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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.

Case between Petit-Landau and Habsheim, on November 30, 1982:

Case number:



French ufologist Michel Figuet indicated in his "Francat" catalog in 1986 that there was a close encounter of the second kind in November 1982 at 11:30 p.m. between Petit-Landau and Habsheim in the Haut-Rhin.

He gave as sources the newspaper L'Alsace for November 3, 1982 - in fact, December - and Ufologica magazine #34.

On the occasion of other UFO sightings, the newspaper L'Alsace for April 27, 1983, had recalled that it was on November 30, 1982: A motorist from Zillisheim, Thierry Stehlé, claimed to have been followed by an unidentified flying object in the forest of the Hardt between Petit-Landau and Habsheim.


Temporal data:

Date: November 30, 1982
Time: 11:30 p.m.
Duration: At least several minutes.
First known report date: November 3, 1982
Reporting delay: 1 day, days.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Petit-Landau or Habsheim
Place: Driving in car in forest road between Petit-Landau and Habsheim, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.706
Longitude: 7.468
Uncertainty ratio: 5 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 1
Witness(es) ages: Adult.
Witness(es) types: Male, Alsatian.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: The regional Press.
Type of location: From inside car driving on forest road, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night
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: ?


Hynek: CE2
ALSACAT: Possible Moon.


[Ref. lae2:] JOURNAL "L'ALSACE":

[... Other cases...]

One of the most recent UFO sightings dates back to November 30, 1982. A young motorist of Zillisheim, 18-year-old Thierry Stehlé, claimed to have been followed by an unidentified flying object as he was crossing the Hardt Forest between Petit-Landau and Habsheim.

[... Other cases...]

Robert KOCH


964 CE0-2 ..11.1982 23.30 b Petit-Landau and Habsheim 68490 D5 NI, P L'Alsace of 3/11, Ufologica #34


I miss the primary source, the newspaper "L'Alsace" for December 3, 1982; so it would be risky to provide an assured explanation of any kind.

However, when a motorist tells he was chased by a UFO at night, one should take an interest in the presence or absence of the moon, as it is not an uncommon explanation of such cases.

From the point of view of the driver's trip, note that between Petit-Landau and Habsheim, there is no straight road. We must drive south, drive through Niffer and go on to Kembs, then turn west on Rue de Habsheim which goes north west in a straight line for about 4.5 km. There is a right turn there, a straight portion of 700 meters, a 400-meters-long left turn which enters Habsheim in a straight westward portion of 800 meters.

If we formalize in more detail the whole trip, using the road to Habsheim though the Hardt forest, not the A35 motorway, we get these portions:

Heading 201° on 1000 meters.
Heading 169° on 800 meters.
Heading 129° on 330 meters.
Heading 211° on 1000 meters.
Heading 185° on 1100 meters.
Heading 287° on 330 meters.
Heading 329° on 450 meters.
Heading 301° on 4290 meters.
Heading 349° on 740 meters.
Heading 317° on 350 meters.
Heading 272° on 800 meters.

On November 30, 1982, at 11:30 p.m., between Petit-Landau and Habsheim, the moon was at azimuth 157° and elevation 59°.

So between Petit-Landau and Kembs, the motorist must have seen the moon a little to the left in front of him, and into the forest of the Hardt, he had to it behind the car a little to the left during nearly 5 km, and directly behind him on nearly 1000 meters before entering Habsheim.

If ever a story surfaced indicating that he saw a UFO before him and then following his car in the Hardt forest, we can remember that the moon fits this. Meanwhile, it is obviously a possible explanation that needs to be confirmed.

I suspect that some readers of this file might protest that people do not mistake the moon for a UFO. I agree in general with this assessment. If the moon was easily mistaken for a UFO, we would have billions of UFO reports...

But there are special circumstances making the Moon less obviously recognizable.

First, the phenomenon of "red moon". In certain circumstances, often in early winter, as is the case here, the moon takes an apparent orange hue, almost red. This is quite rare, so many people eliminate the idea of the moon in part because of this orange red hue they never saw before on the Moon.

To this, another mechanism can additionally occur: the moon is usually recognizable by its shape, either round or, more recognizable, the crescent. But the clouds, sometimes unnoticeable in the night, can partially hide the Moon's shape. They can even give it a flying saucer appearance: a cloud in front of the bottom of the full moon, with reflection of the light of the moon flaring on the cloud, provides a form that witnesses called in one occasion "the shape of an English soldier's helmet", the shape of a plate or saucer turned upside down.

If one combines the two, we get an orange or red flying saucer; which does not look at all like the Moon, and by the illusion of the driving by the turns of a road, appear to be maneuvering and chasing motorists. In some cases, it was possible to match exactly the turns of the road and the reported apparent position changes of the "Moon UFO"...

The case was considered a "CE2" or close encounter of the second kind, by definition, an observation without physical effects of something "close" at least according to the witness. A star is obviously nothing that can be called "close", but the moon is, its apparent size fits the bill if you believe that this is a flying aircraft or spacecraft; one would say it was "close".


Possible Moon.

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 May 15, 2015 Creation, [la2], [mft1].
1.0 Patrick Gross May 15, 2015 First published.

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This page was last updated on May 15, 2015.