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ALSACAT:

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.

Case of Metzeral, on January 18, 1979:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1979-01-18-METZERAL-1

Summary:

The local ufologist Jacques Journot published his three-page investigation report with photos of the place on a case of January 18, 1978, in Metzeral, in the ufology magazine Lumières Dans La Nuit #187 of August - September 1979.

Following an article in the newspaper Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace for January 16, 1979, about a phenomenon of January 5, 1979, he went to the Gendarmerie of Munster, and presenting his activities, he learned that children from Metzeral had seen a "flying saucer" on Thursday evening, January 18, 1979. He went there immediately, first contacting the schoolmaster, Mr. Colard, and the first witness, Sylvie Meyer, to whom he asked to write and draw what she had seen, asking her to tell his cousin, Emmanuelle Roess, the second witness, to do the same, but without then showing each other what they write; and he made an appointment for January 24, 1979.

When he saw the schoolmaster Mr. Colard, the latter had immediately shown him an essay on the observation drafted that very morning by Sylvie Meyer, while his class had had to write an free essay. The teacher told him that the two girls were not used to telling fancy stories and that for him they had really seen something unusual. J. Journot asked him whether he had already spoken about UFOs in classroom, he answered that during the first term, around October, they had studied the sky, the stars, and talked about "other beings who may live in another universe", in the class where Sylvie was, Emmanuelle being in another class.

J. Journot indicates that the sighting took place on Thursday, January 18, 1979, in Metzeral, 7 km southwest of Munster in the Haut-Rhin, around 5 p.m. at nightfall, then around 6:30 p.m. under a dark night. The sky was overcast, it was snowing lightly, and it was cold: -6°C.

He presents the two witnesses: Emmanuelle Roess, born August 16, 1970, a schoolgirl in Metzeral in CE2 class, and her cousin Sylvie Meyer, born July 21, 1968, also a schoolgirl in Metzeral, in CM2 class.

He first gives Emmanuelle's story, supplemented with background details:

At her home, Emmanuelle was playing in the kitchen with Sylvie, and around 5 p.m., looking out the window facing south, they saw an orange ball that hurt their eyes a bit, which had three red and yellow lights flashing. She says that "It was going fast", that she saw it for about 15 seconds, that it passed over the mountains, and then disappeared from their sight. J. Journot explains that the ridges are at an altitude of about 700 meters, that is, 200 meters higher than the girl's house, that the UFO was going from East to West.

Around 6:30 p.m., Sylvie left to go home. Emmanuelle explains that she usually takes her home, but since it was cold, she stayed at her own home.

Emmanuelle, looking through the window of her bedroom to the north, suddenly saw a light on her left. She opened the window and shouted at Sylvie, asking her to look towards the ruins of the old factory.

Emmanuelle saw Sylvie looking to her left, and running home. Emmanuelle closed her window immediately after.

Emmanuelle says she...

... looked at this orange light, which hurt my eyes, with three yellow and red lights, and in the middle a white chrome circle for about 15 minutes. It just stood still.

It made like ZZZZZZZZZ (like a bee). Then it left very quickly towards the mountains (towards the South). All three lights were blinking (at the rate of 2 blinks per second approximately, according to the investigator showing her how fast he was opening and closing his hands) and in the middle the white circle was spinning (counterclockwise).

I ran into the kitchen and saw it go over the mountain and disappear. I don't know what it was. When I went to bed (around 9 p.m.) my eyes still hurt."

Emmanuelle clarified that when the UFO left - the investigator determined that it was around 6:45 p.m. - 6:50 p.m. - the chrome circle was spinning slowly, and when she saw it above the mountain, before losing sight of it, this circle was spinning very quickly.

Sylvie's story was:

"Thursday evening at 4:00 p.m., I went to my cousin Emmanuelle's place (distance between the 2 houses: 15 meters - Distance to walk: 40 m). We were playing in the kitchen. We looked through the window (around 5:00 p.m.). We saw an orange light which hurt our eyes; which passed along the mountain, it went down. It must have been hidden by a mountain. We did not see it any more. I said "what is it?" After some thought Emmanuelle said: "it may be a flying saucer", we didn't think about it any more. Around 6:30 p.m., I was going home. I was at the corner of my house, Emmanuelle called me scared and shouted: "Sylvie look towards the ruins of the old factory!" I turned and I was startled with amazement. A shape of an orange disc with three lights, the top was red and the bottom was yellow. It was moving towards me when I took a step. I ran inside and went to the dining room window (facing north). This shape had reverted to the place where where I had seen it before arriving home. It was approximately 5 meters above the electric wires (3 wires of the Low Voltage line), and remained motionless. I heard a noise: ZZZZZZZ, like a bee (heard outside, more faintly in the house, the left ear plugged with his hand because of the T.V. that was working nearby). I watched for at least 10 minutes. My mother called me for supper. Once finished, I told the emotion to my mother who did not believe me. I looked out the window again, but there was nothing left. This orange light hurt my eyes. Sometimes I would put my hand over my eyes to alleviate the pain, and I would look again. Around 8 p.m. I went to bed. My eyes still hurt, but I slept well."

