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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 Rhinau, on August 11, 1977:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1977-08-11-RHINAU-1

Summary:

The newspaper Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace for August 13, 1977, had reported that a strange light phenomenon was observed by a couple from Strasbourg driving on EDF the road in the direction Rhinau / Strasbourg, on the night of August 11 to 12, 1977, at 11:45 p.m.

The driver was a man of the Neudorf district of Strasbourg, the passengers were his wife, their young son, and the wife's 14-year-old sister.

Still under the influence of emotion, the wife had told the newspaper:

"My husband stopped the car, and then he lowered his window so we were able to observe the phenomenon. The craft was motionless, too; it had two headlights, yellow, directed horizontally relative to itself; from both sides and between the two headlights, we very clearly noted kinds of lights, smaller than the headlights and red."

"That's when the craft started to move on a small distance. I got scared and I said to my husband:... go away, let's go."

"While we started the car again, the craft also moved in the opposite direction to ours. I bent down to watch it go. But then I noticed it made a U-turn, placed itself behind us, seeming to move very quickly now."

"I can not give exact figures, but I felt it was very low, only a few meters from the ground, close to us. The yellow lights came down toward us, while the red lights were rotating like those of the firefighters do."

"I begged my husband to accelerate. We drove as fast as possible. Through the rear window, I saw that the craft was following us. We slowed down only when we reached the houses near Gerstheim. We felt safe. And we watched the craft that at this time, made a U-turn again. So, we stopped, and we watched it go away. My husband wanted to go back, but I prevented hom to do it..."

The newspaper commented that the testimony is particularly interesting because the credibility of the three people cannot be doubted. Recalling that the Rhine banks was frequently "visited" by UFOs, they feel that it was probably not a military helicopter maneuvering, mainly because their lights are white, not yellow.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: August 11, 1977
Time: ~11:45 p.m.
Duration: Minutes?
First known report date: August 13, 1977
Reporting delay: 1 day.

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Rhinau, Gerstheim
Place: In car, driving and stopped, on the EDF road, from Rhinau to houses near Gerstheim, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.313
Longitude: 7.712
Uncertainty ratio: 200 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 3 o r 4
Number of known witnesses: 1 to 3
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: 2 adults, 1 teen, 1 child.
Witness(es) types: A couple, their child, the wife's teen sister.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Reported to the regional Press.
Type of location: Driving and stopped on road along river, 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: Puzzled, frightened.
Witnesses interpretation: Plane, then flying saucer.

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Unidentified, low strangeness.

Sources:

[Ref. dn1:] JOURNAL "DERNIERES NOUVELLES D’ALSACE":

A flying saucer in the Alsatian sky:
A puzzling testimony seems to confirm it

A strange light phenomenon was observed by a Strasbourg couple traveling on the EDF road, in the direction Rhinau to Strasbourg, on the night of Thursday to Friday, at 11:45 p.m.. On board the vehicle were the driver, M. J., who lives Neudorf, his wife, their young son, and the younger sister of Ms. J., a 14-year-old girl.

Still under the influence of an understandable emotion, Mrs. J. told us: "We were returning from a family evening, when at the height of the Rhinau tray, my husband saw two lights above the trees, slightly to his left. He asked me what it was and I told him a plane. That's when my sister suggested that it was a flying saucer."

"My husband stopped the car, and then he lowered his window so we were able to observe the phenomenon. The craft was motionless, too; it had two headlights, yellow, directed horizontally relative to itself; from both sides and between the two headlights, we very clearly noted kinds of lights, smaller than the headlights and red."

"That's when the craft started to move on a small distance. I got scared and I said to my husband:... go away, let's go."

"While we started the car again, the craft also moved in the opposite direction to ours. I bent down to watch it go. But then I noticed it made a U-turn, placed itself behind us, seeming to move very quickly now."

"I can not give exact figures, but I felt it was very low, only a few meters from the ground, close to us. The yellow lights came down toward us, while the red lights were rotating like those of the firefighters do."

"I begged my husband to accelerate. We drove as fast as possible. Through the rear window, I saw that the craft was following us. We slowed down only when we reached the houses near Gerstheim. We felt safe. And we watched the craft that at this time, made a U-turn again. So, we stopped, and we watched it go away. My husband wanted to go back, but I prevented hom to do it..."

This testimony is particularly interesting, since it emanates from three people whose good faith cannot be doubted. Anyway, the Rhine banks were frequently "visited" by the unidentified flying objects: an additional testimony to this effect therefore is not surprising; moreover, it does not seem that a military helicopter was maneuvering to that place (and their lights are white, not yellow).

Anyway we now have to dig into the case and try to compare these testimonies with others.

[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 on the night of August 11, 1977, there were sightings reported in Les DernièRes Nouvelles d'Alsace for August 13, 1977:

A flying saucer in the Alsatian sky:
A puzzling testimony seems to confirm it

A strange light phenomenon was observed by a Strasbourg couple traveling on the EDF road, in the direction Rhinau to Strasbourg, on the night of Thursday to Friday, at 11:45 p.m.. On board the vehicle were the driver, M. J., who lives Neudorf, his wife, their young son, and the younger sister of Ms. J., a 14-year-old girl.

Still under the influence of an understandable emotion, Mrs. J. told us: "We were returning from a family evening, when at the height of the Rhinau tray, my husband saw two lights above the trees, slightly to his left. He asked me what it was and I told him a plane. That's when my sister suggested that it was a flying saucer."

"My husband stopped the car, and then he lowered his window so we were able to observe the phenomenon. The craft was motionless, too; it had two headlights, yellow, directed horizontally relative to itself; from both sides and between the two headlights, we very clearly noted kinds of lights, smaller than the headlights and red."

"That's when the craft started to move on a small distance. I got scared and I said to my husband:... go away, let's go."

"While we started the car again, the craft also moved in the opposite direction to ours. I bent down to watch it go. But then I noticed it made a U-turn, placed itself behind us, seeming to move very quickly now."

"I can not give exact figures, but I felt it was very low, only a few meters from the ground, close to us. The yellow lights came down toward us, while the red lights were rotating like those of the firefighters do."

"I begged my husband to accelerate. We drove as fast as possible. Through the rear window, I saw that the craft was following us. We slowed down only when we reached the houses near Gerstheim. We felt safe. And we watched the craft that at this time, made a U-turn again. So, we stopped, and we watched it go away. My husband wanted to go back, but I prevented hom to do it..."

This testimony is particularly interesting, since it emanates from three people whose good faith cannot be doubted. Anyway, the Rhine banks were frequently "visited" by the unidentified flying objects: an additional testimony to this effect therefore is not surprising; moreover, it does not seem that a military helicopter was maneuvering to that place (and their lights are white, not yellow).

Anyway we now have to dig into the case and try to compare these testimonies with others.

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 path of the witnesses is shown below; they traveled along the EDF (national power company) road, aka "Rundkopf", from the Rhinau ferry to the first houses of Gerstheim.

Carte

The trip is 7 to 8 kilometers long.

In the absence of any investigation, and lack of precise quantitative data such as angular size, elevation, precise directions, it will hardly be possible for me to give a definite explanation. This remains an "unidentified" for me, but of moderate realiability and strangeness.

Evaluation:

Unidentified, 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
Editeur: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 31, 2017 Creation, [dn1], [dn2], [cv2].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 31, 2017 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 31, 2017.