Part 1 -
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isolated, rocky plateau at Col de Vence, France, where strange
phenomena -- and bizarre photographs--are a regular occurrence.
N.Talbott (Sept. 21, 2006)
While on a 2004
lecture tour in Europe I first met Xavier Colin, a charming Frenchman
who had recently become interested in the crop circle phenomenon.
Xavier, one of a group of people who have been documenting strange
events in the mountains near Nice (the Col de Vence group) and I
had been in touch by email and phone previously and he had come
to Belgium where I was speaking so we could further compare notes
and exchange information.
Colin (right) with members of the Belgian crop circle group,
in the Belgium countryside (2004).
Photo: N. Talbott
Mr. Colin, a real-estate broker in Antibes, and several friends
were regularly visiting Col de Vence, a remote area in the mountains
of southern France not far from the French Riviera. Marked by dramatic
rock formations and isolated, still-wild vistas, the site (the "Vence
pass") is part of the southern Alps and has the reputation locally
of being a place where extraordinary events--of a very diverse nature--are
common. Xavier had brought some of the group's amazing photographs
to Belgium with him.
Xavier is a family man, with a young daughter and a responsible
job. He is intelligent, multi-lingual, and thoughtful in his approach
to both the events at Col de Vence and his more recent interest
in crop circles. Although not equipped with sophisticated technical
capability himself he was open, in fact eager, to obtain professional
analysis of some of the group's material (Xavier recently reported
that French experts will begin such a project this year).
The range of anomalies in these photos is incredible. In fact, when
I first attempted to publish some of the group's photos for the
English-speaking public more than a year ago, seasoned UFO professionals
strongly urged me to investigate this case further: they were certain
the Col de Vence photos I had shown them were hoaxed and that I
had misjudged the situation.
Because some people think that most "anomalous" photos are simply
artifacts of digital cameras and since I knew that years ago early
members of the Col de Vence group had used film, I thought it would
be a good idea to show some of the early film photos before moving
on to the even more amazing images captured now on digital cameras.
The following film photos were taken by two early members of the
group (Patrick and Denis) and show very dramatic light anomalies,
many of them similar to photographs taken more recently.
In this photo a swirling "fog" is obscuring several of the people
present; multiple smaller light balls seemingly in motion, as well
as more tube-like structures, can be seen. Many people have taken
similar photographs at crop circle sites with what looks like "fog"
or "smoke" (which is not due to cigarette smoke, since most crop
circle people (a) don't smoke at all, and (b) if they do, they don't
smoke out in the fields). It should be noted that at Col de Vence
there is no local light source whatsoever--no houses (close or distant),
no street lamps, nothing but the mountains and rocky fields.
the photo below there again appear to be multiple light balls, moving
dynamically in front of the two people. [The yellow- and red-ringed
blue circle in background is a "No-Parking" sign on the side of
of these early film photos show amazing colors, as well as complex
effects which will be replicated in some of the more recent Col
de Vence photographs. Below are 4 prints, taken during one night,
all with chartreuse colored tubes of light.
the photo immediately above there are not only multi-colored light
streaks, there is a "snow-like" effect which has re-occurred in
digital photographs taken much more recently.
There are two more points to make regarding these early film photos.
First, during all the years that the Col de Vence group has been
going up into the mountains, there has been only one member who
has obtained unusual photos in each time period. Other people would
regularly bring their cameras, but only one individual at a time
(usually for a matter of years) would get strange photo effects.
Secondly, there are always 2-3 members of the group present (usually
more) when these photos are taken. So far as I could ascertain,
no one visits the location alone. The photos above are only a small
portion of the early ones taken, but they establish that very strange
effects have been repeatedly recorded on film at Col de Vence.
- Part 2 -
party in tiny village near Col de Vence.
It it now known that local residents in some of the tiny ancient
villages in the area have, off and on for many years, heard strange
sounds and seen unusual objects in the sky. Sometimes there is the
sound of electrical engines passing just overhead, back and forth,
when no planes are present. Fires have begun inexplicably, even
in winter when the ground is covered with snow. There have been
a number of unexplained plane crashes in the area, remnants of which
are burnt forever into the massive limestone rock formations. There
are also startling, and sometimes spectacular, stone falls which
occur out of nowhere. Visitors report a sense of an "intelligence"
inhabiting the place.
The current group documenting events at Col de Vence includes several
members who have been visiting the site for years. Most of the photos
on the group's web-site (www.coldevence.com)
and in their recent DVD were, however, taken by one man--Pierre
Beake. [It was also Mr. Beake who, in 2005, photographed a silvery
disc-shaped "UFO" near the Boreham Down crop circle in Wiltshire,
Beake, delighted with our photographic
at Col de Vence.
Pierre first discovered the isolated plateau in 1979, when he went
with friends who were looking for wild places to have walks and
picnics. For the next 15 years nothing too remarkable occurred--he
did observe a few strange things in the sky on his regular visits
and collected a few stories from locals. Then in March of 1994 he
had his first clear UFO sighting and since 1998, when he finally
obtained a digital camera, he has been the primary photographer
of strange images at Col de Vence.
de Vence. Pierre & car in rock-strewn limestone plateau where
were taken during Talbott's 2006 visit.
September 21, 2006 I arrived in Nice, and soon Pierre and I were
1000 feet up in the southern Alps above the Mediterranean. I knew
that Pierre has used a digital camera almost exclusively and that
usually--as in the Boreham Down crop circle "UFO" photo--neither
he nor anyone else present sees the strange light forms and/or objects
registered by his camera. With the exception of some of the group's
UFO photos and videos (where the objects are visible) the anomalies
photographed are generally invisible to the naked eye.
Pierre told me that he had been interested in the UFO phenomenon
since he was about 15 years old and that, although he had been visiting
Col de Vence with his friends for many years, it wasn't until he
got his first digital camera in 1998 that he began to get strange
photographs. Since then it has been Pierre who captures the majority
(90%) of the photo anomalies in the Col de Vence group.
Why only one person at a time should obtain the majority of the
anomalies and other people there who are also using digital cameras
do not, no one knows. And why the individual getting the anomalies
changes from time to time is also a total mystery. Xavier is of
the impression, in the Col de Vence situation, that Pierre himself
is perhaps a critical component (just as I suspect, in Hoeven, Holland,
that Robbert v/d Broeke is perhaps a conduit).
Following is a very small selection of the hundreds of more or less
outrageous photos taken (mostly by Pierre) at Col de Vence in the
last few years. Some of the anomalies might be called "UFOs" or
"orbs," others are too unique to categorize. As can be seen, they
occur during the day as well as at night.
this photo there was no person standing beneath the strange tube.
the material above one can see why I was motivated to visit this
place and meet the people involved. All of the photos above (except for the first 2 in Part 1, and the first 3 scenic shots in Part 2) were taken prior to my arrival in 2006 by Pierre and/or other members of the group. Although some researchers who have been involved in the UFO phenomenon for much longer than I thought there was a high likelihood that these photos might be hoaxed, I was fairly sure they were genuine. Both Xavier (whom I'd spent time with in Belgium) and Pierre Beake (whom I'd dealt with regarding the Boreham Down "UFO" photo) seemed straight-forward and genuinely curious.
So I decided to go and see for myself. Parts III & IV cover some
of the photos I took with my own cameras (film and digital), as
well as those taken by Pierre and others while I was present and
watching everything they did.
to Part 3
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