ALSACAT -> Homeclick!
Cette page en françaisCliquez!

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 Bergheim, on January 9, 1954:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1954-01-09-BERGHEIM-1

Summary:

Several Alsatians regional newspapers had reported a sighting in Bergheim, that occurred on January 9, 1954, at about 8 a.m.:

Children on their way to school saw "suddenly as a bright disk resembling a large inflamed paper with an appendix shaped like a fish tail moving at high speed toward the south to Colmar."

One of the newspaper said it was going to the south.

The night watcher of Bergheim, Mr. George B., had observed the same phenomenon, and noted that it had some resemblance with the observation on January 8, 1954 in Dieppe, except that in the Dieppe sighting there was like an explosion.

The observation was obviously one of the big meteor that day, widely seen in Alsace and Lorraine, and even abroad. Some newspapers had talked about flying saucer or the possibility that it was a flying saucer, others did says it was, or possibly was, a meteor.

In 1979, in their book that claimed to give ordinary explanations to the entire "flying saucers" flap in France in 1954, Gérard Barthel and Jacques Brucker had put Bergheim on the map of the sightings for that morning, while it was missing from map the map by ufologist Charles Garreau. Barthel and Brucker explained that the series was the observation of the meteor going from Northwest to the Southeast at 07:50 a.m. that day.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: January 9, 1954
Time: ~08:00 a.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: January 10, 1954
Reporting delay: Hour, 1 day.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Bergheim
Place: On the way to school, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.205
Longitude: 7.361
Uncertainty ratio: 1 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: Several.
Number of known witnesses: 2 or more.
Number of named witnesses: 1
Witness(es) ages: 1 adult, children.
Witness(es) types: Guard, children.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: ?
Type of location: In or near village, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Dawn.
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: The January 9, 1954, 07:48 a.m. meteor.

Sources:

[Ref. dn1:] NEWSPAPER "LES DERNIERES NOUVELLES DU HAUT-RHIN":

A curious appearance in the sky

COMET OR METEOR?

A curious celestial apparition was seen yesterday morning around 8 a.m. by children going to school but also by several adult people going to their work. This would be a ball or luminous disc which moved with great rapidity in the N-S direction.

Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines

Saturday morning around 7:48, a ball of great luminosity trailing behind it a long tail crossed the sky in the N-S direction. This odd phenomenon was observed for ten seconds over the Chaumes of Lusse until it disappeared in the direction of the Trois Baus. It was a great gleam with a blue-green edge. You could hear a slight hissing sound. The long, bright tail decreased gradually until it disappeared completely.

Bergheim

The same comes from Bergheim. Children going to school suddenly saw like a luminous disc resembling a large inflamed paper with an appendix shaped like a fish tail moving at high speed toward the south to Colmar. The night watcher of Bergheim, Mr. George B., observed the same phenomenon and claims that it had some resemblance to an observation made recently in Dieppe except that over there, there was like an explosion.

Colmar

In Colmar also, the phenomenon was observed. Young Jacques H., who along with several comrades, crossed the street, made the following communication: according to him, it was a round ball about 25 cm in diameter and orange color that moved at a high speed towards the south to Rouffach dragging behind it a long luminous tail disappearing rapidly. In all likelihood, it would be a meteor of exceptionally great magnitude but some argue that it would be a flying saucer.

Observation made in the Bas-Rhin

It was 7:45 a.m. Saturday morning when several residents of Bourgheim near Barr, suddenly saw a bright ball in the sky trailing behind a long line of blue and red color and heading south and rapidly disappearing over the horizon.

The Observatory of Strasbourg did not record this. At that time, a thick fog covered the city. The weather station of Entzheim made no comment either.

According to residents of Bourgheim, it would be one of those balls of light that massively cross the sky, especially in August, but it could also be seen in winter.

In Saverne, the same phenomenon also observed and there was talk of flying saucer. But this is not the case, as that ball was of intense brightness and also ran from north to south.

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

Bergheim. -- A group of children of Bergheim who were going to school saw a luminous element in the sky, of round and flattened shape ending in a sort of fish tail. The mysterious machine moved at very high speed towards the south.

[Ref. la2:] NEWSPAPER "L'ALSACE":

After Bergheim, Cernay in its turn saw a flying saucer

We reported in our last issue that Saturday in the morning, a flying saucer had been seen in the sky of Bergheim and Lunéville. The passage of that saucer was also recorded in Cernay.

It was 8 a.m. on Saturday, the sky was cloudless. Suddenly, several travelers who were waiting for a bus outside the church saw above them a disc of yellowish color, its size, reminded the full moon. A bright tail seemed attached to the "thing" that moved at high speed.

When the saucer, which came from the direction of the Vieil Armand, had passed the church, lightning tore the sky and hundreds of stars sprang out from all sides.

According to witnesses, the disc would have exploded, but without producing any sound.

[Ref. nr1:] NEWSPAPER "LE NOUVEAU RHIN FRANCAIS:

span class="highlight">Flying saucers in the Alsatian sky?

