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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 Aspach, on September 4, 2013:

Case number:



"Caro" reported on September 4, 2013 in commentary on a sighting reported to the OVNI-France website, having had "the same experience", barely 20 minutes ago, of five small lights which followed one another, first two, then two others and a last one, of red, orange color, fixed, which moved fairly fast along the same axis and ended up disappearing in the clouds.

"Caro" specified that it happened in the Haut-Rhin in Aspach, and that it was around 9:35 p.m.


Temporal data:

Date: September 4, 2013
Time: 9:35 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: September 4, 2013
Reporting delay: 20 minutes.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Aspach
Place: ?
Latitude: 47.462
Longitude: 7.235
Uncertainty radius: 2 km.

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: ?
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 "" Website.
Type of location: ?
Visibility conditions: Night.
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: ?


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Chinese lanterns.




2013-07-28 - (Dep.29) - 5 bright red objects move in the same axis following each other in a west to east direction. Starry night, no wind, moving without any noise. presumed altitude 1000 m.

Date: 07/18/2013

Department: 29 (Finistère)

Location: Pont-Aven

Time: 01:15

Number of witnesses: 1 people

Type of sighting: NL: Nocturnal Lights

Approximate observation time: 3 minutes

What was seen: 5 bright red objects move in the same axis following each other in a west to east direction. Starry night, no wind, moving without any noise. presumed altitude 1000 m.

Description of the facts:

Pont-Aven on 08/07/2013. It's 1:15 am, I go out on the doorstep to smoke a last cigarette when I am intrigued by a big red light coming in my direction. I immediately think of a helicopter but the headlight would be white and I would hear the engine. Paying closer attention, I see a second red glow following in the distance. 5 seconds separate them. I don't have a camera handy and I'm home alone. Something unusual captures my attention and I see them move away with regret when I see 3 other lights take the same direction and I admire them passing above my head. The color is an identical red, fixed light and the flight is horizontal. I estimate the altitude at around 1000m.

I'm disappointed that I can't see if there's something around that light. The shape is spherical and from the ground I see the size of a tennis ball. I continue to observe them up to the limit of the horizon. They do not change trajectory, or very little. All this irritated me, I continue to scan the sky and I see, 10 minutes later, a transatlantic flight which also has a small, barely visible red glow and a blinking that we all know. Moreover, before he reaches me, I distinctly hear the noise of the jet engines. What I had seen previously therefore had nothing to do with a motorized device.

5 sounding balloons of the same color flying horizontally in the absence of wind, I'm out!

5 spotlights with no beam from the ground, I'm eliminating!

5 drones, but why red and without perceptible noise?

This morning, I thought that someone else must have seen the same thing as me and that we will have a little insert in the newspapers. I nevertheless made a statement to the gendarmerie of Pont-aven asking them to notify the competent service and above all to put me in touch with anyone who will make the same statement to confirm my statements. If you receive any information, please let me know.



Dans les commentaires, on trouvait:

September 4, 2013, by Caro

Amazing, we have just had the same experience, barely 20 minutes ago, 5 small lights that followed each other, first 2, then 2 others and a last one, red, orange and fixed. The lights move fairly quickly along the same axis and eventually disappear into the clouds.

We are in the Haut-Rhin in Aspach, and it was around 9:35 p.m.

We'll see tomorrow, if there's anything in the newspaper.




The report is of course too poor to allow for any firm evaluation. But this could have been, again, Chinese lanterns.

Chinese lantern.

Above: a Chinese lantern.

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 2018 in Alsace, most so-called "UFO sightings" that were reported were actually caused by Chinese lanterns.


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 4, 2022 Creation, [ofe1].
1.0 Patrick Gross September 4, 2022 First published.

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This page was last updated on September 4, 2022.