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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 Kertzfeld, Hilsenheim, Sélestat, Urmatt, on December 21, 2013:

Case number:

ALSACAT-2013-12-21-KERTZFELD-1

Summary:

It started as the Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace reported on their website about "strange luminous points seen above Kertzfeld", saying:

"A resident of Kertzfeld near Benfeld was a witness on Saturday night scene of a strange display.

"'There is nothing fancy, we had not been drinking,' said Patricia Kliber immediately. This 48-year-old woman was with her mate, in Kertzfeld near Benfeld in the center Alsace, when she witnessed a strance [sic] scene last Saturday, around 10:15 p.m.

"'My sister in law was out smoking a cigarette on the balcony when she called me.' Patricia and her companion meet her and assess the presence of ten bright spots 'moving at a roughly steady distance somewhat faster than airplane cruising speed. It was very low and the tenth item was almost stationary. It shone like very big stars.'"

"Patricia, who says she has 'some basic aviation notions,' as her ex-husband has passed his pilot's license, ensures that these were no planes or helicopters or satellites or meteorites. Even less shooting stars. 'I do not want to say it was flying saucers, but it really looked like something like this. It even disturbed my very Cartesian companion and my sister in law, though. It was really weird, especially as it lasted nearly three minutes. I was tempted to pick up a camera, but I did not want to let go.'"

"Patricia would like to know whether other people saw the same thing that she and her family saw."

The newspaper then received other testimonies, from Hilsenheim, Sélestat, and Urmatt, all of which describe what was obviously Chinese lanterns, not UFOs, as the newspaper then said, especially as two of the witnesses affirm clearly it was just that.

A little research on the web and social networks allow me to specify that these Chinese lanterns had been launched at a wedding party in Hilsenheim.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: December 21, 2013
Time: ~10:25 p.m.
Duration: 30 seconds, minutes.
First known report date: December 21, 2013
Reporting delay: Minutes, hours?

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Kertzfeld, Urmatt, Sélestat, Hilsenheim
Place: In the sky from these villages.
Latitude: 48.383
Longitude: 7.566
Uncertainty ratio: 10 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 6 or more
Number of known witnesses: 3
Number of named witnesses: 3
Witness(es) ages: Adults.
Witness(es) types: Various adults.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Mostly calls to the regional Press.
Type of location: Villages and surrounding countries.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No
Photographs: Uncertain.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Probable Chinese lanterns.

Sources:

[Ref. dn1:] JOURNAL "DERNIERES NOUVELLES D'ALSACE":

Strange luminous points seen above Kertzfeld

A resident of Kertzfeld near Benfeld was a witness on Saturday night scene of a strange display.

"There is nothing fancy, we had not been drinking," said Patricia Kliber immediately. This 48-year-old woman was with her mate, in Kertzfeld near Benfeld in the center Alsace, when she witnessed a strance [sic] scene last Saturday, around 10:15 p.m.

"My sister in law was out smoking a cigarette on the balcony when she called me." Patricia and her companion meet her and assess the presence of ten bright spots "moving at a roughly steady distance somewhat faster than airplane cruising speed. It was very low and the tenth item was almost stationary. It shone like very big stars."

Patricia, who says she has "some basic aviation notion," as her ex-husband has passed his pilot's license, ensures that these were no planes or helicopters or satellites or meteorites. Even less shooting stars. "I do not want to say it was flying saucers, but it really looked like something like this. It Ca even disturbed my very Cartesian companion and my sister in law, though. It was really weird, especially as it lasted nearly three minutes. I was tempted to pick up a camera, but I did not want to let go."

Patricia would like to now whether other people saw the same thing that she and her family saw."

[Ref. dn2:] "DERNIERES NOUVELLES D'ALSACE" NEWSPAPER:

News > Frontpage > Luminous spots in the center of Alsace: probably Chinese lanterns

published on 12/27/2013 at 06:26 p.m. | Seen 21265 times

Weird - Luminous spots in the center of Alsace: probably Chinese lanterns

In Mulhouse, recently, Chinese lanterns in the nights [sic] sky, were mistaken for "UFOs".

Strange light points, large floating balls of fire... Many reports pour in to the DNA: on Saturday, December 21, in the evening, many Alsatians have observed a strange phenomenon in the sky of center Alsace. No doubt for those who have already seen the celestial ballet of Chinese lanterns: that's what it was.

(Updated at 04:07 p.m.)

Jean-Marc Hurth, of Aspach-le-Haut, in the Haut-Rhin, is a specialist of the Chinese lanterns; which he discovered for the first time in Phuket. For him, no doubt, that is really what Patricia Kliber, the first person to make a testimony to DNA, had seen. "Chinese lanterns have that effect, he says. You get the impression you are seeing flying saucers. I have launched some for my daughter's wedding in late July. It is beautiful. I'm also doing it regularly when friends visit me. They are thrilled!"

