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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 Heidwiller, on July 6, 2002:

Case number:

ALSACAT-2002-07-06-HEIDWILLER-1

Summary:

Having seen on the web an anonymous report of a UFO sighting by a Belgian motorist passing near the Basel Mulhouse airport, about a "triangle" that was probably an airliner on approach or takeoff, on July 5, 2002, the ufology association of which I was a member had a call for witnesses published in the regional newspaper L'Alsace, on July 10 and 11, 2002. This brought us a dozen witness reports, none being related to the sighting that prompted our call for witnesses. Here is one of those reports; which I and another member of the association investigated at the home of the witness where it occurred, on August 3, 2002.

The witness, an elderly lady living with her retired husband in a house in Heidwiller, had phoned to me on July 11, 2002, saying that standing up from bed at 5 am and arriving in the hall, she had observed an intense orange illumination from inside her hall, whose source would be located behind the glass front door of the house.

She agreed, on condition of anonymity guaranteed by the association ruled by the Act of 15 August 1901, to tell us the facts, to sign a written statement about it and validate schemas associated with her testimony.

She reported that on July 6, 2002, at 5 a.m., she stood up from bed like she often did, and arrived in the hall at a bend where the front door of the house is located. Arriving to the corner near the bend, she saw an intense light that came from somewhere behind the glass of the front door, and she stopped briefly to watch this.

She had no idea of the cause of this light that illuminated everything behind the glass of the door. She only saw the illumination. All in the entry and hallway leading to the front door was very bright, illuminated. The color was orange, the orange of the setting sun.

There was no sound of any kind. It happened very fast, so fast that she could not determine if there had been any move of the source of the light, eg from left to right or right to left.

In the living room, the shutters were closed. She passed the bend to the door, not going toward the door, but straight to the living room; when she arrived at the entrance of the living room, there was no light anymore, and nothing unusual thereafter. Between the living room and the bend of the hallway to the front door, there is a large yellow tinted window. In the living room, the TV was off, as usual.

She had talked about this with someone from the neighborhood, but that person had not noticed anything. She gets up almost every night, and had never seen anything like this before.

She excludes aircraft; which she is used to see pass by in the sky: in this case, it would have required that the aircraft flew in front of her front door, but the terrain in front of her home is a slope of a hill that rises in front of the house; moreover, a house is built just opposite her house across the street. The illumination therefore cannot have been the headlights of an airplane that would have flown toward her front door.

Similarly, a car could not turn in the street outside the house facing the door and illuminate it much by its headlights. In addition, she had heard no noise, all was silent.

We made her confirm that it could not have been some a burglar standing behind the front door with a flashlight. This was considered totally impossible by the lady, as the light was much too powerful and: "I would never have bothered you for such a thing," said the lady, who was very impressed.

We checked the premises, took photographs, made sketches, and all I can say is that I have no idea what it might have been, I just agree with the witness: it could not have been aircraft lights or headlights of a car. No light or lighting device on the scene could not match the report either. No storm had occurred, excluding lightning and ball lightning. In the end, I was left with an "unidentified" that nevertheless seems to have no connection with something alien, and was definitely unrelated to the sighting report of the Belgian motorist.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: July 6, 2002
Time: 05:00 a.m.
Duration: Seconds.
First known report date: July 11, 2002
Reporting delay: 5 days.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Heidwiller
Place: From hall at home, UFO behind the glass of the entry door.
Latitude:
Longitude:
Uncertainty ratio: 0 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 1
Witness(es) ages: Aged.
Witness(es) types: Married elderly woman.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: ?
Type of location: From hall at home, UFO behind the glass of the entry door.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: Yes
UFO departure observed: No
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): Yes.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: Not a plane, not a car, not a burglar with a flashlight.

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Unexplained, low strangeness.

