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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 Wattwiller, on October 26, 1954:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1954-10-26-WATTWILLER-1

Summary:

The case of October 26, 1954, at 11:15 p.m. in Wattwiller in the Haut-Rhin was told as follows in Le Nouvel Alsacien newspaper for Friday, October 29, 1954, in their German-speaking issue:

Mr. F. Kieffer saw in the sky in the direction of Bollwiller, at about 11:15 p.m., a luminous object moving in zigzag in an erratic manner. It seemed to be located at 500 or 600 meters.

Mr. Kieffer called the attention on the appearance to Mr. and Mrs. G. R., farmers in Wattwiller. All three first observed the object with a pocket telescope, then took the car and tried to get closer to the "saucer."

On their road they met a cyclist who had also been observing the display for quite some time.

The more they tried to approach the thing, the more it seemed to go away in the direction of the Rhine, to finally "completely disappear" at about 11:45 p.m.

The observation lasted more than half an hour.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: October 26, 1954
Time: ~11:15 p.m.
Duration: 30 minutes.
First known report date: October 29, 1954
Reporting delay: 1 to 3 days.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Wattwiller
Place: Wattwiller or near Wattwiller, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.836
Longitude: 7.177
Uncertainty ratio: 4 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 4
Number of known witnesses: 1 to 4
Number of named witnesses: 3
Witness(es) ages: Adults.
Witness(es) types: 1 man, 2 married farmers, 1 cyclist.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: The regional Press.
Type of location: Outside, then in a car, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: No
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: Probably Jupiter.

Sources:

[Ref. na1:] "LE NOUVEL ALSACIEN" NEWSPAPER:

WATTWILLER. - The "saucer" this is about was observed Tuesday evening during more than half an hour. Mr. F. K. saw in the sky in the direction of Bollwiller, at about 11:15 p.m. a luminous object moving in zigzag in an erratic manner. It seemed to be located at 500 or 600 meters. Mr. Kieffer called the attention on the appearance to Mr. and Mrs. G. R., farmers in Wattwiller. All three first observed the object with a pocket telescope, then took the car and tried to get closer to the saucer. On their road they met a cyclist who also observed the display for quite some time. The more they tried to approach the thing, the more it seemed to go away in the direction of the Rhine, to finally completely disappear at about 11:45 p.m.

[Ref. cv1:] CHRISTIAN VALENTIN:

The journalist Christian Valentin indicates that on October 26, 1954 at 11:15 p.m. in Wattwiller, three people observed during more than 30 minutes a luminous object which moved in zigzag in an erratic manner at a distance from 500 to 600 meters in the direction of Bollwiller.

The witnesses decided to approach by car and met another witness of the scene on the road.

The four people together follow the luminous phenomenon, which, when they approach, escapes in the direction of the East and finally disappears at 11:45 p.m. in the direction of the river Rhine.

[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 case of October 26, 1954, at 11:15 p.m. in Wattwiller in the Haut-Rhin was told as follows in the Nouvel Alsacien for Friday, October 29, 1954, in their bilingual issue; which he translated:

WATTWILLER. - The "saucer" this is about was observed Tuesday evening during more than half an hour. Mr. F. K. saw in the sky in the direction of Bollwiller, at about 11:15 p.m. a luminous object moving in zigzag in an erratic manner. It seemed to be located at 500 or 600 meters. Mr. Kieffer called the attention on the appearance to Mr. and Mrs. G. R., farmers in Wattwiller. All three first observed the object with a pocket telescope, then took the car and tried to get closer to the saucer. On their road they met a cyclist who also observed the display for quite some time. The more they tried to approach the thing, the more it seemed to go away in the direction of the Rhine, to finally completely disappear at about 11:45 p.m.

Discussion:

Bollwiller is at 67° from Wattwiller, that is approximately East-North-East.

With the long duration of the observation, the thing that "moved away" when the witnesses thought they were approaching it, one can immediately think of an astronomical mistake. Venus, however, is excluded, this planet went under the horizon at 6:00 p.m. already.

However at 67° from Wattwiller exactly, at the time of this observation, Jupiter was there, low on the horizon, a little less than 5 degrees of elevation; which favors the effects "erratic movements" and "zigzags ".

The "Complete disappearance", however, does not match a setting down of the planet, as it was actually rising in the sky. There is of course the possibility that the "disappearance" was caused by a passage behind a cloud.

The low strangeness of the observation allows me to risk that it might well have been Jupiter that was observed.

Evaluation:

Probably Jupiter.

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 November 12, 2005 First published in the France 1954 catalogue.
1.0 Patrick Gross February 20, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
3.0 Patrick Gross February 4, 2015 Additions [na1], [cv2], Summary, Explanations (were "Mot looked for yet" previously).
3.0 Patrick Gross February 4, 2015 First published in the ALSACAT catalogue.

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This page was last updated on February 4, 2015