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The 1954 French flap:

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

October 22, 1954, Wittenheim, Haut-Rhin:

Reference number for this case: 22-Oct-54-Wittenheim. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

The regional newspaper L'Alsace for October 24, 1954, reported on page 7 that a flying saucer made an extraordinary appearance in the sky of Wittenheim on October 22, 1954, starting at 11:10 p.m.

Numerous people had left the "Palace" movie theater, and some of them went to the Zimmermann-Thomas coffee shop to chat and have a drink before going home. Suddenly a man rushed into the room, very excited, shouting to the awestruck people: "you who don't believe in it, come outside! Have a look!"

The consumers rushed out, joining numerous cyclists and passersby who were on the road or in Wittenheim, or in the Jeune Bois district, and they were watching this display "both upsetting and convincing."

The man who gave the alert to the people in the coffee shop was Eugène Stattner, Wittenheim - Jeune Bois resident and working in the administration service of the city of Mulhouse. He had been at the movie theater too.

At the end of the movie, he got into his car and, headlights on, started to drive to the Jeune Bois district. At 11:10 p.m., he suddenly saw what he called a flying saucer. Then he rushed into the coffee shop to come out again with the hope that the phenomenon was still there.

Not only the saucer had not disappeared, but it performed "a most extraordinary show."

The craft that came from the direction of the Anna mine, was going towards the Jeune Bois district, slowly. The saucer was in fast rotation on itself, in a movement of double rotation, and, in the very clear sky, it was perfectly visible.

It was swirling like a carrousel, on its edges, around a dark center core that was perfectly motionless, and in addition it rotated on itself by successive and close reversing, always around its center core.

This resulted that in the first rotation pass, the craft looked like a big plate, and it the second pass, it looked like a long spindle or a cigar.

The newspaper indicates that the saucer "apparently measured 1 meter in diameter" and that according to Mr. Stattner it flew at about 500 meters of altitude. The newspaper said that if these figures were correct, "the real size of the craft would have been considerable".

Mr. Stattner had said that the craft seemed to be "wandering in the sky", and took about ten minutes to go from the Anna mine well to the Théodore mine well passing on the Jeune Bois district.

It occurred in absolute silence. The external rim of the saucer changed from the red to the brown, then to a sharp red, while the central core was glowing, surrounded by sparkles. A reflection like that of a fire lighted the landscape.

When the saucer was above the Théodore mine well, still in the most complete silence, it strongly accelerated, and at an "incredible speed," it "disappeared n the middle of the sky."

The newspaper offered no ordinary explanation, and this this time they did not scoff at the observation, because of the large number of witnesses and the other numerous observations that occurred in the area these days.

In 2004, Christian Valentin, former journalist who researched the UFO history in Alsace, explained that he interviewed Jean-Marie Stattner, son of Eugène Stattner, in 2004.

He learned that the father, the mother and the son were in the car, back from the movie theater that October 22, 1954, when the father stopped the car, came out, followed by the son, to better observe an oval luminous object, motionless in the sky, in the direction of the Théodore district.

The father then rushed into a nearby restaurant, the Zimmermann coffee shop, to alert the people there, and more than a dozen people had then observed the object, during more time than the father and the son previously, while the mother observed the phenomenon from inside the car. The object then rushed into the direction of the Théodore district.

The next day, or two days later, the father went to the gendarmerie station to file a report about the observation; the son now thinks that he might have been invited to do so by the gendarmes. in his memory, the gendarmes were talking about a weather balloon, wondering how a weather balloon could have emitted so much light.

It was as a consequence of this affair that in Wittenheim, another of the witnesses had sculpted a "Martian" in a beet. which had been shown at the Zimmermann coffee shop and photographed by the Press, leading decades later the debunkers Barthel and Brucker to claim they had "solved the case" as a hoax. The son remembers the atmosphere of unfair scoffing that had deeply affected his father, and the son himself still wonders what the thing they observed was.

