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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 Mulhouse, on December 25, 2014:

Case number:



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

"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.


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: 0
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.


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Probable Chinese lanterns.



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


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.


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.


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:


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.

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This page was last updated on May 11, 2015