The events that constitute what is now termed the Cergy-Pontoise Hoax began as report of a UFO abduction and climaxed with one of the spectators at the abduction channeling messages from the extraterrestrials whom he claimed were involved in the taking of his friend. On the morning of November 26, 1979, Jean-Pierre Prevost of the Paris suburb of Pont-oise called the police to report that his friend Franck Fontaine had been abducted by aliens. According to the story, the pair, along with two other men, were preparing to drive to a nearby town to sell clothes at an open-air market. Fontaine, their driver, sat inside the car while the others went to gather their stock. A UFO appeared and Fontaine was taken from the car. As the men watched, it sped away in the sky. Fontaine reappeared a week later. He claimed to remember little of what had happened. He fell asleep at the wheel of the car and woke up in a cabbage field, unaware that a week had passed.
After Fontaine reappeared, the police investigation of the incident intensified and Groupe d'Etudes des Phénomènes Aérospatieux Non Indentifiés (GEPAN), France's main UFO investigation organization, joined the search for the truth. After interviewing the principals several times and looking for any collaborating evidence, GEPAN concluded that the incident was without any value in furthering knowledge of UFOs, a kind way of saying that they had concluded that it was a hoax.
As the story continued to unfold, flying saucer enthusiast Jimmy Guieu published a book-length account of the story entitled (in French) Contacts OVNI Cergy-Pontiose. Guieu, convinced of the truth of the story, contended that the target of the UFOs was not Fontaine, but Prevost, who had begun to channel messages from the abductor whom he referred to as intelligences from the beyond. Shortly thereafter Prevost published a book, The Great Contact, that centered upon the messages he had received, primarily from one Haurrio, about the deteriorating state of Earth life. He went on to found a publishing house and gather a following of people attracted to the message from outer space. This endeavor proved singularly unsuccessful. No group emerged and the publishing venture closed, leaving him with a heavy debt.
In 1983, Prevost finally confessed to the hoax. He confided to a French reporter that he had organized the event and hid Fontaine in a friend's apartment for the week of the supposed abduction. His motivation was the attempt to attract attention to his channeled messages and to assist in building a modern religion based on extraterrestrials.
Interestingly enough, Guieu refused to accept Prevost's story. He had come to know others who received messages from Haurrio. Possibly the most bizarre reaction to the confession came from ufologist Jacques Vallee who concluded, quite apart from any evidence suggestive of his belief, that the whole incident had been an operation by the intelligence community in an attempt to create a sect upon which various social science experiments could be conducted.
Bonabot, Jacques. "1979 Fontaine Case Now Admitted to Be a Hoax." MUFON UFO Journal 190 (December 1983): 10.
Guieu, Jimmy, Frank Fontaine, Jean-Pierre Prevost, and Salomon N'Diaye. Contacts OVNI Cergy-Pontise. Monaco: Editions du Rocher, 1980.
Vallee, Jacques. Messengers of Deception: UFO Contacts and Cults. Berkeley, Calif.: And/Or Press, 1979.
——. Revelations: Alien Contact and Human Deception. New York: Ballantine Books, 1991.