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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 Wattwiller, on April 20, 1970:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1970-04-20-WATTWILLER-1

Summary:

Francis Rigoni, an Alsatian correspondant of the GEPA, "Groupe d'Etudes des Phénomènes Aérospatiaux" (Aerospace Phenomena Study Group), had learned from his brother that a Mr. Soehnlen, saw a UFO on Monday, April 20, 1970 in the evening.

Student of a high school in Mulhouse, living on 54 rue de Hirtzenstein in Wattwiller in the Haut-Rhin, interested in astronomy and space, member of the Astronomical Society of France, Mr. Soehnlen recorded his testimony on an audio tape he sent to the GEPA.

He told that shortly before 9 a.m., he was in bed reading when he saw through his window a red object of a quite large size, larger than a normal star, moving from east to west.

He got up and continued to observe this phenomenon, which then stopped and remained stationary for about 30 or 40 seconds.

Then it moved in another direction, towards the south. At that time, it was seen at a relatively short distance, then left behind the clouds.

He tried to locate it again but it was gone for good.

When asked by the interviewer, he said:

The weather was pretty low clouds, those with "very clear hole" because it had rained the previous days and the same day.

The observation conditions were "very satisfactory."

The object did not pass over the Vosges, it stopped at the Vosges foothills and had gone along the Vosges mountains to the south. it did not follow any road.

The observation lasted maybe 30 seconds between the moment when the witness first saw it and when it stopped right in front of his window to the north. The stop itself lasted about 30 seconds. In total, the observation lasted 1 minute and a half to 2 minutes.

He said that the clouds behind which the object disappeared were over his house, and he went to try to see it again on the other side of the house, but the clouds were very extensive and he had stayed there observing for half hour or three quarters of an hour without seeing the object again.

He discareded that it was a shooting star, because of the red color, a red very bright, and the size, which he felt was too important. He did not notice any change in color, the object had remained bright reddish-orange in color. It was surrounded by a very small halo, but left no trail.

No sound was heard and no flicker of its light was observed.

The shape of the object was circular. When it came from the east, its speed was relatively slow. When it left, its speed seemed much faster to the witness.

The witness believed he had been quite high, "much higher than the treetops. Compared to the mountain tops that are just off the witness location, he thought it must have been about 500 or 600 meters above the ground, but he did not comment on its size, very difficult to assess. There were no animals nearby whose reaction could have been mentionned.

Mr. Soehnlen dis not think he was hallucinating and found no astronomical explanation to what he observed; which to him, "is a flying saucer."

The next day he went to tell the story to his sister, who reported hearing at about the same time a ringing in her ears. She had never previously suffered from tinnitus.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: April 20, 1970
Time: ~09:00 p.m.
Duration: 90 to 120 seconds.
First known report date: June 1970
Reporting delay: Days, 2 months.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Wattwiller
Place: 54, rue du Hirtzenstein, Wattwiller
Latitude: 47.836
Longitude: 7.178
Uncertainty ratio: 30 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 1
Witness(es) ages: Teenager.
Witness(es) types: College boy, astronomical society member.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Recorded statement for local representative of the GEPA ufology group.
Type of location: From inside home, 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: ?
Witnesses interpretation: Flying saucer.

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Possible plane, low strangeness.

Sources:

[Ref. gp1:] "PHENOMENE SPATIAUX" MAGAZINE - GEPA:

Francis M. Rigoni, another Alsatian corresponding to which we requested assistance, responded to our appeal with such dedication that we keep him in a deep gratitude.

Through his younger brother, he discovered one witness, Mr. Soehnlen, student high school in Mulhouse, residing 54, rue du Hirtzenstein in Wattwiller (Haut-Rhin), who kindly let him statements he was recorded on tape that we addressed.

Note that Mr. Soehnlen who is interested in astronomy and space issues, is a member of the Astronomical Society of France.

He was alone at the time of observation which took place on Monday evening 20 April.

The gist of his statements:

"It was a little before nine o'clock. I was in bed reading when I saw through my window, a red object, of sufficient size. That is to say, more than that a normal star, which was moving. I got up and I kept watching I phenomenon. At that time, I saw that it stopped. Then. he remained stationary for, about 30 or 40 seconds. Then he moved in another direction, to the south. This detail from the east to the west ... He went back to the south. At that time, I saw over a relatively short distance and then left behind the clouds. I tried to locate later, but there was nothing else to do. He had disappeared altogether.

Responding to questions of the investigator, the witness identifies a number of points:

Weather: fairly low clouds. Very clear holes because it had rained the previous days and the same day.

Observing conditions: very satisfactory.

The object is not passed over the Vosges. He stopped the Vosges foothills and it is gone, along the Vosges mountains to the south. He did not follow any road network.

Duration of observation: perhaps 30 seconds between the time the witness saw him and when he stopped right in front of his window, to the north; stop itself lasted about 30 seconds. In total, the observation lasted 1 minute and a half to 2 minutes.

The witness specifies that the clouds behind which were the object disappeared over his house and he went to see the other side, but the clouds were very extensive and remained under observation for half an hour or three quarters of an hour without seeing the object.

The witness ruled out the possibility of a shooting star, because of the color, which was red. a very bright red, and the size, which they felt was too large.

The shape of the object was circular. When he came from the east, its speed was relatively slow. When he left, his speed seemed much quicker to the witness. The latter did not notice any change in color. The object remained bright red pulling orange. Tl was surrounded by a small halo, but left no trail.

No sound was heard and no flicker of light was observed.

The object, as estimated by Mr. Soehnlen, had to be high enough. "Much higher than the treetops. Compared to the tops of mountains that are right next door, the witness thought that he must be about 500 or 600 meters above ground, but did not comment on its size, very difficult to assess. There were no animals nearby which might have been noted reaction.

Mr. Soehnlen does not believe in a hallucination and finds no astronomical explanation of what he observed.

"For me, he says, it's a flying saucer."

The next day, he went to tell the story to his sister, who reported hearing him at about the same butter ringing in his ears. She had never previously suffered from tinnitus.

To be brief, we did not preserve the dialogue form of the original, but we think we have faithfully reported the statements of Mr. Soehnlen, we are grateful for having kindly lent to this interview. These statements demonstrate the relevance of the questions addressed to him, relevance for which we can only praise our investigator, Mr. Francis Rigoni, to whom we reiterate our gratitude.

It seems that there is between the observations of Ms. Meyer and Mr. Soehnlen, which took place the day M2Me, a time difference. We shall return to this set of observations and we all welcome with gratitude additional information our readers may send to us.

Discussion:

I cannot see a convincing explanation for this observation. Obviously it was no star, no planet, no comet, no meteor, no shooting star.

The least worse explanation would be that of an airplane, but it is far from proven. So this remains a "UFO" to me, but the strangeness is not very strong.

Let me not that other people were puzzled by a red light in the sky later that same night in the same area.

Evaluation:

Possible plane, low strangeness.

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 January 29, 2018 Creation, [gp1].
1.0 Patrick Gross January 29, 2018 First published.

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This page was last updated on January 29, 2018.