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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.

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Case of Wittenheim, on October 23, 1954:

Case number:



On October 22, 1954, the Press reported that many witnesses had seen impressive maneuvers of a flying object above Wittenheim in the Haut-Rhin. You can find information on this observation in its own file.

Quite on the sidelines of this event, a quite ridiculous and funny affair took shape:

One of the witnesses of the sighting, policeman Muller of Wittenheim, later found in a garden, or his garden, a forked radish that had the looks of a "Martian".

Duly made up as Martian, the radish was quickly exposed at the Zimmerman coffee shop in Wittenheim, where the witnesses of the saucer of October 22 had gathered. Everyone had fun and it was nothing more than fun, reported as such in the newspaper Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace for October 30, 1954:

However, the Parisian weekly tabloid Radar for November 7, 1954, thought it was clever to tell about it as if policeman Muller was serious, as if the radish was a real Martian.

In the 1970s, the case entered as a summary in the "UFOCAT" catalog in the USA.

Then in 1979, debunkers Barthel and Brucker told of the case as an "example", explaining that during the 1954 French saucer flap, "people invented Martians of the most extravagant shapes" such as the "vegetable Martian" of Wittenheim.

The same year, ufologists Figuet and Ruchon explained that it had only been an innocent joke, the "Martian" was never taken for anything else than what it was, a radish with a weird shape.

This did not prevented others thereafter in France and elsewhere, to write such nonsense as "Mssrs Muller, Meyer, and Settner [sic] and Mrs. Zimmerman saw a little creature that looked like a radish."

And it continued like this though I narrated the case on my website in 2008.


Temporal data:

Date: October 23, 1954
Time: N/A
Duration: N/A
First known report date: October 30, 1954
Reporting delay: Day, days.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Wittenheim
Place: Zimmermann coffee shop.
Latitude: 47.806
Longitude: 7.337
Uncertainty ratio: 15 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 3 or more.
Number of known witnesses: 3
Number of named witnesses: 3
Witness(es) ages: Adults.
Witness(es) types: Negative witnesses only.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: UFOCAT catalogue.
Type of location: N/A, garden, coffee shop.
Visibility conditions: N/A
UFO observed: No
UFO arrival observed: N/A
UFO departure observed: N/A
Entities: Yes
Photographs: Yes.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): N/A.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): N/A.
Witness(es) feelings: Amused.
Witnesses interpretation: A radish that looked like a Martian.


Hynek: CD3
ALSACAT: "Martian-shaped" radish, turned to "true CE3" later by uninformed ufologists.



Marsbewohner in Wittenheim

Bekanntlich wurde vor kurzem in Wittenhein eine "fliegende Untertasse" gesichtet, die sich über der Ortschaft allerhand "Phantasien" leistete und von mehreren Personen beobachtet worden war. Zwei Tage später schenkte M. Muller, Polizist aus Wittenheim, der gleichfalls Zeuge der abendlichen Kabriolen dieser "Untertasse" gewesen war, einem Einwohner einen kleinen Marsbewohner (unser Bild), den der Hüter der Ordnung im Garten gefunden hatte. Und seither ist in Wittenheim nur noch von Marsbewohnern dir Rede!...
Photo Grimaz)


A resident of Mars in Wittenheim

It is know that recently in Wittenheim a "flying saucer" was seen; which performed above the city all kinds of "fantasies" and was seen by several people. Two days later, Mr. Muller, police officer in Wittenheim, who had also observed the evening antics of the "saucer", gave a small resident of Mars (our picture), the law enforcement officer had found it in the garden. And since then, in Wittenheim, one only speaks of the Martians!...
(Photo Grimaz)

[Ref. rdr1:] "RADAR" MAGAZINE:

This weekly magazine of Paris published the photo of the radish from [dna1] with this caption:

"... I saw it in my garden! You can believe me, swears the police officer M., the Martian who was prowling in my garden of Wittenheim was like this black radish)."

[Ref. uct1:] UFOCAT:

1954 - That same night a big, bifurcated black "radish"-shaped creature was seen walking around Wittenheim, France. (Source: Paris Radar, October 31, 1954).


