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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 Wettolsheim, on January 15, 1980:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1980-01-15-WETTOLSHEIM-1

Summary:

The Belgian ufologist Godelieve van Overmeire - who turned a "skeptic" later - published in her ufology catalog a story she picked from the sensationalist magazine Nostra for January 1982.

The observation is dated January 15, 1980, and the place given as Wettolsheim in Alsace:

"I was lying on my bed. It was about 11:45 p.m.. I looked at the stars in the sky when I saw an object having the shape of a pear. The thing of dazzling whiteness, was surrounded by a clearly defined blue border. The craft was going so fast that it could not be a plane. After a few seconds it disappeared over Turckheim."

I later found the primary source, the newspaper L'Alsace for January 17, 1980, which headlined "A UFO in the sky of Wettolsheim?" and reported:

It may well be that a resident of Wettolsheim, Mr. Sch., observed in the night of Tuesday to Wednesday the passage of a UFO. M. Sch. tells:

"I was lying on my bed. It was around 11:45 p.m. and I was looking at the stars in the sky when I saw a pear-shaped object. The "thing" was white. glowing and surrounded by a well-defined bluish border. The craft was going so fast that it could not be a plane. After a few seconds, the object disappeared above Turckheim."

There is no evidence that this object (flying at a relatively low altitude) was a UFO but its sighting greatly disturbed Mr. Sch. who was very skeptical about the matter before Tuesday's event. He now says: "I'm a bit like Saint Thomas: I only believe what I see. Since I saw the thing, UFOs no longer make me laugh anymore!"

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: January 15, 1980
Time: ~11:45 p.m.
Duration: A few seconds.
First known report date: January 21, 1982
Reporting delay: 1 year.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Wettolsheim
Place: Stargazing from the bed, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.056
Longitude: 7.298
Uncertainty ratio: 500 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: ?
Witness(es) types: Male.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Sensation magazine Nostra.
Type of location: Stargazing from the bed, 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: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Probable meteor.

Sources:

[Ref. lae1:] NEWSPAPER "L'ALSACE":

Scan.

A UFO in the sky
from Wettolsheim?

It may well be that a resident of Wettolsheim, Mr. Sch., observed in the night of Tuesday to Wednesday the passage of a UFO. M. Sch. tells:

"I was lying on my bed. It was around 11:45 p.m. and I was looking at the stars in the sky when I saw a pear-shaped object. The "thing" was white. glowing and surrounded by a well-defined bluish border. The craft was going so fast that it could not be a plane. After a few seconds, the object disappeared above Turckheim."

There is no evidence that this object (flying at a relatively low altitude) was a UFO but its sighting greatly disturbed Mr. Sch. who was very skeptical about the matter before Tuesday's event. He now says: "I'm a bit like Saint Thomas: I only believe what I see. Since I saw the thing, UFOs no longer make me laugh anymore!"

[Ref. rln1:] NEWSPAPER "LE REPUBLICAIN LORRAIN":

Scan

A ufo in the Alsatian sky

A resident of Wetolsheim [sic] saw, in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, a ufo in the sky. According to him, "the thing was dazzling white and surrounded by a well-defined bluish border."

The resident of Wetolsheim is convinced that it is indeed a ufo and declared "since I saw the thing, ufos do not make me laugh anymore".

[Ref. goe1:] GODELIEVE VAN OVERMEIRE:

1980, January 15

FRANCE, Wettolsheim (Alsace)

"I was lying on my bed. It was about 11:45 p.m.. I looked at the stars in the sky when I saw an object having the shape of a pear. The thing of dazzling whiteness, was surrounded by a clearly defined blue border. The craft was going so fast that it could not be a plane. After a few seconds it disappeared over Turckheim (Jean-Marie DOUCHET - Nostra - 1/21/1982)

Discussion:

Map.

"NOSTRA", or "Nostradamus", was a totally unbridled sensationalist magazine publishing "news" of the most insane kind on weird topics. Example in issue #12 for June 1972:

(The article claims that G.T. Edwards, head professor at M.I.T. has the prrof that beings exactly like us live on planet Saturn, except that they have no sex as they reproduce by parthenogenesis).

Or:

(The article claims that the ancient Egyptians came from outer space.)

Suffice to say that fishing "cases" in this magazine does not seem to be much evidence of seriousness...

That said, what this person describes has nothing wacky, only his interpretation is probably wrong: it is a description perfectly compatible with the passage of a meteor:

Evaluation:

Probable meteor.

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 May 7, 2015 Creation, [goe1].
1.0 Patrick Gross May 7, 2015 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross June 5, 2021 Additions [lae1], [rln1]. In the Summary, addition of the information frpm [lae1].

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This page was last updated on June 5, 2021.