Reports:

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

A flying saucer made an extraordinary demonstration in the sky of Wittenheim

We reported in our last issue on the one hand the triple appearance of a red globe on Thursday night at 06:40 p.m., 07:30 p.m. and after 08:00 p.m. and on the other hand, the double passing, the day before, of a ball of same color above Wittenheim, at 11:20 p.m. and 00:50 a.m.

Then, on the night from Friday to Saturday, a phenomenon occurred, which is an absolutely irrefutable testimony by the sharpness of the appearance and also by the number of people who observed it.

It was 11:10 p.m.. Many spectators had left the "Palace" movie theater. Some of them went to the Zimmermann-Thomas cafe to chat and eat before returning home. Suddenly a man burst into the room. Deeply moved, he said to the stunned people: "you who do not believe in it, get out! Come and see! "It was a general rush. And the sight that met not only the consumers but also the countless cyclists and pedestrians who at that time were on the road or even in Wittenheim, or in Jeune Bois, was both shocking and compelling. The man who had thus attracted the attention of consumers was Mr. Eugène Stattner, living in Wittenheim-Jeune Bois and working in the service of the municipal administration of Mulhouse. He had also been at the movie. At the end of the show he got into his car and all lights on, drove to the Jeune Bois district. It was 11:10 p.m., when he suddenly saw what he calls himself a flying saucer. Then he rushed into the coffee shop to come out soon with the hope that in the meantime the phenomenon had not fainted. Not only the saucer had not disappeared, but it gave an extraordinary demonstration to say the least.

The craft coming from the direction of the Anna mine was heading towards the Jeune Bois district. Whereas the race was slow, the saucer turned briskly on itself in a double rotation, and - the sky being very clear - it was clearly visible: first the saucer was spinning like a carousel, on its edges around a central core perfectly still, on the other hand, the craft was on a rotation on itself in successive and frequent reversals, always around a central core.

What makes - and the importance of this finding is significant - in the first case of rotation, the apparatus had the appearance of a large plate and in the second case, an extended spindle, or if is preferred, a cigar. This would be a simple explanation and perfectly valid as to the form of aerial vehicles designated by the names of flying saucer and flying cigar.

The saucer apparently measured 1 m in diameter. But according to Mr. Stattner it was flying at about 500 m altitude. If these figures are accurate, the actual dimensions of the craft would be considerable.

The craft, which, in the words of Mr. Stattner seemed to frolic in the sky, used about ten minutes to go to the Anna mine well to the Theodore mine well through Jeune Bois. The observation was therefore particularly easy. The silence was absolute. The outer edge of the saucer went from red to brown to bright red, while the core was glowing, surrounded by a shower of sparks. A fire reflection illuminated the landscape.

Suddenly, while the saucer was above the Theodore mine, and still in the most absolute silence, a tremendous acceleration occurred at an incredible speed, the machine disappeared in the sky. These are the facts. It is not up to us to comment on them but hearing it leaves us wondering. This is, in any case, one of the most accurate report we had, to date, to report here.

Like everything, a priori, that arouses disbelief, the "saucer" theme can be open to irony and even joking. We had also indulged in this aspect of the matter. It must be recognized that a significant amount of courage is needed today to a single person that chance made a witness to one of those strange apparitions that occur for some time in the sky, to publicly tell his adventure. This courage, recently, came to L'Alsace readers. The good faith of the railwayman of Jettingen-Berentzwiller was not in doubt for those who knew him, and for us. That of the farmer of Dornach was equally. Their testimony, marked by good sense and the most scrupulous honesty, now find in what several hundred people at once saw, a striking confirmation.

[Ref. cpd1:] "LE COURRIER PICARD" NEWSPAPER:

Scan.

The Italian Minister of Air prescribes
"to intensify surveillance"
to detect flying saucers

ROME, October 24. - The testimonies collected for more than a month about the "flying saucers" and "flying cigars" seen in the sky of the Italian peninsula were the subject of a press release from the Ministry of the Air Forces.

