Near the French village of Valensole, farmer Maurice Masse was smoking a cigarette just before starting work at 5:45 A.M. on July 1, 1965, when an object came out of the sky and landed in a lavender field 200 feet away. Annoyed and assuming that a helicopter had made an unauthorized landing, he walked toward it. However, he soon saw it was no helicopter but an oval-shaped structure resting on four legs. In front of it stood two figures, not quite four feet tall, dressed in tight gray-green clothes. Their heads were oversize and with sharp chins, their eyes were large and slanted, and they were making a "grumbling" noise.
One of the beings pointed a pencillike device at Masse, paralyzing him in his tracks. The figures entered the UFO and flew away, and the witness needed 20 minutes to recover his mobility. In its wake the object left a deep hole and a moist area that soon hardened like concrete. Plants in the vicinity decayed, and analysis found a higher amount of calcium at the landing site than elsewhere.
The Valensole case is considered one of the classic UFO reports. Investigations by official and civilian agencies confirmed Masse's sincerity and good character. Laboratory study of the affected soil and plants confirmed the occurrence of an unusual event. Subsequently, Masse confided that in the course of the encounter he experienced some sort of communication with the entities.