The authors indicate that in 1954 people invented Martians with the most extravagant forms, like the "vegetable Martian", a small being in the horseradish shape observed in Wittenheim in the Haut-Rhin at the beginning of November 1954.

[Ref. mft2:] MICHEL FIGUET:

This ufologist noted:

251 CE3 10 23 1954 hnp Wittenheim (or 11/71/1954) 68270 C4 E, (prank-radish) B-B

[Ref. mft1:] MICHEL FIGUET:



"Agro-ufology" starts here! He is not green, he is black. He is not a small man, he is a large radish. See the photographic document "Radar" in "La grande peur Martienne."

[Ref. rre1:] RAOUL ROBE:

Case # 20

October 23, 1954 in Wittenheim (68)

The policeman Muller claims "The Martian who prowled in my garden resembled this radish." (Ref.: Radar magazine # 300 for 11/07/54). According to Barthel (p. 85), it was a joke between friends.



Case nr 15:

On Saturday October 28, 1954, the police officer Muller from Wittenheim (68) affirms "the Martian who prowled in my garden looked like this black radish."

Explanation: farce between friends.

Sources: Radar nr300 for 11/07/1954; Barthel and Brucker page 85.

[Ref. rre2:] RAOUL ROBE:

The case of Wittenheim (68), in November 1954, would boil down to a bar joke and not to a famous rre3 hoax quoted by B & B. We agree with J. Sider, while pointing out that the press was eager to amplify all the information on the subject during this great wave.

[Ref. rre3:] RAOUL ROBE:

- 18-


In the 1st quarter 1954, novelist B.R. Bruss publishes his book "S.O.S Soucoupes" at Fleuve Noir publishers. The author tells the story of a saucer crash in the desert of Arizona with recovery of little bodies of humanoids by the Amrican authorities. They are described as 1-meter-tall greenish radishes. Thus remember case #15 of the regional catalogue of humanoid observations published in Mystères de l'Est #1 (1995) page 16:

The weekly magazine Radar published on November 7, 1954, this information: polie officer Muller of Wittenheim (68) affirms "the Martian that prowled in my garden resembled this dwarf radish."

Explanation: prank between friends or journalistic hoax?

Sources : -Radar for 11/07/1954 #300; Barthel & Brucker page 85;
-J. Sider "Dossier 54..." pages 64,65 (1997).

So even the hoaxes of the 1954 flap were inspired by S.F. ...

Raoul Robé /01/012000

[Ref. ars1:] ALBERT ROSALES:


Location. Wittenheim France

Date: October 23 1954

Time: night

M Muller, a police officer, saw a "Martian" in his garden that resembled a big bifurcated black radish. There were three other witnesses. No other information.

Humcat 1954-114

Source: Humcat quoting Newspaper source

Type: E

[Ref. djn1:] DONALD JOHNSON:

Encounters with Aliens on this Day

October 23

1954 - That same night a big, bifurcated "black radish" shaped creature was seen walking around Wittenheim, Haut-Rhin department, France. Mr. Muller, a policeman, saw the being in his garden. There were three other witnesses. (Sources: Paris Radar, October 31, 1954; David F. Webb & Ted Bloecher, HUMCAT: Catalogue of Humanoid Reports, case 1954-114).

[Ref. uda1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that 23 October 1954 at 23:00 in Wittenheim, France, "Muller, a policeman, saw a being in his garden that resembled a big bifurcated "black raddish". three other witnesses."

And: "That same night a big, bifurcated black "radish"-shaped creature was seen walking around Wittenheim, France ."

And: "An unidentified object at close range and its occupants were observed by four witnesses (as reported to the police) in a garden for ten minutes (Muller). One radish-like being was seen."

And: "M Muller, a police officer, saw a "Martian" in his garden that resembled a big bifurcated black radish. There were three other witnesses. No other information."

The sources are noted as Webb, David, HUMCAT: Catalogue of Humanoid Reports; Vallee, Jacques, Computerized Catalog (N = 3073); Newspaper Clippings; Rosales, Albert, Humanoid Sighting Reports Database.

[Ref. djn2:] DONALD JONHSON:

Donald Johnson indicates that in 1954, among the UFO occupants reported, were nonhumanoid "radish" looking creatures.

