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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 Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, on May 20, 1952:

Case number:



In the ufology magazine Lumières Dans la Nuit #221-222 for November / December 1982, J. Journot reported on his investigation into a case à in Kaysersberg in 1982; on this occation ufologist Fernand Lagarde made his comments, and listed some other sightings around this town, including an observation in Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines on May 20, 1952.

The file summarizes an article on page 3 of the newspaper L'Alsace of May 22-23, 1954, in which it is reportedly said that on May 20, 1952, around 8:55 p.m., a woman from Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines reportedly saw in the sky, according to her telephone statement to this newspaper, a "ball of fire followed by a luminous trail" which remained perceptible "quite a long time" and was heading in a north-south direction.

It is said that the newspaper contacted the Strasbourg observatory "which could only record the fact without being able to provide an explanation for this phenomenon", ensuring that the various information which could reach them would be "cross-checked" and "confronted with the results of the study of the sky in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday."


Temporal data:

Date: May 20, 1952
Time: 08:55 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: may 22, 1952
Reporting delay: 1 day.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines
Place: ?
Latitude: 48.245
Longitude: 7.182
Uncertainty radius: 8 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Adult or aged.
Witness(es) types: Local woman.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: The regional Press by phone.
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: NL
ALSACAT: Probable meteor.





MAY 20, 1952


Hour: about 08:55 p.m.

A reader of Sainte Marie aux Mines called us to let us know that she had seen in the sky a "ball of fire followed by a luminous trail" which remained perceptible for quite a long time and was heading in a NORTH.SOUTH. direction.

We got in touch with the Strasbourg observatory, which could only record the fact without being able to provide an explanation for this phenomenon. However, the observatory told us that the various information that could reach them would be "cross-checked" and compared with the results of the study of the sky during the night from Tuesday to Wednesday.

"L'ALSACE for 22 and 23 MAY 1952. page 3

(Research by Mr. Mourier)




It should be mentioned, however, that the Haut-Rhin department, in addition to BAVIC crossing its south, has been well supplied with observations since 1952. There are 110 of them in our archives, and it is certain that this number represents only a small part of reality.

If, around KAYSERSBERG as the center, we draw a circle with a radius of 15 km (good viewing distance for a phenomenon of the observed type) we find as observations (Michelin map #62 folds 17-18-19) by turning from the left to the right: Ste Marie-aux-Mines: 5/20/52; [... other cases...]

Notes: In the years 1960-1980, ufologist Fernand Lagarde searched for "connections" between UFO observations places and, among other things, "geological faults". Without wishing to specify what such a link would demonstrate, he had often commented on reports of investigations by local investigators published in the ufology magazine Lumières Dans La Nuit, intending to show that such geographic connections did exist.

In the case of Alsace, the task is easy: the whole of the plain of Alsace is a basin of collapse of the old Hercynian mountain range top, of which only the "edges" remain, the Vosges and the Black Forest on the other side of the Rhine River, in Germany. As a result, one should claim that all observations in Alsace are located on a geological fault! Is there anything to be concluded from this as to the nature of the observations? In my opinion, absolutely nothing.

As for "BAVIC", mentioned by Lagarde, it was about a line across France passing by the cities of BAyonne and VIChy, on which the pioneer ufologist Aimé Michel had thought in the years 1950, that on September 24, 1954, there were such a large number of "aligned" sightings on this line that mere chance could not account for it.

Michel, not having the resources to go check each observation report, argued that this alignment signified the reality and the remarkable nature of these observations since hallucinations, lies and misinterpretation could not be propagated on such a straight line.

In reality, the "statistically improbable" character of this alignment has been questioned, but above all, most if not all of the cases he cited for this day are not only explained by trivial causes (mistakes, hoaxes ...), not only were they badly dated and almost never occurred on September 24, 1954, but also, Aimé Michel had not at all been aware of all the cases of that day.

Aimé Michel, at the end of the 1960s, admitted that the "BAVIC line" had no reality; but many others like Fernand Lagarde continued to promote it as a "fact", "extending" the line geographically all around the world and extending it temporally to any observation on this line whatever the date, but without ever verifying that it there would really be a statistical anomaly in this.



Clearly, given [ald1], a meteor is the perfect culprit. There was no talk of "flying saucer" apparently.

It is surprising that the Strasbourg Observatory did not, at least, offer this explanation; we can also be surprised that only this lady from Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines came forward, apparently.

Unless of course the duration stupidly noted as "which remained perceptible for quite a long time" was something like half an hour...

I therefore rate the report as "probable meteor" rather than just "meteor".

In any case, this shows, once again, the lack of reliability of the study by François Lagarde on his alleged connection between UFOs and geological faults.


Probable meteor.

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 June 22, 2021 Creation, [ldl1].
1.0 Patrick Gross June 22, 2021 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross August 3, 2023 Addition [ald1]. In the Summary, addition of "In August 2023..." and what follows. Evaluation changed, was "Totally insufficient information." Discussion changed, was "I found nothing else about this sighting report so far."

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This page was last updated on August 3, 2023.