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ALSACAT:

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 Wittelsheim, on December 11, 1980:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1980-12-11-WITTELSHEIM-1

Summary:

In the ufology magazine Lumières Dans La Nuit #219-220 of September - October 1982, appeared the report of an investigation by three members of the ufology group S.A.H.R ("Haut-Rhin Group for the Study of Aerospace Phenomena"), Joël Amlbiehl, Daniel Cortese and Christine Possner. Their report explains the following.

On December 12, 1980, the main witness to a phenomenon seen the day before in Wittelsheim phoned a member of the ufology group G.H.R.E.P.A. of Guebwiller to report his observation; on December 17, 1980, the S.A.H.R. investigators go to the scene.

The report lists the witnesses as Lucien [X], high school student, main witness hereinafter Witness A, 16 years old; Christine [X], schoolgirl, hereinafter witness B, sister of A, 12 years old; François [X], schoolboy, hereafter witness C, brother of A and B, 14 years old, Mrs. [X], hereafter witness D, 50 years old, mother of the other witnesses.

The place was at 5, Passage de la Mine in Wittelsheim.

The investigators note that the weather was the same as for the Mulhbach case which they had also investigated, i.e. cool weather with temperature between 0°C and - 1°C on the ground, with a few cirrus clouds at 7000 meters altitude, a weak West - South - West wind at altitude (20 to 25 knots) and no wind on the ground. A few stars were visible, the moon was not visible, excellent visibility up to 15 km.

The main witness Lucien [X] - witness A - indicated that on December 11, 1980 at 10:31 p.m., he went out into the courtyard to look for drinks in the trunk of their car.

On the way back, he suddenly had his attention drawn by a bright light moving in the sky, of a size estimated at that of Venus (estimated at 300 or 400 m high in the sky and 5 or 6 km in distance).

This light was advancing at a speed equivalent to that of a "Piper" plane and seemed to come from the Grand-Ballon following a North-North-West trajectory. Immediately, the witness thought that it could be, without a doubt, a UFO given its constant orange-yellow luminosity and its "abnormal" speed.

Running, he re-crossed the yard, returned home (distance about 25 m, elapsed time about 15 seconds); he announced to his family that "a strange light was oddly wandering in the sky." The mother's immediate reaction was to say, "Wouldn't it be a UFO, ay?" in a vaguely ironic tone according to witness A. Without further ado, he opened the living room shutters (facing NNW) and noticed that the light had disappeared. He then ran to the kitchen window facing the NNE, this in 4 to 7 seconds, and he saw the luminous object again in the sky at the height of the Cassiopeia Constellation, above his house.

This time, the thing appeared to him clearly in the form of a disc, and not that of an airplane (but its trajectory had changed from NNW to due south to head towards the house of the witnesses).

Witness A pointed out: "Moreover, the object had lights that could not be attributed to any aircraft: there were yellow lights (seven in number), green lights (four in number) and a central red light. All this forming the object, itself having a very visible outline of brilliant white color. Moreover, none of these 12 lights flashed at any time during the observation."

The movement of the phenomenon was constant and witness A estimated that at about 200 meters in height, a light could have a diameter of 2 millimeters, while the object itself could have a size of about 1 centimeter. He clarified that "The shapes were very sharp", but no antennas or portholes were visible.

While the object continued its trajectory still at an altitude of 200 meters towards the South, witness A called the members of his family who ran, out of curiosity and also irony, he said.

When the three other members of his family observed the phenomenon, it already seemed to him much less clear than when it was above his house.

The object moved further and further away, the lights gradually disappeared, and soon only an orange-yellow luminous dot remained visible, all about 5 mm in diameter; then this suddenly disappeared in the sky above the Richwiller forest.

Scan.

The duration of the observation by witness A is given as 4 minutes.

Witness A closed the shutters and immediately wrote up an account of his sighting, which he intended to submit to the Gendarmerie.

Witness B told the investigators, as Witness A previously said, that she rushed to the kitchen window where she observed the light phenomenon, initially thinking "It surely can't be an airplane...". She described the object as '3 bou

The duration of the observation by witness A is given as 4 minutes.

Witness A closed the shutters and immediately wrote up an account of his sighting, which he intended to submit to the Gendarmerie.