Sources:

[Ref. pg1:] PATRICK GROSS - INVESTIGATION REPORT:

Nature of the document:

Nom du document: Investigation report, case of Heidwiller, July 6, 2002
Identity: Investigation report [Association].
Localization: Master document: Patrick Gross personal archive.
Signed original: Home, Patrick Gross.
Associated documents: See attachments 1, 2, 3 et 4

Changes:

Reviewed by: Name: Function: Signature: Date:
Author - Editor - Investigator: Patrick Gross Investigator January 4, 2003
Technical validation: [2nd investigator name] Investigator [2nd investigator name] January 4, 2003
Quality assurance: Patrick Gross Committee, [Association] January 4, 2003
Administrative validation : Patrick Gross Committee, [Association] January 4, 2003

Document History:

Version: Changed by: Date: Comments: Signature:
1.0 Patrick Gross, [2ns investigator name] August 25, 2002 Darft, first writing. No
1.1 Patrick Gross, [2nd investigator name] September 18, 2002 Draft, addition of attachment 3. Photo is missing. No
1.2 Patrick Gross, [2nd investigator name] January 4, 2003 Addition of 2 photographs. Yes

Approval:

Approved by: Name: Date: Validation date: Signature:
Author Patrick Gross January 4, 2003 Yes Yes
Reviewer [2nd investigator name] January 4, 2003 Yes Yes

INVESTIGATION REPORT

This report is the public version. The original report contains the names and contact information of the witnesses; which will not be made public. Its reading and communication are allowed, changes and any commercial use are prohibited. [Association] can be reached at [patrick.gross@inbox.com] or [mail address].

Table of content:

Abstract:

The witness phoned [Association] after a call for witnesses in the regional newspaper "L'Alsace" on July 10 and 11 2002. What motivated the call of the witness, an elderly lady who lives with her retired husband in a house in YYYY, was that as she stood up from bed at 5 a.m. and entered the hall, she observed an intense orange illumination of the inside of the hall, the source would be located behind the glass of the entry door of the house. It seemed obvious to both investigators that the lady was in good faith and quite psychologically balanced, truly impressed by her experience. This light cannot possibly come from an airplane. However, although the intensity of illumination described does not seem to fit either to simple causes such as car headlights, a flashlight and so on, that no object was seen, no action has been carried out, there may have been a trivial explanation but certainly unusual to this illumination, although the cause could not be determined. We doubt that the observation data can lead to the discovery of the cause of this observation.

Investigators information:

Main investigator: [Enquêteur 2]
Accompanying investigator: Patrick Gross
Notes taken by: Patrick Gross
Photographs by: [Investigator 2]
Classification: Confidential, anonymity requested by the witness.

Report signed by the witness:

The following account is a condensed and ordered summary of the information given by the witness during the visit of the two investigators at her home. This report, once approved by the two investigators will be signed by the witness or corrected by the witness until the witness and the investigators validate it by their signature.

"During my meeting with Mr. [Investigator 2], delegate investigator the FFU for the department of Haut-Rhin, assisted by Patrick GROSS, founding member of the FFU, I agreed, on condition of anonymity guaranteed by that association governed by the 15 August 1901 Law on non-profit associations, and supplemented by the Law of the CNIL of January 7, 1978, to bring to the knowledge of [the association], the following:"

"On July 6, 2002, at 5 a.m., I stood up as I often do and I arrived in the corridor past a bend where the front door of our house is located, in YYYY. Arriving to the corner, I saw a bright light that came from somewhere behind the front door. I stopped a moment to watch."

"The light was coming from behind the glass of the entrance door, but I can not say what caused this light, everything was lit behind the glass of the door and I could only see the light. All the entry hall, the part corridor leading to the front door, was very lighted, illuminated. The color was orange, the orange of the sun at sunset. This does not correspond to the colors of an airplane."

"There was no noise of any kind. It happened very fast, so fast that I could not determine if there was a move of the light source, e.g. from left to right or right to left."

"In the living room, the shutters were closed. I passed the door, not continuing toward the door, but straight to the living room. When I arrived at the entrance of the living room, there was no light anymore, and nothing anymore thereafter. Between the living room and the part of the hallway to the front door, there is a large yellow tinted window. In the living room, the TV was off, as usual."

"I talked about this with someone from the neighborhood, but she has not noticed anything."

"I get up almost every night, and I had never seen something like this before."

"I am used to seeings planes passing in the sky, but in this case, it would have required that the aircraft flews towards our front door, and in front of our home there is the slope of a hill that rises in front of our house, moreover, a house is built just opposite our house, across the street. The enlightenment that I have observed thus cannot match the headlights of an airplane that would have flown facing our front door."