"So far, the statement said, radar sets detected no such craft, with the exception of planes and sounding balloons, the characteristics of which are known.

"Special instructions have been given to the heads of the detection stations to intensify surveillance during the twilight and night hours, during which, according to witnesses, the "flying disks" were seen, the statement added.

As for the documentation on the "flying discs" that the Italian Air Force has, it is only, specifies the press release, some testimonies emanating from officer who reportedly saw these craft above of the Thyrrenian coast, moving in a south-north direction at a speed greater than 2,000 km/hour."

Cigar-saucer in the sky of Alsace

Consumers of a coffee shop in Wittenheim saw, yesterday evening, around 11 p.m., at around 500 meters of altitude, a circular craft rotating rapidly on itself and moving at a moderate pace. The night was very clear and the witnesses noted that the craft was animated by a horizontal rotation movement which gave it the appearance of a saucer and that it also revolved around a central nucleus, evoking then the shape a cigar.

After ten minutes of moves, the craft, whose outer edges had passed successively from red to brown, then to bright red and whose glowing central nucleus surrounded itself with sparks, quickly disappeared.

[Ref. jps1:] "LE JOURNAL DU PAS-DE-CALAIS ET DE LA SOMME" NEWSPAPER:

Scan.

The saucers

A press release from the Italian Air Ministry

Rome, 24. -- The testimonies collected for more than a month about the "flying saucers" and flying "cigars" seen in the sky of the peninsula, were the topic of a Press release from from the Italian Ministry of the Air Force.

"So far, the statement said, radar devices have detected no such craft except for planes and sounding balloons, the characteristics of which are known."

"Special instructions have been given to the heads of the detection stations in order to intensify surveillance during the twilight and night hours, during which, according to witnesses, the flying discs were seen."

"As for the documentation on the flying discs that the Italian Air Force has, it is only, specifies the press release, some testimonies emanating from officers who would have seen these craft above the the Thyrrenian coast, moving in a south-north direction at a speed greater than 2000 km per hour."

Mulhouse, 24. -- Consumers of a Wittenheim coffee shop saw at about 500 meters of atltiude, a circular craft rotating quickly on its own and moving at a moderate pace.

The night was very clear and the witnesses noted that the craft was animated by an horizontal rotation movement which gave it the appearance of a saucer and that it also revolved around a central nucleus, evoking then the shape of a cigar.

After about ten minutes of moves, the craft, whose outer edges had changed successively from red to brown, then to bright red and whose glowing central nucleus surrounded itself with sparks, disappeared quickly.

[Ref. lcx1:] NEWSPAPER "LA CROIX":

Scan.

SUNDAY

Saucers, cigars
blocked by bad weather?

SUNDAY was not a "saucer" day. It is true that the weather was not encouraging... Even for a "Martian".

One reported, Saturday evening, a saucer-cigar in the sky of Alsace.

Consumers seated in a café in Wittenheim saw, around 11 p.m., at an altitude of about 500 meters, a circular craft spinning rapidly and moving at a moderate pace. The night was very clear, and witnesses noted that the craft was animated by a horizontal rotational movement which gave it the appearance of a saucer and it also rotated around a central core, thus evoking the shape of a cigar.

After about ten minutes of maneuvers, the craft, whose outer edges had passed successively from red to brown, then to bright red, and whose incandescent central core was surrounded by sparks, quickly disappeared.

Dazzled by a saucer

A truck driven by a hardware store man, in Thénezay (Deux-Sèvres), who was accompanied by Mr. Dribault, was driving last night near Chalandray (Vienne), when suddenly the two men saw a bright light of different colors, emitted, they thought, by a flying saucer.

Dazzled, the driver lost control of his vehicle, which crashed into a tree bordering the road. The two occupants were slightly injured. The truck suffered extensive damage.

