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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 Ostwald, on January 1, 2014:

Case number:



On January 6, 2014, a man completed the GEIPAN questionnaire to report his observation of January 1, 2014, minutes after midnight.

He told he was out on the balcony of his apartment to watch the firecrackers and rocket fire in the nearby streets. At about 00:08 a.m., he saw a red luminous dot, about 45° high in the sky, moving under the cloud layer, at a speed "probably greater than mach 1 and constant, on a perfectly straight trajectory on a practically South-North axis."

After a few seconds observing this, he had looked in the direction Southwest-South, on the horizon above the roofs of the buildings, and was suprised to note the presence of other luminous objects identical to the first one, both by their appearance and by their behavior. Some progressed in isolation, others in groups of two to four.

He counted in all 23 objects, the last one crossed the sky at 00:39 a.m. He said that all had been of a steady red color, with no variation of intensity or effect of flashing, that they were moving at the same speed at distances between them always constant, all were following the same course, and moved perfectly in straight line.

GEIPAN noted the obvious explanation: Chinese lanterns.


Temporal data:

Date: January 1, 2014
Time: 00:08 a.m.
Duration: 21 minutes.
First known report date: January 6, 2014
Reporting delay: 5 days.

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Ostwald
Place: From the 3rd floor balcony of his building, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.555
Longitude: 7.711
Uncertainty ratio: 100 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 1
Witness(es) ages: Adult.
Witness(es) types: Male resident.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: By official GEIPAN report form.
Type of location: From the 3rd floor balcony of his building in village, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: No
UFO departure observed: Yes
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Surprise, curiosity.
Witnesses interpretation: Not a known phenomenon.


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Chinese lanterns.



OSTWALD (67) 01.01.2014
Observed on: 01-01-2014
Rwgion: Alsace
Dwpartment: Rhin (Bas)
Class: B
Summary: OSTWALD (67) 01.01.2014. Observation of the rectilinear and silent passage of about twenty red luminous points in the sky: probable observation of Chinese lanterns.

On January first, 2014, around 0h08 a witness on his balcony observes in the sky the silent movement of many luminous objects of red color that progress in straight line in the cloudy sky.

This observation of 23 red luminous points flying linearly along the same trajectory has all the characteristics of Chinese lanterns, very commonly launched at the end of the holidays. The New Year's occasion reinforces this hypothesis.

The weather report notes a gentle wind from South (South West at 11 p.m., South at 00 p.m., SE at 1 a.m.) see: weather.

Although the witness refutes the possibility that it is flying lanterns, the GEIPAN classifies this case "B": probable observation of Chinese lanterns.

The small strangeness of this type of observation on January 1st at 0 a.m. does not justify a field investigation.

Report: None.

Details of the testimony
Date of the observation 01-01-2014
Document number
Age Adult (more than 18)
Sex Male
Weather conditions
Hour of the observation Numbered: 0 a.m. - 2 a.m.
Reference frame
Distance bezween phenomenon and witness
Start of the observation
End of the observation
Angle of the site
Direction of observation
Nature of the observation
Characteristic of the observation
Global shape
Apparent size
Apparent speed
Effect on the environment

Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales


Madam, Sir,

You have witnessed directly, on French territory, an aerospace phenomenon that has intrigued you and you want to understand what you have seen.

In order to answer your questions, the National Center for Space Studies and its specialized service GEIPAN offer you a two-step approach:

  • On the website, first consult the UAP identification guide where you may find an explanation for your observation.
  • If you have not found an explanation, complete the following questionnaire that will allow us to open an investigation.

- The questionnaire is individual and must be completed by the direct witness

- The questionnaire should be about only one observation at a time

Your testimony is important and perhaps unique. It will consist of telling the story of your observation, answering specific questions, making drawings and sketches or attaching photographs to further refine your description.

It is imperative that you adhere to the instructions mentioned at each step so that we can gather as much information as possible about the observed phenomenon. You must not be afraid to tell us about it, nor to feel ridiculous, we are used to collecting this type of testimony.