Witness B told investigators, as Witness A previously said, that she rushed to the kitchen window where she observed the light phenomenon, initially thinking "It surely can't be an airplane. ...". She described the object as "3 balls tied together, and of the same colors".

Witness C also went to the kitchen window to observe the phenomenon; he climbed on a kitchen chair to look out the window, his rather restricted observation time of 15 to 20 seconds still allowed him to give a description of the phenomenon: three lights in the shape of a triangle. The size of the object could correspond to half that of the full moon; its shape was that of a disc with three lights below; and the color of the luminous balls was yellow.

Witness D (mother of the other witnesses) also looked out the kitchen window, and described the object thus: "There were four lights whose colors were orange, red, yellow, in the form of 'a rounded triangle'. The object emitted, according to her, no noise. Moreover, she claimed that it was the first time she had seen such a thing.

The investigators obtained from witness A, using a comparator, angular sizes:

For them the diameter of the object would be about 10 meters; in this case between the tower and the building, the phenomenon would have been seen at about 1.5 km, and above the house it would have had an altitude of 400 meters.

For colors, Pantone color chart: they noted ref. 116U; ref. 354 U; ref. red: super warm red; object outline color: bright white.

The investigators noted that there were no physical or psychological effects. Witness A was nervous, but slept well although he was sure he saw a UFO.

Witness A had warned one of the members of the GHREPA in Guebwiller the next day, then on the advice of the latter, at 3:38 p.m. (specifies witness A) he went to the Wittelsheim Gendarmerie where he reported his observation.

According to Witness A, there was no car at the time of the sighting. A railway line passes near his house, but no train passed at that time.

The investigators note that the nearest high power line was about 1 km away, that the Basel-Mulhouse airfield is 30 km away, and that it is important to note that the object seems to have changed direction twice - they explain it with a sketch, visible further down in this file.

The investigators describe the environment of the witnesses as a working class one, the parents of whom are minors, live in a mining house, that there are 5 brothers and 2 sisters in the family.

They say of witness A that he is a high school student, in "seconde A" literary class, that his hobbies are astronomy, astrology, photography, and mainly ufology, that he is the head of the Club of Ufology of Wittelsheim; he had done a search in the archive of the newspaper L'Alsace, to find articles on this topic.

This witness seemed to them "in good faith, but would have a tendency to fabricate."

They noted that the other witnesses were not particularly keen to answer their questions and that they did not seem to be interested in the UFO phenomenon.

They noted that certain details "lead them to a certain skepticism": the duration of observation seemed to them a little exaggerated, there is uncertainty about the altitude, it seems to them surprising that witness A was able to count the 12 lights and locate them exactly on the sketch, in relation to the size of the object whereas he made the sketch of the UFO for them 6 days after his observation.

They concluded that the phenomenon observed "is most certainly the one seen in Muhlbach, the times and the trajectory coinciding.

Nothing else seems to have subsequently appeared about this sighting in the ufological literature; but the circumstances made that I obtained important elements to add to the file.

Indeed, in the early 2000s, when the question of UFO sightings had begun to interest me strongly, I met "Witness A", Lucien, who, with other French ufologists, was trying to undertake the establishment of a new French Federation of Ufology. There had already been one, but it had been a failure - the new attempt would fail too, many ufologists preferring to be the "Director" of their own ufology group than to admit the idea of a Federation which would propose common resources and other investigative standards experienced as a kind of "overhead". I met Lucien nearly a dozen times in this context, and we conducted together some ufological investigations in the region. I also learned why ufology interested him so much: very young, in 1972, he had already been one of the witnesses of an observation in Wittelsheim also, which we had often discussed.

On the other hand, I don't know why, I don't seem to remember that he mentioned this second observation. And I note that the investigation report on this second sighting says nothing about the first one. My explanation is that like many witnesses in this case, and having knowledge of ideas circulating in ufology about "repeaters", people seen as suspects because of multiple sightings, he certainly thought in both cases that to mention another sighting could expose him to these suspicions.

