, when he saw an enormous, roundish object descending. It stopped when it was about 35-40 metres above the ground, and began to hover there, motionless and silent. He estimated it to be as much as 350 metres wide. The witness feels that something most unusual happened to him psychologically.
Representation of the craft seen by the soldier.
Type of Case/Report: StandardCase
Hynek Classification: CE1
Special Features/Characteristics: Military, Physiological Effects
Source: Joel Mesnard, FSR Vol. 19. No. 3
TRANQUILLIZING VISITATION AT BOUAHMAMA
An Algerian report of 1958
An extraordinary UFO sighting was reported one night in March, 1958, during the Algerian War, at a Foreign Legion camp at Bouahmama in the Sud Constantinois. The sole witness. Legionnaire N.G., was on sentry duty outside ihe camp. The site where he was consisted of a fortified emplacement dug out of the ground, lightly armoured and equipped with a telephone connected to the camp.
The night was cloudless and the moon was shining. All was silent on the dcscrl landscape. No large-scale operations were being carried out in the area at the time so N.G., who had been in the Legion for three years, was not feeling especially anxious. He was sitting on the ground near ihe trench, and had his rifle. If anything unexpected happened he was supposed either to fire his rifle or call the camp by telephone.
Suddenly, at a few minutes after 0.30 hours, something did happen. What it was that happened, we cannot say for sure. The witness remembers seeing a positive, physical phenomenon of enormous size. But he feels that something most unusual happened to him psychologically. And he freely admits that there might well be a difference between what he sincerely remembers and what actually took place.
It began with a whistling noise, the sort of noise you hear if you blow into the neck of a bottle. This sound seemed to him to be coming down from the sky. He immediately looked up, and saw an enormous, roundish object descending. It stopped when it was about 35-40 metres (roughly 100 to 120ft.) above the ground, and began to hover there, motionless and silent.
He estimated it to be as much as 350 metres wide (1,000ft.). As seen by him slightly from below, during the arrival and take-off phases, it seemed to be elliptical in shape (see Fig. 1), quite independently of the perspective effect that makes a disc look elliptical when observed from a point outside the disc's centre-line. Its span might, he thought, have been in the neighbourhood of 250 metres. He estimated the distance between himself and the nearest edge of the object at little more than 50 metres (150ft.) (Fig. 2).
When I asked Monsieur N.G. to extend his arms towards the ends of the object as he recalled seeing it, he held them out at an angle of about 100 between them. This estimate would fit quite well with the estimates given above of its size and its distance from him.
The object was surrounded by pale green light, and an intense conical beam of cmcrald-green light was coming from the centre of the under-part towards the ground.
Legionnaire N.G. did not fire his rifle, nor did he pick up the telephone. He just remembers staring at the object for 45 to 50 minutes. The pale green and emerald colours were the most beautiful, relaxing and fascinating colours he had ever seen. Legionnaire N.G. had forgotten all about the war. All nervous or psychological tension had gone from his mind. He was just feeling happy.
Then came the noise again, like somebody blowing into a bottle, and the object started rising gently, until it had reached a height of about I(K) or 120 metres. Then it flew offal tremendous speed towards the North-West, climbing as it went.
What the Legionnaire then felt was a sort of sadness at the disappearance of this beautiful sight. After a few minutes this feeling began to fade, yielding place to a return of his ordinary state of consciousness, until his full mental faculties were back. He quickly picked up the telephone and reported whal he had seen. To his great amazement however the officer at the camp simply replied in the manner: "All right. We'll see about it tomorrow morning."
Greaily disappointed at the officer's reaction, N.G. continued his watch until he was relieved by another man in the early hours of the morning. He again reported his experience, and this time more attention was paid to him. Some of his superiors were inclined to believe his story, because N.G., then aged 28, was a well-respected soldier and was considered serious and reliable. The majority however thought it was just a case of psychological trouble caused by the tough conditions of war in the desert.
A careful investigation was carried out at the scene of the sighting. N.G. recalls with a smile that the officers even examined the sand with a magnifying lens. No footprints, no marks, no alien material was found in the area, and no smell either.
Probably more for medical than for "ufological" reasons, the witness was thoroughly questioned by officers. He stuck to his original story, and the affair was considered to be quite amazing. He was sent lo the Military Hospital at Val dc Grace in Paris. There he was kept for a week underdose scrutiny by neurologists and psychiatrists. An electroencephalogram revealed nothing unusual. The conclusion of all the doctors was that N.G. was in a slate of good physical and mental health. He had not been notably affected by the strains caused by wartime service in Algeria. He had no tendency towards drinking, and was considered to be competent for service in the Foreign Legion, which means an especially hard way of life. Indeed, no man with a tendency towards dreaming or science-fiction, or with an over-developed imagination or analytical, critical mind would he selected for service in the Legion.
Monsieur N.G., who is today a civilian, is obviously a man with a strong sense of the realities of everyday life, and seems lo be just the opposite of an oversensitive type or a poet.
What happened that night in Bouahmama? It is just as difficult for us to believe in the physical features of the reported sighting as it is for us not to believe in the sincerity of the witness.
Monsieur N.G. obviously is not seeking publicity. He just recounts his experience, in a natural manner, to his own close relatives, and when I met him in May 1970, he looked slightly reluctant for the first few minutes, and then answered my questions without emphasis on any particular feature.
I have been unable so far to find any evidence from military sources regarding his alleged experience. The
Val de Grace Hospital in Paris does not keep documents about patients beyond a period of ten years.
The size of the reported object is so large that, if it actually was where the witness claims to have seen it, it must have been visible from the camp at an angle of about 60 . Yet nobody else reported seeing it. When 1 asked him about the possible reasons for his having been the only witness, N.G. replied that it is in no way astonishing, since most of the men in the camp were asleep in their barracks at the time. There was a legionnaire on sentry duty at the opposite end of the camp, and he could have seen the UFO at an angle of almost 40 ! And yet that sentry reported nothing. Monsieur N.G. does not think that the slope or the irregular pattern of the ground could have been sufficient to render ihe phenomenon invisible from the camp.
The witness seems to be conscious that something quite extraordinary happened to his mind, but he seems to believe quite positively in the geometrical features of his "sighting." He says he has had no disease or illness of any kind since the night of the sighting, and no unusual physical or mental conditions. He has never had any other experiences involving flying saucers, cither before, or since, his experience at Bouahmama. What happened to him there in 1958 has left him with the belief that "there is something," and that "something is coming from another world to watch ours." Regarding his amazingly peaceful stale during the sighting, he uses words like: "It was like time running \ery slowly . . ." and "it was like being in another woild."
Since the experience he had felt a certain degree of interest in flying saucers, and recalls having read about UFOs in newspapers and magazines. In any case, the subject definitely docs not upset him and his experience, however extraordinary it may seem, has not notably changed his life.
The Bouahmama case, devoid as it is of physical evidence but so puzzling in many respects, invites comparison with a number of other cases. What she rote of the witness actually was leaves much to our imagination. It is just one more of those very special UFO sightings which lead us to think that Ufology may somehow be related to some obs-ure psychic phenomenon.
Case ID: 594
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