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The 1954 French flap:

The index page for the 1954 French flap section of this website is here.

October 20, 1954, Zinnkoepflé, Haut-Rhin:

Reference number for this case: 20-Oct-54-Zinnkoepflé. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

The regional newspaper L'Alsace had reported this observation near Soultzmatt on October 20, 1954, on page 5 of their issue for October 21, 1954:

"While she helped pick up the grapes last Monday at the Zinnkoepfle, a girl of Soultzmatt, Miss Mimie Fleck, saw in full day, at a height from 2.000 to 3.000 m, a shining flying object of a lengthened form. The apparatus, coming from the direction of Guebwiller, advanced at a very high speed, then, arrived above the vineyard of Soultzmatt, it stopped during a few moments to finally disappear in direction of the North."

The case, although of very poor description, was briefly publicized in the national Press, and later in ufology catalogs.

The two "skeptics" Gérard Barthel and Jacques Brucker wrote in 1979 that they located the witness, who said that it was early in the morning, that there was no stop, that she had been unable to evaluate an altitude, and that she had not said it was an object, but only a luminous phenomenon.

Reports:

[Ref. lae1:] "L'ALSACE" NEWSPAPER:

Scan.

REGIONAL NEWS

A saucer, a cigarr [sic] and a flying sphere above Guebwiller

Yesterday morning, around 7:40, Mr. Pierre Ackermann, employee at the tissue factory of Guebwiller, saw, while he came out of the street of Lure, a round disc of an intense brilliance, coming from the heights of Oberlinger and which disappeared behind the Kreyenbach. The whole had lasted only approximately 10 seconds. What Mr. Pierre Ackermann states to have been a saucer moved without noise at a height of 300 to 400 meters. The disc measured at this distance approximately 30 to 40 centimeters. It is to be noticed that Mr. Pierre Ackermann was particularly well placed, to follow the evolution of the saucer, since he moved perpendicular to the latter.

Two pupils of the Classic Boys College, who at the same hour went to school, also affirm to have seen the flying disc.

In addition, a young man of Rouffach, Mr. Lucien Flesch, affirms to have seen, while he was going to his work and that he passed near Issenheim, a spherical object, with metallic reflections. This object, which had a diameter of approximately 5 or 6 meters, seemed to be stopped one meter above the ground.

Terrified in front of this at the very least strange appearance, the young man pedaled at full speed and reached his workplace in Guebwiller, where he told his colleagues about his weird adventure. In addition, five residents of Bergholtz who went to their work, also reportedly saw this sphere, while it rose in the airs. Mr. Flesch, wanting to check whether this mysterious machine had left some trace, returned to the place, but however found nothing particular there.

While she helped pick up the grapes last Monday at the Zinnkoepfle, a girl of Soultzmatt, Miss Mimie Fleck, saw in full day, at a height from 2.000 to 3.000 m, a shining flying object of a lengthened form. The apparatus, coming from the direction of Guebwiller, advanced at a very high speed, then, arrived above the vineyard of Soultzmatt, it stopped during a few moments to finally disappear in direction of the North.

[Ref. cmn1:] "CENTRE MATIN" NEWSPAPER:

A flying saucer of car size land in Oran

THE FLYING SAUCERS APPEARED LAST NIGHT MAINLY ABOVE NORMANDY. IF WE ARE TO BELIEVE SEVRAL PEOPLE, AMONG THEN MISS MICHELLE VITKOSUSKY, CLERK OF NOTARY, SEVERAL UNIDENTIFIED MACHINES HAVE EVOLVED DURING TWO HOURS. OF A MACHINE VIOLENTLY ENLIGHTENED, AND POSED IN A FIELD, AT THE LEFT OF THE ROAD OF SAINT-VALERY-EN-CAUX, ESCAPED LUMINOUS DISCS WHICH TOOK ALTITUDE QUICKLY, TO THEN REGAIN THEIR INITIAL LOCATION.

A flying cigar carried out the same things. Two other machines seen not far from the cliff of Mers-les-Bains, seemed to communicate by signals with the first group. It should be added that the gendarmes who carried out an investigation on the spot did not find any trace of this mysterious carrousel.

A phenomenon a bit similar is said to have been observed above Vic-Bigorre, by a group of ten students who were training on a sports ground. They are said to have seen four discs in formation which seemed to rotate at high speed.

Several testimonies were gathered in Alsace. One of the witnesses, Lucien Fiesch [Fisch] saw close to Issenheim a spherical machine of approximately 6 meters in diameter which stationed within one meter of the ground. Frightened, Mr. Fiesch [Fisch] went away and regained his workplace.

