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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 Mulhouse, on October 10, 2010:

Case number:



On October 10, 2013, in Mulhouse, around 10 p.m., the organizers of the "Night of Design" released some Chinese lanterns.

The next day, the regional newspaper Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace reported that there had been many phone calls to the police station of Mulhouse, to the firefighters, and to their newsroom, reporting from 10 p.m. on these UFOs that were not UFOs.

Residents near downtown had all described the same phenomenon: bright orange balls in the sky of Mulhouse. The newspaper adds that "All have sworn not to be victims of a collective hallucination and even after a rational explanation for this unexplained phenomenon... some still doubted" the very ordinary explanation given in the newspaper.


Temporal data:

Date: October 10, 2010
Time: ~10:00 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: October 10, 2010
Reporting delay: Minutes, hours.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Mulhouse
Place: City center.
Latitude: 47.750
Longitude: 7.333
Uncertainty ratio: 1 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: Numerous.
Number of known witnesses: 0
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: ?
Witness(es) types: ?

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Numerous people calling the police, the firefighters, the local Press.
Type of location: In the sky seen from city center.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No
Photographs: ?
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Chinese lanterns.



by A.C, published 10/11/2013 at 11:47 | Seen 3461 times

Mulhouse Beware UFOs The orange balls in the sky were... Chinese lanterns

Beware the (fake) mulhousian ufo Photo DNA

Call to the police precinct of Mulhouse but also to the firefighters... last night around 22 p.m., dozens of calls were recorded but also this morning in our newsroom.

Residents near the city center all described the same phenomenon, namely bright orange balls in the sky of Mulhouse. All have sworn not to be victims of a collective hallucination and even after a rational explanation for this unexplained phenomenon ... some still doubted.

It was actually Thai lanterns or Chinese lanterns. These lamps are small hot air balloons in fact a translucent paper bag, the lower opening is held open, and it is suspended as a torch or a candle flame. The lanterns were actually launched into the sky in Mulhouse by the Architectural Days and the Night of the design...


Luminous balls above Mulhouse, in Alsace

23:24 | Labels: Weird, UFO

Many residents of the city of Mulhouse, in Alsace in eastern France, observed on the evening of Thursday, October 10, 2013 , enigmatic luminous balls in the sky.

Around 22 pm, the City Police, firefighters and local newspapers have been inundated with phone calls from people, residents in or near the city center, claiming to have seen orange balls. All the witnesses said they had not been the victim of a collective hallucination.

An explanation?

This would have a perfectly rational explanation. Indeed, that evening, several Thai lanterns were released into the sky in the Days of Architecture and the Night of the Design.

Unfortunately, we do not know if these UFOs had supernormal features such as sudden acceleration or otherwise. So for the moment, the explanation of the luminous lanterns is the most likely.

Source, 11 octobre 2013


City Date and hour of observation General shape
General color
MULHOUSE Thursday 10 October 2013 at 22:00 ball, balloon or melon (3D)
Aeronautic reduced
Strong hypothesis


During the "Days of Architecture", six stores in the Mulhouse city center invited people to see the "Night of the Design", Thursday, October 10, 2013, in the evening. Chinese lanterns were launched one by one as part of the attraction.

Chinese lanterns are regularly launched in Mulhouse and the suburb since 2008 - more rarely before. A few months later, from the "Place de la Réunion" in the center of the city, people celebrated Valentine's Day with Chinese lanterns. Here are images extracted from videos I've taken, using an iPhone 3S to get the "poor quality" result that people sometimes get filming these Chinese lanterns they sometimes interpret as "UFOs" with mobile phone cameras. On the left the lantern on the ground, on the Place de la Réunion, right, a lantern flies away.

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 Mulhouse and around Mulhouse, a dozen so-called "UFO sightings" occurred that were actually caused by Chinese lanterns, and on several occasions, the local press had first headlined about "UFOs" before correcting it the next day. Now, in 2013, 2014, newspapermen are starting to know what the Chinese lanterns are, and often give the explanation immediately.


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 11, 2014 Creation, [dna1], [ape1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 11, 2014 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross June 4, 2015 Addition [spa1].

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This page was last updated on June 4, 2015.