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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 Herrlisheim, on April 23, 2011:

Case number:

ALSACAT-2011-04-23-HERRLISHEIM-1

Summary:

On the website of the "ultra-skeptical" German ufology group CENAP, there was a flying saucer photograph of the "too good to be true" kind.

CENAP's Hansjürgen Köhler indicated it was reportedly taken on April 23, 2014, in Herrlisheim, Alsace, by a 21-year-old young man who lives in Bischheim, Alsace, and works in Germany, where his girlfriend lives.

He was just walking the dog in the afternoon and luckily had his digital camera in his vehicle when he saw in the distance in the sky something reflecting "whose color can not be described."

Soon after came the reflection of a "disc-shaped body" flying towards him.

He ran to his car for about 500 meters to pick up the camera and allegedly managed to take three pictures before the thing disappeared behind trees. He almost immediately reported his observation to the Alsatian ufology association SPICA and the CENAP.

CENAP published only one of the three pictures, in reduced format:

CENAP indicated that the EXIF data of the photographs are all correct: the date, hours, technical information are correct, and the succession of picture with previous and next pictures without UFO is also correct.

CENAP indicated they would investigate the case with the SPICA, that both do not think that "the structure comes from Mars", suspecting a fraud they would tried to unmask with "Photoshop". They invited to visit their website for news; but I did not find any.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: April 23, 2011
Time: Day.
Duration: ?
First known report date: 2011
Reporting delay: None.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Herrlisheim
Place: Outside in the country, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.730
Longitude: 7.904
Uncertainty ratio: 3 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: ?
Witness(es) ages: 21
Witness(es) types: Young man, employee.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Report and photos to the ufology groups CENAP and SPICA.
Type of location: Outside in the country, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Daytime, sky with scattered clouds, sunny.
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: Yes
UFO departure observed: Yes
Entities: No
Photographs: Yes.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: DD
ALSACAT: Hoax or extraterrestrial craft.

Sources:

[Ref. ce1:] GERMAN UFOLOGY GROUP "CENAP":

23-04-2011 - Herrlisheim / Alsace, we work with the Alsatian guests of the SPICA group. This scenario took place:

2011-23.4. - Alsace

Hansjürgen Köhler reports on a photographic encounter last Saturday:

A young man (21) who lives in Bischheim/Alsace and works in Germany and also has his girlfriend here, on 04/23/22011, was walking his dog in Herrlisheim/Alsace in the afternoon and fortunately had his digital photo camera in his vehicle when he saw in the distance in the sky a reflection of something "whose hue cannot be described." Shortly thereafter, came from this reflection a "disc-shaped body" flying towards him. He ran to his car at about 500m to get the camera and was able to take 3 pictures before the body disappeared behind the trees. He reported almost immediately his observation to the SPICA & the CENAP.

CENAP, GEP, SPICA

We'll see if the SPICA colleagues and we Germans, reach an agreement this weekend; even if both parties assume that the structure does not come from Mars. So far, however, three are discussion on the big issue of the actual size of the object and thus the question of a fake - and that is why we also want to entertain us this weekend! We have computer facilities with photographic recognition programs (image editing program, Photoshop) as well as the original images.

+++ With the EXIF data; the date matches, the hour matches, the photo sequence with the previous and following images without 'UFO' and the technical specifications of the photographs are also correct +++

No suspension thread is visible ;-) --- Stay Tuned to about Sunday night!

Discussion:

Note that the caption on the second image of the CENAP report indicates that we see the witness and photographer at the location of his alleged sighting. Were this is a fraud, the young man seems to have had enough guts or confidence in his account to meet, on the location, people from CENAP or SPICA, apparently.

For me there is only one possible evaluation as the cas stands now: either it is a fraud, faked photographs and a made-up story, or this is an extraterrestrial craft, but unlikely to "come from Mars" in my humble opinion.

"As the case stands now": because neither the complete report nor the original photographs nor an investigation report were published, while they would give, perhaps, the answer if it was a fraud.

To me, the "authenticity" of the images cannot be proven because it is always possible to fake digital photographs, including the famous EXIF data. I concede that most fraudsters do not know how to do this and do not even think about it, but it would be foolish to regard as authentic images just because of EXIF data consistency.

I also want to give some information about EXIF data, succinctly because it would not be wise to tell too much to fraud candidates.

Almost all digital image recording devices - camera, mobile phone cameras, video camera with photo function, record for each image taken some easily readable information. The date and time of shooting - if the user did set the clock, but also technical camera settings. For example, whether the flash was used or not, the exposure time, color balance settings, etc.

Example of some EXIF data.

Most fraudsters manipulate a genuine photograph to add a "UFO" with some software that, unknowingly to them, also records information. Such as its name. It is thus clear that a purported "unedited" picture may be denounced as edited in such a case.

I dealt with a case in which the witness had in good faith found something strange in one of his photograph. This person was pretty sure she had not used the flash, whereas I was convinced that the strange feature on the photo was a reflection on an insect, caused by the flash. EXIF data showed that the photographer had simply not been aware that the flash was triggered.

In this case, CENAP reduced the size of the single published image and the EXIF information is gone. Given the "skeptical" approach - to say the least - of the UFO matters at CENAP, however, I think I can trust them when they say that the EXIF data was entirely consistent.

But, again, this is not enough anyway to authenticate the UFO.

For the rest, we see that the "classic saucer" did not disappeared from the UFO reports, and that all the alleged or potential UFO photographs taken in this period are not necessarily vague blurs caused by insects or birds.

I would end up on an enlargement of the object on the published image without smoothing:

The interest is obviously limited, the exercise would have been more interesting to practice on the original pictures.

Evaluation:

Hoax or extraterrestrial craft.

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 September 15, 2015 Creation, [ce1].
1.0 Patrick Gross September 15, 2015 First published.

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This page was last updated on September 15, 2015