In fact, this first observation explains many things that the investigators of the second "spotted", which they obviously found odd or suspicious; which I can clarify: his initial observation had been very badly received. He had talked about it to his teacher, who brushed it off, explaining to him that he had seen "a rocket" - an explanation that does not hold water at all, and which therefore made him very suspicious of the "explanations" too often given without any research by various authority figures on the matter. Like many witnesses to truly strange events, he had become "skeptical" of any "official science". And this is what was seen by the investigators of this second sighting as "a tendency to fabricate." He questioned everything, looking for flaws, refusing both "skeptical" certainties about UFOs and "extraterrestrial" explanations given with too much assurance and sometimes too little argument. He had built a "culture" on the topic, had been a member of several local ufological groups, indeed, but not by an interest that arose from nothing, on the contrary, by an interest coming directly from his first observation.

This also explains this amazing thing quoted in the investigation report of this case: The mother's immediate reaction was to say, "That wouldn't be a UFO, would it?" in a vaguely ironic tone according to witness A. Obviously! He had seen a ufo before, he was interested in it, he talked about it in his family, a member of whom had also witnessed his first sighting.

Another fact that I can clarify. Lucien gives details that the investigators find curiously precise: the number of lights, their arrangement, for example. I'm not surprised at all. He had developed the rather welcome idea in ufology of precision; during our investigations, it was obvious. I am convinced that at the time of the observation, he was counting the lights, he was writing "in his head" the report he was going to write very quickly. He went very far in this concern for precision, this can be seen when he says he went to the Gendarmerie at "3:38 p.m.", where others would have said "in the afternoon" or "about 3 p.m.".

I hope I clarified here the sensible remarks of the investigators on "witness A". I also want to specify that during the two observations, if he was the only one to make much of it, he was not the only witness. In the present case, it is not absurd to consider that there even seemed to be consistent and totally independent testimony, with the observation at Mulhbach-on-Munster.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: December 11, 1980
Time: 10:31 p.m.
Duration: 4 minutes.
First known report date: December 12, 1980
Reporting delay: 1 day.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Wittelsheim
Place: Outside then inside 5 passage de la Mine.
Latitude: 47.790
Longitude: 7.245
Uncertainty ratio: 30 m.

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 4
Number of known witnesses: 4
Number of named witnesses: 4
Witness(es) ages: 16, 12, 14, 50
Witness(es) types: Two brothers, a sister, their mother.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: To local ufologists.
Type of location: Outside the inside home at window.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: No.
UFO departure observed: Yes.
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): Yes.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): Yes.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: Not known aircraft, UFO.

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Unidentified.

Sources:

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

Scan.

Investigation by the S.A.H.R

Wittelsheim (Haut-Rhin)

(this investigation is the logical continuation of the one published in L.D.L.N. 215-216 pages 18 and 19 "Phenomenon in the Haut-Rhin near Munster and Mulhouse)

Investigators: (members of the Groupement Haut-Rhinois d'Etude des Phénomènes Aérospatiaux S.A.H.R.)

On December 12, 1980, the main witness to a phenomenon seen the day before in WITTELSHEIM, telephoned a member of the G.H.R.E.P.A. from Guebwiller (68).

On Wednesday, December 17, we went to the place.

Name of witnesses:

Address: 5, passage de la Mine - 68310 WITTELSHEIM.

Occupation:

Date of observation: December 11, 1980.

Hour: 10:31 p.m. (hour specified by witness A).

Place: WITTELSHEIM (68), Michelin map 87, fold 19.

Weather: same coditions as investigation above.

Duration of observation: 04 minutes (given by the witness)

The facts:

- Witness A (main)

The latter was out in the yard to fetch some drinks in the trunk of their car. When he returned, he suddenly had his attention drawn by a bright light moving in the sky, with a size estimated at that of Venus (estimated at 300 to 400 m high and 5 or 6 km away).

Scan.

This light was moving at a pace equivalent to that of a "Piper" (sic) plane and seemed to come from the Grand Ballon (?) while performing a North-Western path. Immediately, the witness thought it could be, no doubt, a UFO in view of its orange-yellow brightness - constante and its "abnormal" speed.

Running, he crossed back the yard and went home (distance = 25 m, elapsed time = 15" approx); he announced to his family that "a strange light in the sky was wandering strangely". Immediately the reaction of the mother was this: "Wouldn't it be a UFO, right?" (on a vaguely ironic tone ... says the witness) Without further ado, he opened the shutters of the living room (NNW side) and saw that the light was gone. He then ran to the kitchen window (NE side). (note that the witness took about 04-07 seconds to move from the living room and the kitchen to open the shutters of the kitchen). Here, the luminous object reappeared in the sky - at theo height of the Cassiopeia constellation - (on top of his house) and, this time, appeared to the witness to be in the shape of a disk, and not an aircraft (but its path was increased from NNW full South and headed for the house of witnesses).

