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ALSACAT:

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 of Colmar, on June 14, 1267:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1267-06-14-COLMAR-1

Summary:

In the "Annals and Chronicle of the Dominicans of Colmar", historians, a comet specialist, and an Alsatian ufologist, found a story saying that in 1267, on June 14, at sunrise, near the moon who was in the 18th day of its course, a "beautiful big star" was seen.

"A fast move took it from the moon to the East, leaving behind a tail or a white and inflamed cloud. It was visible for about an hour. This celestial body split in two stars; a large one followed by a smaller one, they disappeared together."

I show this was likely a meteor.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: June 14, 1267
Time: Sunrise.
Duration: Fast, 1 hour long trail duration.
First known report date: 1267
Reporting delay: 1 year?

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin?
City: Colmar?
Place: ?
Latitude: N/A
Longitude: N/A
Uncertainty ratio: ?

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: ?
Number of known witnesses: 0
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: ?
Witness(es) types: ?

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Contemporary chronicle.
Type of location: ?
Visibility conditions: Sunrise, moon visible.
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: N/A
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: Beautiful star, splitting in two, with trail.

Classifications:

Hynek: NL or DD
ALSACAT: Probable meteor.

Sources:

[Ref. cgd1:] THE DOMINICANS OF COLMAR:

1267.

Orta est Stella in ortu Solis, pulchra et magna, prope Lunam, ea existente décima octava, in mense Julii XVIII quae magno impetu progressa de Luna versus Orientem ad medietatem hemisphserii, relinquens post se comam sive nubem albam, vel nubem incensam quae pêne per horam apparuit. Ipsa autem Stella in duas divisa majorem scilicet precedentem et minorem sequentem pariter esse desierunt.

1267.

On the 18th of the calends of July (June 14) at sunrise, appeared near the moon, the latter being in the eighteenth day of its course, a nice big star, a rapid movement took it from the Moon to the East, leaving behind it a tail or a white and inflamed cloud. It was visible for an hour or so. This star divided in two stars: a large one, followed by a smaller one; which disappeared together.

[Ref. ape1:] ALEXANDRE GUY PINGRE:

1267. "On July 18, at sunrise, a quite beautiful &: very-large Star was seen appearing, near the Moon who was then on the 18th day of her course. That Star, quite hurriedly, came from near the place where the Moon was until to middle of the sky, leaving behind a whitish & flaming cloud, followed of a second smaller cloud, & the whole ceased to be seen at the same time." This was a comet, according to our Comet Experts; in truth this was a meteor.

[Ref. cgd2:] SOCIETE D'EMULATION DU DEPARTEMENT DES VOSGES:

In their 1865 yearbook, the French version given in [Ref. cgd1:] appears in extenso. The source is cited.

[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 recounts some old stories that could be related with the observations of UFOs or flying saucers he deals with.

One case is given as coming from "The Annals and Chronicle of the Dominicans of Colmar" by Gerard and Liblin, Colmar, page 27, 1854.

The text, he says, mentions very briefly that in 1267, on the 18th of the calends of July, that is, June 14, at sunrise, at the side of the moon which was in the 18th day of its course, a large and beautiful star appeared, a rapid movement took it away from the moon towards the east. It left behind a tail or a white ignited cloud.

It had been visible for about one hour, and it divided into two stars, a bigger one followed by a smaller one, both disappeared at the same time.

Discussion:

About Christian Valentin's book:

It is not at all my habit to "advertise" a book or anything, and I have no interested relationship with the author, but I wanted to say a word on the book by Christian Valentin, "Mythes et Réalités des Phénomènes Aériens Non Identifiés" (i.e. "Myths and Realities of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" (cover on the left), ref. [cvn2]; which, as its subtitle indicates, is about Alsatian UFO sighting reports and the saucer lore in Alsace.

I think Alsatian ufologist and generally people interested in the UFO question, or in the history of Alsace, my region, would probably like this book.

The 144 pages book is sober but well presented, unbiased, richly documented and illustrated. It is the first work in print specifically about UFO sightings in Alsace. (There was another one a few years ago, but it was partly made by copying - pasting without mention of the sources, portions of my website, especially the Alsatians cases I almost exhaustively documented in my catalog of UFO sightings in France in 1954, and copies from another websites; the trivial explanations I proposed or gave there being almost always stripped off!)

The author does not want to prove or disprove the possibility of extraterrestrial visitors or some other so-called "extraordinary" explanation, he rather offers a chronologically ordered review of Alsatian UFO reports, starting from the origin and stopping in 1980, based on known sources ufology, on the articles of the regional Press, and cases less known or even unreleased so far that he collected directly with the witnesses. His own comments are printed in a different color, references to the sources are always given. A very nice work in my opinion!

The author currently has a blog where he shows what libraries in Alsace have the book available, see: christian.valentin.overblog.com

Map.

I found no periodic comet which could explain this event. And the idea of speed, although it has not been clarified quantitatively, does not quite fit a cometary explanation.

I think, as stated Alexandre Guy Pingré [Ref. p1], that the thing was a meteor.

And in any case, I think this has nothing to do with flying saucers or UFOs, except that meteors are sometimes the explanation of things reported as "UFO".

It should be noted there is some apparent difference between the version by the Dominicans and that by Alexander Guy Pingré. The Dominicans tell about a visibility of about an hour, which could suggest a comet and would exclude a meteor. But in reality, it can be read that it was the "tail or white and inflamed cloud" which was visible for about an hour, and this is perfectly consistent with a meteor. For the two "stars", they speak indicate a fast move, and disappearance, so we can think of a meteor crashing into two fragments, whose trail remained visible thereafter.

Finally, it must be said, this case is not necessarily or even Colmar in Alsace. Colmar Dominicans have perhaps taken the story from another source rather than having seen it themselves.

Above: The meteor in Chelyabinsk in Russia on February 15, 2013, left a trail that remained visible for a long time (Photograph on the left).

By night it is hardly possible to see that, but in the case we deal with, it is specified that it was "at sunrise."

And with the rising sun, the plume illuminated in orange may well be described as "a white and inflamed cloud".

Evaluation:

Probable meteor.

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 April 20, 2014 Creation, [cgd1], [ape1], [cgd2], [cvn2].
1.0 Patrick Gross April 20, 2014 First published.

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This page was last updated on April 20, 2014.