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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 Ruelisheim, on November 5, 1990:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1995-11-05-RUELISHEIM-2

Summary:

According to the ufologist Franck Marie, a witness wrote a letter on November 8, 1990, to report his observation of November 5, 1990.

At precisely 7:05 p.m., he left the office of the K. transport company at 2, rue des Faisans in Ruelisheim, to get to his car parked in the parking lot inside the courtyard of the company.

Before opening his door, he noticed that the roof of his car was frozen. Thinking it was going to be very cold that night, he reflexively looked up to scan the sky, and saw on his left from hits position a huge dark mass surrounded by white lights that gave off in the middle towards the back from its path an orange trail.

This took place in total silence. The time to realize that the thing could not be a plane or any other aircraft, he ran to the office to call another witness. His colleague Jean-Pierre B., came out immediately, ans saw exactly the same thing.

What he called a "craft" moved slowly, like a glider, to the forest of the Hardt, towards Germany. The son of Mr. K., to go to his home, had to cross a small wood, noticed a sudden clarity. Looking up, he found the same phenomenon and walked back to the two men to see the craft move away to Germany.

On returning home around 08:30 p.m, Mr. K. called the police in Mulhouse to report the occurrence. He "solemnly declares that all I have related is the absolute truth."

The report is illustrated with this sketch:

Scan

This was, of course, one of the numerous sightings of what was absolutely not a "UFO", but the flaming debris of a Russian Proton that crossed the sky of France from the South-West to the North-East on that day and time.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: November 5, 1990
Time: 07:05 p.m.
Duration: 3 minutes.
First known report date: November 8, 1990.
Reporting delay: 3 days.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Ruelisheim
Place: From the parking lot at 2 rue des Faisans, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.832
Longitude: 7.339
Uncertainty ratio: 80 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 3
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 2
Witness(es) ages: Adults.
Witness(es) types: Two colleagues, 1 younng man or child.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Letter.
Type of location: From parking lot, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
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: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Space junk reentry.

Sources:

[Ref. fm1:] FRANCK MARIE:

KC 19H05 68 RUELISHEIM (Wittenheim) (3 mn)

47°50n -7°20e 3 witnesses (Letter of 11/08/90)

"Monday, November 5, 1990, at precisely 7:05 p.m., I left the office of the tramnsportation company K. located at 2 rue des Faisans in Ruelisheim, to get to my car parked on the parking lot inside the yard of the establishment. Before opening my door I noticed that the roof of the car was frozen. I told to myself it would get very cold tonight, I looked up reflexively to scan the sky. At the same time, I see on the left of my position a huge dark mass surrounded by white lights and producing in the middle backward from its trajectory an orange trail. All this in a total silence. The time to realize that this thing can be neither a plane nor another aircraft, I rush to the office to call a witness. My colleague Jean-Pierre B., came outside immediately to see exactly the same thing I saw."

""The machine moves slowly, like a glider, in complete silence, to the forest of the Hardt towards Germany. The son of Mr. K. who was going home, having to cross a small wood, noticed a sudden clarity. Looking up, he found the same phenomenon and turned back to us to see the craft move away to Germany. When I got home around 08:30 p.m., I called the police in Mulhouse to report the facts. I hereby declare that all I told is the absolute truth."

  • Transit : WSW/ENE, passage at the zenith, near the ground (100 / 200 m)
  • Huge BLACK MASS surrounded by white lights
  • A thicj orange trail produced from the middle backside
  • The witnesses reject the official explanation for this precise case.

The report is illustrated with this sketch:

Scan

[Ref. ra1:] ROBERT ALESSANDRI:

OBSERVATIONS FILE NOVEMBER 5, 1990

Reference;Place;Latitude;Longitude
Time;Duration (sec);Heading;Passage at the closest
Angular elevation;Dimension(m/km);Distance Atmospheric re-entry (origin/passage at the closest)
Description
Remarks

________________________________________

68O;RUELISHEIM; 47.83;-7.33
19H05;180;ENE;
90;; 938/-85
Huge dark mass surrounded of white lights and leaving an orange-colored trail

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.

Evaluation:

Space junk reentry.

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 25, 2015 Creation, [fm1], [ra1].
1.0 Patrick Gross May 25, 2015 First published.

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This page was last updated on May 25, 2015