ALSACAT -> Homeclick!

Cette page en françaisCliquez!


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.

Previous case Next case >

Case of Brunstatt, on February 12, 2011:

Case number:



On February 12, 2012, between 8:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., the mayor of Brunstatt, where I lived then, with her son, and other residents had been surprised to see orange-colored lights move in the sky for 1 or 2 minutes.

The regional press had reported it 2 days after the event, publishing a photograph of the lights made by their local correspondent, headlining on "UFOs", wondering if it was a "simple meteorological phenomenon" but ensuring that there had been no thunderstorms, ensuring that the local airport radar detected nothing, then quoting a member of airport staff who explained that it was probably Chinese lanterns.

In the meantime, the mayor of Brunstatt had questioned her own city services and discovered that a request for a Chinese lantern release for that day from the St. George gall had been filed by someone wishing to celebrate his 40-year-old birthday.


Temporal data:

Date: February 12, 2011
Time: ~08:15 p.m.
Duration: 1 or 2 minutes.
First known report date: February 14, 2011
Reporting delay: Hours, 2 days.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Brunstatt
Place: ?
Latitude: 47.714
Longitude: 7.315
Uncertainty ratio: 2 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: Several.
Number of known witnesses: 2
Number of named witnesses: 2
Witness(es) ages: Adults, young.
Witness(es) types: The Mayor, her son, residents, newspaper correspondent.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: The regional Press.
Type of location: ?
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No
Photographs: Yes.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: ?


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Chinese lanterns.


[Ref. lae1:] "L'ALSACE" NEWSPAPER:


"Ufos" in the sky of Brunstatt

Several residents of Brunstatt spotted mysterious light spots in the sky of the town Saturday night.

The phenomenon was as brief as it was pzzling. Saturday night, between 8:15 pm and 8:30 pm several residents of Bunstatt spotted dozens of spots wander silently in the sky over the town. Fabrications? Excess of alcohol? Surely not.

One of the local correspondents of Alsace, Henri Beinert, managed to shoot the scene. Bernadette Groff, mayor of the town, was herself there first hand: she was out with her son when they spotted fifteen reddish lights.

"It was high enough, it progressed staggered like a row of helicopters, but without any noise, she said. It lasted one minute, maybe two, and then it vanished. We've wondered if we were dreaming."

So was it a simple meteorological phenomenon?

According to a professional of Mulhouse, no thunderstorm activity was observed around... A balloon release? The air traffic services... of Habsheim had received no statement to that effect. Aircraft in flight formation? The radar stations of the Mulhouse-Basel Airport detected nothing abnormal.

According to the duty engineer at EuroAirport, the most likely explanation is more prosaic.

"It could be small lanterns equipped with candles, which rise like hot air balloons through the hot air, he said. It's done a lot at weddings alone, mostly in Alsace and Switzerland..."

According to a specialized website, these lanterns of Thai origin, whose use is highly regulated in France, let themselves be carried by the wind until the exhaustion of burning fuel or rarity of oxygen deplete them off, and actually produce a disturbing impression.

The website reports that a similar phenomenon had already been observed in the region of Lorient a year ago to the day, and had triggered concerns, before one discovered that a Vietnamese restaurant had conducted a release if lanterns to celebrate the Chinese New Year...

In short, people in Brunstatt can sleep: it is more likely that these mysterious lights are linked to a woman in white... that to little green men.

François Torelli

[Ref. isu1:] "ISUNDGAU" BLOG:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Strange lights in the sky

Odd objects wandered in the sky of Brunstatt Saturday night. Between 8:15 pm and 08:30 pm, dozens of bright spots have been seen in the sky over the nearby city of Mulhouse, making no sound.

"It lasted for a minute, maybe two, and then it vanished." According to the local daily (see the article of Monday, February 14, 2011), it would have been the famous "Chinese lanterns" we already mentioned in our section about UFO in Alsace (2) of January 31.

Without going to dream about little green men, it would still be interesting to have more detailed evidence on this phenomenon.

Coincidence? Today, humans have taken their first steps on Mars!

Well, not really, since the two Russian astronauts walked "fictitiously" on the Martian soil, or rather on the floor of a shed of 100 m2 reproducing the Martian surface, with a lunar landscape (!), Without oxygen and temperature of -60°.

[Ref. cme1:] CHRISTIAN MACE":

February 14, 2011

Henri Beinert took photograph of these ufos in Brunstatt in the Haut-Rhin in Alsace

Henri Beinert took photograph of these ufos in Brunstatt, in the Haut-Rhin, in Alsace, on Saturday evenin February 12, 2011, between 08 : 15 p.m. and 08 : 30 p.m.. Read the article and see the photo put online on February 13, 2011, on the website here. One would say that the photographed had a camera shake during the photographying of the gleams; which causes these elongated shapes. Being on a Saturday evening, a festive time for one or more persons launching in the sky Asian lanterns?...:

The photo also here. Photo creditHenri Beinert and the Newspaper L'Alsace

The confirmation of the lanterns:

[Ref. lae3:] "L'ALSACE" NEWSPAPER:


The "ufos" of Brunstatt... just lanterns!

on 02/14/2011 at 11:00 Seen 1907 times

The phenomenon as it was photographed in the sky of Brunstatt, Saturday between 08:15 p.m. and 08:30 p.m...

This morning, the hypothesis of an extraterrestrial visit was still more remote: the mayor of Brunstatt, Bernadette Groff, conducted the investigation among her services and discovered that a resident of the metropolitan area had announced his intention to perform a release of luminous lanterns Saturday around 8 p.m., at the Saint-Georges hall...

[Ref. lae2:] "L'ALSACE" NEWSPAPER:

Brunstatt - "Ufos" to celebrate a birthday

on 15/02/2011 at 00:00 François Fuchs

The mysterious spots seen in the sky of Brunstatt Saturday night were indeed flying lanterns: 40 Chinese lanterns released to celebrate a 40th birthday...


City Date and hour of observation General shape
General color
BRUNSTATT Saturday 12 February 2011 at 20h15 luminous dot



Oh gosh, UFOs above my own town and I did not see them...

Chinese lanterns are one of the causes of some old UFO sightings reports: 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.


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, [lae1], [isu1], [lae2], [lae3], [spa4].
1.0 Patrick Gross July 1, 2015 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross April 25, 2018 Addition [cme1].

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict

 Feedback  |  Top  |  Back  |  Forward  |  Map  |  List |  Home
This page was last updated on April 25, 2018.