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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 Heimsbrunn, on January 17, 1974:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1974-01-17-HEIMSBRUNN-1

Summary:

An investigation by the ufology group GREI of Mulhouse indicated that on January 17, 1974, Charles Erhard, his wife, and their daughter, left Mulhouse by car to go to their home home in the Masevaux valley.

At 06:15 p.m., at the exit of Heimsbrunn, shortly after the Chapel of Notre-Dame du Chêne, they saw in the sky towards the Pont d'Aspach, a luminous object that intrigued them.

Continuing their travel, they saw it again when they arrived out of the forest just before the Pont d'Aspach, and could detail it more: it was composed of two white balls apparently of similar diameters, surmounted by a smaller red ball.

The set was relatively low on the horizon, and went on down to the ground.

The three parts seemed to merge into a sphere of the apparent size of the sun. Continuing its descent, the sphere was hidden by trees which were about one kilometer away from the witnesses.

After a few seconds, the thing went up, leveled, and then went away into the sky at a tremendous speed, at 06:35 p.m.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: January 17, 1974
Time: 06:15 p.m.
Duration: 20 minutes.
First known report date: 2012
Reporting delay: Days, years.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Heimsbrunn
Place: Driving by car from the exit Heimsbrunn shortly after the Chapel of Notre Dame du Chêne until Pont d'Aspach, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.727
Longitude: 7.215
Uncertainty ratio: 200 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 2 or 3
Number of known witnesses: 1 to 3
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Adult, adult, child.
Witness(es) types: Man, wife, their daughter.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Local ufology group GREI.
Type of location: Driving by car on country roads, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: start of the evening.
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: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Unidentified.

Sources:

[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 an investigation by the GREI of Mulhouse tells that on January 17, 1974, with his wife and daughter, Charles Erhard left Mulhouse car to go home in Masevaux Valley.

At about 06:15 p.m. at the exit of Heimsbrunn, shortly after the Chapel of Notre-Dame du Chêne [Our Lady of the Oak], they saw in the sky towards the Pont d'Aspach, a luminous object that intrigued them.

Continuing their journey, they saw the object again out of the forest just before arriving at the Pont d'Aspach, and could detail it more: it was composed of two white balls of apparently similar diameters, surmounted by a smaller red ball. The set was relatively low on the horizon and continued to descend towards the ground.

The three parts seemed to merge into a sphere of the apparent size of the sun. Continuing to descend, the sphere was hidden by trees which were about 1 km from the witnesses. After a few seconds the UFO ascended, stabilized, before leaving at tremendous speed in the sky, at 06:35 p.m..

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 ufologists 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

So this observation begins after the exit of Heimsbrunn, shortly after the Chapel of Notre-Dame du Chêne.

We are here at 47.727228°, 7.215403°, 400 meters after the exit of Heimsbrunn, 150 meters before the chapel, which is ahead, the bifurcation of the road to the left to the Chapel appears ahead.

The UFO was said to be low on the horizon, so with the presence of trees on the sides of this forest road, it is likely that the UFO was in frot of them in the direction 276° (the green line on the aerial view).

We know that the witnesses lost sight of the thing by crossing a forest road and saw it again at the exit of the forest just before arriving at the Pont d'Aspach (Bridge of Aspach).

300 meters before the location of the beginning of the sighting, the road slightly forks to the left towards 246°, a on straight distance of 600 meters. It is possible that it was on this stretch of road that they no longer saw the UFO, hidden by trees, probably the trees on the right side of the road.

Over the next 600 meters, the road is still in the forest and forks slowly to 297°, and then we have a portion of straight road in the forest at 276° for 800 meters, but followed by lack of close trees on the right side for 360 meters (the yellow line on the aerial view).

It is likely that it is on this stretch that they saw the UFO again. We are now one kilometer before the Pont d'Aspach.

The thing goes away into the sky while the witnesses are about 1 km from a curtain of trees.

The tree curtain is probably the forest that is 200 meters on the right following their road before the bridge of Aspach (red line on the aerial view).

Their trip length is about 4 km. Therefore we have an observation for a period amounting in several minutes, but it is doubtful that it was 20 minutes. Traveling at 60 km/h for 20 minutes, they would have traveled 20 kilometers, at 30 km/h, it would have been 10 kilometers. The duration might have been overestimated, or else, the end of the observation was not arriving at the Bridge of Aspach but a few kilometers further. But we are told that the departure of the UFO allegedly occurred "a few seconds" after passing the curtain of trees 1 km from the witnesses.

So, I check if we have the moon low in the sky at that time, this hour, this place in the direction 276° - + 20 degrees.

The moon is then at 291°, -47° elevation, so well under the horizon, imvisible. It will rise at 4 am only, it can not be the explanation.

Do we have a combination of a white light, Venus, and a "smaller red light", Mars, just above it? We do not, as Venus is at the azimuth 238 ° and the low elevation of 9°, and Mars is far away from it: 133° and an elevation of 50°. They could not have "merged".

These checks are done by cautious. The report ends with the initailly descending object going away "at tremendous speed"; which does not fit to any astronomical interpretations.

Finally, we are told that the apparent size of the merged light was that of the setting sun. Note that while the sun was at 240° so almost in front of the witnesses, it was below the theoretical horizon at 06:05 p.m. already, but visually long before because of the presence in its direction of the Vosges mountains with their highest peaks at 15 km of the witnesses. And the Sun was also unlikely to go up in the sky at tremendous speed.

So was it a helicopter, having at one time directed its headlight towards witnesses? Although this seems the least unacceptable trivial explanation, I find it difficult to convince myself. Living in the Upper Rhine for 50 years, I have never seen any helicopter appears like what is reported here.

Evaluation:

Unidentified.

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 September 18, 2015 Creation, [cv2].
1.0 Patrick Gross September 18, 2015 First published.

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This page was last updated on September 18, 2015