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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 the region of Colmar, on January 3, 1955:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1955-01-03-COLMAR-1

Summary:

In 1956, author Jimmy Guieu evokes in his book an observation whose source seems to be the ufologist Charles Garreau:

On January 3, 1955, in the region of Colmar, four motorists in a "Frégate" car were followed for approximately 15 minutes by "three luminous red orange spacecraft of elongated form."

The two "machines" threw a bright light into the sky and appeared behind the vehicle.

However, the intrigued drivers continued to drive at 130 kilometers per hour around 2:35 a.m.

The craft disappeared momentarily to reappear shortly after to the right of the car, keeping at a constant distance.

After Fayl-Billot, which is in the Haute-Marne about 200 km away from the Colmar region, they moved ahead in the direction of Chalindrey where they stopped.

The driver, Mr. Dupin, stopped the car and went out with his friends to observe the "phenomenon", and he apparently told Charles Garreau:

"When we had stopped, when the two engines had passed us, they stopped in the sky and then one of them came back in close reconnaissance, guiding himself on the headlights that had remained lit. The craft became bigger and bigger to the eye, in width and thickness, exactly as a plane making a dive. Quite anxiously, I promptly extinguished the headlights. The craft then slowed down, followed two or three circles (as if disoriented). Then, suddenly it flew away leaving a luminous trail!"

Mr. Dupin had said that he had never seen anything of the kind, even though he was a former aviator on the sailing crew.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: January 3, 1955
Time: 02:35 a.m.
Duration: 2 hours or more.
First known report date: 1956
Reporting delay: Day, 1 year.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Colmar?
Place: From the region of Colmar.
Latitude: 48.031
Longitude: 7.316
Uncertainty ratio: 200 km.

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 4
Number of known witnesses: 1 to 4
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: 1 to 4 adults.
Witness(es) types: ?

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Ufologist Charles Garreau.
Type of location: From the car on the road, 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: Puzzled, worried.
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Possible Moon.

Sources:

[Ref. jg1:] JIMMY GUIEU:

The author indicates that in the region of Colmar, four motorists in a Frégate [car] were followed on January 3, 1955 for about 15 minutes by three luminous red oranges orange of elongated form.

The two machines projected a bright light into the sky and appeared behind the vehicle.

However, intrigued drivers continued to drive at 130 kilometers per hour around 2:35 a.m.

The devices disappeared momentarily to reappear shortly after to the right of the car keeping at a constant distance.

After Fayl-Billot, they went ahead in the direction of Chalindrey where they stopped.

The driver, Mr. Dupin, stopped the car and went out with his friends to observe the "phenomenon".

Mr. Dupin told Charles Garreau:

"When we had stopped, when the two engines had passed us, they stopped in the sky and then one of them came back in close reconnaissance, guiding himself on the headlights that had remained lit. The craft became bigger and bigger to the eye, in width and thickness, exactly as a plane making a dive. Quite anxiously, I promptly extinguished the headlights. The craft then slowed down, followed two or three circles (as if disoriented). Then, suddenly it flew away leaving a luminous trail!"

Mr. Dupin had concluded that he had never seen anything like this, when he was a former airman.

Discussion:

This case appears here as "in the region of Colmar" as this seems to be the location according to Guieu. However, it is clear that it extends on other regions than Alsace. The automobilists seem to have travelled about 200 kilometers during the sighting!

Map

Above is the road trip from Colmar in the Haut-Rhin, Alsace, to Fayl-Billot in the Haute-Marne, as it is done in the 2000's.

On such a distance, therefore such a duration, one is tempted to think of an astronomical mistake, for example caused by the Moon. Certain "facts" seem to oppose it: there are two "spacecraft", one of them flies circles at the end of the observation.

Before speculating further on the Moon, I checked its presence or absence in the sky in these places on January 3, 1955 around 2 o'clock in the morning.

At this date, the moon had set at 02:25, which is very close to the given hour, clearly an imprecise hour since it is not known if it is the beginning or the end of the observation, which duration on a journey which nowadays takes by motorway more than two hours!

Let's note that the moon would have been close to the horizon, this favors misunderstandings, or already lying down.

It was at 02:35 a.m., at the azimuth 294°.

We have only one direction, indicated for the end of the observation: "After Fayl-Billot, they [the spacecraft] went before us in the direction of Chalindrey where they stopped."

Now, on the road at the exit of Fayl-Billot, the direction of Chalindrey is 279°: it is close enough of the direction of the Moon...

Of course, "went before us", literally, seems to suggest that the UFOs were not in front of them before they passed Fayl-Billot, so they were on one side or behind, which is hardly possible for the Moon which remains largely "in front" of them at least since Vesoul. But there is certainly no sufficient precision in the narrative to establish this as a fact.

Another point: we are told that the "apparatuses disappeared momentarily to reappear shortly after towards the right of the car" and that the witnesses then drive on; this seems to be towards the beginning of the observation. Between Colmar and Mulhouse, the Moon is generally on their right. And it may very well disappear at a time on this portion: it sets down and is masked by the Vosges mountains, and is no longer masked by these mountains when the motorists continue after Belfort.

There are apparently two objects. That the moon may be separated in two by a cloud in front of its middle is a possibility, but if it were all along their trip, this seems a rather improbable explanation.

Finally, the "verbatim" quote of Mr. Dupin does not seem to firmly credit the Moon. On the one hand, the "spacecraft" stop at the same time as the car, which is typical of lunar mistakes, on the other hand... "Quite anxiously, I quickly turned off the headlights. It slowed down its dive, followed two or three circles (as if disoriented), then suddenly went away leaving a luminous trail!"

It should be noted that the report does not scream for its reliability: we are told of "three spacecraft" but only two seem at stake, and the duration is given as 15 minutes; which is totally impossible for a journey that seems to go from the Colmar region to the Haute-Marne...

So I remain rather undecided, but I certainly do not discard the Moon.

I must still mention an astonishing thing: there was, reported in the Press, an observation in the region of Colmar on March 3, 1955... also explicable by the Moon. It is quite similar but not entirely; it is not impossible that it is the same case, altered from "03.01.1955" to "01.03.1955"!

Evaluation:

Possible Moon.

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:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 24, 2017 Creation, [jg1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 24, 2017 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 24, 2017.