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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 Bollwiller, on October 22, 1954:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1954-10-24-BOLLWILLER-1

Summary:

On October 23, 1954, the newspaper "Les Dernières Nouvelles du Haut-Rhin" published an article headlined "Flying Disc above Bollwiller", telling that the night before, thus on October 22, 1954, around 10:30 p.m., a train engineer, at the train station of Bollwiller, had noticed a very bright disc going towards the forest of the Hardt and disappearing "after some time."

The newspaper added that other people in the Bollwiller station had also seen "the curious appearance."

The next day, October 24, 1954, the newspaper "L'Alsace" stated that employees of the national railroad company, on duty at the Bollwiller station, had claimed to have seen on October 22, 1954 in the evening "a luminous craft; which moved at a few hundred meters above them."

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: October 22, 1954
Time: ~10:30 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: October 23, 1954
Reporting delay: Minutes to hours.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Bollwiller
Place: From the railway station of Bollwiller, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.856
Longitude: 7.267
Uncertainty ratio: 200 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: Several.
Number of known witnesses: ?
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Adults.
Witness(es) types: National railway company people.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Regional Press.
Type of location: Village train station, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: 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: Possible meteor or plane.

Sources:

[Ref. dh1:] "LES DERNIERES NOUVELLES DU HAUT-RHIN" NEWSPAPER:

Flying disc above Bollwiller

Bollwiller. -- Last night around 10:30 p.m., a locomotive driver noticed from the railway station of Bollwiller, a very bright disc that going towards the Hardt and disappeared after a while.

The curious appearance was also seen by other people in the railway station of Bollwiller.

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

A luminous craft in the sky of Guebwiller

Three young boys, twelve years old, residents of Guebwiller, saw on Friday night around 06:30 p.m., in the twilight sky, an object they describe as an oblong shape and of an intense brightness. They managed to look for a few seconds the silent flight of what appears to be a flying cigar, especially over the vineyard of Guebwiller.

In addition, the employees of S.N.C.F. [national railway company], on duty at the railway station of Bollwiller, state to have seen during the same evening a luminous machine which evolved at a few hundreds of meters above them.

[Ref. bu1:] "BUHL - PAGE D'HISTOIRE":

[...]

Source: "L'Alsace" from October 1st to December 31, 1954

[...]

October 24:

[...]

In addition, the employees of S.N.C.F. [national railway company], on duty at the railway station of Bollwiller, state to have seen during the same evening a luminous machine which evolved at a few hundreds of meters above them.

[Ref. cv1:] CHRISTIAN VALENTIN:

Christian Valentin notes that on Friday October 22, 1954 in the evening later than 06:30 p.m. at the station of Bollwiller, a train driver and some other people see a luminous disc moving towards the forest of the Hardt.

[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Haut Rhin in Bollwiller on October 24, 1954, "the employees of the S.N.C.F., on duty at the station of Bollwiller, claim to have seen in the evening a luminous machine which moved at a few hundreds of meters above them."

The source is indicated as being my website at http://ufologie.net. [Which is the old URL of my home page.]

[Ref. ro1:] RAOUL ROBE:

In the article on an Alsatian alleged sighting, that of Merxheim, the author shows a series of other "known UFO sightings around" that location, including:

BOLLWILLER - 10/22/54 at 5,6 km S. S.West [from Merxheim]

[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 the newspaper Les Dernières Nouvelles du Haut-Rhin for October 23, 1954, had published this article about an observation on October 22, 1954, in Bollwiller in the Haut-Rhin:

Flying disc above BOLLWILLER

Bollwiller. Last night around 10:30 p.m., a locomotive driver noticed from the railway station of Bollwiller, a very bright disc that going towards the Hardt and disappeared after a while.

The curious appearance was also seen by other people in the railway station of Bollwiller.

He notes his slight doubt about the late hour because it would have been be just before the publication of the newspaper, but thinks it is not impossible as this happened with other cases, and the newspaper L'Alsace for October 24, 1954, confirms the observation:

A luminous craft in the sky of Guebwiller

Three young boys, twelve years old, residents of Guebwiller, saw on Friday night around 06:30 p.m., in the twilight sky, an object they describe as an oblong shape and of an intense brightness. They managed to look for a few seconds the silent flight of what appears to be a flying cigar, especially over the vineyard of Guebwiller.

In addition, the employees of S.N.C.F. [national railway company], on duty at the railway station of Bollwiller, state to have seen during the same evening a luminous machine which evolved at a few hundreds of meters above them.

[Ref. sp4:] SPICA UFOLOGY GROUP:

City Date and hour of observation General shape
Identification
General color
Hypothesis
Conclusion
BOLLWILLER Sunday 24 octobre 1954 information not communicated
Unidentified
information not communicated
None
Unsolved -lack of info

Discussion:

With the indication that the thing had gone "above" and was going towards the Hardt forest, one would have dreamed to have at least a heading, but it remains very approximate. The Hardt forest is East of Bollwiller, but with an extent too important to get a precise heading:

With the lack of quantitative data - "some time" for example is not a useful data - and an assessment of height of "a few hundred meters" that has no reliability for something unknown seen against the background of the sky, I do not see why the thing would not have been a meteor, for example, as the cigar shape and brightness suggest.

Christian Valentin [cv2] expresses doubts on the hour. I wonder if the sighting could be the same object than in Guebwiller at 06:30 p.m., probably a meteor: indeed a correspondant might have told the newspaper is was at "six heures trente" (6:30 p.m.) and have been misunderstood as "dix heures trente" (10:30 p.m.). The pronunciation is quite close and a misunderstanding in bot impossible of the low quality phone lines of the time.

Evaluation:

Possible meteor or 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 September 13, 2005 First published in the France 1954 catalogue.
1.0 Patrick Gross March 2, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [lc1].
1.1 Patrick Gross February 20, 2014 Addition [ro1].
1.2 Patrick Gross October 24, 2014 Additions [dh1], [cv2]. Change of date: October 22, not October 24. Explanation changed from "Not looked for yet" to "Possible meteor or plane." Summary.
3.0 Patrick Gross October 24, 2014 First published in the ALSACAT catalogue.
3.1 Patrick Gross May 11, 2015 Addition [sp1].

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This page was last updated on May 11, 2015