Firefighters of Colmar fighting a fire last night, made at 3:30 a weird observation: from the South to the North over the Vosges mountains moved a round, flat object with a kind of tail. The phenomenon was phosphorescent, shiny, and bright red. It was also seen by many people who had not attended the fire.

span class="highlight">Students in Bergheim made a similar observation about 8 am Saturday morning. This time the heavenly machine moved south.

span class="highlight">Were they flying saucers? This time in any case it is not a joke, the observation coming from many credible people.

[Ref. bb1:] GERARD BARTHEL AND JACQUES BRUCKER:

The authors give two sketches, the one on the left is the trip of the flying saucer according to Charles Garreau, the one on the right is the trajectory of the meteor according to them:

They put Bergheim on the map on the right.

The authors fustigate [rightly] the ufologists who like Charles Garreau took the hours of observations given in the newspapers literally [as if people were then provided with stop watches! These hours are generally only approximations made a posteriori] and then believed in a complicated flying saucer travel where a meteor had actually passed.

Barthel and Brucker specify that the North-West to South-East trajectory of the meteor of 7:50 is confirmed by testimonies coming from other countries.

[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 on Saturday, January 9, 1954, shortly before 8 a.m., a bright ball of a size comparable with that of the Moon and followed by a long tail crossed the sky of Alsace and Lorraine from North to South, seen by numerous witnesses. He noted that the interpretations by the press and by witnesses in the press have been various, although it was likely the entry of a celestial body in the atmosphere.

He provides the text of the article of the newspaper Les Dernières Nouvelles du Haut-Rhin for Sunday, January 10, 1954:

A curious appearance in the sky

COMET OR METEOR?

A curious celestial apparition was seen yesterday morning around 8 a.m. by children going to school but also by several adult people going to their work. This would be a ball or luminous disc which moved with great rapidity in the N-S direction.

SAINTE-MARIE-AUX-MINES

Saturday morning around 7:48, a ball of great luminosity trailing behind it a long tail crossed the sky in the N-S direction. This odd phenomenon was observed for ten seconds over the Chaumes of Lusse until it disappeared in the direction of the Trois Baus. It was a great gleam with a blue-green edge. You could hear a slight hissing sound. The long, bright tail decreased gradually until it disappeared completely.

BERGHEIM

The same comes from Bergheim. Children going to school suddenly saw like a luminous disc resembling a large inflamed paper with an appendix shaped like a fish tail moving at high speed toward the south to Colmar. The night watcher of Bergheim, Mr. George B., observed the same phenomenon and claims that it had some resemblance to an observation made recently in Dieppe except that over there, there was like an explosion.

COLMAR

In Colmar also, the phenomenon was observed. Young Jacques H., who along with several comrades, crossed the street, made the following communication: according to him, it was a round ball about 25 cm in diameter and orange color that moved at a high speed towards the south to Rouffach dragging behind it a long luminous tail disappearing rapidly. In all likelihood, it would be a meteor of exceptionally great greatness but some argue that it would be a flying saucer.

Observation made in the BAS-RHIN

It was 7:45 a.m. Saturday morning when several residents of Bourgheim near Barr, suddenly saw a bright ball in the sky trailing behind a long line of blue and red color and heading south and rapidly disappearing over the horizon.

The Observatory of Strasbourg did not record this. At that time, a thick fog covered the city. The weather station of Entzheim made no comment either.

According to residents of Bourgheim, it would be one of those balls of light that massively cross the sky, especially in August, but it could also be seen in winter.

In Saverne, the same phenomenon also observed and there was talk of flying saucer. But this is not the case, as that ball was of intense brightness and also ran from north to south.

He also provides the article in L'Alsace for January 12, 1954, in which this sighting is also mentioned:

After Bergheim, CERNAY in its turn saw a flying saucer

We reported in our last issue that Saturday in the morning, a flying saucer had been seen in the sky of Bergheim and Lunéville. The passage of that saucer was also recorded in Cernay.

It was 8 a.m. on Saturday, the sky was cloudless. Suddenly, several travelers who were waiting for a bus outside the church saw above them a disc of yellowish color, its size, reminded the full moon. A bright tail seemed attached to the "thing" that moved at high speed.

When the saucer, which came from the direction of the Vieil Armand, had passed the church, lightning tore the sky and hundreds of stars sprang out from all sides.

According to witnesses, the disc would have exploded, but without producing any sound.

Discussion:

There is not much to discuss, one can simply note that the press has mentioned the flying saucer, or the "curious appearance in the sky". So much for those who think that in France in 1954, "flying saucer" was not a popular notion.

Note however that whatever the interpretation of witnesses may have been - we do ot know - no one has seen little green men or portholes or antennas of the saucer, on the contrary the descriptions - as imaged as they were - make it clear that it was a meteor.

Evaluation:

The January 9, 1954, 07:48 a.m. 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 October 1, 2005 First published in the France 1954 catalogue, [la1], [bb1].
1.0 Patrick Gross January 10, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
3.0 Patrick Gross October 25, 2014 Additions [dn1], [la2], [nr1], [cv2], summary.
3.0 Patrick Gross October 25, 2014 First published in the ALSACAT catalogue.

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict



 Feedback  |  Top  |  Back  |  Forward  |  Map  |  List |  Home
This page was last updated on October 25, 2014.