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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 Lutterbach, on June 25, 2016:

Case number:



On June 26, 2016, at 5 p.m., the Gendarmerie Nationale was called by phone by a man from Lutterbach, reporting having witnessed a luminous phenomenon passing in the night sky around 11:45 p.m. - midnight, thus on June 25, 2016.

He said he saw a bright spot in the sky while he was at his bedroom window to smoke a cigarette. He said that this luminous dot was above the forest that his home is bordering, on the west from his home, towards the Vosges, moving in a southwest to northwest direction.

Upon interrogation, he said it was silent, about 200 or 300 meters high, on the horizon, that he observed it about 1 to 2 minutes before this light moved to the right, then went behind the trees of the forest that hid it from his view.

He said it was round, then oval, red orange in color, "much bigger than a soccer ball".

When the gendarmes asked him if he knew about the "Chinese balls in the form of a lantern," he said yes, and that this was the reason he had asked on the phone whether there was a demonstration in the municipality. But he said he did not think it was that, that it did not look like that. (He does not explain why it did not look like a Chinese lantern.)

He had first thought of the passage of a plane, but in the absence of noise, he deduced that it was not a plane. His home is under an aerial route, so, he said, he can recognize the lights of planes.

The Gendarmes sought further testimonies, including from the air traffic control. They found that someone had reported the passage of about thirty dots the same evening in the same time slot, but in Nanteuil-la-Forêt, almost 300 kilometers from Lutterbach.

GEIPAN estimated the case id of "B" type, an observation of the passage of a Chinese lantern.


Temporal data:

Date: June 25, 2016
Time: ~11:50 p.m.
Duration: 1 to 2 minutes.
First known report date: June 26, 2016
Reporting delay: Hours.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Lutterbach
Place: From bedroom at home, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.762
Longitude: 7.280
Uncertainty ratio: 400 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Adult.
Witness(es) types: Resident.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: By phone to the Gendarmerie Nationale.
Type of location: From bedroom at home in suburb, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: No
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: Not a plane, not a Chinese lantern.


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Chinese lantern.



Observed on: 06/26/2016
Region: Alsace
Department: Rhin (Haut)
Class: B
Summary: LUTTENBACH-PRES-MUNSTER (68) 06/26/2016. Observation of the slow and silent passing of a luminous dot of red/orange color and disappearance behind the trees of a forest: observation of the passing of a Chinese lantern.

On June 26, 2016, around midnight - midnight and fifteen minutes, a witness observes from his west-facing window the passage in the sky of a red / orange luminous dot. This dot advances silently at low speed towards the NW and is hidden by trees. The observation lasted between 1 to 2 minutes. Only one testimony is collected in this commune. The gendarmerie investigation indicates another observation of the passage of about thirty dots the same evening in the same time slot in Nanteuil-la-Forêt (51) very far from the place of observation: this confirms the activity of letting go of lanterns in this summer period in different places of France.

The observation of the witness is characteristic of an observation of a passage of Chinese lantern, as well by the color, the shape, the type of trajectory.

The witness, looking to the west, describes a northward movement, rather slow "It was moving slowly", "about 1 to 2 minutes before this light moves to the right"). This is compatible with the wind measured at 3 km at Hohrod (68) (see the Infoclimat report), of North origin and 3 km / h.

The occurrence in a WE [weekend] night, favorable to festive events, reinforces this hypothesis. A release of many lanterns at night is spectacular but very expensive: the use of a single lantern is also very common especially by individuals. Private parties are difficult to spot because the authors of releases do not always declare themselves to the authorities (town hall, prefecture).

As a result, the GEIPAN classifies the case as B: observation of the passage of a Chinese lantern.

Report: None.

Details of the testimony
Date of the observation 06/26/2016
Document number
Age Adult (more than 18)
Sex Male
Weather conditions Not-specified
Hour of the observation Numbered: 0 h - 2 h
Reference frame
Distance between phenomenon and witness
Start of the observation
End of the observation
Angle of site
Direction of observation
Nature of the observation
Characteristic of the observation
Global shape
Apparent size
Apparent speed
Effect on the environment

Compagny of departmental gendarmerie


Unit code 14983
Report Nr 01220
Year 2016
judicial file nr

Document Nb
Sheet Nr 1/3

Analysis and references


Witness: []

On Monday, June 27, 2016 at 02:05 p.m.

We, the undersigned Gendarme []
Under the control of Lieutenant []
Considering Article L.421-1 of the internal Security Code
Finding us at the office of our unit at [], report the following:


On June 26, 2016, at 5:00 pm, we received a phone call from Mr [], residing in LUTTERBACH (68), reporting having witnessed a luminous phenomenon in the sky last night around 11:45 p.m. / 00:00.

He describes seeing a bright spot in the sky while standing at his window to smoke a cigarette.

He locates this luminous point above the forest his home is bordering on the west from his home to the Vosges, moving in a south / west to north / west direction.


On receipt of this call, we carry out research to find out if other calls and testimonies are recorded with the operational centers of Gendarmerie of the Great East Region, the departments of Haut-Rhin (68), Bas-Rhin ( 67), Vosges (88), Meurthe and Moselle (54), Moselle (57), Marne (51), Haute-Marne (52), Aube (10).

We report similar testimony recorded at CORG REIMS (51).

A person brings his testimony, after seeing light points moving in the sky in the town of NANTEUIL-LA-FORÊT (51), and also in the same time slot to know around 00:15 / 00:30.

