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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 Colmar, in February 1974:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1974-02-00-COLMAR-1

Summary:

Author Christian Valentin, in his 2012 book bout UFOs in Alsace, recounts an observation that had been reported to the ufology group of Mulhouse "GREI" a few months after it happened.

The witnesses were Mr. Pierre Spielmann and his family, living at the time of the sighting, in early February 1974, in a detached house in a Western part of Colmar.

Around 6:30 a.m., while it was still night, Mr. Spielmann saw with astonishment, from the window of the hall, toward the East, very low on the horizon, a luminous thing he first thought to be the moon.

The house next door that faced his house had only one floor, and the object in the sky was only slightly above the top of that house. He estimated that the object was just a few kilometers away.

Mr. Spielmann went out to check the presence of the moon, and saw it immediately to the outh. He called his wife and daughter and they observed the phenomenon with binoculars for about 1 hour.

The object was perfectly round, with a color and size identical to that of the moon. It seemed agitated with permanent tremor, and its surface seemed to have a roughness like an orange peel. The face of the object that was visible to them was facing the city of Colmar.

After a few minutes of observation, he saw coming from the hidden side of the object, what he then called two "telescopes", entirely black, giving an impression of relief. One was at the top left and the other at the bottom right of the object, and they seemed to glide over its surface.

He thought that these two "telescope" would move all around the object, but they stayed inside a defined area, where they disappeared and reappeared several times.

There was a partial deformation of the top right of the object, then it took almost immediately its original shape again.

Then, a third phenomenon occurred: a continuous light line from top to bottom that moved regularly and continuously from left to right for minutes.

The witnesses were waiting for daylight to see how the phenomenon would evolve. Gradually, as daylight grew, the objet tended to seem transparent, but still with well-defined contours. After about ten minutes, it started rising slowly in the sky, though its brightness let track its movement easily.

The object moved away, or took the size of a star like the others stars.

Christian Valentin indicates that 35 years after the occurrence, Mr. Spielmann, whom he met, keeps a vivid recollection of the occurrence, and still does not know what they had seen. He specified that what he had called "telescopes" could be called "portholes". He chose the word telescopes because he felt that they were used for monitoring.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: February 1974
Time: ~06:30 a.m.
Duration: ~1 hour.
First known report date: 1974
Reporting delay: Months.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Colmar
Place: From outside the home in a Western district of Colmar, UFO in the sky,
Latitude: 48.077
Longitude: 7.326
Uncertainty ratio: 1 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 3
Number of known witnesses: 1 to 3
Number of named witnesses: 1
Witness(es) ages: 2 adults, 1 young or child.
Witness(es) types: Father, mother, daughter.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: To the Mulhouse ufology group GREI.
Type of location: From outside the home in a city, UFO in the sky
Visibility conditions: Night, then daybreak.
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: No
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): Yes.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): Yes.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: Does not know what it was. Not the moon.

Classifications:

Hynek: NL or DD
ALSACAT: Possible extraterrestrial craft.

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 in 1974, the Spielmann family lived in a house in Colmar West.

One morning in early February 1974 to 6:30, while it was still night, Mr. Peter Spielmann saw from the lobby window, towards the east, a luminous thing he first thought to be the moon.

"I was amazed to see very low on the horizon to the east what I first thought to be the moon. The neighboring house that faces our house has only one floor and the object in the sky, that I felt was just a few kilometers, barely exceeded the height of the top of this house. I went out to check the presence of the moon, found it in the south immediately. I called my wife and daughter and we observed the phenomenon with binocular for about 1 hour. "

"The object, perfectly round in color [sic] and of a size identical to that of the moon, seemed permanently agitated with tremors, and its surface seemed to have a roughness like that of an orange peel."

"After a few minutes of observation, two phenomena emerged: coming from the hidden side two entirely black "telescopes" giving an impression of relief appeared at the top left and bottom right of the object, seeming to glide on its surface. I thought the two "telescopes" would go around the object, but they stayed inside a specific area to disappear and reappear many times. Note that the visible face of the circle for us was directed to the city of Colmar. A partial deformation of the upper right occurred with an almost immediate resumption of the original shape."

"A third phenomenon appeared in the shape of a continuous bright line from top to bottom, which moved smoothly without interruption from left to right for minutes."

"We were waiting to see how the day was going to change this phenomenon. As daylight increased, the object tended to appear transparent but without ceasing to be delimited. After about ten minutes, the object began to rise slowly in the sky and its brightness allowed so tstill track its movement easily. The object moved away and took the size of a star among many others."

Disturbed by this experience, Me. Spielmann and his family had reported it some months later to the GREI of Mulhouse.

Christian Valentin indicates that 35 years after the occurrence, Mr. Spielmann keep a very strong memory of this phenomenon.

"I called telescope what I could have called porthole, but telescope but seemed more suitable. I had the impression that it was used for survey. Today I still do not know what we saw."

Christian Valentin says that this comes from his own personal investigation.

He published the sketch made by the main witness:

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

The strangeness of the case is very high:

I have absolutely no idea of any ordinary object that could match what is described here.

The witness said he saw the moon in the south. The observation is said to have taken place at the beginning of February 1974. The ephemeris make it possible therefore to refine the date, and also to verify the statements of the witness about this.

On February 1, 1974, the moon is not visible, it is below the horizon since 3:36 a.m.. The 2nd, it is down at 4:47 a.m., the 3rd, at 05:51 a.m..

On February 4, the moon set at 6:47 a.m., at 06:30 a.m. it is at a height of 2° - too low already - , but it is not really in the south (180°), it is at 301°.

For the following days, the moon is visible for the witness at the 06:30 a.m. time. We have:

Date Azimuth: Height:
February 5, 1974 289° 8°40
February 6, 1974 275 14°58
February 7, 1974 261 20°27
February 8, 1974 247 24°28
February 9, 1974 232 26°52
February 10, 1974 217° 27°34
February 11, 1974 202° 26°42
February 12, 1974 189° 24°34
February 13, 1974 176° 21°28
February 14, 1974 164° 17°42

We see that the story is consistent on this aspect. The date when the moon is at the South is February 12, 1974. Of course the few days around this date could fit because the witness gave an estimate for the South, he surely did not take a compass. In any case, we have the moon, not too high, not too low in the first half of February after February 5, and we have it at the south on the 11 and 13 February 1974.

Evaluation:

Possible extraterrestrial craft.

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 March 22, 2016 Creation, [cv2].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 22, 2016 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 22, 2016