In Guebwiller, Mr. Pierre Ackerman stated to have seen in the sky a brilliant disc which moved silently at approximately 400 meters of altitude. Two schoolboys confirmed this statement.

A resident [female] of Soultzwatt [Soultzmatt], stated to have observed a machine of elongated form which moved at very high speed.

Another testimony comes from the Nievre. The Lormes-Nevers bus moved towards this latter city, when, near Saxi-Bourdon, the driver stopped and exclaimed: "a saucer", all the passengers went down and distinguished, if they must be believed, a disc shining like aluminum, at 70 or 80 meters of altitude.

The last testimony is that of a factor of the Saint-Pierre-la-Cour station, who saw a disc in the sky, spreading luminous orange rays.

Wednesday morning, around 3 hours, Mr. Gaston Blanquère, resident in Oran, was returning with passengers on board his car. A little after the village of Jean-Mermoz, the attention of the motorists was attracted by a sharp gleam coming from the south and which grew bigger quickly.

A luminous disc crossed the road above them, descended a few hundreds meters further and appeared to contact the ground.

The machine had the size of a small car. It was composed of a higher cupola from which came out a yellow gleam. The lower part of the disc let escape a bluish luminous sheaf. Kinds of very powerful headlights swept the plain.

Ten minutes later, the luminosity dimmed and the machine, taking height, moved away quickly and without noise.

The police chief of the Sig, during his investigation, had these statements confirmed by a fellah of a nearby douar.

[Ref. nnm1:] "LE NOUVEAU NORD MARITIME" NEWSPAPER:

Scan.

They know the song

The "flying saucers"
come
see Normandy again

Paris, 21. -- During the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, the flying saucers appeared mainly over Normandy. According to various people, several unidentified craft evolved over two hours. From a violently lit machine, and posed in a field, to the left of the road to Saint-Valery-en-Caux, escaped from the luminous discs which quickly took height, to regain, then, their starting place. A flying cigar performed the same ride. Two other craft seen near the cliff of Mers-les-Bains seemed to communicate by signals with the first group. It should be added that the gendarmes who carried out an investigation on the spot did not find any trace of this mysterious carousel.

A somewhat similar phenomenon was reportedly observed above Vic-Bigorre by a group of ten students who were training on a sports ground. They reportedly saw four discs in formation which seemed to spin on themselves at high speed.

Several testimonies were collected in Alsace. One of the witnesses, Lucien Flesch saw near Issenheim, a spherical machine about 6 meters in diameter which was stationed at one meter from the ground. Frightened, Mr. Flesch walked away and returned to his work place.

A resident of Soultzmatt, Mrs. Fleck, said that yesterday she observed an elongated machine moving at very high speed.

Another testimony comes from the Nièvre, the Lormes-Nevers bus was heading towards this last town when, near Saxi-Bourdon, the driver stopped and exclaimed: "A saucer". All the passengers came out and distinguished, if they were to be believed, a disc shining like aluminum, at 700 or 800 meters of altitude.

The last testimony is that of a postman of the Saint-Pierre la Cour station, who saw in the sky a disc spreading bright orange-colored rays.

Flying saucers
4 C.V. format
in the Oran area

Oran, 21. -- Yesterday morning, around 3 a.m., Mr. Gaston Blanquère residing in Oran, was returning with passengers in his car. Shortly after the village of Jean Mermoz, the attention of the motorists was attracted by a bright gleam coming from the south and rapidly growing. A luminous disc crossed the road above them, descended a few hundred meters further and appeared to make contact with the ground. The craft was the size of a small automobile. It consisted of an upper dome from which a yellow glow came out. The lower part of the disc let out a bluish luminous spray. Kinds of very powerful headlights swept the plain.

Ten minutes later the light dimmed and the craft, gaining height, moved away quickly and silently.

Sig's police superintendent saw these statements confirmed by a fellah from a nearby douar during his investigation.

[Ref. ppe1:] "PARIS-PRESSE" NEWSPAPER:

Scan.

The latest flying saucer trend is in the shape of a 4 CV.

The most disturbing thing about the mystery of the flying saucers is that they show themselves to the eyes of people that higher primary education and the gravity of their functions protect from vulgar superstitions and the dreams of old women.

How to doubt the word of Mr. Jean Gambier, sworn police officer in Hesdin (Pas-de-Calais) and Mrs. Michèle Vitkosusky, notary clerk in Normandy! Mr. Jean Gambier going to his service saw, above the forest an elongated apparatus whose upper part was bright red. The center of a bright white and whose lower part left behind a trail of stars. The craft quickly took to the vertical and disappeared at a dizzying pace.

