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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 Mulhouse - Dornach, on August 15, 1956:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1956-08-15-MULHOUSEDORNACH-1

Summary:

The press of the time reported that on Wednesday, August 15, at 21:30, a Gendarmeri captain saw in the Dornach sky a red ball coming from the direction of Belfort, moving quickly.

The captain was on the balcony of his home on 22, rue Daguerre in Mulhouse, watching the stars and especially seeking the Northern star.

This is when saw a red and white light, dominantly red, ball-shaped, rushing in the cloudless sky.

He and his wife, who was at his side, did not lose sight of the light; which followed a large half-circle towards Belfort and returned to Mulhouse, where it rushed to Colmar.

The captain expressed that it was impossible that he saw any known craft.

The press said that his statement was corroborated by several people who have attested to have also seen in the sky of Dornach a red luminous object that was moving at "breathtaking speed" and disappeared towards Thann following a wide circle.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: August 15, 1956
Time: 09:30 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: August 17, 1956
Reporting delay: 1 to 2 days.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Mulhouse - Dornach
Place: From balcony on 22 rue Daguerre, and from elsewhere, UFO in the sky
Latitude: 47.744
Longitude: 7.322
Uncertainty ratio: 20 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: Several.
Number of known witnesses: Several
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Adults.
Witness(es) types: 1 gendarmerie captain and his wife, others independently.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: The Press.
Type of location: From city, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: Yes
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: Not a known craft.

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Possible meteor.

Sources:

[Ref. vr1:] "VAR-MATIN - REPUBLIQUE" NEWSPAPER:

Martians are back?

Mulhouse (AFP). -- A police captain said he saw Wednesday night a red ball move without noise at high speed toward the northeast and said it is impossible to confuse the object in question with any currently known apparatus.

This statement is corroborated by several persons who certify that they also saw in the sky Dornasch [sic, "Dornach"], near Mulhouse, a red luminous object that moved at a tremedous speed and disappeared in the direction of Thann following a wide circle.

[Ref. cv2:] CHRISTIAN VALENTIN:

Former journalist Christian Valentin published in 2012 a very interesting book about UFO and flying saucers sightings in Alsace from the beginnings to 1980.

In this book, he told that according to Charles Garreau, OURANOS #79, page 22, 1956, there was a sighting on August 13, 1956 in the "SOUTH ALSACE" area:

A bright fireball crosses the plain of Alsace

At 09:30 p.m., a police captain sees in the sky of Dornach a red ball that moved briskly from the direction of Belfort.

"I was on the balcony of our apartment, 22 rue Daguerre, the witness explained. Watching the stars and looking particularly at the polar star, I saw a red and white light, red dominant. It flew through the sky. My wife was with me, we did not lose sight of the light. The sky was cloudless. The light made a great half circle towards Belfort and returned to Mulhouse, where it spun to Colmar. I heard no noise, the shape of the luminous object suggested that of a ball."

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

16 August 1956 20:00

Mulhouse, Alsace, France

One object was observed by one witness.

Hynek rating: NO

The sources are indicated as: "Vallee, Jacques, Computerized Catalog (N = 3073)."

[Ref. ud2:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

13 August 1956 21:30

Dornach Mulhouse, France

One object was observed.

Hynek rating: NO

The sources are indicated as: "Vallee, Jacques, Computerized Catalog (N = 3073)."

[Ref. da1:] "UFO-DATENBANKEN" WEBSITE:

The German-speaking online database UFO-Datenbanken notes this observation, visible as:

Case number New case number Investigator Date of observation ZC Place ofobservation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Evaluation Identification
19560813 08/13/1956 Dornach Mulhouse France 09.30 p.m.

[Ref. da2:] "UFO-DATENBANKEN" WEBSITE:

The German-speaking online database UFO-Datenbanken notes this observation, also visible as:

Case number: 19560816
New case number:
Date of observation: 08/16/1956
Hour of observation: 08.00 p.m.
Code postal:
Place of observation Mulhouse
Geographic coordoninates:
Length:
Width:
Federal state:
Country of observation: France
Witnesses:
Classification:
Evaluation:
Identification:
Status of investigation:
Investigator:
Source: DUFOA-Deutschland - SiDat - 1996-2002

Discussion:

The "Wednesday night", the date given in the press is August 15, 1956, not 16 or 13.

Dornach had been a city, then became a suburb, a district of Mulhouse.

I can give some location information:

The six balconies at 22 rue Daguerre in Mulhouse, 1st, 2nd and 3rd floor. Three are visible, three other are at the corner of the building on the left here. The captain and his wife were on one of those balconies. (That is about 1500 meters from my home.)

The view there can range from 46° to 133°, from northeast to east through the north and south.

Dornach is visually in the Northeast to the South-East of this place.

Belfort is in the east-southeast, Thann east-northeast, and Colmar north of this place.

If, as the captain said according to [cv2] the "ball "made a big half circle to Belfort" and then "returned to Mulhouse" then went to Colmar, this is not a straight line and therefore it was not a meteor (also, ther is no mention of a trail.)

But if as stated in [vr1] it went "to the north-east" caming from the visual direction of Belfort, then passed into the visual direction of Thann, and continued in the visual direction of Colmar, then there is nothing of the U-turn suggested in Garreau's report [cv2], and it could have been a meteor.

For "The light made a large half-circle towards Belfort and returned to Mulhouse, where it rushed to Colmar," it should be understood, "The light followed a large half circle starting from the direction of Belfort and continuing to Mulhouse and then to Colmar", then it actually matches something seen as going "towards the northeast."

With journalistic sources, ambiguities are common, and there is no reason to decide to take the "half-circles" and "returns" for what they seem to be.

Let's also note that we are in the period of the Perseid meteor shower.

Evaluation:

Possible meteor.

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 26, 2014 Creation, [vr1], [cv2], [ud1], [ud2], [da1], [da2].
1.0 Patrick Gross November 26, 2014 First published.

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This page was last updated on November 26, 2014