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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 Neufgrange, on November 5, 1990:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1990-11-05-NEUFGRANGE-1

Summary:

The regional newspaper Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace for November 7, 1990, published an article on the sightings of November 5, 1990 at around 7 p.m.

Among the testimonies, there was the one judged by the newspaper as "even more fantastic", of Mrs. Clouet, of Neufgrange, who had observed that evening around 19:05 a "big dark sphere suspended in the sky, covered with numerous square portholes lit like windows."

While the sphere was still, 6-7 luminous balls followed by a trail moved at a distance in the sky. She was very impressed, as was her 7-year-old son Michaël who accompanied her, but she was not afraid.

After some hasty explanations (meteor...) at the time, after a few days, one could understand, or should have understood, that the hundreds of observations of that evening were all explained or almost all by the re-entry of debris from a Russian coming down over France on a Bordeaux - Strasbourg line.

The case surfaced again in a French TV program of the series "Supernatural Files" titled "11/05/1990 - The Mysterious night of the UFOs", diffused from 2015 on.

This documentary claimed that on November 5, 1990, over France "the night of the UFOs" took place. Testimonies are presented, in a sensationalist manner, without any hindsight, without quantitative details, until the middle of the show. Real witnesses are interviewed, actors "play" the scenes. In the middle of the show, the explanation of the re-entry of rocket debris is exposed, at the end of the broadcast, with a remarkable atypical case, the question of the explanation is left open.

This case is presented there, by a voiceover saying that "Josiane Clouet lives in Neufgrange in Alsace. And what this mother of a family will see on the night of November 5 is beyond understanding."

We are told that at almost 7 p.m., with her 4-year-old [?] son, she had just left her in-laws' home and was driving back to Neufgrange, when suddenly her gaze was drawn to "a strong light on her right."

The program then shows Josiane Clouet declaring:

"I was looking by chance like that up in the air, and saw five-six balls coming in like that, like a shower of shooting stars. My gaze, followed them, to the left, and I saw, at that moment, a round mass. It surprised me, and I stopped, I put the car aside, and I had my son with me, and I told him to stay in the back of the car. And I got out."

The voiceover resumed by saying that when the lights disappeared towards the northeast, Josiane Clouet focused all her attention towards the north on a round spherical mass surrounded by small lights. Josiane Clouet says:

"The sphere remained motionless above the forest. Without noise without any noise. In the middle of the sphere, it is as if the sphere was cut in two, and that there was this row of portholes all over the place. around. Like little windows. I said to myself 'what is that?'. It fascinated me, it looked like I couldn't get away, as if petrified on the spot."

"At one point the anguish took hold of me, so I said to myself, telling myself but what could happen, above all, I had my son in the back of the car, I told to myself, well well, better that I get in the car and that I come back."

"And as I started my car and started to leave, the sphere moved. At the same time as me, at my own pace. It disappeared behind the houses. I don't know how neither... it disappeared."

The show declares this testimony "disturbing", it is presented to Pierre Omaly, an expert in atmospheric re-entry at the national space center studies (CNES), who shows a computer simulation of the trajectory of the rocket debris, what is what "Josiane Clouet saw at first."

Pierre Omaly explains that the rocket debris arrived from behind the witness and passed to her right to go in front of her. For the "sphere", as it is located to the left of the witness, he thinks that it is "possible, probable, I, I do not know..." The show explained that the exact trajectories of the multiple pieces of debris cannot be predicted exactly, and assures us that the events of November 5, 1990 "keep many shadowy areas."

In this file, I show that there is a double misinterpretation here: the witness saw the debris of the Russian rocket "on her right", and the sphere which following her "on her left" was the Moon.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: November 5, 1990
Time: 07:05 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: November 7, 1990
Reporting delay: 1 day.

Geographical data:

Department: Moselle ou Bas-Rhin
City: Neufgrange
Place: In car.
Latitude: 49.075
Longitude: 7.070
Uncertainty ratio: 10 km.

