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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 Illzach, about 1800:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1800-00-00-ILLZACH-1

Summary:

In an article on "the interest of folklore" in ufology, in the ufology magazine Lumières Dans La Nuit #237-238 of March - April 1984, Frédéric Dumerchat punished a story found in a book by Jean James Variot about the legends of Alsace, telling:

At night, Illzach's guard, followed by a patrol, made a round in the village. Arrived near a hill, not far from an ancient marsh, he saw a white form of a woman waving to him. He stopped, took a few steps towards her and came back terrified to his comrades. She disappeared.

Suddenly the hillside lit up with a weird light in which the guards saw tombs, crosses and chapels. All this only lasted a few seconds.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: The 1800's
Time: Night.
Duration: A few seconde?
First known report date: 1919
Reporting delay: Décennies?

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Illzach
Place: Near the pond at the Illzach hill.
Latitude:
Longitude:
Uncertainty ratio:

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1, several.
Number of known witnesses: ?
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Adults.
Witness(es) types: Guard, guards.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Folklore tale told to folklorist.
Type of location: Outside near pond.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: ?
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: Yes
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Frightened.
Witnesses interpretation: A white woman.

Classifications:

Hynek: CE3
ALSACAT: Probably not UFO-related.

Sources:

[Ref. asr1:] AUGUSTE STOEBER:

Scan.

Der Wachter von Illzach machte eines Nachts, im Gefolge der Patrouille, die runde im Dorf. Als er an dem Rain, nicht weit von dem ehemaligen Weiher, angelangt war, erlichte er eine weisse Frauengestalt, welche ihm Zuwinkte. Er blieb eine kurze Weile stehen, ging ihr sodann einige Schritte entgegen; allein er lehrte jogleich wieder, von unheimlichen Grausen erfasst, zu seinen Gejährten zurück. Die Frau verschwand. Der Rain ward plötzlich von einem matten, höchsteigentümlichen Licht erhellt, im welchem such die Scharmwächter um sich her nichts als Gräber, Kreuze und Kapellen gewahr wurden. Die Erscheinung dauerte nur wenige Sekunden. Auch andere Leute aus dem Dorf wollen sich schon gehabt haben.

Soit:

One night, Illzach's guard goes around the village following the patrol. When he arrived at the hill, not far from the old pond, he realized that there was a white woman who beckoned to him. He paused for a moment, then took a few steps towards her; but he immediately took a few steps back, seized with a strange terror, towards his elders. The woman disappeared. The hill suddenly lit up with a dull and very peculiar light, in which the guardians around only saw graves, crosses and chapels. The apparition lasted only a few seconds. Other people in the village also claim to have met her.

[Ref. jvt1:] JEAN JAMES VARIOT:

Under the title "The apparition of the Hill of Illzach", Variot reported as an oral tradition transmitted by the Alsatian folklorist Auguste Stober, that the guard of Illzach was making his rounds in the village one night, followed by the patrol. He had arrived near the hillside, not far from an ancient marsh, when he saw a white form of a woman waving to him. He stopped, took a few steps towards her and came back terrified to his comrades. She disappeared.

Suddenly the hillside lit up with a singular light in which the guards saw tombs, crosses and chapels. All this only lasted a few seconds.

[Ref. ldl1:] UFOLOGY MAGAZINE "LUMIERES DANS LA NUIT":

Scan.

At night, Illzach's guard, followed by a patrol, made a round in the village. Arrived near a hill, not far from an ancient marsh, he saw a white form of a woman waving to him. He stopped, took a few steps towards her and came back terrified to his comrades. She disappeared.

Suddenly the hillside lit up with a weird light in which the guards saw tombs, crosses and chapels. All this only lasted a few seconds (69).

The reference (69) is detailed further on as "Variot, t. II, p. 47."

Discussion:

Map.

Ufologists cite such stories with very different motivations:

The primary source is in fact Auguste Stoeber (1808-1884), a pastor and teacher at the girls' school in Bouxwiller then at the college in Mulhouse, then librarian in Mulhouse. He was also a folklorist who had collected sayings, proverbs and legends, during his treks in the region.

The stories of "White Lady" of this time in Alsace were quite numerous, and most often with religious connotations. Sometimes she "blesses Alsace", sometimes she "washes baby Jesus' swaddling clothes", or even, notably in Illzach, she takes poor children to drink a "miraculous liquid" at a "fountain of milk."

With the story Frédéric Dumerchat noted, one may almost think that the guard of Illzach had seen a wisp - there is indeed the mention of the marshes (actually the pond) - and that the rest, with religious connotations - appearance of the "tombs, crosses and chapels " - is ivention typical of legends.

I am willing to admit that this could be the manner a close encounter of the 3rd kind would have been told at that time, but there is absolutely nothing to prove it was one.

In my opinion, this account cannot teach us anything at all about the issue of UFO sighting reports.

Evaluation:

Probably not UFO-related

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 June 7, 2021 Creation, [asr1], [jvt1], [ldl1].
1.0 Patrick Gross June 7, 2021 First published.

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This page was last updated on June 7, 2021.