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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 Willgottheim, on June 25, 2014:

Case number:



A man reported his observation to GEIPAN - the French official study and information group on unidentified aerospace phenomena, on June 25, 2014, the very day of his observation, giving his story, sketches, and answering the questions in the GEIPAN questionnaire.

In Willgottheim, in the Bas-Rhin, on June 25, 2014, between 9:45 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., this man was smoking a cigarette at the window, when he saw two objects moving in the sky. At first he thought they were planes, but quickly noticed that the trail left by the two objects did not dissipate but "really accompanied" each object. He said the trail was "a bit cigar-shaped, very elongated" and seemed to be "about 20 to 30 times" the size of the objects.

Looking further, he noticed that the objects were "fairly luminescent" and of a slightly orange color to the extent that it was possible for him "to discern a triangular shape" of these objects. He also evoked the color as "orange-white rather luminescent for the object, and a paler orange-white for the trail left by the object."

Then, mechanically looking at the surrounding sky, he found out that there were, in another direction, four to six objects moving on the horizon line instead of going up. These objects were following each other or crossing each other, the crossing seemed to show that they were quite close to one another. He gave the luminosity of the objects as "equal or even a little superior to that of a star," but also their size as of 3 to 5 mm on a ruler that one would hold at arm's length.

He was surprised because he had never seen so much air traffic in such a short time - 15 minutes in all - He did not have a camera to take pictures and felt that these things, though brilliant, were too far anyway to get interesting photos.

There was no sound coming from the objects, he did not hear any airplane sounds.

The first objects; which rose on a slight slope, went from the west to the north, the second group of objects flew parallel to the horizon, and went from west to south.

The GEIPAN noted that orange luminescent objects crossing the sky "following the same trajectories in a few minutes, a weekend night", makes them strongly think of Chinese lanterns, probably launched nearby at the end of a private party. The observed drag, they say, could be the smoke released by the burner.

The GEIPAN says that there was, according to Meteociel, a very weak wind from North to Northeast, only one of the two groups of objects moved along this wind. The GEIPAN indicates however that the other displacement could be explained by a slightly different wind regime in altitude, a possible but hypothetical occurrence when the winds are very slow. They note that because of these complex movements, there remains some doubt about the nature of the phenomenon.


Temporal data:

Date: June 25, 2014
Time: 09:52 p.m.
Duration: 15 minutes
First known report date: June 25, 2014
Reporting delay: Minutes, hours.

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Willgottheim
Place: From window at home, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.671
Longitude: 7.509
Uncertainty ratio: 600 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 1
Witness(es) ages: 56
Witness(es) types: Resident.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Official report with GEIPAN questionnaire.
Type of location: From window at home, 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): Yes.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): Yes.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled, fascinated.
Witnesses interpretation: Not planes, maybe extraterrestrial.


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Possible Chinese lanterns.



WILLGOTTHEIM (67) 06/25/2014
Observed on: 05/25/2014
Region: Alsace
Department: Rhin (Bas)
Class: C
Summary: WILLGOTTHEIM (67) 06/25/2014. Observation of the complex displacement of several slightly orange luminescent objects in the night sky: lack of information.

The observation of orange luminescent objects crossing the sky along the same trajectories in a few minutes, a weekend night, is clearly reminiscent of Chinese lanterns, probably launched nearby at the end of a private party. The observed drag may be the smoke released by the burner.

Meteociel indicates a very weak wind from N to NE: Weather.

The observation relates two types of displacement, only one is compatible with this wind of NE. The other displacement could be explained by a wind regime a little different in altitude, a possible schema by very low wind, but hypothetical.

Although this case has many features of a Chinese lantern observation, these complex movements leave a doubt about the nature of the phenomenon.

GEIPAN classifies this case "C" for lack of information and overlap.

Report: None.