The conclusions of our investigation will be transmitted to you personally. Once anonymized, your testimony will be published on our website (, "Case Search" tab in the menu bar.

We thank you in advance for the contribution you make to our work.

The head of GEIPAN

Centre national d'études spatiales
18 Avenue BELIN 31401 TOULOUSE CEDEX 9
05 61 27 48 01 -

Your observation

We ask you to provide as much information as possible about your observation. The most important thing is to leave nothing out: it is often the details that make it possible to solve the investigations. Do not hesitate to give the maximum of information, even if your memories are incomplete or that certain elements seem inimportant to you. If you are not sure about this or that detail, tell us of your doubts, but, again, do not omit anything. We need to be able to visualize everything you've seen, like re-doing the movie of your observation.

Use the end of this page to tell the story of your observation and continue on free paper as much as you want:

Your free account of the observation:

On January 1, 2014, a few minutes after midnight, I went out on the balcony of my apartment, to watch the throwing of firecrackers and rockets in the neighboring streets. After a few minutes, around 00:08, my eyes were attracted by a bright, red dot, about 45 ° in the sky, moving under the cloud layer, at a speed probably greater than mach 1 and constant, on a perfectly straight trajectory along a practically South-North axis (see attached document Img 2).

After a few seconds spent observing this "object" (I will use the word "object" for lack of something else), I looked in the direction South-West / South, on the horizon above the roofs of buildings, and I was surprised to notice the presence of other luminous objects, identical to the first one noticed, as well by their appearance as by their behavior.

Some progressed in isolation. Others in groups of two to four.

I counted a total of 23 objects. The last one crossed the sky at 00:39.

All were of a fixed red color, without variation of intensity nor effect of blinking.

All moved at the same speed (the distances between them always remained constant as long as I could observe them).

All followed the same course, and moved in perfectly rectilinear manner.

CNES/GEIPAN Questionnaire standard GEIPAN V3.5-juin-2013 page: 3

Conditions of observation of the phenomenon

Please provide all the requested information.

What were your occupations just before your observation?

I was at my home, watching television.

Specific address of the place of observation (street, city ...):

[] rue of the Abbé Pierre, 67540 OSTWALD

Where exactly were you? (Please indicate if you were in a building and on which floor, if you were looking through a window, and how fast you were driving if you were in a vehicle.)

Three-storey building. I am in the third floor. Balcony facing West (see attached document Img 1).

Date of the observation: 01/01/2014 Specific starting time (in local time): 00:08

Observation Duration or End Time (in hours, minutes, seconds): 00:39

Did other witnesses see the same phenomenon as you? If yes how much? unknown

If so, please ask them to contact us using the contact details on the last page of this document.

How do you relate to these people (parents, friends, colleagues, neighbors)?


The observation was made in a continuous way

(delete or delete the word "useless")

If the observation was done intermittently, specify why it was interrupted and resumed:


How did this observation end?

I continued to observe the sky for about ten minutes after the passage of the last object, and in the absence of any new demonstration, I ended my observation.

CNES/GEIPAN Questionnaire standard GEIPAN V3.5-juin-2013 page: 4

Have you seen the phenomenon directly from your eyes? YES

(delete or delete the "useless" word)

Has the phenomenon been observed through an instrument (eyeglasses or sunglasses, binoculars, camera, camera, telescope ...)? If yes, please specify the model:


Weather conditions (clear skies, clouds, wind, storm, mist, fog, rain, snow, changing conditions during observation):

Cloudy sky.

Leaving my field of vision to the north, many of the objects disappeared in the cloud layer.

Astronomical conditions (remember the position of the Moon, the Sun, the presence or not of stars or planets, etc.):

Few stars were visible between the clouds.

The moon was in the "new moon" phase.

Equipment switched on or active during the observation (lights, radio, TV, lights ...): None.

No lighting on my balcony. The apartment was in the dark.

Noise during observation (TV or radio on, passing vehicles, airplane engine, thunder ...):

No devices worked in the apartment.