Other observers have seen the saucer of Mrs the notary clerk. It was near Saint-Valery-en-Caux. Several unidentified objects - saucers, dammit! - have maneuvered for two hours. One of them, violently lit, landed in a field. Two others, seen not far from the cliff of Mers-les-Bains, seemed to correspond with the first group. Alas when the gendarmes arrived, to fine them, gosh! The saucers were gone: they must not have been in good legal standing.

The Lormes-Nevers coach driver and his passengers, also saw a saucer. Mr. Lucien Fiesch, from Issenheim in Alsace, also, who seized with fear is still running. And also Mr. Pierre Ackermann, from Guebwiller. And again Miss Fleck, from Soulzmatt (Bas-Rhin). Without forgetting the Pyreneans of Vic-Bigorre, the postman of Saint-Pierre-la-Cour station, Mr. Roumy, Houard and Fressard, at Cheverron [sic]; and the students of the Saint-Cyr Institute, in Clevers.

Flying pumpkin

The most extraordinary case was noted by an Algerian motorist, Mr. Gaston Blanquère who, near the village of Jean-Mermoz saw a saucer in the shape of a 4 CV Renault. It consisted of an upper dome from which a yellow glow came out, let out a bluish luminous spray at its lower part and finally swept the plain of very powerful headlights.

Impossible to confuse this saucer with the humble pumpkin emptied and lit by a candle that the villagers of Momy (Basses-Pyrénées) chased yesterday armed with pitchforks, picks and rifles.

[Ref. nll1:] NEWSPAPER "NORD LITTORAL":

Scan.

THE FLYING SAUCERS
in Normandy and Alsace

Paris, Oct. 21

The flying saucers mainly appeared last night, over Normandy. To believe several people including Mademoiselle Michèle Vitkosuski, notary's clerk, several unidentified vehicles moved for over two hours. From a violently lit machine, and posed in a field, to the left of the road to Saint-Valéry-en-Caux, luminous discs escaped which quickly took height, to then return to their starting spot. A flying cigar performed the same ride. Other machines seen not far from the cliff of Mers-les-Bains seemed to correspond by signals with the first group. It should be added that the gendarmes who carried out an investigation on the spot did not find any trace of this mysterious carousel.

A somewhat similar phenomenon was reportedly observed above Vic Bigorre, by a group of ten students who were training on a sports ground. They reportedly saw four discs in formation which seemed to spin on themselves at high speed.

Several testimonies were collected in Alsace. One of the witnesses, Lucien Fiesch, saw near Issenheim, a spherical craft about six meters in diameter which was hovering one meter above the ground. Frightened, Mr. Fiesch went and returned to his workplace.

In Guebwiller, Mr. Pierre Ackermann said he had seen in the sky, a brilliant disc which moved silently at about four hundred meters of altitude. Two middle school students confirmed this statement.

A resident of Soultzmatt, Miss Fleck, said that she had observed this afternoon, an elongated machine which was moving at great speed speed.

Another testimony comes from the Nièvre. The Lormes-Nevers bus was on its way to the latter town when, near Saxi-Bourbon, the driver stopped and shouted: "A saucer!". All the passengers alighted and distinguished, if they were to be believed, a disc shining like aluminum, at an altitude of seven or eight hundred meters.

The last testimony is that of a postman from Saint-Pierre-la-Cour station, who saw in the sky a disc spreading orange luminous beams.

[Ref. bbr1:] GERARD BARTHEL AND JACQUES BRUCKER:

The two authors and ufologists indicate that they take in example an article in the newspaper L'Alsace which was filed by Mrs. Gueudelot, the archivist of the ufology magazine Lumières Dans la Nuit. They give the following text as being which that appeared in this newspaper:

"While going to gather the grapes in Zinnkoeplfer, Miss Fleck saw at 200 or 300 meters of altitude, an unknown shining object of lengthened form. The apparatus came from the direction of Guebwiller and advanced at high speed, then arrived above the vineyard of Soultzmatt, it stopped during a few moments to move then towards the north."

The two authors note that the details are vague, that the time is missing, that there is a stop and low altitude, and that one can compare the observation to that of a meteor.

To be sure of this, they indicate, they carried out a long investigation to find Miss Fleck, which was difficult for she had married, but that by chance they found her and that she told them that the observation had taken place early in the morning and that there had been no stop. She specified to them that she could not determine altitude for the observation was too short and that she did not talk about an "object" but about a luminous phenomenon.

Barthel and Brucker conclude from this that she did not see a flying saucer but a meteor, and are indignant that this case however appears in "a catalogue", "its card exists, it is described."