Details of the testimony
Date of the observation 06/25/2014
Document number
Profession Employees, Workers
Sex Male
Weather conditions
Hour of the observation Numbered: 8 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Reference frame
Distance between phenomenon and witness
Start of the observation
End of the observation
Angle od the site
Direction of observation
Nature of the observation Object
Characteristic of the observation
Global shape
Color White (light)
Apparent size
Apparent speed
Noise Silent
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:

. . . Smoking a cigarette at the window, I was attracted by two objects moving in the sky between 09:45 p.m. and 10 p.m. Wednesday 06/25/2014. Thinking at first that they were planes, I quickly noticed that the two objects did not leave a dissipating trail but really "accompanying each object.

Then, looking further, I noticed that the objects were quite luminescent and of slightly orange color. So much so that it was possible for me to discern a triangular form of these.

Then, I automatically looked at the sky as a whole to then observe on another "cardinal" plan this time four to six objects moving on the horizon. These objects followed or crossed (the crossing of the latter seemed to me very close from one object to another.

So in the presence of: first two objects ascending + four to six moving horizontally, I was surprised because in case of air traffic, it had not been given me to observe as much in this period of time (15 minutes). Unfortunately I did not have a camera to film it, and anyway the viewing distance would not have allowed me to make accurate pictures, although the brightness would have allowed me to do so.

CNES/GEIPAN Standard questionnaire GEIPAN V3.5-june-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 smoking a cigarette at the window

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

Willgottheim. Bas-Rhin

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.)

Two-storey building residing at the last and with an unobstructed view because no direct opposite overlooking

Date of the observation: ... 25 ... / 06 ...... / ... 2014 ......... Precise start time (in local time): 09:45 p.m.

Duration of the observation or end time (in hours, minutes, seconds): 15 minutes

Did other witnesses see the same phenomenon as you? If yes how much? 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 as follows: continuous /

(delete or delete the word "useless")

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

CNES/GEIPAN Standard questionnaire GEIPAN V3.5-june-2013 page: 4

How did this observation end?

Progressive dissipation

Have you seen the phenomenon directly from your eyes? YES /

(delete or delete the word "useless")

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):

Clear sky and very good brightness.

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

No stars still visible at this time of observation

Equipment on or active during the observation (lights, radio, TV, lights ...):

Lights of my main room but not disturbing the objects observed in the sky

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

No noises such as those that can be produced by an airliner or a fighter plane regarding objects and no disturbance noises from vehicles (car or motorcycle)

CNES/GEIPAN Standard questionnaire GEIPAN V3.5-june-2013 page: 5

Description of the phenomenon

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

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

Two objects moving uphill and four to six objects moving parallel to the skyline.


Triangular for the object and a somewhat cigar-shaped trail very elongated which seemed to me more or less 20 to 30 times that of the object.


White orange rather luminescent for the object, and paler orange-white for the trail left by the object.

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

equal or even a little higher than that of a star, especially compared to the brightness of the sky at this time.

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

White / orange trail not dissipated but seeming to stick to the back of the object, similar to the trail of a rocket.

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):

3 to 5 mm according to your rule criteria carried at arm's length

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

No noises

CNES/GEIPAN Standard questionnaire GEIPAN V3.5-june-2013 page: 6

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):

more or less 1 Km for objects going up and more or less 2 to 3 Km for objects moving on a horizon.

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

West to North for rising objects and South West and vice versa for objects following or intersecting on the horizon

UAP disappearance direction (north, south, southwest, etc., or specify a local visual or geographic landmark, direction of a location, etc.):

Same comments as above

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

45 to 60 ° for rising objects and 0 for those of the horizon plane

UAP disappearance height from horizon:

Same coordinates as mentioned above

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

objects1: rising direction on a slight slope

objects2: trajectory in a straight line horizontally

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.):

Hard to estimate

CNES/GEIPAN Standard questionnaire GEIPAN V3.5-june-2013 page: 7

No effect noted but I was staring at the sky

CNES/GEIPAN Standard questionnaire GEIPAN V3.5-june-2013 page: 8

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.


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

CNES/GEIPAN Standard questionnaire GEIPAN V3.5-june-2013 page: 10

- Observations of 25/06/2014

between 9:45 pm and 10 pm

1st observation

pretty brilliant part

Rising progression of objects

Approximations of the height

trail that can be likened to that left by an airplane except that it actually followed the object without a trace of dissipation.

