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ALSACAT:

As its name suggests, ALSACAT is my comprehensive catalog of UFO sighting reports in Alsace, the region is the North-East of France, whether they are "explained" or "unexplained".

The ALSACAT catalog is made of case files with a case number, summary, quantitative information (date, location, number of witnesses...), classifications, all sources mentioning the case with their references, a discussion of the case in order to evaluate its causes, and a history of the changes made to the file. A general index and thematic sub-catalogs give access to these Alsatian case files.

Case of the Markstein, lac Bleu, Thann, on May 1, 1950:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1950-05-01-MARKSTEIN-1

Summary:

The French edition in Colmar of the newspaper L'Alsace for May 3, 1950, published an article titled "Flying Saucer... or meteorite?" about observations of May 1, 1950 in the afternoon, at 02:50 p.m. exactly above the Vosges, in a westerly direction.

The newspaper reported that two Mulhouse residents who were on the Markstein at this time, standing at the foot of the last hill, looking toward the end station of the ski lift, thus westward, saw for several seconds an elongated body, shining like silver and absolutely silent; which seemed to descend from the sky at breakneck speed. The assumption that it must be a mechanical device was further reinforced in their minds by the metallic luster of the fireball. The object left in its wake a jet of flames comparable "to the fire released by some exhausts." They saw "the strange craft literally dissolve into the atmosphere."

At the same time, a young girl working for "L'Alsace", who was riding her bicycle in the direction of Thann, saw an "oblong object, very bright, that vanished into space."

A fourth person who spent his day at the Lac Bleu also saw it and in his opinion, it was a "meteorite" of exceptional brightness. The person added that "there is no doubt that it had happened at night time, it would have lit up the whole sky." This witness also was struck by the luminous trail, a real jet of flames, that the meteor left behind.

The newspaper recalls that there was "too much talk about flying saucers in all countries of the world", so that witnesses had to think about a flying saucer, but in this case it would be better to stick to "the hypothesis of a meteorite, the celestial body heated to incandescence in contact with our atmosphere and which, if it did not disintegrate in the fall - which is more than likely - had to fall somewhere on the other side of the Vosges, at a distance that nothing obviously allows to estimate with any certainty. " The paper recalls that this is happening at a season when falling celestial bodies are more frequent.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: May 1, 1950
Time: 02:50 p.m.
Duration: Seconds.
First known report date: May 3, 1950
Reporting delay: 1 day.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Oderen, Thann, Masevaux
Place: Ski station, valley, lake, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.924, 47.809, 47.161
Longitude: 7.030, 7.100, 7.000
Uncertainty ratio: 40 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 2, 1, 1
Number of known witnesses: 3 or 4
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: 3 adults, 1 young.
Witness(es) types: Two make hikers, 1 male wanderer, 1 young girl newspaper employee.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Local Press.
Type of location: Mountains.
Visibility conditions: Daylight, outside.
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: Yes
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: Flying saucer, meteorite.

Classifications:

Hynek: DD
ALSACAT: Probable meteor.

Sources:

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

Flying saucer... or meteorite ?..

From several sides we were informed yesterday of a curious celestial phenomenon that was seen Monday afternoon at 02:50 p.m. exactly above the Vosges, in a westerly direction.

Two residents of Mulhouse, who were the Markstein, lac Bleu, Thann at the said hour, saw the appearance while standing at the foot of the last hill, they looked toward the end station of the ski lift, thus westward. For several seconds they saw a bright oblong body, shining like silver and absolutely silent which seemed to descend from the sky at breakneck speed. The object left in its wake a jet of flames, comparable it seemed, to the release of fire of some exhausts. They saw the strange craft literally dissolve in the atmosphere.

There was too much talk about flying saucers in all countries of the world not to make a connection into the minds of the witnesses. And the assumption that it must have been a mechanical device was reinforced in their minds by the metallic luster of the fireball.

At the same time a girl working at "L'Alsace", who was riding her bicycle in the direction of Thann, was also a witness of the phenomenon. "An elongated object", she described, "very bright, and that vanished into space."

Finally, a fourth person, who spent his day at the lac Bleu also saw the appearance. In his opinion, it was a meteorite of exceptional brightness." No doubt if the onset occurred at night, she has added to her story, she had lit up the whole sky." This witness also was struck by the luminous trail, a real jet of flames, that the meteor left behind.

