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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 Hoenheim, on September 16, 2007:

Case number:



Someone contacted the Swiss ufology group GREPI by the web to share his observation on the night from Saturday, September 15, 2007, to Sunday, September 16, 2007, at about 00:35 a.m. or 00:40 a.m. - he checked the hour after the end of the observation.

He said he saw four luminous objects, of bright orange to very pale cherry red color; which seemed to be wide of "3-5 mm on the horizon", that appeared from behind the tops of trees.

The arrangement of the four objects has not changed during their ascent. They appeared one after another over the treetops as and rose, and they all went off 2 or 3 seconds one after another once reached 45° over the horizon.

They seemed to be very far, the duration of observation was about 5 minutes.

There was no other observation during the half hour that followed. There was no wind, no clouds, the temperature was about 15° C.

The witness joined a sketch of what he saw and site plans showing that he was in a residence in Hoenheim. He locates the objects between Kehl and Auenheim in Germany, so to the east.

He considered possible that it was a night flight of hot air balloons but was surprised not to have seen the "reigniting" of the burners during the next half hour. He asked whether GREPI could check if a hot air balloons flight was scheduled for that night between Kehl and Auenheim.


Temporal data:

Date: September 16, 2007
Time: ~00:40 a.m.
Duration: ~5 minutes.
First known report date: 2014
Reporting delay: Day, 7 years.

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Hoenheim
Place: From flat, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.610
Longitude: 7.787
Uncertainty radius: 20 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: Witness web report to GREPI ufology group.
Type of location: From flat in village, 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): Yes.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): Yes.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: Possible hot air balloons.


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Probable Chinese lanterns.



Hello to all the GREPI team.

Here is the observation I made in the night of Saturday 09/15 to Sunday 09/16/2007 at approximately 0:40 a.m. (I only went to check the hour after the end of the phenomenon). The objects were bright orange to cherry red verw light and very luminous, and seemed to be of 3-5mm on the horizon.


The yellow arrow indicqtes the displqcement direction of the 4 objects.

The bottom of the rectangle shows the tree tops behind which the objects appeared.

The placement of the 4 objects did not vary during their rise.

They appeqred one after the other abice the tree tops during their rise.

They went off one after the other in 2-3 seconds onve arrived at 45° above the horizon.

They seemed to be very far.

The duration of observation is of 5mn (subjectively).

No more appearances of manifestation during the half hour that followed.

No wind, no clouds, température environ 15°C.

The dot symbolisizes the brightest star of this part of the sky, the objects were much brighter.

It is possible that this is a night flight of montgolfiers though I did not see any "re-firing" of the burners during the next half hour.

I join two ""Google Earth" views to indicate the location to you.

Is it possible to you to know whether a flight of montgolfiers was scheduled for that night between Kehl and Auenheim?

Observation of Sunday September 16, 2007, at 0:35


Google satellite picture "New Placemark" corresponds to my building (placed in the front back zooming).


Thanks to keep me informed.

I was very pleased to read on the evening in July and August your 61 pages that I had printed. I want to salute here your objectivity as well as your neutrality.

Good and long continuation to all the team.



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.


Above: a Chinese lantern.

In this case, I note that the witness wrote a much more detailed report than what is usually done, and he was on a near perfect interpretation when thinking of hot air balloons. Congratulations!

Only the non re-ignition of the burners cast doubt in his mind. And that is just what happens with Chinese lanterns, the burner is on until fuel exhaustion; which usually occurs after some five minutes, corresponding to his observation length.

We see that for this 2007 observation, we have a witness who is a very good observer and a good reporter, he just lacked the knowledge of Chinese lanterns; which was quite normal at the time, knowledge still missing to many witnesses and some ufologists years later.


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
Editeur: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross July 11, 2015 Creation, [gri1].
1.0 Patrick Gross July 11, 2015 First published.

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This page was last updated on July 11, 2015.