"Similarly, a car could not turn in the street outside our house facing our house and illuminate it so much with its headlights. Also, I did not hear any noise, all was silent. For airplanes, I hear their noise as they pass."

"During his visit, Mr. [Interviewer 2] asked me if it could have been some burglar standing behind the front door and equipped with a flashlight. This is completely impossible, as the illumination was too strong, it had nothing to do with a flashlight, and I would never bother you for that."

"I can assure you that I was very impressed. I insist on it. When I saw the call to witness in the newspaper "L'Alsace" with this person who saw a UFO near Mulhouse on July 5, I thought I should report what I had seen, and then I contacted [the association]. "

"This sketch shows the ground floor of our house, the street, and the path I walked, from the hallway to the bend to the front door behind which the source of the light must have been and my walk to the living room."

"The following diagram shows our house, the street, and the hill in front of our house."

"I, the undersigned Mrs [X], residing at [X] Street [X] in Heidwiller, certify that the above story is the correct description of my observation and its circumstances."

"Done at Heidwiller on September 12, 2002."

Additional information by the investigators:

The witness is an elderly lady between 60 and 70 years old, married, who lives with her retired husband in the same age group. She is a quite balanced woman, the home of the retired couple is neat, of higher middle class standard, the outside is also neat and orderly. We found no reason to think that the witness would have engaged in a hoax or that she would have invented any part of her story. The discussions between the investigators, the witness and her husband were totally calm, cordial and courteous. We verified positively by several cross-questions that the witness had not much knowledge or particular interest in the UFO phenomenon, or specific beliefs about the causes of these phenomena, it became apparent that neither the witness nor her husband were much informed on the matter, but both had already heard of UFO sightings in the surrounding countryside. In this regard, the husband had no trouble indicating the locations of these sighting reports (Haute Route) which he had read about in the press, but he did not clearly remember the year (indicating "6-7 years ago" then "5-6 years ago" then "4-5 years ago" successively in the conversation of ten minutes about it.) There is no doubt that it was those mentions about UFOs in the local Press and the call to witness for the recent observation on July 5 that motivated the witness to tell about her experience. At no time, neither the witness nor her husband spoke of some retribution whatsoever, and their report was clearly given on condition of anonymity.

We ensured that the witness makes a difference between her experience and the passage of a plane: the witness was very clear about this, noting that planes of course fly by in the sky there regularly, but stating that she can hear their noise, whereas in her reported experience there was no noise at all and certainly no airplane noise. The witness also clearly ruled out that aircraft lights may have caused such a powerful illumination in her hall.

We felt it was quite impossible for any aircraft to get in front of the door and cause the illumination she described, due to the topology of the places: the house, located in a residential area of family houses, and other houses in front of the witness' house, are on the slope of a hill. The slope is quite steep, and moreover, a house opposite that of the witness house hides the view even more, so that no aircraft could come in the direction of her house, aircraft could only pass over without any bend enabling it to cause the illumination by its landing lights.

No car could get in front of the house; we first suspected a car could have made a U-urn in the street in front of the door and illuminate it. The witness found it impossible, arguing that the light was too intense, and that no car noise was heard.

We considered and suggested to the witness that it could have been "some burglar illuminating the hallway with a flashlight." The witness strongly rejected any explanation of this kind, arguing that no flashlight could result in such a powerful light. We thought the witness was certainly sincere excluding "the burglar:" a lady living with her husband who would see such suspicious activity would probably have alerted her husband.

No adequate lighting device was spotted by the investigators in the vicinity, no disco or laser projector, no lighthouse, nothing in sufficiently close vicinity to result in the illumination of the interior of the hall.

The witness said that it was her habit to get up at 5 am, and she did that "almost every night." She said that it is the only night where something strange happened. She had never seen any UFO nor experienced anything particularly strange before.

The witness was not affected physiologically by her experience.

Conclusion:

The credibility of the witness appears rather high, her qualification to determine the cause of his experience seems quite low.

That light probably could not come from an airplane, helicopter or other noisy aircraft. It might conceivably have been emitted from a silent aircraft (such as an airship) which would have flown over the place pointing a beacon of unusual power to the front door of the witness home. Explanations of the same order could be suggested. It seems for example more likely that the source of the light was in the street itself, although the nature of the source does not seem obvious to suggest.