[Ref. prn1:] PETER ROGERSON:

November 7 1954.


Messes Muller, Meyer, Settner and Mrs Zimmerman saw a little being that resembled a black radish.

Jacques Bonabot citing an undated 1954 edition of Radar.


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 writes about the observation in Wittenheim on October 22, 1954, with the testimony of the son of Jean-Marie Stattner, witness like his father. The son told 50 years later, on 23 February 2004, to Christian Valentin, that he remembers that a few days after the observation, the newspaper published a photo of a "Martian" carved in a beetroot. The object had been brought to the Zimmerman coffee shop where witnesses of observation had gathered on October 22, 1954. The son notes that the irony and skepticism had greatly affected her father, who had been deeply upset by the scoffing.

Christian Valentin reproduces the article and photograph of the newspaper Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace (See [dna1] above), give the source reference and his French translation:

Recently in Wittenheim, a "flying saucer" was observed, showing over the conurbation all its fancy in front of several witnesses. Two days later a policeman of Wittenheim, Mr. M., who had also witnessed the nocturnal exhibition of the "saucer", offered to a fellow citizen a small inhabitant of Mars (our picture) that the peacekeeper had found in his garden. And since, in Wittenheim, Martians are the only talk of the town...

He adds that other, less rigorous publications had then presented the affair in a more "attractive" manner, like the weekly magazine Radar #300 for November 7, 1954, who had published the photo with this caption:

"... I saw it in my garden! You can believe me, swears the police officer M., the Martian who was prowling in my garden of Wittenheim was like this black radish)."

Valentin adds that 25 years later, in their book "La Grande Peur Martienne" ("The Great Martian Scare"), Gerard Barthel and Jacques Brucker highlighted the Radar version indiscriminately.

[Ref. ubk1:] "UFO-DATENBANK":

This database recorded the case four times:

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19541023 23.10.1954 Wittenheim France Night CE III
19541023 23.10.1954 Wittenheim France 23.00 CE III
19541023 23.10.1954 Wittenheim France 23.00 CE III
19541023 23.10.1954 Wittenheim France Night CE III

[This database recorded the case four times instead of one time.]


November 7 1954.


Messes Muller, Meyer, Settner and Mrs Zimmerman saw a little being that resembled a black radish.

Jacques Bonabot citing an undated 1954. edition of Radar

[For previous and next cases in his catalog, Peter Rogerson quoted my present catalog as a source, but this time he apparently did not see what I said here about this case. So, his date is wrong, etc.]


This photograph of the infamous radish was published in the regional newspaper Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace on October 30, 1954, and then in Radar magazine.

This was never an observation of an UFO or occupants, it was never presented as such neither by the "witnesses" nor by ufologists except for UFOCAT, a database started by the Condon committee in the US where the radish is claimed to have been walking! The "witnesses" were perfectly conscious of the reality: they found a radish with an unusual and funny shape and told about it. It was fun stuff, and certainly not intended to convince people that the radish really was an extraterrestrial. The story was used by the press to ridicule the flying saucer topic, and much later by French debunkers Gérard Barthel and Jacques Brucker to ridicule ufology.


"Martian-shaped" radish, turned to "true CE3" later by uninformed ufologists.

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 April 30, 2008 First published in the France 1954 catalogue.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 24, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Addition [djn1].
1.1 Patrick Gross February 28, 2010 Additions [uda1], [djn2].
1.2 Patrick Gross August 19, 2010 Addition [rre1].
1.3 Patrick Gross August 15, 2013 Addition [prn1].
3.0 Patrick Gross March 14, 2014 Added to the ALSACAT catalogue.
1.6 Patrick Gross April 30, 2015 Additions [cvn2], Summary.
3.0 Patrick Gross April 30, 2015 First published in the ALSACAT catalogue.
3.1 Patrick Gross January 24, 2017 Addition [ubk1].
3.1 Patrick Gross December 8, 2018 Additions [mft2], [rre2], [rre3], [prn2].
3.2 Patrick Gross May 24, 2021 Addition [mye1].

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This page was last updated on May 24, 2021.