Italian air army officers
reportdely saw
"flying disks"

The testimonies collected for more than a month about the "flying saucers" and flying "cigars" seen in the sky of the peninsula, were the topic of a press release from the Italian Ministry of the air Forces.

So far, the press release said, radar devices have not detected any such craft, with the exception of airplanes and weather balloons whose characteristics are known.

Special instructions were given to the heads of the detection stations to intensify surveillance during the twilight and night hours, during which, according to witnesses, the "flying discs" are seen, the statement added.

As for the documentation on the flying "discs" owned by the Italian Air Force, it is only a few testimonies from officers who have seen these craft above the Tyrrhenian coastline, moving in a south-north direction at a speed greater than 2000 kilometer per hour."

Elucidate
the mystery of the saucers

During the Congress of the National Union of Friends of th ancients of the Passive Defense, which was held in Nantes, under the chairmanship of Mr. Conombo, Secretary of State for the Interior, the delegates in particular asked that scientific research do what is necessary to elucidate the mystery of the flying saucers in order to put an end to the psychosis of fear which sometimes takes hold of some people.

[Ref. lon1:] NEWSPAPER "L'OISE-MATIN":

Scan

SAUCERS:

vigilance
in Italy

A single "flying saucer" was reported, during the weekend, in the skies of France.

Consumers at a café in Wittenheim said they saw, on Saturday evening, around 11 p.m., at about 500 meters of height, a circular craft turning rapidly on itself and moving at a moderate pace. The night was very clear and the witnesses noted, they say, that the craft was animated by a movement of horizontal rotation which gave it the appearance of a saucer and it also revolved around a central core, evoking then the shape of a cigar.

After about ten minutes of maneuvers, the craft, whose outer edges had passed successively from red to brown, then to bright red, and whose incandescent central core was surrounded by sparks, quickly disappeared, the witnesses also said.

Surveillance in Italy

The testimonies collected for more than a month about the "flying saucers" and "flying cigars" seen in the skies of Italy, were the topic of a press release from the Ministry of the Forces of Air, in Rome.

"Until now," the press release said, "radar devices have not detected any craft of this kind, with the exception of airplanes and weather balloons whose characteristics are known."

"Special instructions were given to the commanders of the detection stations to intensify surveillance during the twilight and night hours, during which, according to witnesses, the "flying discs" were seen, the statement added.

"As for the documentation on the flying "disks" that the Italian Air Force possesses, it is only, specifies the press release, a few testimonies emanating from officers who would have seen these craft above the Thyrrenian coastline, moving in a south-north direction at a speed greater than 2,000 kilometers per hour."

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

Scan.

Saucer-
cigar
in the sky of Alsace

Mulhouse, October 23.

Consumers of a Wittenheim coffee shop saw last night around 11 p.m. at about 300 meters of alltitude, a circular craft rapidly rotating on itself and moving at a moderate pace. The night was very clear and the witnesses noted that the craft was animated by a horizontal rotation movement which gave it the appearance of a saucer, and that it also revolved around a central nucleus, then evoking a shape like a cigar.

After ten minutes of moves, the apparatus whose outer edges had passed successively from red to brown, then to bright red, and whose glowing central nucleus surrounded itself with sparks, quickly disappeared.

XXX

Furthermore, few saucers on this rainy Sunday, it is even said that one of them, according to a hundred people including several peacekeepers had only the appearance of a star moving above St-Etienne at an altitude of 2 to 300 meters. Another was just an "old saucer" observed on October 12. It was a young mason from Plogastel St-Germain (Finistère) who witnessed this last phenomenon, but did not speak of it fearing that one would scoff at him.

He had seen, in the evening, a kind of luminous swarm, 1.50 m. in diameter, animated in its central part by fins raising from a field 50 meters from where he was.

[Ref. cvn1:] CHRISTIAN VALENTIN:

Christian Valentin interviewed Jean-Marie Stattner in 2004. He is the son of a witness of a light in the sky in Wittenheim on October 22, 1954.

