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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 Kingersheim, on September 15, 2012:

Case number:



Following an article on the about "mysterious balls" - obviously Chinese lanterns - seen in Besançon, readers commented with their own sighting reports from all over France.

One "sandy", resident of Kingersheim, wrote on September 16, 2012, that the previous evening she had seen six orange balls in the sky coming from the water tower of Kingersheim.

She found it " really werd" that they did not all extinct at the same place.


Temporal data:

Date: September 15, 2012
Time: Evening
Duration: ?
First known report date: September 16, 2012
Reporting delay: 1 day.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Kingersheim
Place: ?
Latitude: 47.793
Longitude: 7.334
Uncertainty radius: 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: Female.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: On the web as comment of Chinese lantern sighting.
Type of location: ?
Visibility conditions: Evening or night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: N/A
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: ?


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Probable Chinese lanterns.



Following an article about "mysterious balls" - obviously Chinese lanterns seen in Besançon, readers commented with their own sighting reports, including from Alsace, such as this one:

sandy wrote on 16/09/2012 at 17 h 29 min

hello i live in kingersheim an yesterday evening i saw 6 orange balls in the sky that cam from the water tower of kingersheim they did not all turn off at the same place it was really werd



It is quite obvious that the best explanation here is that "Sandy" saw Chinese lanterns. Of course, they are rarely all started at exactly the same time, and with the variability of duration of their fuel, they have little chance to extinguish all in the same place or rather at the same moment.

The first "false UFOs" caused by Chinese lanterns that I identified were in the United States during the airship wave of 1896-1897, it also happened during the 1954 French "saucers" flap, including in Alsace (Example), it happened during the wave of 1973 in the United States (Example), etc. As there are years-long gaps in their use, some ufologists, too many ufologists, and of course the witnesses, forget them as a possible cause for UFO sightings.

In the years 2005 to 2014 (when I write these lines - in Alsace, most so-called "UFO sightings" that were reported were actually caused by Chinese lanterns.

I cannot "prove" this sighting is explained by Chinese lanterns. I only say that it looks like the most obvious explanation.

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
Editeur: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 31, 2014 Creation, [btt1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 31, 2014 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 31, 2014.