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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 25, 2014:

Case number:

ALSACAT-2014-07-25-STRASBOURG-1

Summary:

"OVNI-France.fr" is a French UFO website that essentially publishes UFO sighting reports they receive. Among those, I found this one in May 2015:

On July 25, 2014 at "9:55 p.m." in "Strasbourg south," Paul said he saw with two other people, from his terrace, a red orange light coming from the south and heading horizontally eastward.

It did not emit noise and seemed relatively close, but Paul notes that it is difficult to specify a distance.

It was out of their sight after 2 minutes, disappearing behind trees.

He noted that it was neither a plane nor a helicopter and even less a shooting star or a satellite, and his only guess is that of a "drone". He notes, however, that in general people flying a drone make it maneuver for fun, whereas what he saw moved on a quite long straight line.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: July 25, 2014
Time: 09:55 p.m.
Duration: ~2 minutes.
First known report date: May 2015
Reporting delay: Hours, months.

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Strasbourg
Place: From "Strasbourg south", UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.561
Longitude: 7.749
Uncertainty ratio: 10 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 3
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: ?
Witness(es) types: ?

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Reported by the web to UFO website "OVNI-France".
Type of location: From terrace, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: Yes
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: Not a plane, not a helicopter, not a shooting star, not a satellite, maybe a drone.

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Probable Chinese lanterns.

Sources:

[Ref. of1:] WITNESS REPORT TO THE "OVNI-FRANCE" WEBSITE:

25-07-2014 - (Dep.67) - Red orangeish ball moving slowly on a south to east horizontal line

Date : 25-07-2014

Departement : 67 (Bas-Rhin)

Localization : Strasbourg south

Hour : 09:55 p.m.

Numbers [sic] of witnesses : 3 people

Type of observation : NL : Nocturnal Lights

Approximate duration of the observation : 2 minutes

What was seen : red orangeish ball moving slowly on a south to east horizontal line.

Description of the facts :

visible from our terrace a red orangeish light coming from the south and heading horizontally eastward. The object did not emit noise and seemed relatively close, however, difficult to specify a distance. It was not a plane or a helicopter even less a shooting star or a satellite ... only hypothesis explained a "drone" but in general people have fun moving them up and down and not move them on a long straight line. The object is hid from our sight after 2 minutes disappearing behind trees ...

paul

Discussion:

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.

Note that the lanterns have also evolved: if initially they were almost always white in color, giving an orange light during their flight, there are now all colors available and they produce other colors in flight than the usual "reddish", orange, yellow.

Above:

A Chinese lantern.

On Friday, July 25, 2014, there were public parties in several Strasbourg squares: "Places en Fête" at Place Saint-Thomas, Place du Château, Place Gutenberg, Place Austerlitz. I was unable to find out if there was any release of lanterns then. Anyway, the location "Strasbourg sud" is too vague, perhaps is was in one of the many villages south of Strasbourg...

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
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross May 10, 2015 Creation, [of1].
1.0 Patrick Gross May 10, 2015 First published.

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This page was last updated on May 10, 2015