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The 1954 French flap:

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October 21, 1954, Didenheim, Haut-Rhin:

Reference number for this case: 21-Oct-54-Didenheim. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

This observation near Didenheim on October 21, 1954, was told by the regional newspaper L'Alsace in their French issue of Mulhouse, on page 5, on October 23, 1954.

The journalist(s) went to the sighting place, described as follows: it is the top of the hill giving on the left to Didenheim's steeple a few kilometers away in its valley, also giving in front of them on the valley leading to Hochstatt, and to their right approximately to the west, are the lands of Morschwiller-le-Bas. Near them is the wood named "Didenheim Forest."

The place is a path that ran at the time through freshly plowed land, muddy in places, dug by the carts returning their loads of beets to the farms surrounding Dornach.

They say that this is where a "mysterious machine" was seen in the night from Thursday to Friday. They explain that they personally collected the testimonies; which they guarantee to be absolutely reliable, and that they "conducted the investigation with all the seriousness and objectivity that one is entitled to expect in such a case."

The Hiroltzer family owned a farm, rue des Trois-Epis in Dornach, in the immediate vicinity of the Belfort road, in front of the calvary that marks the limits of the commune of Mulhouse and that of Morschwiller-le-Bas. At that time, beet grubbing was carried out in the fields of the farm between Morschwiller-le-Bas and Didenheim, to the left of the Belfort road.

On Thursday evening shortly after 6:30 p.m., a time when night fell, members of the Hiroltzer family were perched on a tractor-drawn carriage and were returning by a dirt road between fields to their farm. In the back of the carriage loaded with sugar beet, a 14-year-old boy had taken his place.

He suddenly uttered an exclamation. He was interrogated and he claimed to have seen a red ball crossing the sky. The reflex of those who accompanied him was to make fun of him. It was then 06:40 p.m.

The young man, after returning to the farm, told what he had seen to the farmer's son, Mr. Henri Hiroltzer, a young farmer "who cannot be fooled because he has both feet on the ground and common sense does not fail to him", according to the impression that the journalists had when questioning him the next evening in the field where he was working on his tractor.

Mr. Hiroltzer had been struck by the teenager's sincerity, and he decided to return with him on the spot by bicycle.

They were there soon, and Mr. Hiroltzer dismounted and waited, a little skeptical. Suddenly, a globe appeared in the sky, exactly at the place that the journalists describe above. They say that despite the relatively large distance separating the two witnesses from the craft, it appeared to measure "some 50 cm in diameter", which suggests to them "that the actual dimensions of the craft were considerable."

The "craft" moved slowly over the wood of Didenheim. It was bright red, like the strong glow that emanated from it. Suddenly, a violent light "broke into the night, a lightning surrounded the globe that disappeared." It was then 07:30 p.m.

Mr. Hiroltzer and the teenager made their way back home. But when he arrived at the farm, Mr. Hiroltzer went to get one of his friends, Mr. Jean-Paul Reck, who worked in a butcher's shop in Mulhouse. Both, riding a motorcycle, returned to the scene. The journalist(s) stated that they personally collected the testimony of Mr. R., and that it is in all respects identical to Mr. Hiroltzer's descriptions.

Mr. Hiroltzer and Mr. R. attended a third appearance, though they expected that nothing would happen.

The night was total at this time, slightly broken only in places by the farms scattered through the countryside. Once arrived, again at the same spot, Mr. Hiroltzer left on his motorcycle headlight, to, he said, attract the craft, and that's what happened: the globe suddenly reappeared, again above the wood of Didenheim. It was advancing slowly, at low altitude, towards the men. Its color changed from red to green, a "lightning broke the night, the globe became purple, then red again."

At that moment, Mr. Hiroltzer turned off the motorcycle headlight, seized with fright. Shortly after, "the machine disappeared" and the two men, convinced this time, and somewhat anxious, returned home.

Reports:

[Ref. la1:] "L'ALSACE" NEWSPAPER:

Thursday Evening

A young farmer from Dornach and his companion saw
a mysterious craft move over the forest of Didenheim

The path runs through the freshly plowed land. A path muddy in places, dug by the heavy carts which, in the evening, bring back from the lands of the nearby Sundgau their load of beet to the farms which surround Dornach.

This path, we follow it for almost half an hour. The air is cold, the landscape desolate at this twilight hour, which clears the blueness of the Vosges in the distance and drags its milky mist on the side of a hill that we are now climbing.

At the top of the hill we discover a vast horizon and we locate exactly the places: on the left the steeple of Didenheim, a few kilometers, emerges from a hollow; straight ahead, a valley opens towards Hochstatt; to the right, that is to say, approximately to the west, extends the ban of the municipality of Morschwiller-le-bas. The wood that can be seen at a short distance is called Didenheim forest, although the village is quite far away.