Noise from firecrackers was frequently heard in the environment.

In your descriptions, do not hesitate to make comparisons with known objects.

Number of phenomena (single, multiple or single and then divides ...):

I counted 23 luminous objects, apparently independent (However, the phenomenon could begin before I notice it).

Apparently independent, because it is striking to note the uniqueness of these objects. I thought for a moment that they were luminous points emanating from a single object; but it would then be of gigantic size on our scale.


The power of the color of objects, the time of observation on a moonless night, the distance from my situation ... prevented me from discerning one or more identifiable forms.


Red, sharp, without dimming or blinking.

CNES/GEIPAN Questionnaire standard GEIPAN V3.5-juin-2013 page: 5

Description of the phenomenon

Brightness (in comparison with known stars like Venus and the Moon, or the lighting of a lamppost, car lights, house lights, etc.):

Intense red, as could be a stop light of a vehicle at a hundred meters distance.

Presence of a drag or a halo? If so, what color?


Apparent size (express the dimensions of the phenomenon in relation to a familiar object and / or in millimeters counted on a graduated scale carried at arm's length):

Without opinion

Noise coming from the phenomenon (hissing, buzzing, detonation, comparison with a known noise ...):

No perceived noise

Distance between you and the UAP (the observed phenomenon), estimated roughly (specify if the object passed in front of or behind an element of the landscape):

Distance difficult to estimate.

Direction of appearance of UAP (north, south, southwest, etc., or specify a local visual or geographic landmark, direction of a place, etc.):

See attached document Img 2, which shows my estimate of the direction of objects.

The left border of my field of vision is made up of bars of buildings with 8 to 10 floors.

UAP disappearance direction (north, south, southwest, etc., or specify a local visual or geo-graphical landmark, direction of a place, etc.):

Towards the North / North-East, following a trajectory passing west of the city of Strasbourg, and towards Germany.

CNES/GEIPAN Questionnaire standard GEIPAN V3.5-juin-2013 page: 6

Height of appearance of the PAN with respect to the horizon (the horizon = 0 °, the zenith = 90 °): about 35 °

UAP disappearance height from horizon:

About 45 °

Trajectory of the phenomenon (straight line, rising, descending, with or without change of direction, curve, etc.)

Straight line.

The fact that some objects, near the edge of my field of vision to the right, have disappeared in the cloud layer may indicate a variation in altitude. But the ceiling was perhaps lower west of Strasbourg.

Portion of the sky covered by the PAN during the observation (eg a quarter of the sky or 30 ° to 40 ° with respect to the horizon, etc.):

About 120 °

Effect (s) on the environment (trace (s) on the ground, effect (s) on living beings or equipment): none

CNES/GEIPAN Questionnaire standard GEIPAN V3.5-juin-2013 page: 7

Reconstitution of your observation

In order for us to reconstruct the "film" of your observation, we need to have as much information as possible. Concretely this implies that we understand everything, from the beginning to the end of your observation, and that we know the direction of movement of the phenomenon as well as its altitude. This step is crucial.

We offer three complementary methods:

  1. Take a picture of the environment as it was during the phenomenon, as if the camera was your eyes during the observation. Feel free to draw what you have observed directly in the photos.
  2. Make one or more sketches of your observation (see next page) from your point of view, including the environment. Give as many information as possible to allow us to well understanding the scene.

    You are entirely free to make the sketches you send us. But color accuracy is important, especially if the level of contrast between the observed phenomenon and the environment is low. Try to be as precise as possible, even if you write on the sketch.

    No talent in drawing is necessary. The key is to make us understand what you have seen schematically. You can use the next page for this purpose.
  3. Make a reconstruction of your observation on one or more maps. If you can, it is about presenting your observation with a view from above. For this you can print a map of your place of observation on Google Map ( or Geoportail ( and report your different positions and directions of observations.

How to "dress" a photo or a map with your comments?

If you are used to the use of drawing or image editing software (Photoshop, GIMP, Illustrator, ...), we advise you to use these tools, then send us a file in jpg, png or pdf format .