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 2
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 1
Witness(es) ages: Adult, 7
Witness(es) types: Resident women and her son.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: REgional Press DNA.
Type of location: In car.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: No
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Space junk reentry and the Moon.

Sources:

[Ref. dna1:] NEWSPAPER "DERNIERES NOUVELLES D'ALSACE":

Weird

The mysterious lights in the sky...

Meteorite, satellite fall, UFOs ... Scientists put forward several hypotheses.
The National Space Agency launches investigation

But what has happened the sky of Alsace on Monday night? Did a large meteorite disintegrate on re-entering the atmosphere over France? Did a satellite crash on Earth? Or a piece of rocket? A space station? Or... or did aliens (if they exist - and we do not yet have proof of that) want to impress earthlings by an exceptional luminous "show"? Let's be serious. And keep our feet on Earth.

Still, the UFO of Monday, observed in the Alsatian sky and in several European countries, provides a hard time to scientists. While some experts have a priori plausible explanations, others are less certain and are reluctant to rule in favor of one hypothesis. The least that can be said is that the Alsatian testimonies we gathered all day at the DNA are rather puzzling...

The UFO Monday night was a meteorite that exploded on re-entering the atmosphere, said yesterday a spokesman for the Popular observatory of Munich. The object moved from east to west and was followed by a trail of smoke. Scientists await more detailed information on the luminous phenomenon from 25 automatic cameras installed in southern Germany to watch the meteor appearances. In a few days, experts hope to determine the exact trajectory of the object and locate the point of impact where some fragments of the meteorite of Monday could be found. This is the apparently logical and plausible explanation of the strange phenomenon of the other night.

"Passed by a shooting star"

And the observation of a pilot on the Brussels-Frankfurt route would confirm "the German hypothesis". He asserts [that] shortly after 7 p.m. his plane was passed by "a shooting star" that erupted in a dozen pieces, some of which had the glow of the full moon.

But here it is. The return of a meteorite in the atmosphere is a rapid phenomenon that lasts at most a few seconds. And all the evidence that we collected yesterday in the "Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace" - and there were about twenty - reported a slow process that has lasted, for some, twenty seconds, for others, up to two-three minutes.

"I observed the appearance for 15 to 30 seconds," said Jean-Paul Blind of Valff. "I saw the lights above the Mount Sainte-Odile heading to Strasbourg. It was like two large white lights followed by a big trail and flanked of 8 to 10 reddish lights resembling side lights."

"The apparition lasted 30 to 40 seconds, says Jean-Marie Keller of Batzendorf who saw the phenomenon "moving from the southwest to the northwest in the direction of Germany. The speed of the object was controlled, it has not made a sound. The lights of which one was larger were white. At the back there was another headlight that lit and extinguished periodically. And I've seen a dozen other lights..."

"They were three V-shaped objects that came from Saverne and headed for Germany," says Mr. Ferry of Hochfelden. "Behind, there was a fourth light" and the diamond shape was "followed by at least 9 other bright spots. The object flew over the sky for three minutes before disappearing."

A "large sphere"

Even more fantastic, the testimony of Mrs. Clouet, of Neufgrange, who observed Monday night around 7:05 p.m. a "big dark sphere suspended in the sky, covered of many square illuminated portholes like windows. As the sphere was motionless, 6 to 7 luminous balls followed by a trail moved away in the sky. I was very impressed, so was my 7-year-old son Michael, who accompanied me, but I was not afraid..."

For Pierre Neirinck of Dunkirk, member of the Tracking Committee of the British Royal society, the mystery is explained: "The intriguing procession of multicolored lights observed over western Europe was characteristic of the disintegration of an artificial satellite." The report by Mr. Karcher of Wittenheim (see DNA for yesterday) "confirms the dozen decays followed since 1960. It is easy to differentiate a satellite from a meteor: the satellite crosses the sky in a little more than one minute, the fireball does it in 2 to 20 seconds..." After analyzing several witnesses reports, the fall of a satellite or rocket remains is the most plausible explanation of the phenomenon for Mr. Karcher.

F 117 planes?