A mechanical device? It seems that we should stick to the hypothesis of the meteorite, the celestial body heated to incandescence in contact with our atmosphere and which, if it has not disintegrated in the fall - which is more than likely - had to go fall somewhere on the other side of the Vosges, at a distance that nothing obviously allows to estimate with any certainty.

Let's not forget that we are in a season where falling celestial bodies are more frequent.

[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 indicates that the Colmar French-speaking issue of the newspaper L'ALSACE for May 3, 1950, published this article about sightings on May 1, 1950:

Flying saucer... or meteorite ?..

From several sides we were informed yesterday of a curious celestial phenomenon that was seen Monday afternoon at 02:50 p.m. exactly above the Vosges, in a westerly direction.

Two residents of Mulhouse, who were the Markstein, lac Bleu, Thann at the said hour, saw the appearance while standing at the foot of the last hill, they looked toward the end station of the ski lift, thus westward. For several seconds they saw a bright oblong body, shining like silver and absolutely silent which seemed to descend from the sky at breakneck speed. The object left in its wake a jet of flames, comparable it seemed, to the release of fire of some exhausts. They saw the strange craft literally dissolve in the atmosphere.

There was too much talk about flying saucers in all countries of the world not to make a connection into the minds of the witnesses. And the assumption that it must have been a mechanical device was reinforced in their minds by the metallic luster of the fireball.

At the same time a girl working at "L'Alsace", who was riding her bicycle in the direction of Thann, was also a witness of the phenomenon. "An elongated object", she described, "very bright, and that vanished into space."

Finally, a fourth person, who spent his day at the lac Bleu also saw the appearance. In his opinion, it was a meteorite of exceptional brightness." No doubt if the onset occurred at night, she has added to her story, she had lit up the whole sky." This witness also was struck by the luminous trail, a real jet of flames, that the meteor left behind.

A mechanical device? It seems that we should stick to the hypothesis of the meteorite, the celestial body heated to incandescence in contact with our atmosphere and which, if it has not disintegrated in the fall - which is more than likely - had to go fall somewhere on the other side of the Vosges, at a distance that nothing obviously allows to estimate with any certainty.

Let's not forget that we are in a season where falling celestial bodies are more frequent.

Discussion:

About Christian Valentin's book:

It is not at all my habit to "advertise" a book or anything, and I have no interested relationship with the author, but I wanted to say a word on the book by Christian Valentin, "Mythes et Réalités des Phénomènes Aériens Non Identifiés" (i.e. "Myths and Realities of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" (cover on the left), ref. [cv2]; which, as its subtitle indicates, is about Alsatian UFO sighting reports and the saucer lore in Alsace.

I think Alsatian ufologist and generally people interested in the UFO question, or in the history of Alsace, my region, would probably like this book.

The 144 pages book is sober but well presented, unbiased, richly documented and illustrated. It is the first work in print specifically about UFO sightings in Alsace. (There was another one a few years ago, but it was partly made by copying - pasting without mention of the sources, portions of my website, especially the Alsatians cases I almost exhaustively documented in my catalog of UFO sightings in France in 1954, and copies from another websites; the trivial explanations I proposed or gave there being almost always stripped off!)

The author does not want to prove or disprove the possibility of extraterrestrial visitors or some other so-called "extraordinary" explanation, he rather offers a chronologically ordered review of Alsatian UFO reports, starting from the origin and stopping in 1980, based on known sources ufology, on the articles of the regional Press, and cases less known or even unreleased so far that he collected directly with the witnesses. His own comments are printed in a different color, references to the sources are always given. A very nice work in my opinion!

The author currently has a blog where he shows what libraries in Alsace have the book available, see: christian.valentin.overblog.com

With this case, I must specify that Christian Valentin makes no comment that suggests that for him this was a flying saucer rather than a meteor; this is not the point he wants to make his book.

Obviously, and as mentioned in the newspaper, there is every reason to think that these people saw a meteor and not a flying saucer.

Left:

The green dot is the Markstein, commune of Oderen, where the two residents of Mulhouse were (47.924 N, 7.030 E).

The red dot is the city of Thann where the young girl was going (47.809 N 7.100 E).

The blue dot is the lac Bleu (Blue Lake) in the south-seat of Masevaux where the fourth witness was (47.761 N 7.00 E)

From the Markstein to the lac Bleu, there are 18 kilometers.

Evaluation:

Probable meteor.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:

Authoring:

Main author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editeur: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross April 7, 2014 Creation, [la1], [cv2].
1.0 Patrick Gross April 7, 2014 First published.

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2014.