J. Journot explains that he saw these children three times: January 20, 24, and February 2, 1979. He did not notice any particular contradictions despite the traps he set; the stories "stood". Emmanuelle had seen more detail, perhaps because she had had a slightly different viewing angle from that of her cousin. The position of the three luminosities was the same in both accounts.

He notes that the notion of time is not yet precise in young children, but that he had questioned their mothers and was therefore able to establish that the phenomenon had been seen for about 15 minutes.

He notes that while Sylvie was looking out the dining room window, her 7-year-old brother and her two 5-year-old twin sisters were watching "L'île aux Enfants" on TV, which makes it easy to set the time as 06:35 p.m. - 06:40 p.m.

He notes that the children did not notice any malfunction in the TV. He points out that it is striking that Sylvie did not ask her brothers and sisters to come and see this phenomenon, nor call her mother, and that Emmanuelle also had the same reaction. They couldn't explain to him why they hadn't alerted anyone.

He notes that the surrounding dogs had barked, but that Sylvie specified that they often did. No one else seemed to have seen anything odd that night.

No side effects were observed, neither on the two girls, nor on the environment. On the 24th, J. Journot looked for magnetic anomalies with a compass and found nothing of the sort. Sylvie slept well the night of the observation, but Emmanuelle "dreamed a lot and was agitated during the night" according to her mother.

One difference in the accounts was that Sylvie said that the UFO moved towards her when she was around the corner of the house, but Emmanuelle claimed that the UFO always stood still.

J. Journot had the girls make angular size estimates with a comparator, and estimates that this resulted in an object of approximately 1 meter to 1.60 meters assuming it was 100 meters away; he indicates that it is also possible that the UFO was 120 or 130 meters from the witnesses.

For him, the two girls seem to be in good faith; Sylvie believes in UFOs, she saw helicopters 8 days ago and said that it was nothing like what she observed, whose nature she does not understand, just like Emmanuelle for that matter. It was the first time they had seen such a thing. Girls are now scared at night and rarely go out after dark.

Both mothers do not believe in UFOs, no one ever talks about this topic at home, where there is nothing to read about this topic.

J. Journot indicates that he was very well received, by the families as well as by the gendarmerie officers of Munster with whom he had been able to speak several times for a very long time, having lent them some LDLN magazines. He specifies that the Munster Gendarmerie did not file a report on this case, as they did not have the time to do it.

His report is illustrated with photos and sketches, visible further down in this file.

The case has been the subject of several very succinct summaries in French and American ufology literature. It was more fully summarized by Christian Valentin in his 2012 book about UFOs in Alsace.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: January 18, 1979
Time: ~05:00 p.m. and ~06:30 p.m.
Duration: 10 minutes.
First known report date: Beginning of 1979
Reporting delay: Day, 3 months.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Metzeral
Place: From the kitchen window, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.012
Longitude: 7.071
Uncertainty ratio: 1 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 2
Number of known witnesses: 2
Number of named witnesses: 2
Witness(es) ages: 9, 11
Witness(es) types: Local young girls.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Investigation by ufologist Jacques Journot.
Type of location: From inside the kitchen through the closed then opened kitchen window, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Day.
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: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: DD or CE2
ALSACAT: Unidentified.

Sources:

[Ref. ldl1:] UFOLOGY MAGAZINE "LUMIERES DANS LA NUIT":

Scan.

Near Munster

Investigation by J. JOURNOT

[Photo caption:] view from the kitchen at Emmanuelle's
6 / Direction of the UFO seen around 5 p.m.
7 / Trajectory and disappearance of the UFO behind these mountains around 6:15 p.m.

