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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 Betschdorf, on March 10, 2014:

Case number:



On a "Paranormal Activity" French blog, on October 23, 2016, an anonymous person said he had observed three spherical UFOs in the sky, above Betschdorf, on March 10, 2014, around midnight.

According to the blog which said to have "reviewed and corrected" the testimony, these objects would have moved slowly "but ascended to the sky at very high speed."

The witness said he went to the window of his home to smoke and noticed three red objects about 300 or 400 meters from his home, which "weakened in intensity". They followed each other. The observation lasted about ten minutes. Then, "suddenly, the first object began to disappear then the second one or two minutes later and the third instantly after the second."

The blog gives as a source a link to the witness reports section of the MUFON website in the US, but this link only leads to an empty page.


Temporal data:

Date: March 10, 2014
Time: ~00:00
Duration: ~10 minutes.
First known report date: October 23, 2016
Reporting delay: Hours, 2 years.

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Betschdorf
Place: From home, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.896
Longitude: 7.902
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: ?

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Via the web.
Type of location: From home in village, UFO in the sky.
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: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Probable Chinese lanterns.



3 OVNI sphériques observés en Alsace en mars 2014

10/23/2016 02:00:00 PM | Libellés : OVNI

Le 10 mars 2014, un témoin a affirmé avoir observé trois OVNI sphériques dans le ciel, au-dessus de Betschdorf, une ville d'Alsace, dans l'Est de la France. Ces objets se déplaçaient lentement mais montaient vers le ciel à très grande vitesse …

Témoignage :

« Donc l'événement s'est passé en mars 2014. Il devait être minuit. Je suis allé à la fenêtre de chez moi pour fumer puis j'ai remarqué trois objets rouges à environ 300 / 400 mètres de chez moi qui baissaient en intensité. Ils se suivaient. L'observation a duré une dizaine de minutes. Puis, soudainement, le premier objet a commencé à disparaître puis le deuxième 1 ou 2 minutes plus tard et le troisième instantanément après le deuxième. »

Post-scriptum : témoignage revu et corrigé par nos soins.

[Photo non reproduite de Batschdorf] Photo : Mairie de Betschdorf, par Ji-Elle — Travail personnel, CC BY-SA 3.0

Source, 22 octobre 2016



The testimony, apparently third hand and very little detailed, gives indications that it was Chinese lanterns: the duration, and the extinction one after the other in the order of their release.

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.

Note that the lanterns have also evolved: if initially they were almost always white in color, giving an orange light during their flight, there are now all colors available and they produce other colors in flight than the usual "reddish", orange, yellow.

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
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross August 24, 2017 Creation, [ape1].
1.0 Patrick Gross August 24, 2017 First published.

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This page was last updated on August 24, 2017.