Aimé Michel

Le premier mystère est: pourquoi y a-t-il quelque chose plutôt que rien?
Et le deuxième, aussi grand que le premier: pourquoi suis-je là en train de penser?


Global Orthoteny – Aimé Michel’s latest discovery

Flying Saucer Review – Vol. 9, n°3, May 1963


Much controversy was inevitably aroused by the original discovery that UFOs, or some of them at least, have travelled across certain territories in straight lines. Researchers in many countries had reported the existence of these straight lines, a factor in the mystery that ruled out all the objections put forward by the sceptics. Aimé Michel, in the following letter addressed to the Editor of the Flying Saucer Review, points out that his latest discovery puts paid to many of the criticisms levelled against his original theory. Orthoteny is now a research method and a fact. It can well lead to the predictability of sightings. As a fact it will have to be regarded sooner or later by those scientists who refuse to admit the existence of the flying saucers. The letter that follows must surely rank as one of the most important contributions to Ufology that this Review has been privileged to publish.


The wave of discussion that has been aroused by your Review through the circulation of my book in England has given me a high opinion of the culture and of the critical sense of your readers. Neither in France nor in the U.S.A. have readers’ reactions reached this level of quality. Which proves, it would seem, that in England a wider and more enlightened public is interested in the problem of the UFOs, and I congratulate you on this account.

1. First, I must emphasise that my book was written five years ago. Since its appearance, numerous investigators, in France and in the U.S.A., have criticised, and perfected, and pruned this theory — a theory of which I was merely the initiator and which has since been improved upon considerably. I have been its initiator, but am no longer, by any means, the only investigator to work along the lines that I had indicated in my book. Orthoteny is not my personal property. Original work has been done in this field by Vallée and others in France, by Buelta in Spain, Olavo Fontes in Brazil, Cristian Vogt and his co-workers in the Argentine, by the Civilian Saucer Intelligence in New York, by Guy Quincy in Algeria, and by numerous other people. As is the normal rule in the sciences, each one of these investigators has his own ideas which are not necessarily shared by all the others. Those who find such a situation astonishing should remember that it is the same in all scientific studies. That is how all progress is made, by criticism, and by divergent ideas. Thanks to this work, the truth gradually emerges.

2. However, all the investigators who have studied the alignments based on actual observations, and not merely in a superficial and theoretical way, are now convinced that certain of these alignments truly do correspond to some intelligent orderly arrangement imposed from outside by directing intelligences. On this particular point there is no divergence of opinion among the people whom I have quoted above.

I said certain alignments. The first result obtained by the original investigator who went over my calculations again, Alexander Mebane, of Civilian Saucer Intelligence of New York, showed — at the end of the American edition of my book — that a considerable number of the straight lines that I had drawn could be explained by the simple laws of chance. Alex Mebane has done us a great service in pruning out the uncertain (or possibly uncertain) lines, and in bringing out more clearly the lines that are certainly not uncertain, that is to say those which are inexplicable. It is upon some of these that I have been concentrating my effort for the past five years. It would need a fresh book to set out the details of what I have learnt from this study. So I will mention only one of these lines, namely the Bayonne-Vichy alignment of September 24, 1954 (page 74 of my book).

3. This Bayonne-Vichy alignment had already caught the attention of Alex Mebane (pp.258-259). Using his own method of calculation, he had found a probability of 1/500.000 in the worst hypothesis, and of 1/40.000,000 in the best hypothesis (see note 5, p. 79 of my book — American edition).

Now, in my book that line had only six points. Then, in 1958, my friend and opponent français Jacques Bergier showed me a cutting from the newspaper Le Parisien Liberé relating a sighting made on that same September 24, a sighting which I had not quoted in my book (for I had not known of it). “Look”, he said to me, “that makes yet one more ‘Virgilian Saucer’ for you, and your alignment becomes explainable by chance.”

I was at first very much upset by this objection. The sighting had taken place in Portugal, in a little village in the Sierra de Gardunha Mts., near the Spanish-Portuguese frontier. Then the idea came to me to extend the Bayonne-Vichy alignment towards the south-west, beyond Bayonne, to see where it went. And so long as I live I shall never forget the amazement of Bergier (and my own) when we found that the line intersected the Sierra de Gardunha and that this Portuguese sighting, at a place some 600 kilometres from Bayonne, was itself also located precisely on the alignment worked out by me two years before. At once the probability that this extraordinary coincidence could be due to chance — in even the most unfavourable hypothesis — rested on odds of several tens of millions to one! This was the second occasion in my life when I have discovered the exact location of a sighting simply by extending a line. We shall see in a moment that we have, since, done even better.

