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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 Ergersheim, on August 12, 2009:

Case number:

ALSACAT-2009-08-12-ERGERSHEIM-1

Summary:

In a listing of UFO sighting reports in the Haut-Rhin on their website, the Alsatian ufology association SPICA noted that on Wednesday, August 12, 2009, at 10:00 p.m. in Ergersheim, a "luminous spot" of orange was seen, and then explained as Chinese lanterns.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: August 12, 2009
Time: ~10:00 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: 2015
Reporting delay: Day, 6 years.

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Ergersheim
Place: ?
Latitude: 48.569
Longitude: 7.528
Uncertainty ratio: 2 km

Witnesses data:

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

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Listing of sightings by the regional ufology group SPICA.
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: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Chinese lanterns.

Sources:

[Ref. sp4:] SPICA UFOLOGY GROUP:

City Date and hour of observation General shape
Identification
General color
Hypothesis
Conclusion
ERGERSHEIM Wednesday 12 August 2009 at 10:00 p.m. luminous dot
Aeronautical reduced
orange
Aeronautical reduced
Solved

Discussion:

When SPICA list a case with an object in the singular, like "luminous dot", this could have actually be several spots; and when they give "Aeronautical reduced" as explanation for orange luminous dots, one must understand that they were Chinese lanterns.

Note that SPICA listed another such sighting, also explained as Chinese lanterns, in Nolsheim, about 3 kilometers in the Southwest of Ergersheim, at the same time and date.

Chinese lanterns are one cause of some old tales of UFO sightings: During the "airship" wave of 1896 - 1897 in the USA, during the wave of 1972 in the US Midwest, etc.

Since these miniature hot air paper balloons can be ordered on the Internet at very low cost - they also commonly found in Alsace now in stores - there is no need anymore to take the trouble of manufacturing them yourself.

So since 2005, about everywhere and of course in Alsace, many people who do not yet know about them report them as UFOs or at least as a subject of puzzlement: "It was not planes, not satellites, not helicopters, etc...", commonly appears in the stories. Indeed they aren't.

In principle, any ufologist worthy of the title should be able to recognize a story related for sure or at least possibly to Chinese lanterns, but there are still ufologists who do not want to listen, or quibble, demanding that a guilty lantern is handed to them otherwise they want the story to remain a "UFO report".

Most of the time, I certainly cannot "scientifically prove" or provide "hard evidence" that this or that report is explained by Chinese lanterns; but I see nothing opposes it and nothing would justify to call it spacecraft from another world or who knows what else.

It is sometimes possible to find that there was, precisely at that time, in the vicinity, a release of lanterns, during a party, a wedding party, a birthday party etc. But these releases are now so usual in Alsace at least that they are not necessarily mentioned on festivity calendars.

Since 2005, they constitute the bulk of the "testimonies" of UFOs found on websites devoted to the subject of UFOs and essentially publishing such "web report"; generally the only treatment is the publication, without any information on a possible cause, without any investigation or comment.

In Alsace, such releases are especially popular now since fireworks and firecrackers, long tolerated, are now prohibited for use unless special exemptions; Alsatians therefore largely adopted the lanterns.

As these lanterns are usually released at private or public parties, they are most often seen on Saturday nights, often at wedding dates or official festivities such as the National Day or New Year's Eve, usually between 10 p.m. and midnight. They are then usually released in clusters. But sometimes the purchaser performs a "test flight" a few days before, sometimes with a single lantern.

Above:

A Chinese lantern.

Evaluation:

Chinese lanterns.

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 August 28, 2015 Creation, [sp4].
1.0 Patrick Gross August 28, 2015 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross September 2, 2015 In the Discussion, addition of the paragraph "Note that SPICA listed another such sighting...".

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This page was last updated on September 2, 2015