Other hypotheses have been advanced such as the overflight of France by a patrol of the famous invisible F 117 aircraft that would have been at the origin of UFOs of Belgium in April...

Mrs. Acker, director of the Strasbourg planetarium, sticks, for now, to scientific explanations, while admitting that the slowness of the phenomenon is intriguing. It is the same with Christian Morgenthaler of the association "Lumières dans la nuit" (delegation for UFOs in North Alsace), who aims to collect a maximum of testimonies about this strange phenomenon, in cooperation with SEPRA (Service of study of the phenomena of atmospheric re-entry) of the National Centre for Space Studies (*).

CNES has by the way also announced last night the opening of an investigation into the luminous phenomenon that seems at least strange. At this stage it is not possible to decide on the exact origin of this event, said a statement from CNES. The sky still keeps its mystery. For how long?

Willy BODENMULLER


(*) Christian Morgenthaler, 3, rue des Pierres, 67520 Odratzheim, phone 88 50 64 26.

[Ref. fme1:] FRANCK MARIE:

Scan.

57 - MOSELLE

IZ 07:05 P.M. 57 NEUFGRANGE (Hambach)

49°05n -7°03e 2 witnesses (Press article)

Article of Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace, 11/07/90

A "large sphere"

Even more fantastic, the testimony of Mrs. C, from Neufgrange who observed Monday evening around 7:05 p.m. a "big dark sphere suspended in the sky, covered with numerous square portholes" lit like windows. While the sphere was still, 6 to 7 luminous balls followed by a trail moved at a distance in the sky. I was very impressed, as was my 7-year-old son Michel [sic], who accompanied me, but I was not afraid..."

[Sketch caption:] Reconstitution according to the data given in the article

[Ref. dsn1:] TV SHOW "DOSSIERS SURNATURELS":

This documentary claims that on November 5, 1990, over France, the "night of the UFOs" took place. Testimonies are presented, in a sensationalist manner, without any hindsight, without quantitative details, until the middle of the show. Real witnesses are interviewed, actors "play" the scenes. In the middle of the broadcast, the explanation of the re-entry of rocket debris is given, at the end of the broadcast, with a remarkable atypical case, the question of the explanation is left open.

TV screenshot.

The voice over says:

"Josiane Clouet lives in Neufgrange in Alsace. And what this mother of a family will see on the night of November 5 is beyond understanding."

"It is almost 7 p.m. Josiane Clouet and her son Michael, then aged 4, just left her parents-in-law's home, and are driving towards Neufgrange. When suddenly, Josiane's gaze is attracted by a strong light on his right."

The show shows Josiane Clouet saying:

"I was looking by chance like that up in the air, and saw five-six balls coming in like that, like a shower of shooting stars. My gaze, followed them, to the left, and I saw, at that moment, a round mass. It surprised me, and I stopped, I put the car aside, and I had my son with me, and I told him to stay in the back of the car. And I got out."

The voiceover resumes: "As the lights disappear towards the northeast, Josiane Clouet will focus all her attention to the north on this round spherical mass surrounded by small lights."

"The sphere remained motionless above the forest. Without noise without any noise. In the middle of the sphere, it is as if the sphere was cut in two, and that there was this row of portholes all over the place. around. Like little windows. I said to myself 'what is that?'. It fascinated me, it looked like I couldn't get away, as if petrified on the spot."

"At one point the anguish took hold of me, so I said to myself, telling myself but what could happen, above all, I had my son in the back of the car, I told to myself, well well, better that I get in the car and that I come back."

"And as I started my car and started to leave, the sphere moved. At the same time as me, at my own pace. It disappeared behind the houses. I don't know how neither... it disappeared."

The voice-over continues: "A disturbing testimony. We presented this case to Pierre Omaly, the atmospheric re-entry expert at CNES. He simulated on the computer the trajectory of the luminous balls that Josiane Clouet first saw."

Screenshot.