The Chinese lanterns are ordered on the internet [They can also be bought in local shops.]. They use the same principle as the hot air balloons. Solid fuel is ignited. It will heat the air in a "balloon" in rice tissue, and the lantern will rise in the air... Mr. Hurth has found at all prices, from 80 cents to 4 € each. And he ordered a hundred. He inquired about the regulations. For example, it is forbidden to "let go" more than twenty at a time. Also, make sure the wind is not too strong and an airport is not too close... "It's beautiful, says Mr. Hurth. When you release them we make a vow. And it is the one whose lantern flies the highest that gets his vow fulfilled." The secret "wish" of some - finally see the arrival of beings from elsewhere - that is a wish that is not about to be fulfilled...

An example of flight Thai lanterns (archive video taken from YouTube)

Since the testimony of Patricia Kliber, other DNA readers have contacted us to say that they have observed the same type of phenomenon. Jean-Marie Grunenwald, of Kertzfeld had already, in an email to our editorial staff, delivered another explanation.

"Sorry to disappoint Mrs. Kliber, but the flying saucers were balloons," he wrote. "I observed the phenomenon on the balcony. On seeing these luminous spots south of Kertzfeld, I had time to find a pair of binoculars, There were well 10 items in a very dark, overcast sky: a compact group of 7 and 3 latecomers. The south-north movement was relatively fast, a slight wind was blowing in the same direction (20-30 km/h on the ground), probably more in altitude. In this very dark sky, it was difficult to assess the altitude but I think these "objects" passed at 200 - 300 m above the houses. With the binoculars, it was easy to see the lit burners and when the group passed above our home, by listening, we heard the characteristic hum of the burners."

Mr. Grunenwald concluded with humor: "It is, perhaps, just a postponement to observe the aliens."

***

On the dna.fr website isa67280 claims to have seen "two yellow orange light points Wednesday night, also at 10:25 p.m.". Problem: Wednesday night, it was December 24. And Patricia Kliber evokes Saturday, December 21, that was just one week ago. Isa67280 lives in Urmatt near Molsheim, and she explains that the phenomenon lasted 30 seconds, then the light spots "disappeared in height."

This morning, Jean-Pierre, a resident of Colmar (Heyden district, west of the city), also contacted us after reading our article in the newspaper. "I watched a movie on television, he said , and then I went out and I saw it the same day, at the same time." Jean -Pierre saw "three suspended lights that moved." "I thought it was an advertising operation," he says. His wife also witnessed the phenomenon.

Jean-Pierre remembers the year 1957. He was 15-16 years old. That year [No, it was 1954], many Alsatians had seen strange lights in the sky. He was just coming out of the movies. "We talked about flying saucers, but it must have been shooting stars," he rationalizes.

Marie-Elisabeth Kreydenweiss also witnessed this strange phenomenon, the same day at the same time, at 10.30 p.m. in Hilsenheim. "I saw them. They were round balls of possibly 70 centimeters in diameter. There were twenty. The last one left a trail behind it, like an airplane. It passed over the houses... I did not have the reflex to take a picture, I was paralyzed." Marie-Elisabeth, it cannot [be] like [the] Chinese lanterns in Mulhouse (pictured). Rather, she speaks of "great balls of fire."

As a reminder, Patricia Kliber, a reader of DNA that has contacted us, says she observed "a quite unusual phenomenon" in the night sky above Kertzfeld in the Alsace center, close to Benfeld . It was on the evening of Saturday, December 21, at 10:25 p.m.. Patricia says she was accompanied by two other people who saw the same thing she saw.

"Ten very luminous points and quite close moving at a somehow constant distance and along a path from the east and from north to a little faster than aircraft cruising speed, she said. These points were aligned more or less at regular space and moved at the same speed for the first 9. The 10th seemed to mark a sharp slowdown and stood apart from the first 9 then strongly accelerated following the same trajectory as the first heading north and soaring into the sky. Their passage was relatively low."

The three witnesses said that it could not in any case be planes: "No noise and no trail in the sky, the more they seemed to move more easily than an airplane." Similarly, the hypothesis of an helicopter formation they feel excluded: "No noise and very gentle move in the sky." They also reject the explanation of satellites spree: "Far too close to the Earth and their movement had nothing to do with an object in orbit." Finally, to them, it cannot be meteorites: "These flying objects were regular and rose into the sky."

Patricia and her friends would like to know if they were the only witnesses to the strange light phenomena they observed."

Have you, too, witnessed such things Saturday, December 21 at 10:25 p.m. in central Alsace?

Access the website of the very official and very serious GEIPAN, Studies and Information Group on Aerospace Unidentified Phenomena (CNES) (click here) [GEIPAN is not CNES, but a service of the CNES,the National Space Studies Center].

[Ref. ea1:] "E-ALSACE.NET" WEBSITE:

Alsace: UFOs in the sky

Friday, December 27, 2013 | 09:46 p.m.

UFOs, unidentified flying objects, were seen in the sky of Alsace. A call is made on Internet. A relationship to London?

A call to witnesses is published.

