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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 the Vieil-Armand, on November 11, 1980:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1980-11-11-VIELARMAND-1

Summary:

On December 7, 1980, a ufologist in the Mulhouse area, whom I had met in the 2000s, had noted down an observation that the witness told him on the telephone.

The man, who did not ask for anonymity, explained to him that on November 11, 1980, around 7 p.m., he was in his chalet, about 1 meter from his window, when quite by chance, during 3 at 5 seconds, he could see between the fir trees that are in front of his window, a small glow pass almost horizontally from the place where he was, that is to say between 680 and 700 m above the sea level, on the slopes of Vieil-Armand in the Vosges, in the Haut-Rhin.

He said that the object was in the form of a parachute in a horizontal position, whose hemispherical side of a luminous blue-green color was facing east or south-east and whose tail, of red-orange color, was facing north, from where the craft had seemed to come. It was going very fast.

At first he did not care much about it, but then he thought it was "a UFO."

The investigator made him specify the color: "The tip was very clear cut and hemispherical, it had a blue-green color, the other end, shaped like a comet tail, had a red-orange color."

He also indicated on interrogation that the contours were very clear cut, that he clearly saw a sphere in the front and a cone top in the back. He said there was no trail, or at least he did not see any. He said that the object had made no noise and that "it is a little because of that that I differentiated it from another possible object, plane or meteorite."

He had some difficulty in giving an apparent size at arm's length - which, on the phone, is not surprising - indicating first 5 cm, changing his mind, and explaining that it was 7, 8, 10 times bigger than the lights of the Mirage jets fighter that sometimes overfly the chalet.

He indicates that he wears glasses, that he should have made them set correctly, that he sees "clearly what is distant" but does not see well what is close.

As he saw the lights of the plain, he thought the sky must have been relatively clear, he said it was "bitterly cold."

The witness, who reads a lot, says he does not have "faith" about UFOs, but explained that it would be surprising, given the space probes that man already sends into the solar system, that inhabitant of other planets would not do better.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: November 11, 1980
Time: ~07:00 p.m.
Duration: 3 to 5 seconds.
First known report date: December 7, 1980
Reporting delay: 4 weeks.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Hartmanswiller
Place: From 1 m of a window, Zeller chalet at the Vieil-Armand, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.858
Longitude: 7.176
Uncertainty ratio: 30 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 1
Witness(es) ages: Adult.
Witness(es) types: Man.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Telephone investigation report from founder of local ufology group D4.
Type of location: From 1 m of a chalet window in mountain, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: No
UFO departure observed: No
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: Possible extraterrestrial craft, not jet fighter.

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Probable meteor.

Sources:

[Ref. d41:] RAPPORT D'ENQUETE DU "D4" DE MULHOUSE:

Investigation PL/20

Section D4 ufology

Witness (s): MOULIN Henri Anonymity not requested

Date and Time: 11/11/80 AT APPROXIMATELY 7 P.M..

Location: Vosges, Vieil-Armand, ZELLER Chalets (700 m above sea level)

Observation type 1.

Narrative of the circumstances:

I was in my chalet, about 1 meter from my window, when quite by chance, for 3 to 5 seconds, I could see between the two pine trees that are in front of my window, a small glow go almost horizontally relative to where I was, that is between 680 and 700 m above sea level.

The object was in the form of a parachute in a horizontal position whose hemispherical side was of a luminous blue-green color and was turned towards the east or south-east and whose tail, of an orange-red color was turned to the north, from where the craft had seemed to come. It was going very fast.

At first I did not pay attention and then I thought of a UFO (note that the witness has a library of more than 2500 books which tends to prove that he reads a lot as he actually stated to me).

Answers to the questions of the investigator:

I[nvestigator] - What was the color of what you saw?

HM - The tip which was very clear-cut and hemispherical, had a blue-green color; the other end, shaped like a comet's tail, had a red-orange color.

I - And you said the outlines were ...?

HM - As of the contours, there is no problem, they were very clear cut. There was clearly a sphere in the front and a cone top in the back.

I - Was there a trail?

HM - No, no drag, at least I did not see a drag...

Investigation (continued) PL/20

Section D4 UFOLOGY

I - What is the estimate of the size for this object, at arm's length?

HM - Oh about 5 cm, no, I say something silly... It was 7, 8, 10 times bigger than the lights of the mirages... Because the mirages, you have to know that I know how to differentiate them from a meteorite.. (sic). When they go to Meyenheim (BA 132), I see them go over my chalet and I can compare with what I saw...