Pierre Omaly explains that the rocket debris arrived from behind the witness and passed to her right to go in front of her. For the "sphere", it is located to the left of the witness, he thinks that it is "possible, probable, I, I do not know..." The show explains that the exact trajectory of the multiple pieces of debris cannot be predicted exactly, and assures us that the events of November 5, 1990 "keep many shadowy areas."

Discussion:

Map.

The place and its department:

In principle, this catalog only includes cases for which the place of observation is in Alsace; and Neufgrange is a village in Moselle department.

However, the documentary indicates Alsace as the region for the observation, and indicates that the witness was in a car and not in Neufgrange itself. She was returning to Neufgrange, and was therefore perhaps in the Bas-Rhin, in Alsace. It also happens that the first house of Neufgrange, in its south, is right on the border between the Moselle and the Bas-Rhin departments. Finally, the atmospheric re-entry of November 5, 1990, did occur above Alsace. All of this is why I am including this case in this catalog.

The atmospheric re-entry

It is totally undeniable - only rare ufologists were clear on this - that there was indeed a re-entry of space debris from a Russian rocket seen from France on November 5, 1990 from 7 p.m. on. It is quite obvious that the "strong light that the lady sees" on her right, the "five-six balls which came in like that, like a shower of shooting stars" match the atmospheric reentry of this debris. The question is that of the "mass", of the "sphere", which she then sees on her left.

The trajectory of the re-entry actually passed between Colmar in the Haut-Rhin and Sélestat in the Bas-Rhin, so if the lady saw it on her left, it was because she was driving northeast, approximately.

The sphere:

Pierre Omaly of CNES, points out that it is possible that what the lady saw on his left was also debris of the Russian rocket. One can think that debris could have spread little by little on the sides of the "main" trajectory. This could account for a good part of the "atypical" testimonies of that evening, indicating the direction of observations which seem a priori not to match to the trajectory of the debris of the rocket calculated by orbitography, on a line initially given as Pau - Strasbourg by Jean-Jacques Vélasco of SEPRA, given as Bordeaux - Strasbourg by the independent expert Pierre Neirinck, and actually rectified around 2010 as Bordeaux - Strasbourg by CNES.

But I have some doubts. I have neither the tools nor the data to "calculate" a scattering of the debris. But, on all the Alsatian testimonies, this "dispersion" is absent, whereas it probably should have been noted by other witnesses.

And as unfortunately, the TV show ([dsn1]) remains an "entertainment" show, and not real ufology effort, it therefore lacks all the essential, basic, minimal elements that could have resolved this question for this testimonial:

In short, it would be possible to conclude for the moment that the lady undoubtedly saw the reentry of the rocket debris on her right, and saw either other debris on her left, or something else on her left.

This "something else", the show suggests to the viewer that it might be a "real UFO", and nothing more is said about it. But in ufology, one should be looking for explanations, and not to be satisfied with comments of the type "if the re-entry passes to its right, then what she saw on the left is not the re-entry, therefore, necessarily, a "real UFO". One "Identified Flying Object" can hide another!

As if by chance, we find in the testimony what we find so often during misinterpretation caused by the moon experienced by witnesses in the car: "the UFO" follows the car, it stops when the car stops, starts again at the same time as the car. This very detail should be enough to ring a bell, in any case, that's what rung my bell.

I still had to verify the presence of the moon. Indeed, precisely that evening at 7 p.m., the moon was in the direction of 51° (East-North-East), and the low elevation, conducive to misinterpretations, of 1° 30.

During the so-called "UFO wave of November 5, 1990" over France, which included at least the 800 testimonies noted by ufologist Franck Marie, it was inevitable that in addition to the sightings of what was really rocket debris, there were "atypical" testimonies. But before deciding without further ado that the "atypical" testimonies prove that there were "real UFOs" or extraterrestrial craft in addition to the space junk reentry - which many ufologists have believed - it is necessary to verify whether these "atypical" testimonies can be explained by natural causes, misintepretations additional to that of the space junk. This is the case here.

Evaluation:

Space junk reentry and the Moon.

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
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross June 11, 2021 Creation, [dna1], [fme1], [dsn1].
1.0 Patrick Gross June 11, 2021 First published.

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