His father, his mother and himself were in the family's car returning from the movie theater, and his father stopped the car and went out, followed by his son, for better seeing a motionless luminous oval object in the sky, located in the direction of Cité Theodore.

His father then rushed into a close nearby restaurant, Café Zimmermann, to warn people and more than ten people then observed the object, during more time together than the father and the son previously, while the mother observed the phenomenon from inside the car. The object then slipped by in the direction of Cité Théodore.

The following day or two days after the sighting, the father went to the gendarmerie, the office of the law enforcement forces, to submit his report about his sighting, his son now thinking that it might have been the gendarmes who asked him to. In he son's memories, the gendarmes spoke of weather balloons, and wondered how a weather balloon could have emitted so much light.

A follow up of this case is that in Wittenheim, another of the witnesses had carved a "Martian" out of an odd-shaped large beet, which had been shown at Café Zimmermann and had been photographed by the press, driving decades later debunkers Barthel and Brucker to claim hey "explained the case" as being a hoax. The son remembers the unfair atmosphere of derision which had much affected his father, and he still wonders what it was they saw.

[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 the case of Friday, October 24, 1954, in Wittenheim in the Haut-Rhin was reported in the newspaper L'Alsace for Sunday, October 24, 1954, on page 7 of the French issue:

A flying saucer made an extraordinary demonstration in the sky of WITTENHEIM

We reported in our last issue on the one hand the triple appearance of a red globe on Thursday night at 06:40 p.m., 07:30 p.m. and after 08:00 p.m. and on the other hand, the double passing, the day before, of a ball of same color above Wittenheim, at 11:20 p.m. and 00:50 a.m.

Then, on the night from Friday to Saturday, a phenomenon occurred, which is an absolutely irrefutable testimony by the sharpness of the appearance and also by the number of people who observed it.

It was 11:10 p.m.. Many spectators had left the "Palace" movie theater. Some of them went to the Zimmermann-Thomas cafe to chat and eat before returning home. Suddenly a man burst into the room. Deeply moved, he said to the stunned people: "you who do not believe in it, get out! Come and see! "It was a general rush. And the sight that met not only the consumers but also the countless cyclists and pedestrians who at that time were on the road or even in Wittenheim, or in Jeune Bois, was both shocking and compelling. The man who had thus attracted the attention of consumers was Mr. Eugène Stattner, living in Wittenheim-Jeune Bois and working in the service of the municipal administration of Mulhouse. He had also been at the movie. At the end of the show he got into his car and all lights on, drove to the Jeune Bois district. It was 11:10 p.m., when he suddenly saw what he calls himself a flying saucer. Then he rushed into the coffee shop to come out soon with the hope that in the meantime the phenomenon had not fainted. Not only the saucer had not disappeared, but it gave an extraordinary demonstration to say the least.

The craft coming from the direction of the Anna mine was heading towards the Jeune Bois district. Whereas the race was slow, the saucer turned briskly on itself in a double rotation, and - the sky being very clear - it was clearly visible: first the saucer was spinning like a carousel, on its edges around a central core perfectly still, on the other hand, the craft was on a rotation on itself in successive and frequent reversals, always around a central core.

What makes - and the importance of this finding is significant - in the first case of rotation, the apparatus had the appearance of a large plate and in the second case, an extended spindle, or if is preferred, a cigar. This would be a simple explanation and perfectly valid as to the form of aerial vehicles designated by the names of flying saucer and flying cigar.

The saucer apparently measured 1 m in diameter. But according to Mr. Stattner it was flying at about 500 m altitude. If these figures are accurate, the actual dimensions of the craft would be considerable.

The craft, which, in the words of Mr. Stattner seemed to frolic in the sky, used about ten minutes to go to the Anna mine well to the Theodore mine well through Jeune Bois. The observation was therefore particularly easy. The silence was absolute. The outer edge of the saucer went from red to brown to bright red, while the core was glowing, surrounded by a shower of sparks. A fire reflection illuminated the landscape.

