On September 10, 1954 Marius Dewilde claimed to have an encounter with occupants of a strange craft that landed on nearby train tracks.
The comic book version gets some important bits wrong compared to Dewilde’s account. He said the creatures were short, and they didn’t have arms as far as he could see. They were also wearing diving suits and helmets that kept him from seeing their faces. The marks on train tracks were not nearly as dramatic as shown here. In fact, we have a picture of them, and Marius himself.
What can we tell from this picture? First, that Marius was the most French Frenchman who ever lived. Second, the marks on the tie could be anything. Even with them circled, it’s tough to see them. Thirdly, the next train that had to use those tracks was going to be in a lot of trouble.
But what about the “deep impression” and “crumbling ballast”? They simply didn’t exist. Those details are exaggerations from UFO books in the 1960s. The “impression” seems to be the wishful thinking version of those four tiny marks on the tie, and the ballast story came from one police reference to the ballast at the tracks being “exposed” (ie. disturbed), which later writers turned into “exposed to high heat.”
The police interviewed Dewilde, and came to conclusion he wasn’t lying, but did note that he had had a “cranial trauma” a year earlier. I think it’s fairly safe to say that the whole thing was a dream Dewilde had. Even in his own account he mentions that after he was paralyzed he felt like he was dreaming.
Worth noting, Dewilde wasn’t the only French person who said he encountered an alien that night. Antoine Mazaud would later claim he was confronted by a strange small man in a helmet, who he threatened with a pitchfork. The small man responded by kissing him. For some reason UFOlogists don’t talk about this sighting very much.
(From UFO Flying Saucers #1)