If you can not access this type of material, print a map of the place and / or a photo, draw over it and attach it to the paper file; or scan or photograph the result and send it to us in jpg, png or pdf format.

CNES/GEIPAN Questionnaire standard GEIPAN V3.5-juin-2013 page: 8

Sketch of your observation

Use this page to draw your observation.
You are entirely free of the development of this sketch.

CNES/GEIPAN Questionnaire standard GEIPAN V3.5-juin-2013 page: 9

And now?

Describe the emotions you felt during and after the observation:

Surprise and curiosity.

What did you do after your observation? Have you spoken to it? How did your interlocutors react? Have you done any research to understand what you saw?

I talked to a few friends and some colleagues.

What interpretation do you give to what you have observed? Have you thought of a known phenomenon? What are the elements that justify your interpretation? If you do not know, did you give up understanding? If so, when and why?

None of what I have observed evokes a known phenomenon.

My knowledge and experience do not allow me to give a "rational" explanation to what I have observed.

Before your observation, what interest do you have in strange aerospace phenomena? Did you have a clear opinion on the subject? Which? What were you merging with?

I have always been interested in the issue of UAPs, without having a definite opinion. I think that common sense is not to exclude a priori the possibility of the presence in the universe of life forms other than those we know on earth, some of which may have a mastery of the technologies necessary to perform interstellar flights.

CNES/GEIPAN Questionnaire standard GEIPAN V3.5-juin-2013 page: 10

Has this observation changed your view of unidentified aerospace phenomena? If yes, explain what you think now:

This is the first time that I have been able to observe a phenomenon of this nature.

This experience reinforces me in the idea that we must remain open to this kind of phenomena.

Do you think that science will give an explanation to your observation?

I doubt it.

CNES/GEIPAN Questionnaire standard GEIPAN V3.5-juin-2013 page: 11


If you have already testified about this NAP, please tell us which authority, organization or person by removing or blocking useless entries in the list below, and completing the requested information (several possible contacts):

Gendarmerie (mention brigade and date): ....
Police (mention the police station and the date): ....
GEIPAN (mention contact name and date): ....
Private Investigator (mention name of contact and date): ....
Ufologist (mention contact name and date): ....
Reporter (mention name of contact and date): ....
Internet (mention site and date): ....

Please indicate in the list below the documents you have attached or filled.

(tick or delete the words that are not applicable)

  • (X) Questionnaire
  • ( ) Sketch of observed phenomenon (number: .......)
  • (X) Map (s) or plan (s) (number: .......)
  • ( ) Photograph (s) of observation (number: .......)
  • ( ) Video (s) of observation (number: .......)
  • ( ) Photograph (s) of the environment (number: .......)

CNES/GEIPAN Questionnaire standard GEIPAN V3.5-juin-2013 page: 12

You still have to fill the authorization of publication below, which will enable us to make appear your anonymous testimony on our Internet site.

Authorization to publish your information

(In case of refusal, delete or delete one or both of the following formulas.)

- I authorize the GEIPAN to publish this testimony on its own website, after deleting the information used to identify the witnesses (name, address ...).

- I authorize the GEIPAN to publish in the media (press, television, Internet) parts of this testimony (text, photos possibly retouched, drawings, diagrams, videos).

I, the undersigned: []


certify the sincerity of the information provided above.

Done Erstein .....

the 01/06/2014 .....



This questionnaire is to return:

- By e-mail with all digitized items at


- By mail to the following postal address, after making a copy that you will keep:

Centre national d'études spatiales

18 avenue Édouard Belin,

We thank you foe having taken the time to testify.

CNES/GEIPAN Questionnaire standard GEIPAN V3.5-juin-2013 page: 13


The most probable explanation is totally obvious.

Since 2005, Chiese lanterns 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.


A Chinese lantern.


Chinese lanterns.

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
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross February 28, 2018 Creation, [ge1].
1.0 Patrick Gross February 28, 2018 First published.

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This page was last updated on February 28, 2018.