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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 of Lautenbach, in July 1951:

Case number:



In July 1972, a person who does not give a name wrote to the readers' supplement of the French ufology magazine "Lumières Dans La Nuit", telling very briefly about two sightings of his own, in Lautenbach, Haut-Rhin, in 1951, in 1953, and one by his brother in 1968.

For his 1953 sighting, he or she wrote only this: "1951, one July evening, about 11 p.m., I saw three balls the size of an orange, orange-red, crossing silently each other in the sky between Lautenbach and Soultzmatt."


Temporal data:

Date: July 1951
Time: ~11:00 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: July 1972
Reporting delay: 21 year

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Lautenbach
Place: UFOs in the sky between Lautenbach and Soultzmatt.
Latitude: 47.941
Longitude: 7.159
Uncertainty radius: 5 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: ?
Witness(es) types: ?

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: ?
Type of location: ?
Visibility conditions: Night
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: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: ?


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: LN, possible meteors or aeronautical. Insufficient data, no strangeness.




68 - HAUT-RHIN, a. and c. Guebwiller LAUTENBACH

Unfortunately no exact date but interesting for the place is the same.

- 1951, one July evening, about 11 p.m., I saw three balls the size of an orange, orange-red, crossing silently each other in the sky between Lautenbach and Soultzmatt.

- 1953, At about 11 p.m., I saw from Lautenbach a big ball the diameter of the full moon silently following a curve over a mountain ridge.

- 1968 At 5 a.m. my brother, along with a friend, saw a disc-shaped object successively emitting red, yellow, green and blue lights. The object was silent.

Location: Lautenbach.



F/00/68/51 07 00 (01)

One evening in July 1951, a resident of Lautenbach (68) saw three red-orange balls crossing silently in the sky between Lautenbach and Soultzmatt.

Source: anonymous testimony in LDLN n°3 "Readers Contact" July 72 p.14.


Lautenbach (68) on juillet 1951

General features

Num Base: 1521
Department: Haut Rhin (68)
Place of observation: Lautenbach
Latitude: 47.95
Longitude: +7.15
Date of observation: July 1951
Hour: 23:00 hours
Duration (HH:MM:SS): N.C.
Weather: No weather indication
Type of observation: Visual: Distant
Nbr of witness(es): 1
Official investigation: No

Features of the object

Nbr of object: 3
Type of object: Luminous ball
Size: Not specified
Color: Red
Luminosity: Not specified
Visual characteristics: not defined
Speed: Not specified
Object on the ground: No
Instantaneous disappearance: No


A witness observation of three balls the size of an orange, orange red color. They crossed the sky silently between Lautenbach and Soultzmatt.


Lumières dans la Nuit


City Date and hour of observation General shape
General color
LAUTENBACH July 1951 at 11:00 p.m. ball, sphere or melon (3D)
Unsolved -lack of info



The "size of an orange" does not help: an orange how far? Perhaps the witness did mean that the angular size was like that of an orange held at arm's length, but he did not specify, so we cannot consider this to be sure.

There are three balls, and no trail is mentioned, it is therefore not very "meteor-like" but this remains a possibility. Trails may have been omitted - see the brevity of the report - and sometimes meteors come in three or three fragments. But would the witness have said the balls were "crossing" (each other's path?)?

Another, better, possibility is that those were planes.

In 1951, the NATO base in Strasbourg-Entzheim was just beginning to be installed, with the development of the runway also used by civilian aviation. Work for the Air Force was completed in 1959. It is the same with the air base of Colmar-Meyenheim: construction started in 1951, it was operational in 1957 only. This obviously does not allow to exclude jet planes from NATO or the U.S. Air Force, nor to exclude the civilian planes.

With the little ufological information available, all sorts of explanations are possible. The observation also shows no strangeness.

Lautenbach is in a valley in the Vosges, surrounded by mountains:


The cataloging by Luc Chastan ([lcn1]) change the balls to "luminous" balls, does not let see that the person reported two other observations, does nt tell in which issue of "Lumière Dans La Nuit" the report was published, does not show that it was an anonymous report, and only a publication in the "reader's letters" section of the magazine 2 decades after the sighting, the hour becomes "11:00 p.m." when it was "about 11:00 p.m.".


LN, possible meteors or aeronautical. Insufficient data, no strangeness.

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
Editeur: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross August 19, 2014 Creation, [ldl1], [lcn1].
1.0 Patrick Gross August 19, 2014 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross May 25, 2015 Addition [spa1].
1.2 Patrick Gross January 12, 2023 Addition [cnu1].

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This page was last updated on January 12, 2023.