[Ref. bph1:] "BUHL - PAGE D'HISTOIRE":

[...]

Source: "L'Alsace" from October 1st to December 31, 1954

[...]

On October 20:

[...]

While she helped to gather the grapes in Zinnkoepflé, a girl of Soultzmatt, Miss Mimie Fleck, saw in broad daylight, at a height from 2.000 meters to 3.000 meters a shiny flying object of a lengthened shape. The apparatus coming from the direction of Guebwiller advanced at very high speed then, arrived above the vineyard of Soultzmatt, it stopped a few moments, to finally disappear in direction from North.

[Ref. cvn1:] CHRISTIAN VALENTIN:

Christian Valentin indicates that on October 18, 1954, in broad daylight, a girl sees, at a height from 2000 to 3000 m, a brilliant object of elongated form. Coming at high speed from the south, the apparatus stops a few moments above the vineyard of Soultzmatt, before setting out again to disappear towards the north.

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates in his database that in the Haut Rhin in Soultzmatt on October 20, 1954 at an unknown hour, "Whereas she helped to gather the grapes in Zinnkoepflé, a girl of Soultzmatt, saw, in full day, at a 2.000 m to 3.000 m height a shining flying object of a lengthened form. The apparatus coming from the direction of Guebwiller advanced at very high speed then, arrived above the vineyard of Soultzmatt, it stopped a few moments to finally disappear in the direction of the North."

The source is indicated to be my website, by a link to the old address of the home page.

[Ref. rre1:] RAOUL ROBE:

In the article on an Alsatian alleged sighting, that of Merxheim en 1975, the author shows a series of other "known UFO sightings around" that location, including:

SOULTMATT [sic, "SOULTZMATT"] - 10/18/54 at 6,5 km N N W [from Merxheim]

[Ref. cvn2:] CHRISTIAN VALENTIN:

Former journalist Christian Valentin published in 2012 a very interesting book telling the story of UFO sightings, flying saucers sightings, in Alsace, from the beginning to 1980.

In this book, he reports that on Monday, October 18, 1954, in the Haut-Rhin in Soultzmatt, there was a sighting reported in the newspaper L'Alsace for Thursday, October 21, 1954, page 5 of the French issue:

As she helped harvesting, last Monday at the Zinnkoepfle a girl from Soultzmatt, Miss M. F., saw in the daylight at a height of 2000 to 3000 m, a bright flying object, elongated. The craft, advancing from the direction of Guebwiller at a very high speed, then came over the vineyard of Soultzmatt, it paused for a few seconds and finally disappeared in the north.

[Ref. spa1:] SPICA UFOLOGY GROUP:

City Date and hour of observation General shape
Identification
General color
Hypothesis
Conclusion
SOULTZMATT Wednesday 20 October 1954 elongated (cigar)
Unidentified
information not communicated Unsolved -lack of info

Explanations:

Probable meteor.

What is also remarkable is that Barthel and Brucker did not seem at all concerned in getting very essential information: silent or noisy? With or without a trail? This makes their explanation hardly well established, and it could just as well have been a jet plane.

One must unfortunately note that after Barthel and Brucker, the case did enter several catalogs, and without any mention of the explanation they gave.

The place called the Zinnkoepflé is located at the boundary between the municipalities of Westhalten and Soultzmatt, in the department of Haut-Rhin.

The thing, we are told, came from Guebwiller, roughly in the south of the observation place, then continued north. This means that there has been no change in direction, or no significant change in direction, and the thing had to pass over or "near" the girl who likely had to turn around to follow it.

So, this is an unidentified, possible plane or meteor, with insufficient information.

Keywords:

(These keywords are only to help queries and are not implying anything.)

Zinnkoepflé, Haut-Rhin, Soultzmatt, Mimie Fleck, high, object, shiny, elongated, stop

Sources:

[----] indicates sources that are not yet available to me.

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross December 27, 2004 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross March 24, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [lcn1].
1.1 Patrick Gross May 27, 2010 Addition [lae1]. In the Explanations, addition of "and this was confirmed to me when I got hold of the newspaper article."
1.2 Patrick Gross February 20, 2014 Addition [rre1].
3.0 Patrick Gross April 24, 2014 Addition [cvn2], Summary, Explanations.
3.1 Patrick Gross June 4, 2015 Addition [spa1].
3.2 Patrick Gross January 2, 2020 Addition [ppe1].
3.3 Patrick Gross February 28, 2020 Addition [nnm1].
3.4 Patrick Gross June 8, 2020 Addition [nll1].

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