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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 Froeningen, on April 22, 1966:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1966-04-22-FROENINGEN-1

Summary:

The regional newspaper L'Alsace for April 26, 1966, had reported a sighting of a "strange celestial phenomenon seen in the sky of Ensisheim".

Two days later the same newspaper indicated that they had received other testimonies for this phenomenon of April 22, 1966.

One of them occurred on the main road between Froeningen and Spechbach-le-Bas, about 5 km from the latter town, had seen the same "unidentified object" at the same time and on the same date. This bright object had moved just 85 degrees from the ground and at an altitude estimated at 10000 or 15000 meters. It remained visible for about ten minutes.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: April 22, 1966
Time: 11:15 p.m.
Duration: ~10 minutes.
First known report date: April 26, 1978
Reporting delay: 6 days.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Froeningen
Place: From the national road between Froeningen and Spechbach-le-Bas, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.685
Longitude: 7.265
Uncertainty ratio: 5 km

Witnesses data:

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

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Reported to the regional Press.
Type of location: From the national road between villages, 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: Barium cloud spread by rocket.

Sources:

[Ref. la2:] "L'ALSACE" NEWSPAPER:

About the celestial phenomenon: New evidence

In this Tuesday, April 26, issue, we had published an article about a celestial phenomenon seen in the sky of Ensisheim by one of our young readers on Friday, April 22 at 09:15 p.m..

Two other testimonies came to us since then. One is by of a person who, on the main road between Froeningen and Spechbach-le-Bas - about 5 km of this last town - saw the same "unidentified object" at the same time and on the same date. This bright object was moving at about 85 degrees relative to the earth at an altitude estimated at 10 to 15,000 meters. The phenomenon remained visible for about ten minutes.

Moreover, Mr. H. K..., residing in Staffelfelden, writes to tell us that Friday night at 09:10 p.m., lying on the secondary pithead of the Marie-Louise mine with several of his comrades, his attention was drawn by a kind of disc slightly superior in size to the moon and bathes in a haloed brightness. The phenomenon was in the clear starry sky and in the southern hemisphere, that is at about 7:30 from the North-South axis. Gradually as it evolved, it took in its center a darker hue. Was the object really moving or was it stationary, we could not determine this. Still, it seemed to expand at times. The phenomenon weakened, then disappeared. It was seen by many employees, miners or workers at Marie-Louise.

[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 L’Alsace for Tuesday, April 26, 1966, published an article about the observation of April 22, 1966, in Ensisheim, then two days later, published this:

About the celestial phenomenon: New evidence

In this Tuesday, April 26 issue, we had published an article about a celestial phenomenon seen in the sky Ensisheim by one of our young readers on Friday, April 22 at 09:15 p.m..

Two other testimonies came to us since then. One is by of a person who, on the main road between Froeningen and Spechbach-le-Bas - about 5 km of this last town - saw the same "unidentified object" at the same time and on the same date. This bright object was moving at about 85 degrees relative to the earth at an altitude estimated at 10 to 15,000 meters. The phenomenon remained visible for about ten minutes.

Moreover, Mr. H. K..., residing in Staffelfelden, writes to tell us that Friday night at 09:10 p.m., lying on the secondary pithead of the Marie-Louise mine with several of his comrades, his attention was drawn by a kind of disc slightly superior in size to the moon and bathes in a haloed brightness. The phenomenon was in the clear starry sky and in the southern hemisphere, that is at about 7:30 from the North-South axis. Gradually as it evolved, it took in its center a darker hue. Was the object really moving or was it stationary, we could not determine this. Still, it seemed to expand at times. The phenomenon weakened, then disappeared. It was seen by many employees, miners or workers at Marie-Louise.

Discussion:

About Christian Valentin's book:

It is not at all my habit to "advertise" a book or anything, and I have no interested relationship with the author, but I wanted to say a word on the book by Christian Valentin, "Mythes et Réalités des Phénomènes Aériens Non Identifiés" (i.e. "Myths and Realities of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" (cover on the left) , ref. [cv2]; which, as its subtitle indicates, is about Alsatian UFO sighting reports and the saucer lore in Alsace.