It is where we are that a mysterious craft has moved at a low altitude, at the beginning of the night from Thursday to Friday.

We would like to persuade the reader that the testimonies we have gathered are absolutely reliable and that we conducted the inquiry with all the seriousness and objectivity that one is entitled to expect in such a case.

These testimonials are here:

A red and luminous ball

The Hiroltzer family owns a farm, rue des Trois-Epis in Dornach, in the immediate vicinity of the Belfort road, in front of the calvary which marks the limits of the commune of Mulhouse and that of Morschwiller-le-bas. Currently, she is busy pulling beets in the fields she possesses between Morschwiller and Didenheim, to the left of the road of Belfort. Thursday evening shortly after 6:30 p.m., that is to say at a time when night fell, members of the Hiroltzer family, perched on a tractor-drawn car, were returning along a dirt road, in the fields, to head for the farm. At the back of the car loaded with sugar beet a 14-year-old had taken his place. Suddenly he uttered an exclamation. He was questioned. He claimed to have seen a red ball crossing the sky. The reflex of those who accompanied him was to make fun of him. It was 6:40 p.m. The young man, on returning to the farm, told what he had seen to the farmer's son, Mr. Hiroltzer, a young peasant who cannot be fooled, because he has both feet firmly on the ground and common sense does not lack to him. At least that's the impression we had while questioning him last night in the field that he plowed at the controls of his tractor. Hiroltzer was struck by the teenager's sincerity and he decided to return with him on the spot by bicycle.

They were there soon; Henri Hiroltzer dismounted and waited, a little skeptical. And suddenly, the incredible happened. A globe appeared in the sky, exactly where we described it above. Despite the relatively large distance separating the men from the machine, it appeared to be about 50 cm in diameter, which suggests that the actual dimensions of the machine were considerable. The craft slowly moved over the wood of Didenheim. Its color was sharp red, like the strong glow that emanated from it. Suddenly a violent light made the night roll back, a flash of light surrounded the disappearing globe. It was 07:30 p.m.

Henri Hiroltzer and his companion took the road back. But when he arrived at the farm, the young farmer decided not to stop there. He went to fetch one of his friends, Mr. Jean-Paul Reck, who works in a Mulhouse meat shop. Both, riding a motorcycle, returned to the fields. Let us open a parenthesis to clarify that we have also collected the testimony of Mr. R., and that it is in all respects identical to the descriptions of Mr. Hiroltzer Because a third appearance took place. The two men leaving Dornach thought that this time nothing would happen. They were wrong about that...

The night was total, only slightly broken by places scattered throughout the countryside. Once arrived, always in the same place, Mr. Hiroltzer left the headlight of his motorcycle on, in order to, he says, attract the machine. And that's what happened. Suddenly the globe reappeared over the wood of Didenheim. It was advancing slowly, at low altitude, towards the men. The red colur changed to green. A lightning bolt split the night. The globe became purple, then red again. At this moment, Mr. Hiroltzer extinguished his headlight, seized with terror. Shortly after the craft disappeared and the two men, convinced this time and somewhat anxious, returned to the reassuring lights of human homes.

[Ref. cv1:] CHRISTIAN VALENTIN:

Christian Valentin gathered a dossier concerning the 1954 flap in Alsace, the dossier was published in 2004 in the magazine "Les Saisons d'Alsace" published by the large regional newspaper Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace. This is one of the cases he presented.

On October 21, 1954, the following events occurred between Morschwiller and Didenheim in the Haut-Rhin:

At 06:40 p.m., a young man returned in the family farm and told that he saw a luminous ball crossing the sky. Mr. H., the son of the farmer, was impressed by the signs of sincerity of this young man, and he went on the location with him.

At 07:30 p.m., the sphere reappeared, evolving above the forest of Didenheim. It was of a sharp red color and a strong sharp red gleam emanated from it.

Suddenly, a flash surrounded this sphere; which then disappeared.

Mr. H. then brought the young man back and told of this to one of his friends, resident of Dornach, with whom he returned to the same location on motorbike at 08:00 P.M.. His friend was convinced that he came for nothing.

Mr. H. told him that he left the headlight of the motorbike on, to attract the craft.

Suddenly, the sphere reappeared above the wood, advancing slowly in the direction of the two men, at low altitude.

Its color changed from red to green. A flash streaked in the night, the sphere became purple, then red again.

Mr. H. became frightened and turned the motorbike headlight off.

A little later, the machine disappeared.

[Ref. sp6:] "SPICA" UFOLOGY ASSOCIATION:

Fifty years ago
"The ufos in Alsace"

[... Other cases...]