Following the article published in the "D.N.A." for Tuesday 16/1/79, relating to the phenomenon of Monday 1/15/1979, I went to the Gendarmerie of MUNSTER (68). While presenting my activities, I learned that children of METZERAL (68) had seen a "flying saucer" on Thursday evening 1/18/79. I went there immediately, first contacting the schoolmaster Mr COLARD, MEYER Sylvie to whom I asked to make a drafting and a drawing of what she had seen, and that she told her cousin to do the same, but without showing each other what they were doing. I made an appointment for Wednesday, January 24, 1979.

I would like to point out straight away that when I saw the schoolmaster Mr. Colard, he showed me, as soon as I introduced myself, the drafting carried out the same morning by MEYER Sylvie, his class having had to do a free essay. He told me that Meyer Sylvie and Roess Emmanuelle were not used to telling stories and that for him they had really seen something unusual. By asking him: "whether he had already talked about this in the classroom", he replied "that during the first term, around October, they had studied the sky, the stars, and talked about other beings who could live in another universe." (Emmanuelle is not in her class).

DATE OF OBSERVATIONS: Thursday, January 18, 1979.

LOCATION: METZERAL (68) Michelin map 87 - Fold 18 - or IGN map 1/50 OOOth - sheet XXXVI - 19 "MUNSTER" - Vertical line 55, horizontal 19.

07 km southwest of Munster.

Scan.

HOURS: Around 5 p.m. (nightfall) and around 6:30 p.m. (dark night).

WEATHER CONDITIONS: Overcast - Cold - It was lightly snowing - Temperature: -6°C

WITNESSES: 2. - ROESS Emmanuelle born 08.16.1970, schoolgirl at METZERAL, class: CE.2
MEYER Sylvie born 07.21.1968, schoolgirl at METZERAL, class: CM.2

THE FACTS:

Let's first hand over to Emmanuelle:

"With Sylvie, we were playing in the kitchen (at her house Emmanuelle). Around 5:00 p.m., looking through the kitchen window (facing south) we saw an orange ball that hurt our eyes (a little) with three red and yellow lights flashing. It was going fast. I saw it for about 15 seconds. It was going at the level of the mountains. (altitude 700 m approximately, that is to say 200 m higher from her residence). (Direction of UFO: East West) Then it disappeared from our sight.

Around 6:30 p.m., Sylvie left for her home. Usually, I take her home, but since it was cold, I stayed at home.

I looked at her through my bedroom window (located to the north). Suddenly, to my left, I saw a light. I opened the window and shouted:

Sylvie, look towards the ruins of the old factory.

She looked to her left, and she ran home. (she then closed the window immediately after).

I looked at this orange light, which hurt my eyes, with three yellow and red lights, and in the middle a white chrome circle (see sketch) for about 15 minutes. It remained immobile.

It made ZZZZZZZZZ (like a bee). Then it left very quickly towards the mountains (towards the South). The three lights were blinking (at the rate of 2 blinks per second approximately, showing her how fast I was opening and closing my hand) and in the middle the white circle was spinning (counterclockwise).

I ran into the kitchen and saw it go over the mountain and disappear. I don't know what it was. When I went to bed (around 9 p.m.) my eyes still hurt."

Here is Sylvie's story:

"Thursday evening at 4:00 p.m., I went to my cousin Emmanuelle's place (distance between the 2 houses: 15 meters - Distance to walk: 40 m). We were playing in the kitchen. We looked through the window (around 5:00 p.m.). We saw an orange light which hurt our eyes, which passed along the mountain, it went down. It must have been hidden by a mountain. We did not see it any more. I said "what is it? After reflection Emmanuelle said: it may be a flying saucer; we didn't think about it anymore. Around 6:30 p.m., I was going home. When I was at the corner of my house, Emmanuelle called me scared and shouted: Sylvie look towards the ruins of the old factory! I turned and was startled. An orange disc shape with three lights, the top of which was in red

[Drawing caption:]

UFO seen by Emmanuelle ROESS sketch made by the investigator with the witness
- the inside of the circle was orange (151 U in the Pantone color chart)
- the 3 lights were: Red top (186 U in the color chart)
Bottom: dune (102 U in the color chart)

Scan.

[Photo caption:] 4: window of the dining room from where Sylvie observed the UFO
5: view from the window of Sylvie's dining room

and the underside in yellow. It was moving towards me when I took a step. I ran home and went to the dining room window (facing north). This shape had returned to where I had seen it before I got home. It was approximately 5 m above the electric wires (3 wires of the Low Voltage line), and remained motionless. I heard a noise: ZZZZZZZ, like a bee (heard outside, more faintly in the house, the left ear covered with my hand because of the T.V. that was on nearby). I watched for at least 10 minutes. My mother called me for supper. Once finished, I told the emotion to my mother who did not believe me. I looked out the window again, but there was nothing left. This orange light hurt my eyes. Sometimes I would put my hand over my eyes to alleviate the pain, and I would look again. Around 8 p.m. I went to bed. My eyes still hurt, but I slept well."

