We kick things off with the standard bio / background on Gildas Bourdias and how he got interested in the UFO phenomenon. Following that, Gildas tells us about the history of the UFO phenomenon in France throughout the twentieth century and how it compares to the US's UFO history. We then move on to talk about his recent article detailing the history of "official" French UFO studies. We begin by looking at the birth of "official" French Ufology with the government organization GEPAN. Gildas explains how GEPAN was originally created by the military and opposed by the scientific community in France. He also details the unique situation where French Ufologists were attacking the official government UFO project, almost from the onset of the group.

Looking at the conspiracy angle to official French Ufology, Gildas gives his opinion on whether or not there are secret UFO files in France. He also explains the UFO scene in France during the 1980's, a period which Gildas says was "very complex." Jumping back to the chronology of official French Ufology, we look at the tumultuous period of the 1980's and the transition of GEPAN to a new group called SEPRA. He talks about how the Cometa report changed the face of official French Ufology, causing the closing of SEPRA and, subsquently, the creation of a third generation official French UFO group: GEIPAN. He also talks about the evolution of the Cometa report, how it started inside the government but became a private project.

Gazing back at the history of UFO events in France, Gildas tells us about how far back UFO reports go in French history and an interesting case from the 1800's. He also talks about a key wave of UFO sightings in the 1950's and talks about one of the more famous cases from that UFO wave. Closing out the discussion on official French UFO studies, we get Gildas's opinion on why France has continued with official French UFO studies while America ceased their official studies with the closing of Blue Book in the 1970's.

Gildas tells us what he has observed in other European countries with regards to official government sponsored studies of UFOs and files on UFOs held by the various European governments. He also speculates on how much the UK government may know about UFOs, compared to the French government.

Next we look at the history of civilian UFO groups in France. Gildas tells about how the field has differed from its American counterpart. He then talks about the evolution of civilian French Ufology from the 1950's to today. He talks about the two big UFO groups of the 1960's and a key French journalist who covered UFOs in the 1970's. He then explains how the momentum of that era seemed to die out as Ufology was faced with a "movement of skepticism" in the mid-1970's and the creation of the "Rationalist Union" in France. Gildas conveys the mood of the 1970's, as official French Ufology was taking off and, at the same time, being attacked by the skeptics.

Gildas discusses "nuts and bolts" versus spiritualism debate within Ufology and how pervasive that debate is within French Ufology. He also shares his opinion that the ideas of parallel worlds and dimensions may be used to confuse the UFO issue and protect UFO secrecy. This leads to some discussion on Jacques Vallee and his influence on changing the perception of what UFOs may be and Gildas gives his point of view on this changing examination of UFOs.

We then get Gildas's opinion on how French Ufology feels about its American counterpart. Is there resentment of the American UFO scene or America's perceived stranglehold on UFO information. He also goes on to talk about how his opinion has changed, over the years, regarding UFO secrecy and now thinks some secrets need to be held back from the public.

After that, we cover another big topic: the role of the French media and their stance on covering the topic of UFOs. Gildas explains how the media coverage of the UFO phenomenon has evolved over the years and why he thinks it is getting better. He gives tremendous detail on the interesting influence that the "alien autopsy" film had on the French media's coverage of UFOs. He also tells us about how some papers were vehemently against UFO coverage but have recently changed their stance and why the change seems to have come about.

Looking at the general population of France, we get Gildas's perspective on what their attitude regarding UFOs is. He gives an estimate on what percentage of people accept the reality of UFOs in France. Moving on, we get Gildas's reaction to the release of the French UFO files in March of 2007. He talks about the downside of the UFO file release and the positives which have resulted from the release of the files. He also talks about some of the cases detailed in the released files. This leads to a side discussion on the atmosphere in France, where there are considerably more pro-UFO books published, but the skeptics get more air time by the media. We get Gildas's opinion on whether or not that situation is the result of an organized cover-up.

Heading towards the end, we look at Gildas's "question of percentages", where he suggests that the percentage of true UFOs amongst UFO reports is much higher than the usually attributed 5%. Gildas explains how he came to this conclusion based on the released UFO files in France and he speculates on what the true percentage may be.

Wrapping it all up, Gildas shares his perspective on the state of French Ufology and what's coming up next for him.

Gildas Bourdais was born in 1939, studied Business administration, worked in technical publishing, and lives near Paris, France. He became interested in UFOs, first by reading the books of French author Aimé Michel in the 60’s, and the books of Dr. J. Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallée in the 70’s. He became an active researcher only at the end of the 80’s, after becoming aware of new developments at that time, especially regarding Roswell, UFO secrecy, abductions and cattle mutilations. He became also interested in the historical, mythological and religious dimensions of the extraterrestrial issue. He is the author of six books and has been a speaker in several conferences, starting in Brazil in 1997, and in France, Italy, Great Britain, the United States and Ireland.

topics discussed:
1 Hr 24 Min.
Gildas Bourdais