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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 Haguenau, on November 5, 1990:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1990-11-05-HAGUENAU-1

Summary:

In a 2001 article on what he thinks were UFOs of November 5, 1990 in France, UFO researcher Joel Mesnard reported cases of that night for which a sound was heard, and notes that in an observation in Haguenau a "faint whistling sound" was heard.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: November 5, 1990
Time: ?
Duration: ?
First known report date: 2001
Reporting delay: Hours, 10 years.

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Haguenau
Place: ?
Latitude: 48.812
Longitude: 7.791
Uncertainty ratio: 3 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: ?
Number of known witnesses: ?
Number of named witnesses: ?
Witness(es) ages: ?
Witness(es) types: ?

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Article by ufologist JoŽl Mesnard.
Type of location: ?
Visibility conditions: ?
UFO observed: ?
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: ?
ALSACAT: Probable space junk reentry and unrelated sound.

Sources:

[Ref. ld1:] JOEL MESNARD - LDLN:

The noises of November 5

[...]

One also notes a slight whistling sound in Haguenau [...]

Discussion:

On 5 November 1990, one or two minutes after 07:00 p.m., a very commonplace phenomenon occurred, explained, and devoid of any actual strangeness, but it nevertheless started a UFO delirium of some of the French ufologists.

The sightings started with an explosive decay over the Bay of Biscay in France, resulting in combustion fragments seen from afar, and generally, as they approached, seen as a group of three main lights - hence it was called a "triangle" - of large angular size, and followed by trails of smoke and sparks.

Once over land, the thing was seen from different angles and at various distances by people on the ground, which gives a range of quite diverse descriptions.

The thing crossed France following a line approximately from Bordeaux to Strasbourg, in silence, in a straight line without any maneuver, in two to three minutes, reaching Strasbourg at about 07:06 p.m.

There were also sightings reported from the South of England, London, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, but not beyond.

In the evening, several Gendarmerie brigades contacted the National Center for Space Studies to report what people told them. Gendarmes brigades of Angers and Tulle got the chance to see the display themselves. In the evening, the Press service of the armies, SIRPA, confirmed that military pilots had seen something without being able to formally identify it. Near Paris airports of Orly and Roissy, the luminous phenomenon was seen from the control towers. Hundreds or even thousands of civilians reported their sightings to the authorities, the Press and other media.

Radio stations, television channels, newspapers, talk of a UFO, then a meteor, and finally the correct explanation appeared through information given by NASA: it was the entering in the atmosphere of the remains of a Russian Proton rocket launched from the Baikonur space center to put a Gorizont 21 satellite in orbit. Calculations had predicted the fallout of the rocket debris at its 36th orbit, crossing France from the South West to the North East on November 5, 1990 around 07:00 p.m.. SEPRA, then officially in charge of such matters, provided this explanation to news agencies on November 9, 1990.

In November 5, 1990 already, an amateur expert in satellites and space debris impact trajectory calculations, Pierre Neirinck, had seen himself, and had also identified the phenomenon, independently of NASA, as space junk from the Proton rocket.

Any sensible ufologist should have understood what is was from the beginning, given the descriptions, and at least understand thereafter that it was a classical space junk case. But some ufologists refused to hear anything about a rocket and continued to talk and write about it as a "UFO flap", of "400 UFOs" or even "thousands of UFOs", often mixing other, unrelated sightings that were more or less of the same day, sighting who have other explanations. This resulted in the continuing presence of this explained case as massive UFO sightings in some of the UFO literature, and of course this includes observations made in Alsace.

As of this sighting... What are we supposed to believe, for a case made only of: in Haguenau on November 5, 1990, at an unknown hour, according to an unknown source, one or more unknown witnesses may have seen something we know nothing about, and heard a faint whistling sound.

I am ready to accept that people from Haguenau saw the reentry of the Russian rocket debris that night, but I fail to find a single reason to believe it was actually a "UFO", and I fail to see why the sound came from it.

What do I find, as by chance, just at the Southeast exit of Haguenau? An airfield...

Did JoŽl Mesnard check that the faint whistling sound did not come from some conventionnal aircraft operating at this airfield?

Evaluation:

Probable space junk reentry and unrelated sound.

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 28, 2015 Creation, [ld1].
1.0 Patrick Gross May 28, 2015 First published.

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This page was last updated on May 28, 2015