"Moreover, the witness said, "the object consisted of lights that could not be attributed to any plane whatsoever: there were yellow lights (seven in number) (sic), green lights (four in number) (sic) and a central red light (sic). All this forming the object itself having a very visible outline of bright white color. Moreover, none of these 12 lights was flashing at any time observation."

The move of the phenomenon was uniform and the witness was able to estimate that about 200 m high, a light could have a diameter of 02 mm, while the object itself could have a size of about 01 cm. ("The shapes were very clear, said the witness, but no antenna or portholes were visible).

While the object was still pursuing its trajectory still at an altitude of 200 m (?) and to the south, the witness called members of his family who ran (out of curiosity and also irony he says). Moreover, said the witness, when the three other members of his family observed the phenomenon, the object seemed already much less clear than [it was when] above his house.

The object went away more and more, the lights gradually disappeared and soon became nothing more than a bright orange-yellow dot, all of about 05 mm in diameter; then it suddenly disappeared in the sky above the forest of Rich

Scan.

Scan.

Scan.

willer. The witness closed the shutters and immediately wrote a report of his observations he thought he would hand to the Gendarmerie.

- Witness B (sister of Witness A):

Witness B tells us, as previously told by Witness A, that he rushed to the kitchen window where he was able to see the luminous phenomenon. His first reaction was to think: "This surely cannot be a plane...". He described the object to us as "three balls attached together, and the same color."

- Witness C (brother of witness A)

Witness C went, too, at the kitchen window to observe this phenomenon. Let's emphasize that he climbed on a kitchen chair to look out the window. Despite its relatively small observation time (15-20"), he was still able to give us a description of the phenomenon. It was made of three lights in a triangle shape. The size of the object could match the half that of the full moon; its form was that of a disc with three lights below, and the color of the luminous balls was yellow.

- Witness D (mother of Witness A):

The mother of the three previous witnesses, also present at the kitchen window, described the object to us as follows: "There were four lights whose colors were orange, red, yellow, under the form of a rounded triangle." The object was emitting, she said, no noise. In addition, she stated that it was the first time she had seen such a thing.

Additional information: (provided by Witness A)

1 a) Comparator size:

b) Pantone color chart: ref. 116 U; ref. 354 U; ref. red: super warm red; color of the object's outline: bright white.

2 - Effects on witnesses: no physical or psychological effects. Witness A was nervous, but he slept well although he was persuaded to have seen a UFO.

Reaction, the next day: alerted a member of GHREPA of Guebwiller, then on the advice of the latter, alert the 'gendarmerie'. At 03:38 p.m. (witness A specifies) he went to the Gendarmerie of Wittelsheim where he reported the facts of his observation.

Additional notes:

According to witness A, there was no car at the time of the observation. A railroad passes close to his house, but no train has passed at that time.

There is no high-voltage power line (one at about 1 km).

There is an aerodrome at 30 km (Basel-Mulhouse) Important: the object seems to have changed direction twice (see sketch).

Complementary - Psychological Survey:

- Description of the environment in which the (main) witness lives: working class environment; mine-workers parents (dwelling: mining house) large family: 5 brothers and 2 sisters.

- Witness A:

He is a high school student, in class of Second A (literary). Hobbies: astronomy, astrology, photo, ufology (mainly, in fact, he is the head of the Ufology Club of Wittelsheim)

Great interest for Ufology: he did a search at "l'Alsace" (newspaper) in the archives, to get articles on this subject.

- Other witnesses:

We were greeted promptly by other witnesses who did not particularly want to answer our questions and who do not seem to be interested in the UFO phenomenon.

-Some details lead us to a certain skepticism:

Observation duration seems a little exaggerated
Uncertainty, about the altitude
Surprising that he could count the 12 lights (plus the exact location of the lights - on the sketch - ) in relation to the size of the object (goniometer = 15) while he made us the sketch of the UFO 6 days after his observation.

Conclusion:

The observed phenomenon is certainly one seen in Muhlbach shortly before (the hours coincide, the followed trajectory too);

The diameter of the object would be about 10 m; in this case between the tower and the building, the phenomenon was seen at about 1, 5 km, and above the house there would have been an altitude of 400 m.