Suddenly, while the saucer was above the Theodore mine, and still in the most absolute silence, a tremendous acceleration occurred at an incredible speed, the machine disappeared in the sky. These are the facts. It is not up to us to comment on them but hearing it leaves us wondering. This is, in any case, one of the most accurate report we had, to date, to report here.

Like everything, a priori, that arouses disbelief, the "saucer" theme can be open to irony and even joking. We had also indulged in this aspect of the matter. It must be recognized that a significant amount of courage is needed today to a single person that chance made a witness to one of those strange apparitions that occur for some time in the sky, to publicly tell his adventure. This courage, recently, came to L'Alsace readers. The good faith of the railwayman of Jettingen-Berentzwiller was not in doubt for those who knew him, and for us. That of the farmer of Dornach was equally. Their testimony, marked by good sense and the most scrupulous honesty, now find in what several hundred people at once saw, a striking confirmation.

Explanations:

It is quite remarkable that this observation, certainly one of the most puzzling both the 1954 saucer flap in France, and of the Alsace sightings catalogue, there is absolutely no mention of it in the UFO literature. Christian Valentin alone wrote about it and investigated it.

As I know that hundreds of sightings of ordinary meteors called "flying saucers" or "cigars" were copied from "Vallée catalogue" to any other "catalogue" in France and in the USA then on the web from "RR0" to "Base OVNI France" in dozens of more or less accurate versions, I suspect that in any region in France, there must be a leftover of really interesting cases of the famous 1954 flap that never surfaced...

I did publish the data available before 2005, i.e. [cvn1], in my catalogue of the 1954 French flap, but nobody cared, between 2005 and 2014, to copy it ot even mention it, whereas so many other cases from my catalogue were - generally dishonestly by removing any possible or certain trivial explanation I offered.

Like the son reported to Christian Valentin, the "Martian" sculpted in a beet the next day, this simple innocent prank, was widely printed as a genuine "encounter of the third kind" of an "alien creature shaped like a radish" that would have haunted Wittenheim.

Let's try to locate the events.

Map

Wittenheim is 6 kilometers in the north of Mulhouse in the Haut-Rhin. This is a populated area and was a populated area in 1954. It is in a flat country and it is very dubious that a meteor would only have been reported from there.

The Palace movie theater does no longer exist, of course. The Zimmermann-Thomas coffee shop, near the movie theater, closed too, at its place in 2014, we have the "New Palace" bar, 35 rue de Kingersheim, 68270 Wittenheim. The locations of the ancient mine wells Fernand Anna and Théodore, and the Jeune Bois district, are known:

The saucer went from the Fernand Anna mine to the Théodore mine, flying over Jeune Bois as seen from the vicinity of the "Palace", so it went from the Southwest to the Northeast approximatively, and seen from the Palace at an angle going from 245° to 47°, i.e. from the Southwest to almost the North. This excludes all "astronomical" explanations of the Venus; Moon, star, types...

There are several other sightings reported in the Haut-Rhin for that day, but none matches the hour of the Wittenheim sighting.

Not only the description, but also the duration of about 10 minutes totally excludes a meteor.

Keywords:

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

Wittenheim, Haut-Rhin, light, oval, motionless, movement, beet, radish, police, gendarmes

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross April 23, 2005 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 14, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
3.1 Patrick Gross February 6, 2015 Additions [lae1], [cvn2], Explanations.
3.2 Patrick Gross March 31, 2020 Addition [cpd1].
3.3 Patrick Gross April 11, 2020 Addition [nll1].
3.4 Patrick Gross May 20, 2020 Addition [jps1].
3.5 Patrick Gross January 4, 2021 Addition [lcx1].
3.6 Patrick Gross May 15, 2021 Addition [lon1].

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