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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 Pfastatt, on August 5, 2017:

Case number:



The ufology association SPICA in Alsace was informed by the German ufology group CENAP of a sighting report. SPICA translated it from German to French using the Google translator and published it on their web board on August 14, 2017, saying the sighting was on August 5, 2017, in Pfastatt, in the Haut-Rhin.

The report says that a person who had already seen the ISS from his/her terrace at 09:45 p.m., was suprised because "it appeared slightly smaller this time" and less brilliant.

The witness thus thought it was not the ISS but probably a plane. Then he/she noticed 4 or 5 other nearby objects. Then the objects moved fast back and forth, or even in separated circles, observed until 11:30 p.m.

The witness called a friend in Switzerland to ask whether he/she could also see this. The friend was in the Vosges mountains area and saw nothing but a cloud cover over the plain below.

The witness tried to use his/her iPhone video camera, but "it was too high".

About 11:25 p.m. he/she saw a plane in landing approach of the Basel-Mulhouse airport, which appeared much dimmer compared to the objects; which he thought were at an altitude of 7000 to 9000 meters.


Temporal data:

Date: August 5, 2017
Time: ~11:30 p.m.
Duration: Not reported.
First known report date: August 14, 2017
Reporting delay: 1 to 9 days.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Pfastatt
Place: From terrace, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.768
Longitude: 7.302
Uncertainty ratio: 2 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Not reported.
Witness(es) types: Not reported.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: To German ufology group CENAP.
Type of location: Terrace, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No
Photographs: Attempted video, no result.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: Not reported.


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Possible Chinese lanterns.



Pfastatt (68) 08/05/2017, 4 or 5 objects

Message by Admin on Mon Aug 14 - 07:05 p.m.

Our friends of CENAP received an email of an observation, this testimony was transmitted to us.

Translated with Google

"At that time, I found myself on my terrace to see the ISS. Since I had seen it that night already against 9:45 pm, I was surprised that it looked now slightly smaller and not so bright. I thought it could not be the ISS and I thought it was probably a plane. Because I noticed another 4 or 5 other objects nearby and it looked like a small range. Then, the formation and the objects moved quickly back and forth, or even circled separately. What I observed until about 11:30 p.m. I called a friend in Switzerland and asked him if he could also observe that he was in the area of the Vosges, he said no, there was a cloud cover with him, I tried to use the iPhone to film, but it was too high. The Basel Airport is about 35 km. About 11:25 p.m. I saw a plane that was probably on final approach, which seemed very weak compared to other objects. I appreciate the amount of [altitude as] about 7000 9000m."

We are looking for other witnesses.

Thank you for contacting us



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


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 (when I write these lines - in Alsace, most so-called "UFO sightings" that were reported were actually caused by Chinese lanterns.


Possible 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 January 13, 2018 Creation, [spa1].
1.0 Patrick Gross January 13, 2018 First published.

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This page was last updated on January 13, 2018.