This witness seems in good faith, but have a tendency to confabulation.

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN - "BASE OVNI FRANCE":

Wittelsheim (68) on December 11, 1980

General features

Num Base: 2600
Department: Haut Rhin (68)
Place of observation: Wittelsheim
Latitude: 47.816
Longitude: -7.33
Date of observation: December 11, 1980
Hour: 22:31 hours
Duration (HH:MM:SS): 00:04:00
Weather: No weather indication
Type of observation: Visual: Distant
Nbr of witness(es): 4
Official investigation: No

Features of the object

Nbr of object: 1
Type of object: Several shapes for without doub
Size: Not specified
Color: White
Luminosity: Not specified
Visual characteristics: Numerous lights
Speed: Small airplane
Movement/Displacement: One or everal turns
Object on the ground: No
Instantaneous disappearance: Yes

Observation

The first witness then observed as he is out of the house a bright orange light moving at the pace of a small plane from the Grand Ballon north northwest. He rushes home, opens the kitchen shutters and calls the rest of the family i.e. three other witnesses. The object approached. Depending on the testimonies the object is a bright white sphere or a rounded triangle. The whole has numerous lights (between 12 and 3 depending on the witnesses) of different colors. It seems that the object did two slight turns during its trip. It suddenly disappeared over the forest of Richwiller, to the south-east.

Sources

Lumières dans la Nuit issue 219/220

[Ref. spa1:] UFOLOGY ASSOCIATION "SPICA":

City Date and hour of observation General shape
Identification
General color
Hypothesis
Conclusion
WITTELSHEIM Thursday 11 December 1980 at 10:31 p.m. ball, balloon or melon (3D)
Unidentified
white
None
Unsolved -lack of info

Discussion:

Map.

On the map below, I indicated the location of the sighting in Mulhbach-sur-Munster, that of this sighting in Wittelsheim, and the location of what was then called the Basel-Mulhouse Airport (now "Euroairport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg").

Map.

From Mulhbach to Wittelsheim there are 29 kilometers in straight line; from Wittelsheim to the Basel-Mulhouse airport there are 28 kilometers in straight line.

It is quite obvious that if one sticks to an ironclad "skepticism", it will be considered that in both cases, it was a plane which would have passed over the two places observation to land at the airport, whose runway is actually in the axis of the global trajectory.

It is nonetheless remarkable that in both cases, the witnesses who were familiar with airplanes had indeed thought of this explanation, and had rejected it. It may be speculated that many other people may have seen and recognized said airplane and therefore obviously did not report it as a UFO.

Note all the same, if it is the same object, the changes of direction which would be rather curious for an airliner at first sight. At Muhlbach, we have a N.N.W. towards S.S.E., which would send the object towards the aerodrome of Houssen (the witness thought of it) or that of Bâle-Mulhouse.

In Wittelsheim, the object at the beginning of the observation by the witness in the courtyard arrives from the direction of the Grand-Ballon, that is to say from the North-West, almost the direction of the place of the other observation, and it performs a North-North-West trajectory which is exactly that of the other observation. But then the object would have gone south at Wittelsheim. This then excludes a landing at Houssen which is to the North, but does not exclude a turning maneuver to land at Bâle-Mulhouse which is to the South-East. In fact, airliners must bypass Mulhouse, and here, heading south corresponds to such a bypass.

As I knew the main witness of this sighting well, I think it was not a plane. I strongly think he would have recognized an airplane as an airplane. I personally saw him one evening recognize an airplane while another ufologist colleague also present thought all the same a little too seriously to see a UFO pass by. I have seen him during investigations explain sightings by airplanes; I know he was very familiar with the effects of airplanes lights.

And that would be a plane whose lights never flickered. He clearly says he saw the shape of a disc, white, "a very visible outline of brilliant white color." Knowing this witness, I can't believe this description should be ignored.

At the same time, I feel a little "both judge and jury" here, which bothers me. My positive opinion on the reliability of the sense of observation of the main witness, I cannot really prove its correctness, even if it is correct for me. That's why I leave the thing as "unidentified".

Evaluation:

Unidentified.

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 August 27, 2022 Creation, [ldl1], [lcn1], [spa1].
1.0 Patrick Gross August 27, 2022 First published.

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