FURTHER DETAILS:

I saw these children three times: Saturday 20, Wednesday 24 and Friday 2/2/79. I did not note any particular contradictions despite the traps I set. These stories "hold together". Emmanuelle saw more details, perhaps due to the slightly different viewing angle from that of her cousin Sylvie. - The notion of time is not yet precise in these young children. However, by questioning the mothers, I was able to establish that they saw this phenomenon for about 15 minutes.

Scan.

[Sketch caption] UFO seen by Sylvie Meyer - sketch made by the investigator with the witness

- While Sylvie was looking out of the dining room window, her brother (7-year-old) and her twin sisters (5-year-old) were watching TV. "L'île aux Enfants" was on [TV show for kids.]. So it was 6:35 p.m. - 6:40 p.m.

The kids can't remember noticing that the TV functioned worse than usual. There were parasites as usual, reception being difficult in this narrow valley. What is striking is that Sylvie did not ask her brothers and sisters to come and see this phenomenon, nor call her mother, and Emmanuelle also had the same reaction. By asking them why, neither of them could give me an explanation for this state of affairs.

But they had never seen such lights.

The position of the three luminosities is the same in both stories.

- A particular point where we also notice a difference; Sylvie says the UFO moved towards her when she was around the corner from the House. Emmanuelle claims that the UFO had always remained motionless.

- The surrounding dogs barked, but they often do (dixit Sylvie)

- Emmanuelle told me that when the UFO left (around 6:45 p.m. - 6:50 p.m.) the chrome circle was turning slowly, and when she saw it above the mountain, before disappearing, this circle was turning very quickly.

- No one else would seem to have seen anything in particular that night.

- No side effects were observed, neither on the two girls, nor on the environment. Nevertheless, whereas Sylvie slept well on the night of the observation, Emmanuelle "dreamed a lot and was agitated during the night" according to her mother.

- Witnesses have a good eyesight.

- I did not notice anything peculiar on the place.

No magnetic effect (performed on Wednesday 24) on the compass.

OBJECT DIMENSIONS:

- Sylvie: 10 mm at the gonio

- Emmanuelle: 9 mm at the gonio; which would give approximately an object of 1.60 to 1.0 m assuming the craft was at 100 m (which would confirm the statements of the children). It is also possible that the UFO was 120 or 130 m away from the witnesses.

COLORS OF LIGHTS:

Using the PANTONE color chart, I asked each of them to define the different colors for me (see sketch). There is a certain difference. This question was asked again on Friday 2/2, individually, and here is what I got:

SYLVIE EMMANUELLE DIFFERENCE WITH THEIR 1ST IMPRESSION
ORANGE 172 WARM RED which is almost identical
RED (top) 240 240 noteworthy change
YELLOW (below) 108 115 difference to be noted. After refflection, they agreed on the 115 as they looked at the color chart together.

CONCLUSION:

These two young girls seem to me to be in good faith.

Sylvie believes in UFOs. (Has seen helicopters 8 days ago and says it was nothing like what she observed). But does not know what she had seen, just like Emmanuelle besides. This is the first time they saw such a thing.

Sylvie's mother is separated from her husband and takes care of her 4 children alone. She neither, nor Emmanuelle's mother, believe in UFOs. Nobody ever talks about these phenomena at home and does not have a book that talks about them.

Now these girls are scared at night and rarely go out after dark.

The MUNSTER Gendarmerie will not carry out an official report on this affair, they do not have enough time.

I was very well received, by the families, and by the police officers of Munster with whom I was able to speak several times for a very long time, having also lent them LDLN magazines.

[Ref. mft1:] "FRANCAT" - MICHEL FIGUET:

Scan.

CASE NR CLASSIFICATION DATE TIME PLACE ZIP CODE CREDIBILITY SOURCES
887 CE0-2 18.01.1979 5 p.m., 6 p.m. Metseral [sic] 68380 B3 NI LDLN 187 p. 125

[Ref. djn1:] DONALD JOHNSON:

Encounters with Aliens on this Day

January 18

1979 - A two-meter wide orange disc-shaped UFO made two passes over two witnesses in Metzeral, France at five p.m.. The UFO made a buzzing sound and had lights at both ends. Both witnesses' eyes hurt after the close encounter. (Source: Lumieres dans la Nuit, July 1979).

