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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 Oberhergheim, on April 22, 1966:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1966-04-22-OBERHERGHEIM-1

Summary:

The regional newspaper "Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace" of April 24, 1966 reported "an emotion not ready to settle down" in Oberhergheim, as the mayor, the teacher and the priest stated to have seen Friday night, April 22, 1966, at 9:15 p.m., an "unidentified object".

Saur Leonard, Mayor of Oberhergheim and Mr. A. U., teacher and town clerk, came down from the car in front of town hall, when they saw south of the locality a bright and perfectly circular disk.

The mayor noted: "The moon is big tonight!" But the teacher assured him that this is not the moon because "It is far too wan ..."

The two men watched with more attention, and suddenly the imposing record has changed color, turning green, then seemed to disintegrate in the atmosphere by transforming into a cloud of shiny particles that have arisen like a veil of fog on the horizon.

Father K., the village priest, was then alerted, and the other two men he saw in amazement appear a few minutes later, southwest of the village this time, a bright spot as a star, who grew visibly.

This point is in turn converted into a drive, the object suddenly immobilized in the sky, could be seen again for a few minutes, then he took as the first time, a green tint.

An immense tail, like that of comets, has formed behind the drive, and once again, there was disintegration and rain glittering particles...

The newspaper adds that the same phenomenon was observed separately by the wife of the teacher and the uncle of the mayor, the sculptor J. S.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: April 22, 1966
Time: 09:15 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: April 24, 1966
Reporting delay: 2 days.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Oberhergheim
Place: From the square in front of the town hall, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.697
Longitude: 7.395
Uncertainty ratio: 40 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 5
Number of known witnesses: 3 and 2
Number of named witnesses: 4
Witness(es) ages: Adults
Witness(es) types: The mayor, the priest, the teacher, the teacher's wife, the Mayor's uncle.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Reported in the regional Press.
Type of location: From village square, 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: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Barium cloud spread by rocket.

Sources:

[Ref. dn1:] "DERNIERES NOUVELLES D'ALSACE" NEWSPAPER:

A "flying saucer" in the Haut-Rhin?

Will the "Flying Saucers" file open again in the Haut-Rhin? Maybe. But the emotion is not ready to settle down in a small town of the Hardt, where the Mayor, the teacher and the priest claimed to have seen an "unidentified object", Friday night.

It was nearly 09:15 p.m. Leonard M. Saur, Mayor of Oberhergheim and Mr. A.U.,, teacher and town clerk, descended from the car in front of the town hall. Then they saw, south of the resort, a brilliant and perfectly circular disc.

- The moon is huge tonight! the mayor noted.

- No, it is not the moon, the teacher corrected. It is far too pale...

And the two men watched more carefully this peculiar "star"... Suddenly, the imposing disc changed color. It turned to green, then seemed to disintegrate in the atmosphere by transforming into a cloud of glitter particles that landed like a veil of mist on the horizon...

A bright spot like a star

The priest is alerted. With the other two observers, Father K., amazed, began to appear a few minutes later, south-west of the village this time, a bright spot like a star, which obviously grew. This spot also changed into a disc... The object suddenly stopped in the sky and could be seen for a few minutes again. Then it took like the first time, a green hue. A huge tail, like that of a comet, formed behind the disc. And, once more, disintegration in a rain of glittering particles...

This same phenomenon has been observed separately this time, by the wife of the teacher and the uncle of the mayor, sculptor J. S.

Natural phenomenon or confusion?

Although these observations have been made by credible persons, the enigma remains. This is not the first time that "flying saucers" were sighted, even in Alsace since the issue of "space ships" was opened on June 27, 1947, when the American pilot Kenneth Arnold counted nine of these "parasites of the sky" over Washington.

Natural phenomenon? Real machine - some believed that the Americans had developed similar devices in 1942 - or confusion? One of these assumptions could explain the extraordinary appearance of Oberhergheim. One should only note that, in recent years, the "flying saucers" are rare...

[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 phenomenon of Friday, April 22, 1966, at 09:15 p.m. was reported in the newspaper Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace for Sunday, April 24, 1966:

A "flying saucer" in the Haut-Rhin?

Will the "Flying Saucers" file open again in the Haut-Rhin? Maybe. But the emotion is not ready to settle down in a small town of the Hardt, where the Mayor, the teacher and the priest claimed to have seen an "unidentified object", Friday night.

It was nearly 09:15 p.m. Leonard M. Saur, Mayor of Oberhergheim and Mr. A.U.,, teacher and town clerk, descended from the car in front of the town hall. Then they saw, south of the resort, a brilliant and perfectly circular disc.

- The moon is huge tonight! the mayor noted.

- No, it is not the moon, the teacher corrected. It is far too pale...

And the two men watched more carefully this peculiar "star"... Suddenly, the imposing disc changed color. It turned to green, then seemed to disintegrate in the atmosphere by transforming into a cloud of glitter particles that landed like a veil of mist on the horizon...

A bright spot like a star

The priest is alerted. With the other two observers, Father K., amazed, began to appear a few minutes later, south-west of the village this time, a bright spot like a star, which obviously grew. This spot also changed into a disc... The object suddenly stopped in the sky and could be seen for a few minutes again. Then it took like the first time, a green hue. A huge tail, like that of a comet, formed behind the disc. And, once more, disintegration in a rain of glittering particles...

This same phenomenon has been observed separately this time, by the wife of the teacher and the uncle of the mayor, sculptor J. S.

Natural phenomenon or confusion?

Although these observations have been made by credible persons, the enigma remains. This is not the first time that "flying saucers" were sighted, even in Alsace since the issue of "space ships" was opened on June 27, 1947, when the American pilot Kenneth Arnold counted nine of these "parasites of the sky" over Washington.

Natural phenomenon? Real machine - some believed that the Americans had developed similar devices in 1942 - or confusion? One of these assumptions could explain the extraordinary appearance of Oberhergheim. One should only note that, in recent years, the "flying saucers" are rare...

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

The solution of the puzzle appears in studying all the reports, some of which were accompanied by the explanation: a barium cloud released by a rocket. 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, [dn1], [cv2].
1.0 Patrick Gross April 5, 2016 First published.

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This page was last updated on April 5, 2016