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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 Riquewihr, on October 18, 1954:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1954-10-18-RIQUEWIHR-1

Summary:

The regional newspaper "DernièRes Nouvelles du Haut-Rhin" for October 18, 1954, reported that on October 18, 1954, in the afternoon, a flying saucer was spotted in Riquewihr.

Mr. E. C. had seen it first and then several dozen people gathered on the market square and watched the bright object that moved in all directions, to "disappear" half an hour later.

On October 21, 1954, the same newspaper explained that the flying saucer was a jet fighter.

The newspaper said that they had stated earlier that the "flying saucer" had been seen from the town hall square in Riquewihr by about fifty people who watched it "for long"; reading this, a reader from Mittelwihr, Mr C. M., who was doing the harvest at Mr. J. Z., had written to the newspaper that it was actually an F-84 Thunderjet jet fighter.

The newspaper indicates that this negative witness "claims" that the real shapes of the aircraft had been "concealed" by the loops and other maneuvers at high altitude, to which must be added to the sun's reflection on the metallic airplane.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: October 18, 1954
Time: Afternoon.
Duration: 30 minutes.
First known report date: October 18, 1954
Reporting delay: Hours, 1 day.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Riquewihr
Place: From the market square near the town hall, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.166
Longitude: 7.299
Uncertainty ratio: 20 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: Several dozens.
Number of known witnesses: 2
Number of named witnesses: 2
Witness(es) ages: Adults.
Witness(es) types: ?

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: The Regional Press.
Type of location: From the market square near the town hall, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Day.
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: 1 negative witness F-84 jet fighter plane.?

Classifications:

Hynek: DD
ALSACAT: Probable jet fighter plane.

Sources:

[Ref. nh1:] "DERNIERES NOUVELLES DU HAUT-RHIN" NEWSPAPER:

In the Flying Saucers chapter

Riquewihr: Yesterday afternoon a Flying Saucer was seen above Riquewihr. Mr. E. C. Saw it first. Dozens of people gathered on the market place and found the shiny object that moved in all directions and disappeared half an hour later.

[Ref. nh2:] "DERNIERES NOUVELLES DU HAUT-RHIN" NEWSPAPER:

The flying saucer was a jet fighter

Riquewihr: We reported in the recent days that from the town hall square in Riquewihr, fifty people have observed for a long time the maneuvers of a flying saucer.

Following this article, a reader from Mittelwihr, Mr. C. M., who is picking up the grapes at Mr. J. Z., writes that it was actually a jet fighter of the F84 Thunderjet type. Mr. M. claims that the actual shapes of the aircraft were "concealed" with the loops and other maneuvers at high altitude. In addition there were the sun's reflection on the metal of the aircraft.

[Ref. cv1:] CHRISTIAN VALENTIN:

Christian Valentin indicates that on October 18, 1954, in the afternoon, nearly fifty people saw from the place of the Town Hall of Riquewihr, the evolutions of a shining object which moved in all directions to disappear half an hour later.

According to an inhabitant of Mittelwihr, it was actually a jet interceptor, whose real forms had been blurred by the loops and the operations that it carried out at high altitude.

[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 October 18, 1954, in the Haut-Rhin in Riquewihr, there was a sighting reported in the newspaper Dernières Nouvelles du Haut-Rhin for Tuesday, October 19, 1954, on page 7 of the bilingual issue:

In the Flying Saucers chapter

Riquewihr: Yesterday afternoon a Flying Saucer was seen above Riquewihr. Mr. E. C. Saw it first. Dozens of people gathered on the market place and found the shiny object that moved in all directions and disappeared half an hour later.

Then, Dernières Nouvelles du Haut-Rhin for Thursday, October 21, 1954, on page 7 of the bilingual issue, informed:

The flying saucer was a jet fighter

Riquewihr: We reported in the recent days that from the town hall square in Riquewihr, fifty people have observed for a long time the maneuvers of a flying saucer.

Following this article, a reader from Mittelwihr, Mr. C. M., who is picking up the grapes at Mr. J. Z., writes that it was actually a jet fighter of the F84 Thunderjet type. Mr. M. claims that the actual shapes of the aircraft were "concealed" with the loops and other maneuvers at high altitude. In addition there were the sun's reflection on the metal of the aircraft.

Christian Valentin commented that it is regrettable that there is no explicit mention of noise, which would have removed the last doubt.

Discussion:

Back then, most people were not yet familiar with jet fighter planes manoeuvers in the sky. The reader who reported this interpretation error was probably right.

Above:

The F-84 Thunderjet of the French Air Force on display at the Bourget Air and Space Museum.
Pictured in 2014 by this website's author.

Evaluation:

Probable jet fighter plane.

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 December 5, 2005 First published in the France 1954 catalogue.
1.0 Patrick Gross June 6, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
3.0 Patrick Gross April 19, 2014 Additions [dh1], [dh2], [cv2].
3.0 Patrick Gross September 16, 2015 First published in the ALSACAT catalogue.

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This page was last updated on September 16, 2015.