[Ref. nip1:] "THE NICAP WEBSITE":

Jan.18, 1979; Metzeral, France

5:00 PM. A two-meter wide orange disc-shaped UFO made two passes over two witnesses. The UFO made a buzzing sound and had lights at both ends. Both witnesses' eyes hurt after the close encounter. (Source: Lumieres dans la Nuit, July 1979).

[Ref. lhh1:] LARRY HATCH:

13550: 1979/01/18 17:00 90 7:04:20 E 48:00:40 N 3333 WEU FRN HRH 6:6

METZERAL,FR:2 KIDS:2M ORG.SCR/2 PASSES:BUZZES:LITES/ENDS:BOTH OBS'EYES HURT

Ref#194 LUMIERES dans la NUIT.(LDLN France) Issue No. 187 : RESIDENT'L

[Ref. uda1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

18 January 1979 17:00

Metzeral, Alsace, France

2m diameter orange disc makes two passes. Makes buzzing sound. Had lights at both ends. Both witnesses' eyes hurt after encounter.

A two-meter wide orange disc-shaped UFO made two passes over two witnesses in Metzeral, France at five p.m.. The UFO made a buzzing sound and had lights at both ends. Both witnesses' eyes hurt after the close encounter.

An object was observed. Physiological effects were noted. One orange disc, about 10 feet across, was observed by two children in a residential area for 90 minutes. A buzzing sound was heard.

Hynek rating: CE2

Vallee rating: CE2

The sources are indicated as: "Lumieres dans la Nuit, Lumieres dans la Nuit; Hatch, Larry, *U* computer database, Author, Redwood City, 2002."

[Ref. cvn2:] CHRISTIAN VALENTIN:

The former journalist Christian Valentin published in 2012 a very interesting book about the history of UFO sightings and other flying saucers in Alsace, form the origins until 1980.

In this book, he tells there was a case on Thursday, January 18, 1979, at 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Jacques Journot published the investigation he did in early 1979, in the journal "Lumières Dans La Nuit" #187 in September 1979.

In Metzeral, two girls aged 9 and 11, S. and E. were at S.'s home, in the kitchen, when they saw through the kitchen window overlooking the south side a very luminous orange ball belted on the left, right and bottom by three flashing red and yellow lights.

The object was seen for fifteen seconds moving close to the mountain crest. At 06:30 p.m., E. leaves his girlfriend and returns to his parents' home a few tens of meters away. S., who looked at her go away though the window, opened the door and suddenly called, frightened because the luminous object had reappeared and was advancing toward her, emitting a humming noise that reminded her of the noise of a bee.

She described the object as an orange disc with three flashing lights on each side, red and yellow, and one yellow light on the bottom). S., during the second appearance notes the presence at the center of the object of a chrome white round rotating in anticlockwise direction.

The observation lasted about ten minutes.

The LDLN investigator had interviewed the two friends separately several times, without "noting any contradiction despite his attempts to trick them."

Discussion:

Map.

The case, investigated with some care, seems rather "good" to me; the description does not appear to be that of a helicopter. Of course the witnesses are children and there is no "hard evidence" to decide with certainty that it was indeed an extraterrestrial craft.

I could have leaned for a double observation, first that of some conventional aircraft passing over the mountain, then a Saint-Elmo fire or corona effect on the power line; but in this second case, we are told that the "ball" was "5 m above the electric wires", therefore too high, and that it was a "3 wire" line at low voltage, which is not not very favorable to such an effect. The description and the sketch do not match such explanations, anyways.

Evaluation:

Possible extraterestrial craft.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:

Authoring:

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

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross July 4, 2015 Creation, [mft1], [djn1], [nip1], [uda1], [cvn2].
1.0 Patrick Gross July 4, 2015 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross May 21, 2021 Additions [ldl1], [lhh1]. Summary rewritten, was based on [cvn2]. Explanations changed, were ""I hope I can get me the original source sometime; there are in fact many "holes" in the documentation I currently know. This is very unfortunate because the case could be quite interesting. Thus there is neither distance nor precise timing, no positions, no statement of the girl who was walking home, no details on how the observation ended or clear information on the alleged "hurting eyes" - was it noted by the parents or a doctor or was it a simple physiological effect of emotion? As it is, I do not want to claim "it was certainly a helicopter, it made a humming sound", especially as a helicopter is not likely to resemble a very luminous orange ball - but I can certainly not claim it was an alien spacecraft..."

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