2nd observation at ~ 5 min intervals for my own observation because not in the same field of view as the observation "1"

4 to 6 objects some of which were relatively close.

Horizontal progression of objects, following or crossing each other, visible on the horizon line

- estimate the drag ~ 20 to 30 times the size of the object itself.

- No noise, dissipation of objects after a few minutes.

these objects seemed to move quite fast but with constant speed

- situation: seen from my window by relatively clear sky, correct brightness.

CNES/GEIPAN Standard questionnaire GEIPAN V3.5-june-2013 page: 11

Sketch of your observation

(2) In order to define the situation in axis: N / S E / W

I quickly fashioned (cap + magnet needle) a compass.

Thus, the observation point 1 is in red, below

me from my window

the point of view of objects moving in a horizontal plane and parallel to the horizon line is indicated below

me from my window

And now?

Describe the emotions you felt during and after the observation:

I was very surprised and fascinated by this observation which pushed me to contact you because I seem out of things observed so far and I'm 56 years old !!

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 wrote to a Friend and searched the Web for your contact information because I want to have returns if this phenomenon could be observed by other people in my area or elsewhere.

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?

Nothing known to me or what my interest in science has taught me.

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?

A lot of interest because his father is a researcher at the CNRS.

CNES/GEIPAN Standard questionnaire GEIPAN V3.5-june-2013 page: 13

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

This observation only reinforces my position on the fact that we must not neglect the possibility of presence of life outside our system

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

If one sticks to the words of some scientists "a little open" yes ... Otherwise we enter a rationalization a little annoying by some too Cartesian scientists.

CNES/GEIPAN Standard questionnaire GEIPAN V3.5-june-2013 page: 14


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

CNES/GEIPAN Standard questionnaire GEIPAN V3.5-june-2013 page: 15

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 at Willgottheim (Bas-Rhin) .....

the 25/06/2014 .....



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 testinfy.

CNES/GEIPAN Standard questionnaire GEIPAN V3.5-june-2013 page: 16


GEIPAN's remarks about the explanation seem to me to make sense.

The direction of the wind given by the weather services is obviously globally correct, but locally, there may be variations, depending on the altitude, obstacles, and as stated by the GEIPAM, this is particularly true when the wind is globally slow.

A private party may have been the occasion of a letting go of lanterns; but it should also be noted that the feast of St. John for 2014 had its date set to the day before, June 24, 2014. But the villages sometimes celebrate one or two days before or after the "official" date, so that the party does not take place the same evening in all the surrounding villages.

Regarding the trails left by the objects, one could have the impression that the lanterns do not leave trail, if one refers to other such cases. But most of these other cases occur at night, or by dark night, and the trails may this not be visible. Here we are at the beginning of the summer (hence the St. John party) and it is only 09:45 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.; the sky is not totally dark at this time.

However, I just did not find, so far, proven cases of Chinese lanterns with trails. For example, it was impossible to me, amidst dozens of pictures of Chinese lanterns taken in broad daylight, to find a single image showing a trail. The only exception that I know of is that of a testimony that was sent to me and that reported smoke, but only at the end of life of the lantern. And this smoke was dark.

One possible explanation for trails here would be that these would not be the usual ready-made Chinese lanterns sold commercially, but "home made" Chinese lanterns with a burner that would let a trail of whitish smoke.

The first group went from west to north, the second went from west to south. Any village on the west side may have been the place of a lanterns lauch: Landersheim, Rangen, Zeinheim, Hohengoeft, Knoersheim, Westhouse, Zehnacker, Wasselone, Kuttolsheim, Nordheim, Wintzenheim.

In the end, we do not have proven Chinese lanterns here, but possible Chinese lanterns, the only "objection", not irreducible, being these trails.

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.


Possible 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 27, 2018 Creation, [ge1].
1.0 Patrick Gross February 27, 2018 First published.

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This page was last updated on February 27, 2018.