4. At roughly the same time as this, one of my friends, a professional astronomer, made a remark one day that set me thinking. He said: “It is striking enough to find that these sightings that form alignments are all sightings that were made on one day. But might there not also perhaps be permanent alignments, along which the sightings would be repeated on different dates?”

I then recalled that in fact this same alignment of September 24, 1954, passed through Dôle, in the Jura region, where, on two different occasions on previous days, an object had indeed been seen. Searching further into the matter, I ascertained that this line had been “visited” a good dozen times in the course of the week before September 24 and of the week following that date. Applying my method of calculation to the whole of the period, that is to say counting all the observations, the probability that this line could be a freak of chance remained of the order of one to several millions. It was then indeed a permanent line.

On the line!

While all this was going on, during the night of October 24, two almost simultaneous sightings occurred in France, namely at Tulle and Brive.

Once again, they were on the line! But this time it was three years later. Could that be a coincidence? In 1960 I wanted to clear the question up and I made a calculation of the planetary prolongation of this singular alignment. In this way I obtained on a map of the world a line which ran through Europe, the Soviet Union, China, Formosa, New Guinea, New Zealand, South America (from Valdivia in Chile to the Brazilian coast between São Luiz and Fortaleza), the Atlantic, Portugal, and Spain. And at the very first glance something struck me: there had been since 1954 five waves of sightings, namely one in Western Europe (the one covered in my book), one in the U.S.A. in 1957, one in a confined area of Brazil around Fortaleza, another in New Guinea in 1959 (Cruttwell Report), and, lastly, one in New Zealand in 1960 (see particularly the issues of the Flying Saucer Review for March-April, 1960, September-October, 1960, and also for January-February, 1961, page 30). Of these five waves, four were literally “spitted” along the Bayonne-Vichy line, so that this line, the exceptional role of which had come to light for the first time as a result of the European sightings only, now definitely seemed to play the main role in the extra-terrestrial activities going on over the surface of the entire earth.

The Great Waves

I reserved judgment, however, and awaited the course of events. The upshot of it was that, as we all know, a new wave occurred in the Argentine in 1962 and, once again — for the fifth time in eight years — along the Bayonne-Vichy Great Circle. Our friend Cristian Vogt, who was passing through Paris at the time when his C.O.D.O.V.N.I. organisation was observing this wave in his own country, saw our map showing this Great Circle, and he was immensely struck by it. For the first time, in the history of Ufology, the draft outline of an ordered system on a scale embracing the whole planet was emerging before our eyes. All of us here, it must be said, were deeply moved. Some UFOs were, of course, being observed throughout the world, and constantly. But the phenomenon of the great waves, a phenomenon so original, and so familiar now to investigators, seemed to obey some topographical arrangement embracing the whole planet. Of six waves observed in eight years, five were located on one same Great Circle. As regards the sixth, the American wave, how could one fail to note its coincidence with the launching of the first sputnik? And, besides, the American wave showed other points of difference from the classic waves, particularly, for example, the absence of the great cloud cigar.

5. At this point I ought to say something about the work of Jacques Vallée in connection with the generalisation of this Great Circle concept, and about the disturbing results at which he has arrived. He will, however, do this, and better than I can, when he judges it to be opportune. The work involves delicate research, comprising very complicated trigonometrical and statistical analyses, which may lead very far.

Code-name BAVIC

As for myself, I have confined myself — working with the help of another astronomer friend’ —to a fine analysis of this Bayonne-Vichy alignment, to which Vallée has given the code-name of BAVIC. Our idea (confirmed by what has happened since, as you will see) was that the detailed study of BAVIC over a carefully observed demarcated area (i.e. France) could give us a trail that would lead to further new discoveries. So we began by investigating the terrain, studying very closely the cases of landings reported along this line, which work has in fact permitted us to define with a very good degree of precision where exactly the line runs.

That was where we had got to in our investigations by August, 1962, when the most sensational French sighting of the year occurred.

On August 29, in the village of Vauriat, in the Département of Puy de Dôme, a number of people witnessed, at 1.45 p.m. — thus in broad daylight — a veritable ballet-dance by unknown craft, which lasted for several minutes. One of the eye-witnesses, himself an engineer and an experienced pilot and member of the Aéro-Club d’Auvergne, sent a first report about it to Général Chassin, and then a second report to my astronomer friend. The craft, four in number, had been observed with perfect clarity, at little distance and low altitude. And I was immediately struck by the description of the “ballet”, that is to say the complicated behaviour of the machines — it was exactly the same zigzag manoeuvre that I had noted during the sightings of the 1954 wave (see my book, page 182, centre) as marking the change of direction at the intersection of two lines.