The intensity of illumination described does not seem to fit simple causes such as car headlights, a flashlight, and so on, but maybe all possibilities have been not been listed.

A priori, plasma phenomena seem to be discarded, the literature on this subject making it unlikely that such light can be emitted from a plasma phenomenon. Moreover, according to the witness, there was no storm or stormy conditions. Similarly, earthlights appear to be a nonexistent phenomenon in this region.

Because no object was seen, no object that could have been the source of the light was seen, that the exact location of a light source behind the front door was not possible, there may be a trivial but certainly unusual cause for this illumination. It is doubtful that the information we have can lead to the discovery of the cause.

In particular, the "UFO" nature of the phenomenon here seems to be only to "unidentified" part; the "object" and the "flying" parts are not obvious.

Obviously, there is no evidence that the experience was not caused by a non terrestrial flying machine, but there is no evidence at all suggesting such an explanation.

Suggestions:

It remains to be checked very clearly that there was no stormy condition at all. It could also be checked whether balloons or blimps have flown in the area at that time.

A comprehensive research on possible tectonic lights in this region could surely afford to whether such phenomena could produce or would produce; such information would be helpful for other local investigations.

With means far more significant than those currently available to us, a reconstruction of the illumination may be tempted, to confirm more precisely the brightness of the orange illumination, for a quantitative estimate of the emitted light. But it is in no way clear that this would result in a solution for the case.

Appendix 1 - handwritten notes taken during the interview between the witness and the two investigators:

External files::

  • [X]-Heidwiller-6jul2002-notes-1.jpg
  • [X]-Heidwiller-6jul2002-notes-2.jpg
  • [X]-Heidwiller-6jul2002-notes-3.jpg

[Note: these three files are the handwritten notes I took as we visited the witness. I do not make it public. Any investigator wishing to look at it should contact me.]

Appendix 2 - phone contact form:

Appendix 3 – Call for witness:

Fac-simile of the call for witness we had published in the regional newspaper "L’Alsace" for July 10 and 11, 2002; which prompted the witness of this sighting to contact us:

[Note: the sighting mentioned in this call for witness has obviously nothing to do with the sighting investigated here. It has its own file.]

Appendix 4 – photographs:

This photograph shows what is visible opposite the witness house from the entry of the garden three meters from the front door of the witness house, in other words, the other side of the street. The steep of the hill opposite the witness house is indicated on this photograph, as well as the fact that the view to the lower sky is blocked by houses.

[Note: I masked entire parts of the picture so that the witness house cannot be identified, as she requested anonimity. Of course I do own the complete picture. The masked parts, left and right, are family houses.]

This photograph shows the view to the entry door of the witness house, behind which the strong light was observed. The photograph is taken from where the witnessstood, at the place marked by a spot on the witness path on the map of the sighting.

[Note: I masked parts of the photograph so that the witness house is not identified. I do have the original unedited photo, of course.]

Discussion:

With the years that passed since the time of writing od the investigation report above, readings again the report, thinking again at the case and looking for possible other Alsatian cases that could be related and explained, I do not see anything new to add to the report. I still do not know what produced the illumination the lady had reported.

I can clarify some points regarding anonymity:

As explained, we came upon this matter by a witness to call. The observation that prompted the appeal for witnesses has no relation to it, or date, or place. We actually harvested a dozen witnesses, none of which matched the observation that the witness happened to call. It is obvious that merely to read in the newspaper a telephone number of a UFO association, and some near date enough that people contact us.

We have investigated some of these reports. Most could be explained by trivial causes, mainly: aircraft; but not all.

I was surprised in the next month to find on the North American UFO website "UFO Roundup" a section telling of the sighting of the Belgian motorist and claiming there was a "UFO flap in Mulhouse". There is no reason to claim there was any UFO flap, since the only observation that I found really interesting in the lot had occurred years before.

Once all of those cases collected following this call to witness are documented in this catalog, I will add their list here to justify the above remark.

Evaluation:

Unexplained, 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 October 3, 2016 Creation, [pg1].
1.0 Patrick Gross October 3, 2016 First published.

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