Thursday October 21, a luminous sphere spread terror during several hours between Morschwiller and Didenheim, several witnesses among them a sergeant of the Police force.

[... Other cases...]

[Ref. cv2:] CHRISTIAN VALENTIN:

Christian Valentin indicates that there was a sighting on thursday, October 21, 1954, in Didenheim in the Haut-Rhin, told like this in the newspaper L'Alsace for Saturday, October 23, 1954, on page 5 of the French-speaking issue:

A young farmer of Dornach and his companion saw a mysterious craft move
above the forest of Didenheim

The path runs through the freshly plowed land. A path muddy in places, dug by the heavy carts which, in the evening, bring back from the lands of the nearby Sundgau their load of beet to the farms which surround Dornach.

This path, we follow it for almost half an hour. The air is cold, the landscape desolate at this twilight hour, which clears the blueness of the Vosges in the distance and drags its milky mist on the side of a hill that we are now climbing.

At the top of the hill we discover a vast horizon and we locate exactly the places: on the left the steeple of Didenheim, a few kilometers, emerges from a hollow; straight ahead, a valley opens towards Hochstatt; to the right, that is to say, approximately to the west, extends the ban of the municipality of Morschwiller-le-bas. The wood that can be seen at a short distance is called Didenheim forest, although the village is quite far away.

It is where we are that a mysterious craft has moved at a low altitude, at the beginning of the night from Thursday to Friday.

We would like to persuade the reader that the testimonies we have gathered are absolutely reliable and that we conducted the inquiry with all the seriousness and objectivity that one is entitled to expect in such a case.

These testimonials are here:

A red and bright ball

The H. family owns a farm, rue des Trois-Epis in Dornach, in the immediate vicinity of the Belfort road, in front of the calvary which marks the limits of the commune of Mulhouse and that of Morschwiller-le-bas. Currently, she is busy pulling beets in the fields she possesses between Morschwiller and Didenheim, to the left of the road of Belfort. Thursday evening shortly after 6:30 p.m., that is to say at a time when night fell, members of the H. family, perched on a tractor-drawn car, were returning along a dirt road, in the fields, to head for the farm. At the back of the car loaded with sugar beet a 14-year-old had taken his place. Suddenly he uttered an exclamation. He was questioned. He claimed to have seen a red ball crossing the sky. The reflex of those who accompanied him was to make fun of him. It was 6:40 p.m. The young man, on returning to the farm, told what he had seen to the farmer's son, Mr. H., a young peasant who cannot be fooled, because he has both feet firmly on the ground and common sense does not lack to him. At least that's the impression we had while questioning him last night in the field that he plowed at the controls of his tractor. H. was struck by the teenager's sincerity and he decided to return with him on the spot by bicycle.

They were there soon; Mr. H. dismounted and waited, a little skeptical. And suddenly, the incredible happened. A globe appeared in the sky, exactly where we described it above. Despite the relatively large distance separating the men from the machine, it appeared to be about 50 cm in diameter, which suggests that the actual dimensions of the machine were considerable. The craft slowly moved over the wood of Didenheim. Its color was sharp red, like the strong glow that emanated from it. Suddenly a violent light made the night roll back, a flash of light surrounded the disappearing globe. It was 07:30 p.m.

Mr. H. and his companion took the road back. But when he arrived at the farm, the young farmer decided not to stop there. He went to fetch one of his friends, Mr. R., who works in a Mulhouse meat shop. Both, riding a motorcycle, returned to the fields. Let us open a parenthesis to clarify that we have also collected the testimony of Mr. R., and that it is in all respects identical to the descriptions of Mr. H. Because a third appearance took place. The two men leaving Dornach thought that this time nothing would happen. They were wrong about that...

The night was total, only slightly broken by places scattered throughout the countryside. Once arrived, always in the same place, Mr. H. left the headlight of his motorcycle on, in order to, he says, attract the machine. And that's what happened. Suddenly the globe reappeared over the wood of Didenheim. It was advancing slowly, at low altitude, towards the men. The red color changed to green. A lightning bolt split the night. The globe became purple, then red again. At this moment, Mr. H. extinguished his headlight, seized with terror. Shortly after the craft disappeared and the two men, convinced this time and somewhat anxious, returned to the reassuring lights of human homes.

Explanations:

About the sources:

It is the excellent Christian Valentin [cv1] [cv2] who first exhumed the article of L'Alsace [la1]. SPICA [sp6] tells one witness was a "police brigadier", but this is another sighting from another place.

The summary [sp6] speaking of the luminous globe as spreading "terror for several hours between Morschwiller and Didenheim" does not really reflect the events. It is also necessary to specify "Morschwiller-le-Bas" because Morschwiller is very far from there, in the Bas-Rhin instead of the Haut-Rhin department.

