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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 Kastenwald, on March 1, 1955:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1955-03-01-KASTENWALD-1

Summary:

The regional newspaper L'Alsace, on page 5 of their Colmar issue for March 2, 1955, published an article on a "flying ball" that traveled with three residents of Colmar in the Kastenwald near Neuf-Breisach, on March 1, 1955, at 01:15 in the night:

"It would be easy to turn these things into a joke to say that it was the day after Carnival and just this evening, the radio had a show on the attack on Earth by Venus... But we will not do that and to give the case its authentic style, it will suffice to tell things as they were reported to us in a first-hand testimony.*

"On the night from Monday to Tuesday, around 1:15 a.m., Mr. A.D., residing on Sainte Catherinestreet in Colmar, accompanied by his wife and her father had left Neuf-Breisach and drove by car to Colmar, without thinking evil. The moon showed its first quarter in the clear sky. Suddenly, at the exit of Wolfgantzen, Mrs. D. saw in the air, but high and behind the car, a dark red and orange ball. The moon? No, it was not a full moon, and then the 'thing' could have measured 1 meter in diameter, and besides it moved conspicuously."

"Mrs. D. was making a panic terror (at the time we are writing these lines she is still afraid). The two men, intrigued, wanted to stop, to see, finally, with their own eyes, a flying saucer that seemed to follow them. But after an agonizing debate, they figured it was better to calm the passenger who shouted they should "rush away to the village"... and thus, foot down on the accelerator, they crossed the level crossing which provides access to the Kastenwald."

"But they had hardly entered there and they were at the crossroads of the Highway to Muntzenheim that the craft reappeared at tree height, in front of the car this time."

"The three occupants were able to watch it lengthily, with the emotion you can imagine, because it continued to precede the vehicle rushing at 120 km per hour, as long it was in this forest of the Kastenwald, that is on a distance of about four kilometers."

"And suddenly, silently, the saucer disappeared on the right at breakneck speed..."

"Obviously, the period of massive appearance of flying saucers is a bit outdated. Should we conclude that it is forever? In any case, go tell Mrs. and Mr. D. that they have been the subject of an illusion... We told you, they are still shaking."

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: March 1, 1955
Time: ~01:15 a.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: March 2, 1955
Reporting delay: Hours.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Wolfgantzen
Place: In the car between Wolfgantzen and Colmar, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.041
Longitude: 7.471
Uncertainty ratio: 100 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 3
Number of known witnesses: 1 to 3
Number of named witnesses: 1
Witness(es) ages: Adults.
Witness(es) types: A woman, her husband and er father.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Reported to regional newspaper.
Type of location: In car between two villages, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: ?
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: Frightened, puzzled, curious.
Witnesses interpretation: Flying saucer, not the moon.

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Maybe the moon.

Sources:

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

In the Kastenwald near Neuf-Breisach

A flying ball traveled with three Colmar residents...

It would be easy to turn these things into a joke to say that it was the day after Carnival and just this evening, the radio had a show on the attack on Earth by Venus... But we will not do that and to give the case its authentic style, it will suffice to tell things as they were reported to us in a first-hand testimony.

On the night from Monday to Tuesday, around 1:15 a.m., Mr. A.D., residing on Sainte Catherinestreet in Colmar, accompanied by his wife and her father had left Neuf-Breisach and drove by car to Colmar, without thinking evil. The moon showed its first quarter in the clear sky. Suddenly, at the exit of Wolfgantzen, Mrs. D. saw in the air, but high and behind the car, a dark red and orange ball. The moon? No, it was not a full moon, and then the "thing" could have measured 1 meter in diameter, and besides it moved conspicuously.

Mrs. D. was making a panic terror (at the time we are writing these lines she is still afraid). The two men, intrigued, wanted to stop, to see, finally, with their own eyes, a flying saucer that seemed to follow them. But after an agonizing debate, they figured it was better to calm the passenger who shouted they should "rush away to the village"... and thus, foot down on the accelerator, they crossed the level crossing which provides access to the Kastenwald.

But they had hardly entered there and they were at the crossroads of the Highway to Muntzenheim that the craft reappeared at tree height, in front of the car this time.

The three occupants were able to watch it lengthily, with the emotion you can imagine, because it continued to precede the vehicle rushing at 120 km per hour, as long it was in this forest of the Kastenwald, that is on a distance of about four kilometers.

And suddenly, silently, the saucer disappeared on the right at breakneck speed...

Obviously, the period of massive appearance of flying saucers is a bit outdated. Should we conclude that it is forever? In any case, go tell Mrs. and Mr. D. that they have been the subject of an illusion... We told you, they are still shaking.

[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 Wolfgantzen in the Haut-Rhin on Tuesday, March 1, 1955, at 1:15 was reported in L‘Alsace for Wednesday, March 2, 1955, on page 5 of the Colmar issue:

In the Kastenwald near Neuf-Breisach

A FLYING IS A BALL TRAVEL WITH THREE COLMAR RESIDENTS

It would be easy to turn these things into a joke to say that it was the day after Carnival and just this evening, the radio had a show on the attack on Earth by Venus... But we will not do that and to give the case its authentic style, it will suffice to tell things as they were reported to us in a first-hand testimony.

On the night from Monday to Tuesday, around 1:15 a.m., Mr. A.D., residing on Sainte Catherinestreet in Colmar, accompanied by his wife and her father had left Neuf-Breisach and drove by car to Colmar, without thinking evil. The moon showed its first quarter in the clear sky. Suddenly, at the exit of Wolfgantzen, Mrs. D. saw in the air, but high and behind the car, a dark red and orange ball. The moon? No, it was not a full moon, and then the "thing" could have measured 1 meter in diameter, and besides it moved conspicuously.

