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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 Richwiller, on May 29, 2009:

Case number:



On the UFO website "Réseau Civil de Surveillance du Ciel" ("Civilian Sky Monitoring Network"), dedicated to gather testimonials by the web, there is a case filed on June 2, 2009 of "orange-colored lights" seen on May 29, 2009, at 01:20 a.m. from Richwiller in the Haut-Rhin.

"Fanfollette" told that on Saturday, May 29, 2009 at 1:20 a.m. or 1:30 a.m., precisely from Richwiller, she and her daughter had observed several orange-colored lights that moved silently and slowly.

They were very surprised by this phenomenon, ensuring that it could not have been planes because they were too close from each other and that night flights are prohibited in this area anyway.

She gave this pattern for the phenomenon, stating that the scheme does not appear on the web like she wished it would:

* *

 * *

* *


* *

And she wished that one can "illuminate our lantern !!!" - an expression meaning "shed light on" what they saw.

The website commented that "the observation of these people can suggest a launch of lanterns" and notes that as the witness rightly said "I hope you illuminate our lantern!!!", they hope that this observation is not a hoax.

In a listing of UFO sighting reports in the Haut-Rhin on their website, the Alsatian ufology association SPICA noted on their side that on Friday, May 29, 2009, at 01:20 a.m. in Richwiller, there was a sighting of something of unknown shape and unknown color; which remained unidentified for lack of information.


Temporal data:

Date: May 29, 2009
Time: 01:20 a.m. or 01:30 a.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: June 2, 2009
Reporting delay: 3 days.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Richwiller
Place: ?
Latitude: 47.779
Longitude: 7.277
Uncertainty ratio: 2 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 2
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Adult or aged, and child or teenager or adult.
Witness(es) types: Woman and her daughter.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: By the web to the RNCSC UFO website.
Type of location: Village, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): Yes.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): Yes.
Witness(es) feelings: Very puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: No planes as too close from each other and night flights forbidden there.


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Probable Chinese lanterns.



05/29/2009 - 01h20 - Haut-Rhin (68) - Orangeish colored lights

Date: 05/29/2009

Hour: 01:20

Place: Richwiller (Haut-Rhin - 68)

Observer: Fanfollette

Source: message

Reported on: 06/02/2009




On Saturday, May 29, 2009, at 1:20-30 in the morning, in the Haut-Rhin, precisely in Richwiller, my daughter and I observed several orange-colored lights moving silently and slowly.

We were very surprised by this phenomenon especially since it could not be planes, the distance separating them from each other being too close; moreover, night flights are prohibited in this area.

Here is the pattern of the phenomenon:

* *

* *

* *


* *

I hope you can illuminate or lantern !!!

Thanks to you and have a good day

NB: the pattern does not display properly after the recording of the message.

RNCSC note: the observation of these people can suggest a launch of lanterns. And the the witness specifies, "I hope you can illuminate our lantern !!!". We hope that this case is not a hoax.


City Date and hour of observation General shape
General color
RICHWILLER Friday 29 May 2009 at 01h20 information not communicated
information not communicated
Unsolved -lack of info



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.

Chinese lantern.

Above: 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 21, 2015 Creation, [rnc1], [spa1].
1.0 Patrick Gross July 21, 2015 First published.

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This page was last updated on July 21, 2015.