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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 Thann, on July 24, 1952:

Case number:



In the 1970s, Mrs. Gueudelot, archivist of the ufology magazine "Lumières Dans La Nuit", collected information sent to her by local correspondents. One of the cases which was the subject of a file would come from the regional newspaper l'Alsace of July 26, 1952, about an observation in Thann on July 24, 1952 at 9:30 p.m.

It was said that several people had seen a dot of light advancing from the South-East going to the East above the Rossberg and the Thannen-Hubel, leaving behind it a trail of fire several kilometers long, and that 5 minutes later, a second "ball of fire" caused the same phenomenon; with this difference that the luminous trace was traced in the sky on a line that came clearly from the East in the direction of the West to approach appreciably the first above the Rossberg.

It was noted that the "trace of fire" in the sky could be observed for a good quarter of an hour.


Temporal data:

Date: July 24, 1952
Time: 09:30 p.m.
Duration: 15 - 20 minutes.
First known report date: July 26, 1952
Reporting delay: Hour, 1 day.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Thann
Place: Not reported.
Latitude: 47.806
Longitude: 7.111
Uncertainty radius: 3 km.

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: Several.
Number of known witnesses: ?
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Adults or aged.
Witness(es) types: ?

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: The regional Press.
Type of location: ?
Visibility conditions: Nightfall.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: Yes.
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: Planes and contrails.




JULY 24, 1952.-

THANN. - (68)

Hour: 09:30 p.m.

Several people saw a dot of light advancing from the SOUTH-EAST in a WEST direction above the ROSSBERG-THANNEN-HUBEL and leaving behind it a trail of fire several kilometers long. Five minutes later, a second "ball of fire" gave rise to the same phenomenon; with this difference that the luminous trace, this time, registered on the firmament on a line which was coming clearly from the EAST in direction of the WEST to approach appreciably of the first above the ROSSBERG. For a good quarter of an hour the trace of fire could be observed in the sky.

"L'ALSACE" for JULY 26, 1952. page 5

(search by Mr. Mourier)



It is pretty obvious that all this was just caused by contrails of jet fighters of the French Air Force, taking a reddish hue at that hour when sun is about to set. As rightly pointed out by Christian Valentin, jet planes were a novelty in France then.

However, even to this day - 2000's - I can still find cases in which contrails are believed to be "mysterious" or interpreted as UFOs not only by their witnesses, by the Press, but sometimes also by some ufologists.

Below: The Dassault Ouragan of the air and space museum in Paris - Le Bourget. Commissioned in December 1951. Photo by the author of this website in 2014.



Planes and contrails.

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 August 4, 2023 Creation, [ald1].
1.0 Patrick Gross August 4, 2023 First published.

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This page was last updated on August 4, 2023.