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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 Mulhouse, on December 25, 2014:

Case number:

ALSACAT-2014-12-25-MULHOUSE-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; which the witness also sent to GEIPAN:

"Kevin", Mulhouse, reports that on December 25, 2014, at 00:45 a.m. in Mulhouse in the Haut-Rhin, he saw a bright red light surrounded by less bright white lights.

Residing in Mulhouse Dornach, on the heights of Dornach with a clear view on Mulhouse, he said he is used to seeing planes passing over the house as this is the main path to the Basel - Mulhouse airport. He also knows the hospital's helicopter flying over there the every day; and moreover he is an aviation buff.

The house being in the dark, he was intrigued to see in the frame of a Velux window a light he first imagined to be from a plane or a helicopter, heading from west to east.

But he quickly noted the lack of noise, and then moved to a window that gives eastward to follow the movement of the object he had guessed from the Velux.

He thinks that the thing was about 400 meters above the ground. Its movement was faster than airplanes landing at Basel - Mulhouse, it was rather like a helicopter at full speed.

The object kept the same altitude flying over Mulhouse. He watched it to see if he would engage in a landing approach to the Basel - Mulhouse airport, but it continued straight on towards the Black Forest.

He thinks that the total observation lasted 4 to 5 minutes.

The brightness of the red light was such that he could not distinguish "the shape of the craft," but he was able to distinguish white lights surrounding the red light.

He thought the thing was not very big, it had to be the size of a small helicopter or even smaller, because depending on its trajectory, he believed it had been at 300 to 400 meters from his home when it passed by.

He was still puzzled and was going to leave his observation post, when to his surprise he saw a second "craft" follow exactly the same path at the same speed and again, silently.

This time, in the mist above Mulhouse, the red light seemed to draw a red cone towards the ground.

He said he was surprised not to have seen any echo of other testimonies on the radio or in the Press, and feared not to be believed, but he assured of the sincerity of his testimony.

On May 28, 2018, the witness contacted me by email, telling me that in fact, he had already seen and recognized Chinese lanterns on Mulhouse, and that it was not that, because it was too fast and too bright, with a totally constant altitude.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: December 25, 2014
Time: 00:45 a.m.
Duration: 4 or 5 minutes.
First known report date: May 2015
Reporting delay: Hours, months.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Mulhouse
Place: Heights of Dornach, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.734
Longitude: 7.309
Uncertainty ratio: 500 m

Witnesses data:

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

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Reported by the web to UFO website "OVNI-France".
Type of location: From home on the heights in city, 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: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: Not a plane, not a helicopter.

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Unidentified, possible LED balloons.

Sources:

[Ref. ge1:] GROUPE D'ETUDES ET D'INFORMATIONS SUR LES PHENOMENES AEROSPATIAUX NON IDENTIFIES (G.E.I.P.A.N.):

MULHOUSE (68) 12/25/2014

Observed on: 12/25/2014
Region: Alsace
Department: Rhin (Haut)
Class: B
Summary: MULHOUSE (68) 12/25/2014. Successive observations of the W-E silent passage of two red lights in the night sky: probable observation of Chinese lanterns.
Description:

December 25, 2014 at 0:45 a witness looking through windows, sees two passes in a row, of two lights of red color moving West-East. No particular noise is heard. The witness follows the phenomenon as far as the eye can see towards the black forest. No other testimony is collected on this phenomenon. The observation of red balls crossing the sky in a few minutes, a night of celebration, is clearly reminiscent of Chinese lanterns, probably dropped launched at the end of a private party.

The displacement is observed from west to east, which is compatible with the west wind, from 11 to 24 km / h at Basel-Mulhouse at 1 a.m. on December 25 (see the weather report. One notes, however, that the wind was very unstable during the night, changing direction several times.

GEIPAN classifies this case as "B" likely sighting of Chinese lanterns.

Report: None.