I think Alsatian ufologist and generally people interested in the UFO question, or in the history of Alsace, my region, would probably like this book.

The 144 pages book is sober but well presented, unbiased, richly documented and illustrated. It is the first work in print specifically about UFO sightings in Alsace. (There was another one a few years ago, but it was partly made by copying - pasting without mention of the sources, portions of my website, especially the Alsatians cases I almost exhaustively documented in my catalog of UFO sightings in France in 1954, and copies from another websites; the trivial explanations I proposed or gave there being almost always stripped off!)

The author does not want to prove or disprove the possibility of extraterrestrial visitors or some other so-called "extraordinary" explanation, he rather offers a chronologically ordered review of Alsatian UFO reports, starting from the origin and stopping in 1980, based on known sources ufology, on the articles of the regional Press, and cases less known or even unreleased so far that he collected directly with the witnesses. His own comments are printed in a different color, references to the sources are always given. A very nice work in my opinion!

The author currently has a blog where he shows what libraries in Alsace have the book available, see: christian.valentin.overblog.com

Such an event had to be "transnational", not only seen in Alsace.

And indeed we have other comments on that date and time.

On April 22, 1966, four sightings were reported in Germany according to the "UFO-Datenbank" catalog:

19660422Bad WimpfenGermany21.15
19660422GöppingenGermany21.15
19660422HarthaGermany21.15
19660422Hartha21.15
19660422Frauenfeld21:13NLIFOBariumdampfwolke [barium cloud].

Note that for the last sighting, the explanation is given, but the reconciliation with the other sightings, although obvious, was not done.

In the old UFOCAT catalog, we have, among the observations of April 22, 1966:

21:00Figueira da FozPortugalOrange sphere over coast.
21:00MequinenzaSpainNocturnal lights were reported.
21:10LisboaPortugalNocturnal lights were reported.
21:10Sao Bras de AlportelPortugalNocturnal lights were reported.
21:14ViennaAustriaNocturnal lights were reported (Mucke).
21:15Bad WimpfenGermanyNocturnal lights were reported.
21:15GoppingenGermanyNocturnal lights were reported.
21:15HarthaGermany(Ambiguous location - more than one place with this name).
21:30Ciudad RealSpainNocturnal lights were reported.
21:30ChauvignyFrance10m long cigar hovered vertically, two solid coherent light beams retract. Shoots away fast.

And so, without Christian Valentin, these sightings would have remained independently unexplained:

21:152 km south of EnsisheimThe two young men.
21:15Between Froeningen and Spechbach-le-BasSomeone.
21:15In Staffelfelden at the Marie-Louise mineMr. H. K., of Staffelfelden, and numerous miners and employees of the mine - this case file.
21:15In OberhergheimThe Mayor Leonard Saur, the schoolteacher.
~21:20A OberhergheimThe Mayor Leonard Saur, the schoolteacher, abd abbot K., village priest.
~21:15?A OberhergheimThe schoolteacher's wife and sculptor J. S.

And, without ALSACAT, all these and the other, transnational, sightings, would have remained unrelated and unidentified, except for the one correctly explaned in UFO-Datenbank.

About the rocket, and clouds of barium:

The literature (*) shows that on April 22, 1966, France performed, from Hammaguir near Colomb-Bechar in Algeria, its third launch of the sounding rocket Ruby. Ruby 03, to "vaporize" barium copper oxide in the upper atmosphere to study the high-energy particles sent by the sun and the solar wind. Barium clouds also allows observer on the ground to distinguish the direction of the magnetic forces lines in Earth's magnetic field.

This launch of the Ruby 03 sounding rocket established a French rocket high altitude record of 2035 km.

VE-210 "Ruby" was designed to test the airborne release of the cap, the separation and rotation of the third stage of the "Diamond" launcher. It carried the top of the Diamant launcher onto a VE-110 Agate first stage.

(*) For example, "History of the French Sounding Rocket Programmes", by Christopher Rothmund, March 1991.

Below: some images of barium clouds:

Evaluation:

Barium cloud spread by rocket.

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 April 5, 2016 Creation, [la2], [cv2].
1.0 Patrick Gross April 5, 2016 First published.

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This page was last updated on April 5, 2016