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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.

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Case of Lautenbach-Zell, on February 3, 2007:

Case number:



A testimony was published on the web about a sighting on Saturday, February 3, 2007, at about 09:30 p.m. in Lautenbach-Zell in the Haut-Rhin, of "red lights."

Someone reported that in front of their home, or rather at few meters from them in the forest in Lautenbach Zell, she and her friend saw two red dots of light rising to about 20 meters above the ground, and then quickly going away horizontally, and then again going up to hover for a few seconds.

The witnesses never see "it" go down "because the red lights were not lit anymore". This seemed to happen at least 4 or 5 times. There was also a kind of noise like a hissing "in fact like a remote-controlled device", but the witness does not think it could not that because it was starting from the forest.

They went there to see the next day but found nothing unusual.


Temporal data:

Date: February 3, 2007
Time: ~09:30 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: February 15, 2007
Reporting delay: Hours, 12 days.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Lautenbach-Zell
Place: In front of home, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.940
Longitude: 7.149
Uncertainty ratio: 1 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 2
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Teenagers, adults or aged.
Witness(es) types: A couple.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: By the web to the ufology association SPICA.
Type of location: In front of home, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: Yes
UFO departure observed: Yes
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Probable Chinese lanterns.



02/03/2007 - 09:30 p.m. - Haut-Rhin (68) - red lights

Witness report by mlinda published on the website of the SPICA association on that page:


Hi, I'm writin [sic] to you because on Saturday, February 3, at 09:30 p.m. in front of our home, or rather at few meters from us in the forest in Lautenbach Zell in the Florival Valley, my friend and I saw 2 red light points which rose to about 20 m from the ground and then went quickly horizontally, and again went up and stagnating a few seconds, but we never see it go down because the red lights were not lit anymore, at least 4 or 5 times, there was also a a kind of noise like a hissing in fact like a remote-controlled device, but it could not be that, because it was starting from the forest, we went to see the next day but did not see anything unusual.


City Date and hour of observation General shape
General color
LAUTENBACH Saturday 3 February 2007 at 09:30 p.m. luminous dot
Unsolved -lack of info



This looks very much like Chinese lanterns again.

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.


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 July 27, 2015 Creation, [rnc1], [spa1].
1.0 Patrick Gross July 27, 2015 First published.

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This page was last updated on July 27, 2015.