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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 Oderen, on January 8, 1996:

Case number:



Ufologist Franck Marie published on the web an article of the newspaper L'Alsace for Saturday, August 3, 1996, entitled "The night of the UFOs".

The article reportedly indicated that "on the night from Thursday to Friday," several gendarmerie squads recorded four phone calls about UFOs passing in the sky.

One of the calls was about "a ball of fire, something yellow from behind the hill" and the Mulhouse Basel squad had also been contacted about "a similar phenomenon" in Oderen.


Temporal data:

Date: January 8, 1996
Time: 10:20 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: August 3, 1996
Reporting delay: Hours, 9 months.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Oderen
Place: ?
Latitude: 47.910
Longitude: 6.975
Uncertainty radius: 2 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: ?
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: ?
Witness(es) types: ?

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: The Gendarmerie, the regional Press.
Type of location: ?
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: NL
ALSACAT: Probable meteor.


[Ref. fme1:] FRANCK MARIE:

Banque Ovni - BP 41 - 92224 Bagneux cedex - France

Central file - Case 30975


1996,08,01 - 10:20 p.m. - 068 - Oderen 47 55 -6 59

art: - yellow fireball, sd - - "*/30975


sa August 03, 1996



On the night of Thursday to Friday, various gendarmerie squads recorded four calls about "passing UFOs" in the sky.


He evokes "a ball of fire, something yellow, passing behind the hill"...

The BALE-MULHOUSE Brigade was also requested about a similar phenomenon in ODEEREN [sic].

Schedules of calls and direction of travel reported reveal inconsistencies, but "this kind of event happens once or twice a year," concludes a gendarme.


Banque Ovni note: inconsistency if we persist to consider a unique phenomenon, while it is more logical to consider the simultaneity of several distinct phenomena.

Franck MARIE, Bank - Copyright Franck MARIE, UFO Bank - 971224. All rights reserved.



There is very little information here.

The note in [fme1] saying "inconsistency if we insist on considering a single phenomenon, when it is more logical to consider the simultaneity of several distinct phenomena" leaves me speechless.

Clearly, there were several observers there reporting a "UFO" - which looks more like a meteor to me.

When several people report, they often give an hour for their observation, spontaneously, or because they are asked to. But how do they know the time? Some will look at their watch, just after the observation, and announce a time like "23:31" or "08:47". But in most cases, people who are still under amazement do not look at their watch right away. They try to call other witnesses, or stay to discuss to try to understand what they saw, or phone the police. The minutes pass, and by the time they get to check out the hour they make an approximation, such as "06:15" and other "09:30 p.m.", and often use the precautionary formulas like "around 06:15" and other "shortly before 09:30 p.m." Some witnesses have no watch on their wrist and no clock in sight at the time of the sighting... They will give an estimate, not a measurement, of the time.

A serious ufologist knows that one cannot simply be satisfied with the time indicated in the newspaper or by the witness directly. One must ask how that time was recorded, right away or later, and ask the witness if it is an exact time or an approximate time. A serious ufologist knows that when the hours coincidentally fall on minutes that are multiples of 5, there is probably an approximation, and probably there wasa look at a watch when the minutes are not multiples of 5.

For a case of meteor January 9, 1954, ufologist Charles Garreau, unaware of this, had concluded that it was not a meteor because it had zigzagged... He took each hour of each testimony as if it were a chronometer measurement and traced a "trajectory" of the UFO based on this!

Franck Marie makes another mistake: for no reason taking the times as exact to the nearest minute, he concludes that witnesses who do not give the same time to the nearest minute saw different "UFOs"! This is one of the errors he made in his book on the so-called "UFO wave of November 5, 1990" - even the Alsatian cases in this catalog - and, since one said "19:02", the other "around 18:50 p.m." and the other "at 19:05 p.m.", instead of understanding that he was dealing with the re-entry into the atmosphere of rocket debris seen on the entire diagonal of France, he concluded that people had seen... 800 different UFOs!

Let's get back to this case. I think of a meteor given the meager description "ball of fire", and the fact that it would be a multiple observation from different places, Oderen being the only one that was specified. I might find other sources that would confirm it, or deny it, but as it stands I do not see how to rule it out and claim that people saw an alien spacecraft and not a meteor.


Probable meteor.

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 March 7, 2016 Creation, [fme1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 7, 2016 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 7, 2016.