About the size:

The reporters said:

"Despite the relatively large distance separating the men from the craft, it appeared to be about 50 cm in diameter, which suggests that the actual dimensions of the craft were considerable."

Journalists are rarely experts in ufology - let alone in 1954 - and it is hardly surprising that they do not know how to record a size by angular size. It may be that it was "50 cm at arm's length", but nothing allows to affirm it. So we have no reliable information about the size of the "red ball" or "craft".

About the place:

I know the place very well; having lived in Brunstatt for 20 years, I often went for a walk there, and was at the scene of the sighting even before learning there was a sighting there. The places have changed, the wide roads of a bypass were built. Some Dornach farm buildings are still there, but the beet fields has been replaced by maize and other crop feilds managed by large farms.

The report by L'Alsace does not give the direction of observation of the "red ball"; however, it is above "F" seen from "E", thus it is between the South and the West, it cannot be in the North, for example.

2018 image of the approximate place of observation, with the remains of the
"Forest of Didenheim."

About the moon:

From "the other side" of Didenheim, from Brunstatt, I did see over a nearby forest the "red moon", several times. On one occasion it was a full moon of a beautiful orange color, its lower part was hidden by clouds, which were not visible in the dark of the night. Thus the Moon looked like a kind of orange flying saucer! Being a ufologist, I knew it was the moon, but such peculiar circumstances can deceive people.

The story itself does not really convince me that the "red ball" could have been the moon, because it changes color, turning green, purple, etc. The moon does not know how to do that. But it is in any case never useless to check whether, at least, the moon was visible at the time and place of observation or not. Obviously, Mars is also to be considered.

As for the moon, it is excluded: it was not visible during the observation, it rose only at 01:26 of the morning of October 22, 1954.

As for Mars, at 06:30 p.m., it was at the azimuth of 169 ° (towards the South) and the elevation of 19°. If we consider the initial observation of the teenager, it could match... except that the youngster said to see the red ball "pass"; which would be, on the one hand, a strange term for a stationary planet, and, on the other hand, he would have reported that the "red ball" is still there when his companions laughed at him, and they would have looked at it. This was not the case.

For the second observation at 07:30 p.m., Mars is still there, but we are told that the "craft moved slowly over the Didenheim forest. It was bright red, as was the strong glow that emanated from it. Suddenly, a violent light broke the night, a flash of lightning surrounded the disappearing globe." Funny planet! Funny thing, anyway.

In the third observation, by "total night", Mars was probably there - Mars set down only at 10:59 p.m. - right to the South, but again, the story would be about a quite odd planet Mars.

Meteor:

I find this series of observations quite interesting, of high strangeness. I do not see any satisfactory ordinary explanation for the whole series of three discontinuous observations from the same place, with its lightnings, appearances, disappearances. Also note that other cases have arisen, in which "signals" were made by witnesses, usually luminous, with a flashlight or vehicle headlights, to "attract" some UFO or saucer, and sometimes they had success, to the great fright of the witnesses.

I want to emphasize that the "signal of light to attract" a UFO or a saucer was, in 1954, completely absent from the Press reports that the witnesses could have read. I think there is almost no chance that they could find inspiration in any publication at their disposal at that time. In Alsace, in any case, this was a first - but not a last.

But there is a problem with an "alien" thesis for these events:

As it happens, on the same day an observation was made by a Colmar police brigadier who was riding his bicycle at 07:30 p.m. from Fortschwihr to Bischwihr, when he suddenly saw on his left, to the south, a red ball with a trail in the shape of a dovetail, a little less luminous color, tending towards the orange color.

This ball had moved very quickly from the West to the East, at a great height. He felt that it was going from the Belfort gap to the Rhine. He was able to see it twice in succession coming out of two big clouds, then it disappeared. The observation lasted only a moment.

And this observation is in my opinion probably that of a meteor.

On the forest of Didenheim, the second occurrence is:

"The craft evolved slowly over the wood of Didenheim. It was bright red like the strong glow that emanated from it. Suddenly, a violent light "made back the night, a lightning surrounded the globe that disappeared. It was then 19:30."

It was perhaps there, this time at least, a meteor.

Keywords:

(These keywords are only to help queries and are not implying anything.)

Didenheim, Haut-Rhin, multiple, ball, sphere, forest, night, red, green, luminous, light, flash, purple, low, motorbike, headlight

Sources:

[---] indicates sources which I have not yet checked.

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 12, 2005 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 12, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
1.1 Patrick Gross October 25, 2016 Addition [sp6].
1.2 Patrick Gross May 30, 2018 Additions [la1], [cv2], Summary. Explanations changed, were "Not looked for yet."

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