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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 Franken, on July 20, 2013:

Case number:



On September 10, 2013, Christian Keiflin commented on reported observations on a "UFO" blog by posting his own observation of three yellow or orange colored lights seen from a car of four people on July 20, 2013, at 11 p.m. in Franken in the Haut-Rhin.

He said that the lights were moving in zigzag, they stopped, he got out of the car followed by the other witnesses, to see these weird lights. There was complete silence in the sky as the lights followed each other and stopped and disappeared "like lightning" after 2 or 3 minutes.

He had his camera in hand, but it was too late to take pictures because the things went away too fast.


Temporal data:

Date: July 20, 2013
Time: 11:00 p.m.
Duration: 2 or 3 minutes.
First known report date: September 10, 2013
Reporting delay: 2 months.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Franken
Place: From a car then out of the car, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.604
Longitude: 7.355
Uncertainty ratio: 2 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 4
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 1
Witness(es) ages: Young adults, adults or aged.
Witness(es) types: ?

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: By the web as comment to the UFO blog "Area 51".
Type of location: From a car then out of the car, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: Yes
Entities: No
Photographs: Attempted too late.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Probable Chinese lanterns.


[Ref. ara1:] ON THE "AREA 51" BLOG:

keiflin christian says :

09/10/2013 at 6:17

hello peepers

Indeed we too observed 3lights i'd say yellow ,orange we were 4 people in a car when coming from home on july20 2013 at 11:00 p.m.

Also in Alsace 68 FRANKEN moving in zig zag we stop i wnet out of the carto see these weird lights like spotted by the other witnesses, complete silence in the sky, were following each other and stoped and at the end of 2,3 minutes dissapeared like a flash

the camera in the hand to late ,they went away too fast



All this makes me strongly think this was again Chinese lanterns...

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.


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 September 7, 2015 Creation, [ara1].
1.0 Patrick Gross September 7, 2015 First published.

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This page was last updated on September 7, 2015.