We had to do some research, therefore, to find out where the little village of Vauriat lay. The report said: “in the Puy de Dôme”. My astronomer friend got the 1/200,000 map of Puy de Dôme (the Michelin map No. 73), which has a surface equal to about 15 times the size of the Flying Saucer Review. It had thousands of names on it, and after an hour’s search the tiny village of Vauriat could still not be found. Then my friend had an idea, “BAVIC”, he said to himself, “BAVIC runs through the Puy de Dôme. Then Vauriat ought to lie on BAVIC?”

So he took a ruler and traced out BAVIC on his map. Then he consulted the sighting report again. It said: “The sighting took place right beside the Vauriat station”. So there was a railway line passing through that village. And my friend reasoned as follows: “If Vauriat is on BAVIC, all I need to do to find this village is to follow BAVIC across the surface of the map until the alignment intersects a railway line, and there I shall find Vauriat”.

Sketch-map Vauriat

It was Vauriat!

So he put his finger on one end of BAVIC and followed this line, and came to a railway line. A few millimetres before the point of intersection, BAVIC cut right through the centre of a small village. My friend bent down and read its name: it was Vauriat! To within one millimetre, that is to say with an error, on the actual ground, of 200 metres (for a Great Circle which, let us not forget, runs right round the earth!), the line that I had discovered in 1957 had aided us to establish the locality of a sighting in 1962. Once again, the straight-line method gave us the rare and exciting emotion of having made a discovery. But this time the conclusion forced itself upon us that it was urgently necessary to organise a systematic watch throughout the regions traversed by BAVIC. And this is what we have been engaged in organising here in France since the autumn of 1962. It is too early yet to set out here the new facts to which this scent has already led us, for some of them are still incomprehensible. But from now onwards we shall have the certitude, as the French saying puts it, that we “have something to go on”. The pilots of the UFOs can dominate us as much as they like with their technique, but from now on it is proven that there is something in their behaviour that can be studied by the methods of our human science.


In conclusion, I would like to emphasise two facts. The first is that Orthoteny, which was merely a theory, has now become at the same time both a research method and a fact. A fact, for it can no longer be doubted that the observation of our planet by the extra-terrestrials is organised, at least in part, on terrestrial Great Circles. And a method, for we are beginning to interpret the meaning of this organisation and to conceive the possibility of forecasting future sightings.

And, finally, the proof of movement lies in progress. It is not by answering the objections that we shall be able to advance Ufology. The best reply — the only one of any use — to the criticism that is inevitably engendered by any positive work, is to carry on straight ahead and to have constantly something new to show for it. That is what the Flying Saucer Review is doing, and Coral Lorenzen in the U.S.A., and Major Petersen in Denmark, Olavo Fontes in Brazil, Cristian Vogt in the Argentine, Buelta and Ribera in Spain, as well as so many others whom you know. And this is what we are trying to do in France also. My personal policy, may I add in conclusion, has always been (and will continue to be) to allow the discussions to develop without intervening, and to write only when I have something new to suggest.


I forgot to mention something, in my article, that is very important for your readers, namely that, among the permanent alignments that we have so far discovered, there is one that runs right across England from one side to the other. This is the line shown in May 14 on page 181 of my book Flying Saucers And The Straight-Line Mystery.

This line, which ends at Southend so far as England is concerned, has been the constant scene of phenomena taking place repeatedly on the Continent since 1954. For example, there have again been some very fine sightings on this line in Italy last autumn (Lake Garda sightings).

So, although I have no particular knowledge about England (for which country I have only the documentation published by the Flying Saucer Review), I should be very surprised if there have not been numerous sightings along the line linking Southend with, approximately, Barra Sound (in the southern part of the Hebrides). The type of sightings to be expected on this line are the following:

(1) Sightings of several objects at once.

(2) Sightings of objects stopping and carrying out the zigzag manoeuvres.

(3) Landings in the vicinity of the line (let us say within a zone of 20 kilometres on each side).

Aimé Michel


Editor’s Note. The importance of the discovery of the existence of global orthoteny cannot be over-stated. Michel has demonstrated that the great circles prove the visitations to have plan and purpose behind them.

Even believers in flying saucers are inclined, perhaps over-inclined, to meet the sceptics halfway and to concede that quite a high proportion of sightings can be attributed to misinterpretations and hoaxes, but such a statement is, as far as we can tell, based upon no solid evidence. As a corollary, global orthoteny would seem to prove that most of the witnesses, who cannot have been aware that they were living on a great circle line, are truthful. Had the misinterpreters and hoaxers represented a significant percentage of the total, the incidence of virgilian sightings would have been high enough to invalidate the discovery. All that is now left for the sceptic to maintain is that fools and knaves live along orthotenic lines that happen to encircle the globe.