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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.

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Case in Alsace, in 1252:

Case number:



In the 1850s, several authors reported that according to the chronicle of the Dominican monks of Colmar written from 1294 to 1296, it was told that in 1252, three suns had been seen.


Temporal data:

Date: 1252
Time: ?
Duration: ?
First known report date: 1296
Reporting delay: 4 décennies.

Geographical data:

Department: ?
City: ?
Place: Colmar?
Latitude: 48.076
Longitude: 7.358
Uncertainty radius: 60 km.

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: ?
Number of known witnesses: ?
Number of named witnesses: ?
Witness(es) ages: ?
Witness(es) types: ?

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Contemporary local chronicle.
Type of location: ?
Visibility conditions: ?
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No.
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?


Hynek: ?
ALSACAT: Probable sundog.


[Ref. cgl1:] HENRI BARDY:



Saint-Pierre, brother of the order of the Preachers, is killed in Milan.

The nuns of Saint-Jean under the lime trees (Unterlinden) settled in Colmar.

One saw three suns.

"The Sisters of Saint-Jean enter Colmar."

[Ref. hby1:] HENRI BARDY:


About the climate of Alsace in the XIIIth century

The following facts are recorded in the Annales des Dominicains de Colmar, a work from the 13th century which constitutes one of the important monuments in the history of Germany in the Middle Ages, and which is, without a doubt, the capital document of the history of Alsace during the period to which it refers (1211 - 1308).

These notes are given according to the excellent edition of the royal library of Stuttgart, by Messrs. Gérard, lawyer at the imperial court of Colmar, and Liblin, director of the Revue d'Alsace (Colmar, 1854).


1252 - Three suns were seen.

[Ref. avg1:] "ANNALES DES VOYAGES...":


The following facts do not leave us uncertain, at least on the region to which they relate. We borrow them from local chronicles.

In October 1239, says the Sunday Chronicle of Colmar, an earthquake was felt. Then after recording that three suns were seen in 1252, [...]


About the source:

The primary source is the chronicle of the Dominicans of Colmar, a manuscript, since the printing press did not yet exist.

Although some have attributed them to Jean de Colmar, scholars suggest that the "Annales et la Chronique des Dominicains de Colmar" were written by Rudolf von Schlettstadt (Rodolphe de Sélestat), who was also the author of a collection of anecdotes where the supernatural plays a big role, and which testifies to similar centers of interest. In any case, he provided an edition titled "Colmarer Dominikaner Chronist" covering the years 1294 to 1296.

There have been many reissues over the centuries, such as the ones I quote, which are the best known, the others that I have been able to check out do not differ in any way on the mention of the "three suns" in 1252.

About the case:

I am personally not very keen on calling "UFO" this sort of things that can be found in ancient chronicles.

But many ufologists reported such things, usually with the idea of showing that aerial phenomena that may have qualified as UFOs exist since "time immemorial", not just since the beginning of a "flying saucer hype".

That's why I noted down that phenomenon, especially as a trivial explanation seems to me less obvious than many other ancient stories of this kind, quickly called "UFO of the past."

The place is probably Colmar, but it is not certain. Of the event, nothing else is known except "ine saw three suns."

The most obvious prosaic explanation would be that it was sundogs, an atmospheric optical phenomenon linked to that of the solar halo, which shows two "replicas" of the sun, placed horizontally on either side other of the latter.

Sundogs, or parhelia, from the ancient Greek "para", "near" and "helios", the sun, is visible to the eye, often with a circular halo (photos below). It is often described in ancient chronicles as the appearance of "three suns."



The phenomenon is also called "false sun", "double sun", "goat's eye", "sun dog". In English, "triple sun", or "sundogs".

The phenomenon occurs when the sun is rather low on the horizon and there are ice crystals in the high altitude clouds, cirrus or cirrostratus.


Probable sundog.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:


Main author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross February 5, 2023 Creation, [hby1].
1.0 Patrick Gross February 5, 2023 First published.

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This page was last updated on February 5, 2023.