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The 1954 French flap:

The index page for the 1954 French flap section of this site is here.

Little before October 22, 1954, Ingenheim, Bas-Rhin:

Reference number for this case: 22-Oct-54-Ingenheim. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

Albert Rosales is a ufologist who in the 2000's tried to catalog all the cases of "close encounters of the third kind." He wrote that in November 1938, at night in a vineyard in Ingenheim, "several witnesses reported seeing large greenish spheres of light on the ground and moving in the lights, mysterious humanoid figures" and he adds that "apparently, no trace was found."

He stated he had this information from another "close encounters of the third kind" catalog, written by the French ufologist Denis Breysse the mid-1980s.

This version by Albert Rosales has been copied all over the web and included in yet another catalog, "UFOdna".

But the Alsatian journalist Christian Valentin, who has a long interest in UFO matters, and wrote an interesting article on the 1954 "flying saucers" in Alsace, gave a very different version.

Firstly, it apparently did not happen in November 1938, but "shortly before October 22, 1954" - a much more logical date, as everyone talked about Martians and flying saucers in France at that time, while it was hardly on the agenda in Alsace in 1938. It seems that it comes from the local Press, who often related saucers stories without necessarily giving the exact date, using expressions like "the other night" for example. In 2014, Christian Valentin indicated his source, the nezspaper Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace, Strasbourg issue for October 24, 1954.

This is what happened, according to the information by Christian Valentin: shortly before October 22, 1954, in Ingenheim, green balls were reportedly seen landing in a vineyard near the Kochersberg, where there were also scarecrows, and then people first thought they witnessed the landing of Martians.

Several residents of Ingenheim then lifted the doubts, and it was learned that the balls were actually advertising balloons released during a show in Sarrebourg that were brought there by the western wind. The traditional "return to the sender" postcard was even found attached to the balloons.

Reports:

[Ref. ar1:] ALBERT ROSALES:

27.

Location. Ingenheim, France

Date: November 1938

Time: night

In a local vineyard several witnesses reported seeing large greenish spheres of light on the ground and moving within the lights, mysterious humanoid silhouettes. Apparently no traces were found.

HC addendum

Source: Denys[sic, "Denis"] Breysse, Project Becassine

Type: C

[Ref. cv1:] CHRISTIAN VALENTIN:

This journalist reports that little before October 22, 1954, in Ingenheim, green balls landed in a vineyard close to the Kochersberg, where there were also scarecrows, and people then initially thought of having seen an arrival of Martians.

Several inhabitants of Ingenheim then explained the affair, and it was learned that those were advertising balloons released at the time of a demonstration in Sarrebourg which had been brought there by the western wind. The traditional postcard to return to the sender was attached to the balloon.

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

November 1938 21:00

Ingenheim, Alsace, France

In a local vineyard several witnesses reported seeing large greenish spheres of light on the ground and moving within the lights, mysterious humanoid silhouettes. Apparently no traces were found.

Hynek rating: CE3

The sources are indicated as: "Rosales, Albert, Humanoid Sighting Reports Database."

[Ref. cv2:] CHRISTIAN VALENTIN:

Former journalist Christian Valentin published in 2012 a very interesting book telling the story of UFO sightings, flying saucers sightings, in Alsace, from the beginning to 1980.

In this book, he reports that shortly before October 22, 1954, in Ingenheim, green balls landed in the vine near the Kochersberg, and one or the other scarecrow created the illusion of Martian presence, until several residents of Ingenheim cleared all doubts about that invasion.

The green balls were actually advertising balloons launched at a party in Sarrebourg, and brought here by the Western wind. They had the usual postcard to return to the sender.

Christian Valentin indicates that his source for this explained affair is Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace, in their Strasbourg issue for Sunday, October 24, 1954.

Explanations:

The Kochersberg is located outside of the Urban Community of Strasbourg, the main village of Kochersberg is Truchtersheim. Regarding the location, given the extent of the Kochersberg, we must fall back on Ingenheim as the best location point. Ingenheim had 301 residents in 1999

Above: Ingenheim and its landscape.


Above:
localisation of Ingenheim.

There is a problem with the date. It may be that Denis Breysse really gave the date as November 1938, but I do not have this source at hand, nor any primary source, and therefore I do not know where this date would come from.

In the fall of 1954, with the great "flying saucer" flap in France and of course in Alsace like elsewhere in the country, it was not unusual that the Press published "educative" stories about confusions - more or less credible, rarely well-documented - in which people mistook for "Martian" just about anything ranging from snowy chrysanthemums, or a neighbor, or some bum . Presumably this is the nature of this case: a temporary misinterpretation, told by a local newspaper, probably.

Whatever the merits of the catalog of close encounters of the third kind by Albert Rosales may be, it is clear that it is mainly publishing cases without their known trivial explanation; which exists most of the time. It is quite possible that Denis Breysse gave this trivial explanation and it was silenced. Others then copy the stories given by Albert Rosales without any checking, adopting the mistakes and ignorant of the explanations.

Keywords:

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

Ingenheim, Bas-Rhin, scarecrow, balloons, confusion

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross January 14, 2010 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 14, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
2.0 Patrick Gross February 10, 2014 Additions [ar1], [ud1].
3.0 Patrick Gross February 6, 2015 Addition [cv2], Summary.

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