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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 Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, on January 9, 1954:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1954-01-09-STEMARIEAUXMINES-1

Summary:

Two regional newspapers reported that on January 9, 1954 at 7:48 a.m. in St. Marie-aux-Mines, a "ball of high brightness dragging behind it a long tail" or "a great gleam with light-blue edges" had crossed the sky at high speed from north to south, observed for about ten seconds over the stubble of Lusse until its disappearance in the direction of the Trois Baus.

A slight hissing sound was heard. The tail, very long and luminous, had decreased gradually until it completely disappeared.

It was apparently group of children going to school who saw it. They talked of a "round and flat shape ending in a kind of fish tail."

One of the newspapers termed it "a curious phenomenon", the other talked about "a mysterious craft."

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: January 9, 1954
Time: ~07:48 a.m.
Duration: ~10 seconds.
First known report date: January 10, 1954
Reporting delay: Minutes, 1 day.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines
Place: On the way to school, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.244
Longitude: 7.181
Uncertainty ratio: 2 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: Several.
Number of known witnesses: ?
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Children.
Witness(es) types: School children.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Regional Press.
Type of location: On the way to village school, 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. 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":

Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines. -- A group of children of Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines 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. 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.

Discussion:

One of the dozens of reports of the large meteor that passed that day over Lorraine, Alsace and beyond.

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.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 10, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
3.0 Patrick Gross October 27, 2014 Additions [dn1], [cv2].
3.0 Patrick Gross October 27, 2014 First published in the ALSACAT catalogue.

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This page was last updated on October 27, 2014.