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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 Strasbourg, on March 17, 1959:

Case number:



In 1959, in the magazine Lumières Dans La Nuit #22, Charles Garreau, journalist and pioneer of French ufology, wrote an article in which he claimed to demonstrate a link between rocket launches and the activity of "the beings who watch over the Earth."

He noted among other things that on March 17, 1959, there were "mysterious explosions over Strasbourg", which he believed to be linked to the launch of a Vanguard rocket in the us one month earlier, announced on February 18, 1959.


Temporal data:

Date: March 17, 1959
Time: ?
Duration: ?
First known report date: 1960
Reporting delay: Day, months.

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Strasbourg
Place: ?
Latitude: 48.570
Longitude: 7.752
Uncertainty radius: 20 km

Witnesses data:

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

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Jacques Vallée, and Spanish "mystery" encyclopedia.
Type of location: ?
Visibility conditions: ?
UFO observed: ?
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: ?
ALSACAT: Probably not UFO-related.



This ufologist thinks he demonstrates a link between all UFO sightings in the world and rocket and satellite launches; he indicates as an example that on March 17, 1959, there were "mysterious explosions over Strasbourg", which he thinks were linked to the launch of a Vanguard rocket announced on February 18, 1959.

He explains this connection as follows: According to him, the beings who watch the Earth are put on alert when we launch rockets.

[Ref. gqy1:] GUY QUINCY:


[... other cases...]

March 17 [1959]

?: Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin): Mysterious explosions in the sky

[... other cases...]


This author of an encyclopedia on various mysteries, published on CD-Rom, wrote that in Strasbourg in France on March 17, 1959, one had heard of mysterious explosions above the city, which had no explanation:

17 Marzo 1959 Estrasburgo Francia Misteriosas explosiones fueron escuchadas sobre esta ciudad. No se encontraron explicaciones al respecto.

[Ref. uda1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

17 March 1959 20:30

Strasbourg, Alsace, France

Hynek rating: NL

The sources are indicated as: "Vallee, Jacques, Computerized Catalog (N = 3073)."

[Ref. ubk1:] "UFODATENBANK":

Case ID19590317
Global case number:19590317-0005-UDB
Date of observation (Day)17
Date of observation (Month)3
Date of observation(Year)1959
Hour of observation20.30
Zip Code
Place of observationStrasbourg
Federal state
Hynek Classification
Vallee Classification
Ruthledge Classification
Henke Classification
Status of the investigation
Case added by
Latest change by:
Investigator in charge of the case
SourceDUFOA-Deutschland - SiDat - 1996-2002
State of the information25.04.2015 22:16
Accesses to this record2
Link to Openmap,France
Link to the observation
Summary for guestsThe facts and other possible documents will be published progressively. We thank you for your patience.
Preview image



According to [eve1], there would be no UFO there but "explosions"; for [uda1] it is a UFO sighting of the "nocturnal light" type...

I found no othe source other than these two meager and unreliable ones.

Admitting the reality of the facts - which is doubtful - I find that there has been no earthquake in Strasbourg on this date.

I found that the newspaper L'Est Républicain for March 14, 1959, on page 6, reported the discovery of fifteen tons of shells of WWI, in Héming in the Moselle, near the Paris-Strasbourg line. Were they detonated in a center in Strasbourg?

A demining company was created in 1959 precisely in Soultz-sous-Forest, 30 kilometers north-west of Strasbourg.

Update on May 25, 2021:

With my finding of Charles Garreau's article, I now know why this entered the ufology literature: via this dubious "link" with a rocket launch in the US one month erlier...


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:


Main author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editeur: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross July 9, 2015 Creation, [eve1], [uda1].
1.0 Patrick Gross July 9, 2015 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross January 25, 2018 Addition [ubk1].
1.2 Patrick Gross May 25, 2021 Addition [cgu1]. summary rewritten, was: "A questionable Spanish encyclopedia of 1996 about "mysteries" says that on March 17, 1959, unexplained explosions were heard above Strasbourg. For this same date, a ufology catalog on the web says there was a UFO sighting of "nocturnal light" type in Strasbourg, stating that it comes from the computer catalog of Jacques Vallée." In the discussion, addition of the "Update on May 25, 2021" part.
1.3 Patrick Gross July 25, 2022 Addition [gqy1].

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This page was last updated on July 25, 2022.