Details of the testimony
Witness
Date of the observation 12/25/2014
Document number
Age
Profession
Sex Male
Reaction
Credibility
Conditions
Environment Home
Weather conditions
Hour of the observation
Reference frame
Distance between phenomenon and witness
Start of the observation
End of the observation
Localization
Angle du site
Direction of observation
Heading
Trajectory
Nature of the observation
Characteristic of the observation
Global shape
Color
Apparent size
Apparent speed
Noise
Effect on the environment
Number

Your observation

We will 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 unimportant to you. If you are not sure about this or that detail, tell us 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:

You observation story:

REPORT: Residing in Mulhouse Dornach we are used to seeing planes go over the house; because we found [sic] on the main path of the Basel / Mulhouse airport. The hospital's helicopter fly [sic] above us every day also; plus I'm a bit an aviation buff.

So how i was intrigud [sic] in the early morning of the 25th, the house being in the dark, to see passing in the frame of a Velux the luminaries that i first imagined being from a plane or helicopter heading from west to east. But immedialy [sic] i said to myself "but that does not make noise!" I moved to a window that faces east to follow the movement of the object I've been able to estimate through the angle the Velux gives, and the trajectory it followed at approx 400M of altitude. His [sic] movement was faster than aircraft that are in approching [sic] for B / M [Basel Mulhouse airport] rather the speed of a chopper at full speed. The object ha [sic] maintained its altitude by flying above Mulhouse, and I followed it with the eyes to see if he would preaparing to a landing at B / M; but no, it went straight to the Black Forest; I have in all i followd it for 4-5 min. The brightness of the red light was such that I could not distinguish the shape of the crafte [sic]; however, i distinguished white lights surrounding the red light. Of this, I could estimate its size, it did not seem very large; the size of a small chopper; even smaller, because depending on its trajectory, I estimated it at 3 to 400M away from the house as it passed.

Perplexd [sic] by what i had just observed, i was ready to leave my observation post when amazement a second crafte apeared by taking exactly the same path; same speed; always silently. This time, in the mist above Mulhouse, the red light seemed to draw a red cone to the ground.

Note that i live on the heights of Dornach, so I have a clear view of Mulhouse.

To my surprise there was no echo of testimony on the radio or in the press! There are some who will say that I just saw Santa !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! However, this estimony is entirely sincere.

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

25-12-2014 - (Dep.68) - Sharp red light surrounded by less luminous white lights .

Date : 25-12-2014

Departement : 68 (Haut-Rhin)

Localization : Mulhouse

Hour : 00h45

Numbers [sic] of witnesses : 1 people

Type of observation : NL : Nocturnal Lights

Approximate duration of the observation : 4 minutes

What was seen : Sharp red light surrounded by less luminous white lights .

Description of the facts :

Residing in Mulhouse Dornach we are used to seeing planes go over the house; because we found [sic] on the main path of the Basel / Mulhouse airport. The hospital's helicopter fly [sic] above us every day also; plus I'm a bit an aviation buff.

So how i was intrigud [sic] in the early morning of the 25th, the house being in the dark, to see passing in the frame of a Velux the luminaries that i first imagined being from a plane or helicopter heading from west to east. But immedialy [sic] i said to myself "but that does not make noise!" I moved to a window that faces east to follow the movement of the object I've been able to estimate through the angle the Velux gives, and the trajectory it followed at approx 400M of altitude. His [sic] movement was faster than aircraft that are in approching [sic] for B / M [Basel Mulhouse airport] rather the speed of a chopper at full speed. The object ha [sic] maintained its altitude by flying above Mulhouse, and I followed it with the eyes to see if he would preaparing to a landing at B / M; but no, it went straight to the Black Forest; I have in all i followd it for 4-5 min. The brightness of the red light was such that I could not distinguish the shape of the crafte [sic]; however, i distinguished white lights surrounding the red light. Of this, I could estimate its size, it did not seem very large; the size of a small chopper; even smaller, because depending on its trajectory, I estimated it at 3 to 400M away from the house as it passed.

