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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 Wintzenheim, on January 18, 1954:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1954-01-18-WINTZENHEIM-1

Summary:

The regional newspaper L'Alsace for January 19, 1954, reported that on January 18, 1954, in the afternoon, a young man had come to their newsroom in Colmar to state very formally that the same day at about 2 p.m., with comrades, he saw in the sky, in the direction of the valley of Munster, a black ball "the size of an orange" which above Wintzenheim performed a vertical dive,, stopped, and rose again in the sky, while emitting white smoke.

Arrived at the starting point, the ball followed a horizontal path, then made twice again the dive and rise maneuver, and eventually hid behind a cloud.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: January 18, 1954
Time: ~14:00
Duration: ?
First known report date: January 19, 1954
Reporting delay: Hours.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Wintzenheim
Place: Not defined, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.077
Longitude: 7.286
Uncertainty ratio: 10 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: Several.
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Children.
Witness(es) types: Children.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: One of the witnesses told it to a regional newspaper.
Type of location: ?
Visibility conditions: Daylight.
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: No
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: DD
ALSACAT: Probable jet fighter.

Sources:

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

What is that new craft now?

Yesterday afternoon, a young man came to our newsroom in Colmar, to report the following phenomenon, seen in the sky, around 4 p.m., by him and several comrades. From the direction of the Munster valley appeared high in the sky, a black ball, thus not luminous, about the size of an orange, which, above Wintzenheim begun a vertical dive, stopped and climbed again straight in the sky emitting white smoke. Arrived at the starting point, the ball followed an horizontal path and performed two times again the maneuver of fall and rise. Finally, it hid behind a cloud.

The boy is very formal in his statements, it only remains to ask: what is this new craft now?

[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 a daylight object with erratic movements was reported by a young boy to the Colmar journalist of the newspaper L'Alsace; which appeared in this newspaper on January 19, 1954:

What is that NEW CRAFT?

Yesterday afternoon (Monday, January 18), a young man (12-year-old) came to our newsroom in Colmar, to report the following phenomenon, seen in the sky, around 4 p.m., by him and several comrades. From the direction of the Munster valley appeared high in the sky, a black ball, thus not luminous, about the size of an orange, which, above Wintzenheim begun a vertical dive, stopped and climbed again straight in the sky emitting white smoke. Arrived at the starting point, the ball followed an horizontal path and performed 2 times again the maneuver of fall and rise. Finally, it hid behind a cloud.

The boy is very formal in his statements, it only remains to ask: what is this new craft now?

Christian Valentin notes that the phenomenon had apparently no other witnesses, as the report had no echo in the following days.

Discussion:

Above: Colmar, Wintzenheim at the foot of the Vosges mountains, the valley of Munster opening at the East of Wintzenheim.

We are not told where the witness was, we only know that the UFO was in the direction of the valley of Munster, and seen above Wintzenheim; but the witness could be in Wintzenheim, or in Colmar, or in many other locations. It is quite possible that the witness, who was a 12-year-old boy apparently, was in Colmar, since at this age it is unlikely for a child to travel to a newsroom that would be far away.

Note that nothing is said of the angular size, the "size of an orange" being meaningless; and most importantly, we are not told whether the "craft" was noisy or silent.

At that time, people, and this would apply rather well to children, were not really all familiar with maneuvers of jet fighter planes in the sky. Given the description, the maneuvers, the trail of "white smoke", a jet fighter is certainly a plausible explanation.

Above:

An F-84 Thunderjet of the French Air Forces at the air and space museum of Le Bourget.
such planes were flying in the Alsatian sky at the time.
Picture made in 2014 by the author of this website.

Evaluation:

Probable jet fighter.

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
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
3.0 Patrick Gross October 30, 2014 First published, [la1], [cv2].

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This page was last updated on October 30, 2014.