Ufos were observed by a dozen people in Kertzfeld in the Bas-Rhin on Saturday night. Are these Chinese lantern? Witnesses refute this hypothesis and argue. In all cases it is a story of lights...

[Ref. sp1:] S.P.I.C.A. WEBSITE:

Alsace (67) 12/21/2013

Source: DNA

In Mulhouse, recently, Thai lanterns in the night sky were mistaken for "UFOs". Since the testimony of Patricia Kliber, other readers of the DNA contact us to say they observed the same type of phenomenon. Thus on the dna.fr website isa67280 claims to have seen "two yellow orange light dots Wednesday night, also at 10:25 p.m." Problem: Wednesday night, it was December 24. And Patricia Kliber evokes Saturday, December 21, that was just one week ago. Isa67280 lives in Urmatt, near Molsheim, and she explains that the phenomenon lasted 30 seconds, then the light spots "disappeared in the height." This morning, Jean-Pierre, a resident of Colmar (Heyden district, west of the city), also contacted us after reading our article in the newspaper. "I watched a movie on television, he said, and then I went out and I saw it the same day, at the same time." Jean-Pierre saw "three suspended lights that moved." "I thought it was an advertising operation," he says. His wife also witnessed the phenomenon.
Have you, too, witnessed such things Saturday, December 21 at 22:25 in central Alsace?

[Ref. sp5:] "SPICA" UFOLOGY WEB FORUM:

UFO Strasbourg March 2010
06/17/2012 area 68
Bischoffsheim (67) weird observation January 16 to 17, 2012
Looking for reaw testimony region EAST

Alsace (67) 12/21/2013, luminous dots

Message by Admin on Sat Dec 28 - 07:02 p.m.

Source : DNA

In Mulhouse, recently, Chinese lanterns in the sky night, had been mistaken for "UFOs".

Since the testimony of Patricia Kliber, other readers of DNA contacted us to tell they observed the same type of phenomenon.

Thus on the dna.fr website, isa67280 affirms to have seen "two yellow orange luminous dots Wednesday evening, also towards 10:25 p.m.". Problem: Wednesday evening, it was on December 24. And Patricia Kliber evokes Saturday, December 21, just a week ago. Isa67280 lives in Urmatt, close to Molsheim, and she explains that the phenomenon lasted 30 seconds, then the luminous points "disappeared in the height".

This morning, Jean-Pierre, an inhabitant of Sélestat (Heyden district, in the West of the city), also contacted us after having read our article in the newspaper. "I was watching a movie on the TV, he says, then I went outside and I saw that, the same day, at the same hour." Jean-Pierre saw "three suspended lights which moved". "I believed that it was an advertisement", he tells. His wife was also a witness of the phenomenon.

Were you, also, a witness of such things on Saturday, December 21 at 10:25 in the center of Alsace?

[Ref. sp4:] SPICA UFOLOGY GROUP:

City Date and hour of observation General shape
Identification
General color
Hypothesis
Conclusion
KERTZFELD Saturday 21 December 2013 at 10:25 p.m. ball, balloon or melon (3D)
Unidentified
orange
Aeronautical reduced
Strong hypothesis

Discussion:

Obviously, it was once again Chinese lanterns, many people now know about that, but not everyone does, mostly among journalists who headline on "UFOs" and do not readily mention this often very obvious and usual explanation.

Sometimes we have witnesses who reject the explanation; here we have Marie-Elisabeth Kreydenweiss. But I can very well imagine the dialogue:

"- Mrs Kreydenweiss, we were told that it was Chinese lanterns..."

"- Chinese lanterns? What the hell are Chinese lanterns?"

"- Well, these are small Montgolfier balloons..."

"- Montgolfier balloon? Oh no, these were no balloons, these were large balls of fire!"

Obviously, in the mind of someone who does not know the Chinese lanterns, a "balloon" or Montgolfier does not look like a ball of fire, and this explains this sort of denial.

The response is found in an exchange on Facebook:

"Amandine Baumert: Hahaha! I'm surely going to disappoint some people, but these were just Chinese lanterns launched at a wedding party in Hilsenheim."

"Pauline Voegele: Entirely agree with Amandine Baumert, the hour, the direction the date everything matches it was us indeed."


Since the mid-2000s, a majority of "UFO sightings" in Alsace are actually observations of Chinese lanterns. More and more people identify them, but there will still be a long time before anyone can recognize them. Occasionally, people who have never heard of those, and are legitimately surprised by the show, contact the regional Press. The attitude of the local Press is not always "welcoming" when it comes to UFOs, but when there are independent witnesses, it is usual that the Press believes that there really was "something" out there, and they headline about "UFOs". Only to indicate the next day that it was just Chinese lanterns "again" and to put out some gentle scoffing onto the "belief in aliens."

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 7, 2014 Creation, [dn1], [dn2], [ea1], [sp1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 7, 2014 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross June 12, 2015 Addition [sp4].
1.2 Patrick Gross March 23, 2017 Addition [sp5].

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This page was last updated on March 23, 2017.