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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 Hochfelden, on January 1, 2011:

Case number:



On January 2, 2011, Christian Macé published on his "UFO and Paranormal" blog a story he received from "Ludovic" who told that on the night from December 31, 2010, to January 1, 2011, between 0:10 a.m. and 00:20 a.m., he saw six small blood-orange colored balls of light in the sky in Hochfelden in the Bas-Rhin.

He first thought they were helicopters, but dropped this explanation.

The six small balls of light in the sky were evenly spaced, and he said "with the eye" they had a diameter of about 3 millimeters.

He was with two of his friends, and said that other people in his village saw it too.

To see whether his observation was unique, he looked on the Internet and found photos similar to what he had seen; he regrets that he could not take pictures of his own sighting.


Temporal data:

Date: January 1, 2011
Time: ~00:10 a.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: January 1, 2011
Reporting delay: Hours, 1 day.

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Hochfelden
Place: ?
Latitude: 48.758
Longitude: 7.569
Uncertainty ratio: 1 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 5 or more.
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: ?
Witness(es) types: Male.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: By the web to the UFO blog of Christian Macé.
Type of location: ?
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: Not helicopters.


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Probable Chinese lanterns.



January 2, 2011

UFOs observed in Hochfelden Bas-Rhin in Alsace

UFOs observed in Hochfelden, Bas-Rhin, in Alscace [sic], France, January 1, 2011, between 00 and 00 H 10 H 20 ...:

The photo here is an ancient sight, a frozen scene in Hochfelden [I do not republished as it has no interest.]

Big thanks for a testimony by Ludovic that we have just received:


On the night from December 31, 2010, to January 1, 2011, I noticed small blood orange colored balls of light in the sky, they were 6 in number.

I first of all sayd [sic] to myself they were helicopters, but this idea did not convince me.

These 6 small balls of light in the sky were evenly spaced of the same distance (diameter of the balls of light seen with the eye: about 3 millimeters.).

It happened precisely between 0:10 a.m. and 0:20 a.m..

I live in Hochfelden (France) in Alsace, I was in the presence of my buddies (2), but other people in my village saw it.

To see if my case was isolated I looked on the internet but I found photos similar to what I've seen, unfortunately I could take a picture. ".


City Date and hour of observation General shape
General color
HOCHFELDEN Saturday 1 January 2011 at 00:10 ball, balloon or melon (3D)
Aeronautical reduced
Strong hypothesis



The description obviously evokes a group of Chinese lanterns - except for those who would choose that craft from another world would disguise in Chinese lanterns.


A Chinese lantern.

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.

In this case there was an obvious reason for launching Chinese lanterns: New Year's Eve. Even the hour fits.


Chinese lanterns interpreted as UFO by some people, over Mulhouse on October 10, 2013. Image published in the newspaper "Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace".


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 1, 2015 Creation, [cme1], [spa1].
1.0 Patrick Gross July 1, 2015 First published.

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This page was last updated on July 1, 2015.