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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 Cernay, on January 9, 1954:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1954-01-09-CERNAY-1

Summary:

The regional newspaper L'Alsace for January 12, 1954, reported that at 08:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 9, 1954, the flying saucer that had been seen in the sky of Bergheim and Luneville had also been seen in Cernay.

Under a cloudless sky, several travelers who were waiting for a bus outside the church suddenly saw above them "a disc of yellowish color, its size reminded that of the full moon." A luminous tail seemed attached to the "thing" that was moving 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."

Witnesses said that the disc must have exploded, but without any sound.

In 1979, the two "rationalists" ufologists Gérard Barthel and Jacques Brucker put, rightly, this observation among others on their map of the sighting of the meteor seen that morning.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: January 9, 1954
Time: ~08:00 a.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: January 12, 1954
Reporting delay: Minutes, 3 days.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Cernay
Place: In front of the church, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.808
Longitude: 7.174
Uncertainty ratio: 100 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: Several.
Number of known witnesses: ?
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Adults.
Witness(es) types: People waiting for a bus.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: ?
Type of location: In front of city church, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: End of the night.
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: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

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

Sources:

[Ref. la1:] 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. 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 Cernay 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 L'Alsace for January 12, 1954, in which this sighting is reported:

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:

It is said that the "disc" came from the direction of the Vieil Armand and passed above the witnesses in Cernay. Taken literally, this indicates a heading of 171°, i.e. almost from North to South, which matches well most of the directions given in the other observation reports of this meteor.

Note that whereas the newspaper calls it a "flying saucer", the witnesses - we do not know their opinion on this matter - gave an accurate description of the passage of a meteor, without imaginative additions.

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 2, 2005 First published in the France 1954 catalogue.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 9, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
3.0 Patrick Gross October 28, 2014 Addition [la1], [cv2].
3.0 Patrick Gross October 28, 2014 First published in the ALSACAT catalogue.

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This page was last updated on October 28, 2014