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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 Soultz-les-Bains, on September 9, 2010:

Case number:



The SPICA Alsatian ufology group had received and posted on the web a report about an observation by one "pepi" on September 9, 2009, at 9:55 p.m. in Soultz-les-Bains.

The witness said he had just witnessed a phenomenon in the Kronthal Valley. It was a luminous object coming from the West and going in the direction of the East, arriving at low altitude, climbing, entering the very low clouds layer, coming out of it 10 seconds later.

The object changed direction, going south. It was the size of Jupiter, it was not flashing, there was no noise.

The witness said the object must have been at an altitude of 200 to 300 meters, no more, and the speed was fast. At arm's length, it traveled a quarter circle in 10 seconds and then it disappeared.

The sighting lasted for a total of approximately 20 seconds.

The witness, who said he had been an astronomy and ufology buff for years, saying he therefore knows what he is talking about, is sure that that it was not an airplane.

He said he witnessed a lot of phenomena, some explainable, some not, and thinks this one is something very serious.


Temporal data:

Date: September 9, 2010
Time: 09:55 p.m.
Duration: ~20 seconds.
First known report date: October 9, 2010
Reporting delay: Hour, 1 month

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Soultz-les-Bains
Place: From the Kronthal valley, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.570
Longitude: 7.482
Uncertainty ratio: 2 km

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: By the web to the regional ufology association SPICA.
Type of location: From Valley, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night, partly with low clouds layer.
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
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 an plane.


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Possible Chinese lantern.



09/09/2010 - 9:55 p.m. - Alsace (67) - Luminous object

From: Pepi



Good evening, I just witnessed a phenomenon at 09:55 p.m. in the Kronthal Valley, Soultz-les-Bains, in the 67 more exactly.

A luminous object coming from the West towards East came at low altitude and climbed to pass through a layer of clouds (very low clouds tonight) to come out after 10 seconds in an area without clouds. The object changed direction and headed south. It was the size of Jupiter as we observe id currently and as it is very bright. The object was not flashing, there was no noise, it was not a plane, I have been an astronomy and ufology enthusiast for years, so I know of what I'm talking about. The object must have been at 200 to 300 meters not more and the speed was fast, at arms length, it traveled a quarter of a circle in 10 seconds and then it disappeared.

Total duration of the phenomenon: approximately 20 seconds.

no noise.

approximate altitude of 200 meters.

Sudden change of course.

If there are other witnesses, I await your testimony, I have witnessed many events, some explainable, some not, but this is I think something very serious.


City Date and hour of observation General shape
General color
SOULTZ-LES-BAINS Thursday 9 September 2010 at 21h55 information not communicated
information not communicated
Unsolved -lack of info


I am quite ready to admit that the witness was competent enough to recognise an airplane, but what about Chinese lanterns? The thing is luminous and low, this could be the explanation. There is nothing in the report to eliminate this explanation.

The report is obviously far too incomplete to allow any certain conclusion whatsoever.

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.


A Chinese lantern.


Possible Chinese lantern.

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 March 9, 2016 Creation, [rnc1], [spa1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 9, 2016 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 9, 2016.