A copy of the call with a description provided by telephone to CORG REIMS is attached to this proceeding.

We make contact with CORG REIMS, which informs us that the unit in charge of these facts and the Territorial Brigade DIZY (51), which establishes in parallel a similar procedure.

(Exhibit 2).

The inspector:



(1) DGGN, Directorate of Defense and Public Order, Intelligence and Operation Center.
(1) - M the Sub-Prefect at MULHOUSE 68100
(1) - DCT / DA / GEIPAN - Toulouse Space Center
(1) - Archives

Closing Date
Signature (s) []

Seen and transmitted by:

Report Nr 14983/01220/2016
Document #
Sheet nr 2/3

On Monday, June 27, 2016 at 02:40 p.m., proceed to the hearing of:


Sex []
Name []
First name []


The person heard does not accept to receive notices, summonses and documents concerning the procedure by electronic means.

Let's hear the person named above who declares to us:

I am heard today following my call on Sunday, June 26, 2016 to your unit. I wanted to inform you of what I witnessed in the night from Saturday to Sunday around 00h00 / 00h15.

I was at my window in my bedroom to smoke a cigarette. I occupy an apartment located on the 1st floor of a collective building.

The window of my room is located west towards the Vosges. I can see 2 rows of houses nearby, before a forest, then in the distance the chain of Vosges.

My attention was intrigued at one time by the presence of a luminous dot moving in the sky. It was moving slowly.

Question: How high do you estimate this luminous dot was and what was its position in the landscape?

Answer: I estimate the height at about 200/300 meters in altitude, on the horizon.

Question: How long have you observed this luminous dot in the sky?

Answer: About 1 to 2 minutes before this light moves to the right, then passes behind the trees of the forest. Afterwards my vision was masked by the trees.

Question: What shapes, dimensions, colors and movements had this luminous dot?

Answer: It was round, then oval, red / orange, much bigger than a football.

Question: Was there presence or absence of a sound accompanying the light dot?

Answer: No

Question: Do you know about Chinese balls in the form of a lantern?

Answer: Yes. That's why during my call, I asked if there was a demonstration in the commune.

Question: According to you, could it be this object?

Answer: No, I do not think so, it did not look like that. I first thought of the passage of a plane, but in the absence of noise, I deduced that it was not a plane. My home is under an aerial route, I can recognize the lights of planes.

My reading of the civil status information and statement above, I persist in it and have nothing to change, add to or delete.

At [], June 27, 2016 at 3:30 pm

The person heard


The Judicial Police Officer


Report nr 14983/01220/2016
Document #
Sheet nr 3/3


In accordance with the GEIPAN procedure, we establish this procedure in administrative intelligence and transmit it directly to the following departments:

- General Directorate of the National Gendarmerie, Under the Directorate of Defense and Public Order, Intelligence and Operation Center.

- The Under-Prefect at MULHOUSE 68100

- DCT / DA / GEIPAN - Toulouse Space Center.

Done and closed at [] on 02/07/2016

The inspector:


06/26/2016 6:46:47: First elements provided by the caller

Caller reported seeing UFOs - that night - 00:00 - 00-30 - light that passed in the sky - steady speed -

Calling Number []
Name / First name []
Organization GENDARMERIE []
Zip Code 51100 City REIMS

06/262016 6:46:47 Caller

Calling Number []
Last name First Name []
Organization []
Address []
Zip Code 51480 City NANTEUIL-LA-FORET

06/26/2016 6:46:47: Commune

Postal Code 51480 City NANTEUIL-LA-FORET
Code Dep. 51


Specific location: between courcy - chaumuzy,

Date, time, duration of the observation: between 00:15 and 00:30 - 06/26/2016

Description of the observed phenomenon: about thirty dots that passed silently in the sky.

Shape (ovoid, round, elongated, other): oval without certainty

Noise (silent, noisy): undefined due to running engine of motorcycle

Speed (stationary-slow-fast-very fast): slow (peaceful)

Traces on the environment: indefinite

Observation conditions (visibility, atmospheric conditions): clear night

06/26/2016 7:13:23: Validated

1 out of 2

2016-06-26 06:31 p.m.

COD DIZY will be contacted at 09:00

06/26/2016 7:41:02: Information

-operation room of the Lyon air traffic control informed

06/262016 02:58:05 p.m.: CRO



06/26/2016 02:58:09 p.m.: Closed

2 / 2

06/26/2016 06:31 p.m.



This was obviously a Chinese lantern.

The GEIPAN says that letting go of one lantern is justified by the cost: "A release of many lanterns is spectacular but very expensive". I do not know exactly what "very expensive" is supposed to mean, but here's an idea:

Chinese lanterns were on sale that year in Mulhouse 200 meters from my home in a big store at the "Centre Europe" mall. The price of one lantern was 1 €uro.

The GEIPAN in their case titles say it was in "Luttenbach-les-Munster" - this commune exists, it is in the valley of Munster, in the Vosges mountains in the Haut-Rhin. But the correct place is Lutterbach; which is a suburb of Mulhouse, as clearly written in the gendarmes report.

Since 2005, Chinese lanterns 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.


A Chinese lantern.


Chinese lantern.

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 February 15, 2018 Creation, [gei1].
1.0 Patrick Gross February 15, 2018 First published.

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This page was last updated on February 15, 2018.