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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 Strasbourg, on July 27, 2013:

Case number:

ALSACAT-2013-07-27-STRASBOURG-1

Summary:

In July 2013, the popular astronomy website "Ciel des Hommes" had the good idea sense publish a general information article about Chinese lanterns, sometimes mistaken for "UFOs", or for some natural astronomical phenomenon. The website, like UFO websites, regularly receives testimonies that are misinterpretations of Chinese lanterns, and a little information about them was certainly not useless.

Readers can comment on the article, and a comment was made anonymously by someone offended by the idea that the things he saw in the sky were Chinese lanterns. This person wrote:

"dont take us for m... ["morons"]... this are not lanterns my husband and myself observed these luminous ball in the sky of Strasbourg on July 27 at about 11:30 p.m. there were 2 of them and they followed a precise trajectory to the east at a few minutes of interval mot very far from us by the way we live at the 7th floor they were silent i had the time to take 2 photographs moreover it is not the first time we see them it had already hapened in june 2008 but that day they were on the ground at the edge of the wood and took of under our eyes to again go to the east that is to say germany and that time also i managed to take several photo , we know what we saw and this was neither lanterns not fireworks or whatever else ! i think someone must surly know what it is , or else we all have been hallucinating ...."

The author of the article about the Chinese lanterns, rightly so in my opinion, noted that nothing in this testimony is evidence that it was not Chinese lanterns, on the contrary.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: July 27, 2013
Time: ~11:30 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: July 2013?
Reporting delay: Days, months?

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Strasbourg
Place: From home at the 7th floor of an unspecified building, UFOs taking off and in the sky.
Latitude: 48.583
Longitude: 7.748
Uncertainty ratio: 5 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 2
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Adults or aged.
Witness(es) types: A couple.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: On the web in response to an astronomy article on Chinese lanterns.
Type of location: From home at the 7th floor of a building, UFOs taking off and in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: Yes
UFO departure observed: Yes
Entities: No
Photographs: Yes, but not shared.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled, angry at explanation.
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Probable Chinese lanterns.

Sources:

[Ref. ch1:] COMMENT AND REACTION OF THE "CIEL DES HOMMES" WEBSITE:

08/07/2013 09:44:52 p.m. | rareba

dont take us for m... ["morons"]... this are not lanterns my husband and myself observed these luminous ball in the sky of Strasbourg on July 27 at about 11:30 p.m. there were 2 of them and they followed a precise trajectory to the east at a few minutes of interval mot very far from us by the way we live at the 7th floor they were silent i had the time to take 2 photographs moreover it is not the first time we see them it had already hapened in june 2008 but that day they were on the ground at the edge of the wood and took of under our eyes to again go to the east that is to say germany and that time also i managed to take several photo , we know what we saw and this was neither lanterns not fireworks or whatever else ! i think someone must surly know what it is , or else we all have been hallucinating ....

08/08/2013 02:45:35 p.m. | Thibaut Alexandre

Ha of course my dear lady, it's damn sure ! Luminous balls that fly exactly in the direction of the wind, on a Saturday evening when it was not raining and when the wind was weak, that is to say ideal conditions for launching Chinese lanterns ( http://www.infoclimat.fr/observations-meteo/archives/27/juillet/2013/strasbourg-entzheim/07190.html ), indeed, that cannot be lanterns. It just tastes like it, smells like it, it has their shape, but noooooo, it can't be that... But after all, it is up to you to decide, huh, if you want to by absolutely convinced that you saw something extraordinairy, feel free to do so ! Nevertheless, do not hesitate to share your pictures, it's alsways a pleasure.

Discussion:

In my experience, the few people who contacted me to tell me about a sighting that I - with some reasons obviously - allotted to Chinessi lanterns all accepted my explanation, excpet for one man who had already heard this explanation by the local newspaper but did not want to admit it. He had seen "UFOs, not lanterns." This happens, sometimes witnesses refuse this explanation or another explanation, although they have no proper reason to reject the explanation.

Here, we have a good example of the "reluctant witness." Everything in his story indicates that it was Chinese lanterns, nothing indicates it wasnn't. So why the strange rejection?

Most likely, this person did not read the article, did not understand what Chinese lanterns are, and responded too quickly and under the stress of emotion; it shows in the tone and wording.

Chinese lanterns are not fixed lights, they are not like streetlamps, lamps, lampoons. They fly. Yes, they take off, yes, they follow a trajectory, yes they can fly in a straight line, they can go to the East or the West, or to anywhere.

And the explanation by Chinese lanterns has nothing to do with taking people for "morons", nor dos it mean that they "all have been hallucinating."

Apparently, this "reluctant witness" never sent his photos. Maybe he started to think about it in the meantime and finally admitted the explanation?

The first "false UFOs" caused by Chinese lanterns that I identified were in the United States during the airship wave of 1896-1897, it also happened during the 1954 French "saucers" flap, including in Alsace (Example), it happened during the wave of 1973 in the United States (Example), etc. As there are years-long gaps in their use, some ufologists, too many ufologists, and of course the witnesses, forget them as a possible cause for UFO sightings.

Evaluation:

Probable 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
Editeur: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 25, 2014 Creation, [ch1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 25, 2014 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 25, 2014