Perplexd [sic] by what i had just observed, i was ready to leave my observation post when amazement a second crafte apeared by taking exactly the same path; same speed; always silently. This time, in the mist above Mulhouse, the red light seemed to draw a red cone to the ground.

Note that i live on the heights of Dornach, so I have a clear view of Mulhouse.

To my surprise there was no echo of testimony on the radio or in the press! There are some who will say that I just saw Santa !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! However, this estimony is entirely sincere.

Kevin 68200

[Ref. pg1:] EMAIL SENT TO ME BY THE WITNESS:

Subject: RE your ceomment on my observation of Dec. 25, 2014
Sent on: May 28, 2018, 4:28 a.m.
From: [Fitsname] [Name] <[firstname-name]@msn.com>
To: patrick.gross@inbox.com

Hello Mr. Gross, I came across your website tonight wanting to know more about what happened in Fessenheim on the 24th of this month. I have your comments on my comments of 25 Dec 2014. GEIPAN does not give the possibility of a right of reply on their interpretation of testimonies, I do it on your website, which still echoes that of GEIPAN.

As in my initial statement, I specify, I can identify an airliner and a helicopter in the night; I was also able to observe the flight of Chinese Lantern over Mulhouse. So I can assure you what I observed on 12/25/2014 was neither one nor the other. The luminosity, the speed and the fact that the altitude was constant excluded any confusion with lanterns.

I'll be ready to believe in Drones, but they must be damn sophisticated and autonomous gear to make the movements that I observed. I had information that Fessenheim had been flown on 26/12/2014; but the date may be wrong (it does not appear on the official reports).

That's it, if you would take into account my comments on your website I would appreciate.

Thanks in advance [name]

I replied on May 28, 2018 to this reader:

Hello Mr. [Name].

Thank you for your contribution. It goes without saying that I publish it on my web page about your observation, in anonymized manner.

I have increased my comments on the observation taking into account your indications, in particular the fact that you tell me that you have already seen and recognized Chinese lanterns over Mulhouse; which seems an important information to me.

If you do not mind, can you give me some more information about your observation?

1. I know the heights of Dornach well, I have good friends there. To locate your observation spot, would you give me your address? It goes without saying that I will not publish it and will not give any information that allows anyone to find it.

2. Could you, on a map, for example those of Google Earth or Google Maps, place two arrows: a "Start" arrow that would indicate the direction in which you saw the first object when you first saw it, and an "End" arrow that would indicate the direction of your view toward that first object as it went out of sight?

(If it is too complicated to do it on a map, you may either put yourself in the same position and give me landmarks names, buildings, streets, towers...)

3. Can you tell me if the Velux was open or closed, if you saw things through its window or without the obstacle of the window? (A priori the answer seems obvious, but for the sake of rigor I must ask the question).

4. Can you give me your age, even approximate (10-18 or 18-25 or 25-30 etc.) I will not publish the precise age, this is for more accuracy in future statistics by age groups).

Regarding the Fessenheim sighting (or sightings, perhaps), I documented one (very little information) as of December 31, 2014. If you have any information about an observation there on the 24th, or whatever other date, I would be happy to read about it.

Best regard and thans agains
Patrick Gross

[Ref. pg2:] COURRIEL DU TEMOIN A MON INTENTION:

On May 29, 2018, the witness sent me by email his answers to the questions I asked above in [pg1].

1. He communicates to me his precise address, which is the place of observation, I obviously do not disclose this.

2. On my questions about the directions of beginning and end of observation, the witness attached photographs to me, and specifies that the Velux was oriented more or less towards the South; that the window was facing east; he said he showd this as best as he could on the pictures. The Velux gave an elevation angle of about 45° from its point of view for the objects. He bases his estimated of altitudes and distances on that, and thinks they were likely bigger than he showed on the photos.