Mrs. D. was making a panic terror (at the time we are writing these lines she is still afraid). The two men, intrigued, wanted to stop, to see, finally, with their own eyes, a flying saucer that seemed to follow them. But after an agonizing debate, they figured it was better to calm the passenger who shouted they should "rush away to the village"... and thus, foot down on the accelerator, they crossed the level crossing which provides access to the Kastenwald.

But they had hardly entered there and they were at the crossroads of the Highway to Muntzenheim that the craft reappeared at tree height, in front of the car this time.

The three occupants were able to watch it lengthily, with the emotion you can imagine, because it continued to precede the vehicle rushing at 120 km per hour, as long it was in this forest of the Kastenwald, that is on a distance of about four kilometers.

And suddenly, silently, the saucer disappeared on the right at breakneck speed...

Obviously, the period of massive appearance of flying saucers is a bit outdated. Should we conclude that it is forever? In any case, go tell Mrs. and Mr. D. that they have been the subject of an illusion... We told you, they are still shaking.

Discussion:

The car had left Neuf-Brisach and was at the exit of Wolfgantzen, going to the forest of the Kastenwald when the observation started. It was therefore at one of the two red dots and was going towards the blue dots on the road through the forest.

So the car was on a heading of 306.55 degrees, the woman saw the "ball", which "seemed to follow" the car at that time, thus around 117°.

The crossroad to Muntzenheim, when the car "just" entered the forest, is probably the blue dot at the right, if not, the blue dot on the left. At this time, the ball reappeared "in front of the car", so at 306.55°. This is the opposite to the initial direction.

The ball remains in front of the car on 4 km, which is, as stated in the newspaper, the length of the road through the Kastenwald forest. Out of the forest after these four kilometers, the "ball" went to the right, to 30°. There, the witnesses had at first sight, no reason not to go straight to Colmar right in front of them at 6 kilometers.

The moon at this time is at azimuth 299° and a low elevation of 4°. In other words, it could have matched the part of the observation when the car crosses the forest heading towards Colmar with the "ball" in front of it. It does not match the parts when the ball was behind the car at the beginning of the observation, and does not match the end of the observation when the "ball" to the right hand; at least that is what one my think at first sight.

Above: the road in 2014, by day, crossing the Kastenwald forest.

The moon was very low, at 4° elevation, slightly to the left of the road,
at the red dot.

For the first part of the observation, when at the exit of Wolfgantzen, the "ball" was "behind" the car. So if it was the moon, the car had to turn. In principle, the path from Neuf-Brisach to Colmar followed by the three people was almost straight. So at the exit of Wolfgantzen, they must have taken a wrong direction, such as the yellow line here.

They must have driven to far down the road marked by the red line in the bottom right, and then turn on to the yellow road, to reach the correct road in the forest marked by the red line on the top left. This is obviously not impossible. From this yellow part, the moon would have been on the left rear of the car, almost the correct direction, that of the road through the forest:

A better possibility is the following.

We are told they crossed the railway tracks that "give access to the Kastenwald forest."

On the image above, the railway crossing is at the green dot; they would have been on the road in blue. So there is indeed a sharp turn to reach the road in the forest. The moon, at the railway crossing was on the right side of the car, not exactly "behind."

Also, the moon is at a 4° elevation, but the report said that it was "very high"...

At the end of observation, we are told, the "ball" went away to the right "at a breakneck speed." This is after crossing the Kastenwald forest. That would suggest, if it was the moon, that road would have a left turn towards the end of the forest.

In fact, the road turns only very slightly to the left at the exit of the forest; also, the "breakneck speed" must be supposed to have been exaggerated.

Another possibility is that after the exit of the forest, at the arrival in Andolsheim, the driver did not go straight on but took a turn to the left at the beginning of the village, as if to join the southern districts of Colmar, or Colmar by its southern limit, although Colmar is closer when one goes straight on in the continuity of the forest road.

The road at the exit of the forest barely goes to the left
at the junction of the yellow line and the red line.

A Andolsheim, instead of going straight on to Colmar, the travelers should therefore have
turned left at the junction of the red line and the blue line.

We are told, in fact, that the woman lived in the Rue Sainte Catherine in Colmar. The husband certainly also, the father perhaps also, so this was the logical destination of the trip. In fact, there is a left turn that makes sense:

It would be after exiting Andolsheim that the car turned to the left, at the red dot. There, we have a real turn of the road.

We must also assume a "red moon" as the story says the ball was "dark red and orange."

There is one last thing to check, a capital thing: the report indicates that "the moon showed its first quarter." Witnesses speak of a "ball". The moon in its first quarter appears as follows:

Actually, the moon was indeed in its first quarter (Phase: 0.44209, 44.2% of the surface is illuminated).

We can imagine that when the witness said it was a "ball", it was a "supposed" ball, she would have said "ball" ny believing that the left side was shadowed.

In the end, there are elements advocating "for" the moon, and others arguing "against", and I am still somewhat undecided. But I have no strong reason to exclude that this "flying saucer" may in fact have been the moon.

Evaluation:

Maybe the 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
Editeur: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross November 21, 2014 Creation, [la1], [cv2].
1.0 Patrick Gross November 21, 2014 First published.

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This page was last updated on November 21, 2014