I- Well, do you wear glasses?

HM - Does this matter?

I - Yes, absolutely. Do you wear glasses?

HM - Yes, of course. Their particularity is that I clearly see what is distant and on the contrary, from close I have reading difficulties. Besides, I should go and get them set at the oculist...

I - What were the atmospheric conditions up there?

HM - Well, since I saw the lights of the plains, I can say that there was a relatively clear weather... However, at this altitude it was bitterly cold.

I - Did the object emit any noise?

HM. - Absolutely not. Moreover it is a little for that that I differentiated it from another possible object, plane or meteorite.

I - What was your first reaction? Hope it was a UFO? Indifference? Fear? Other reactions?

HM - The first thing I thought was that it was a UFO. You know, I have about 2500 to 3000 books in my library, and I think I do not have faith, but I guess UFOs are real. I do not see why, since the man using probes reaches Saturn and Jupiter and one day he will physically come out of our solar system and maybe even from our galaxy, I do not see why intelligent men from another planet... intelligent beings would not cross enormous distances and contact men on Earth. (This reasoning demonstrates the level of culture of the witness).

I - Well, thank you for kindly answering my questions.

HM - You are welcome, goodbye...

(End of the communication)

Investigation conducted by telephone on Sunday, December 7, 1980, the investigation could not be made on the premises that day for material and climatic reasons (snow, lack of anti-slip chains).

SURVEY MADE BY [NAME] [FIRST NAME], ANIMATOR D4 UFOLOGY CLUB

[Investigator's signature]

Discussion:

I met the investigator several times in the 2.00's, so I can provide some background information.

It was this investigator who handed me, among other ufology papers, this investigation report. The investigator has a sighting of his own, with other witnesses, when he was a kid, and this is why he took a great interest in the UFO phenomenon. Though I do not see what else his own sighting could have been, he never agreed that any UFO sighting could be a sighting of any extraterrestrial craft. He did not agree that all UFO sighting reports are misinterpretations and hoaxes, agreed that some of them do not fit any explanation, but rejected the "little green men" as "silly fantasies."

Having conducted a few field investigations with him in the 2000's, I see that 20 years ago, though a "young" ufologist, he had already used some investigation habits he still used later. For example, he was always careful to check whether witnesses had eyesight issues, whether they were wearing glasses. Such information is still, in 2018, almost always missing from investigation reports. He was also very eager to find out about the beliefs of the witnesses. Do they read much, or nothing at all? Do they read about UFOs, are they UFO believers, do they think we have extraterrestrial visitors? He always "nosed" into the witnesses libraries to check for possible UFO books or occult books. He clearly separate the "free speech" witness reports from the questions and answers, a good practice he discovered in Gendarmerie UFO sighting investigation reports he had read.

In the 1980's, had had been a member of a ufology group in Mulhouse, GREI. But he has also established another group of his own called "D4" - I do not know what "D4" meant. This group was practically confidential. This "D4" report is the 20th "D4" report on an investigation of his own. Of course it is not very "rich", as this was a telephone interview, basically. Not quite ideal for getting accurate angular sizes etc.

Now, about the case itself.

The "mirage" evoked by the witness must be understood correctly: these are Dassault Mirage III jet fighters based at the BA 132 of Meyenheim nearby, but the atmospheric phenomenon.

The sighting was apparently very brief; maybe the pin trees hid a lot of the event.

The "Vieil-Armand" locality is quite famous in Alsace, at is this area was the theater of fierce trench fights in WWI. The Zeller chalet (now Cantine Zeller) is quite isolated on the East side of the Vieil-Armand slopes. The place is surrounded by tall fir trees entirely now (2018), and probably also in 1980, so that the "UFO" must have been at a quite important elevation.

To me, this was probably just a meteor. Despite the witness readings, he did not seem to realize it. He uses the term "meteorites" for meteors. "Meteorites" refer to the "stones" leftover by meteor falls. He seems to think that meteors are noisy; which is seldom the case. He said he saw no "drag" (or "trail", the French word means both), but probably, he meant he saw no smoke trail. The meteor trail is there: it is the "cone" at the rear of the "ball" or "parachute-shaped" thing.

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
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 16, 2018 Creation, [d41].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 16, 2018 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 16, 2018.