He explains that "there was no flickering of the lights of these craft, and the red light was quite intense, I followed their movement as far as the eye could see, about 4 to 5 min each time."

3. On the issue of open or closed Velux (its window), he indicates that the Velux was closed and that the room (the toilet) was in complete darkness.

4. On the question of his age, he tells me that at the time of the sighting he was at an age which is between 60 and 70-year-old (he communicated to me his precise age; which I do not give for protection of privacy). He tells me about his biography, stating that his father had been a bomber pilot during World War II, that in his childhood he had lived under the approach path of a military air base; hence his interest in everything that flies.

Incidentally, with regard to the Fessenheim sighting that led the witness to visiting this page, he tells me that this is probably the one I had documented for December 31, 2014 - he remembered that it was on a party day. This was what led him to think of December 24th. He also notes, like I do, that there is no official report on this on the GEIPAN website. oincidentally, just after writing this, I discovered a new sighting (only an alleged sighting, for the moment at least!) at Fessenheim, for May 24, 2018!

The first image - I blacked parts so that the location cannot be identified - shows the Velux and how the phenomenon looked like:

The second image shows the phenomenon passing in the sky:

The third image shows the final trajectory of the objects in the sky:

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.

Being a resident of Brunstatt and Mulhouse, with excellent friends on the heights of Dornach, I know like Kevin does the view on Mulhouse from the heights of Dornach, the appearance of airliners in landing approach to the Basel Mulhouse airport, and I am also familiar with the helicopter which in this period actually flew by every day, noisily by the way - not once did I see it without hearing its noise.

Obviously, Kevin was awestruck by the lack of noise a plane or helicopter should have produced given the angular size of what he observed. That leaves us with the explanation of two Chinese lanterns. After all, this occurs on Christmas Eve.

The "cone" of reflection downwards on the mist also suggests that, the reflection of the flame below the lantern in the fog.

Additions on May 28, 2018:

See [pg1]: the witness informed me that day that he had also seen Chinese lanterns over Mulhouse, and that this is not the explanation for his December 25, 2014 sighting.

Additions on June 8, 2018:

See [pg2]. The witness took care to answer my questions and sent me images of reconstitution of the sighting.

Because of the steadiness of the objects' luminosity, and the apparently definite red color, I now wonder if these were LED balloons rather than Chinese lanterns. Their shape would explain the sight "cone" appearance at their bottom.

"LED ballons", generally "reusable", can easily be bought on the Internet and stores.

Normal inflatable balloon are illuminated by a device which is attached to the mouth, concisting in a battery holder and one or more small LED lamps. The LED can be set to be off, with continuous light, fast flashing, or slow flashing, with a simple slider. When the light weakens, the batteries can be changed. The price of such a balloon is around 4 to 6 €uros. Unlike Chinese lenterns, they can hold the air 15 minutes or even much more.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015, was indeed the Fête de Saint-Jean (St. John's feast), much celebrated in Alsace, and also Father's Day. A wedding party, a birthday party, are also opportunities for such releases.

Above: ballons à LEDs.

Evaluation:

Unidentified, possible LED balloons.

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 11, 2015 Creation, [of1].
1.0 Patrick Gross May 11, 2015 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross February 8, 2018 Addition [ge1].
1.2 Patrick Gross May 28, 2018 Addition [pg1]. Evaluation changed, was "Probable Chinese lanterns." Number of named witnesses changed from 0 to 1. In the Summary, addition of the paragraph "On May 28, 2018, ..." In the Discussion, addition of the "Additions on May 28, 2018" part.
1.2 Patrick Gross June 8, 2018 Addition [pg2]. In the Discussion, addition of what follows "Addition on June 8, 2018". Evaluation changed from "Unidentified, waiting for information" to "Unidentified, possible LED balloons".

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This page was last updated on June 8, 2018.