I was intrigued to find a very detailed article over at History.com about many documented sightings of green glowing UFOs over New Mexico in the late 1940s. I found this interesting because I have seen these strange objects myself in the night skies over "The Land of Enchantment" on numerous occasions. I documented many of these sightings in my crudely written 2010 article: "Classic UFO Case - The Albuquerque Mystery Light - Circa 1980" (Hopefully my writing style has improved some since that time). In that piece I noted two sightings in which a giant orb hovered over Albuquerque. When I looked at the object through binoculars I observed that the orb was not a single craft but a honeycomb like collection of lights. Of course My best friend and I were not the only ones to see the UFO, local police, the Air Force, and the Albuquerque Journal (the local newspaper) we all inundated with calls from eyewitnesses. As you would expect the explanation for the whole thing was ... wait for it ... the planet Jupiter.
Well at least they didn't say "swamp gas".
In my article there was also a sighting of a giant spinning red fireball that streaked across the sky above Albuquerque. I however just missed seeing that one by mere minutes as I exiting my front door to find my friends out in the street shouting and pointing "Did you see that? Did you see that? That was crazy!".
I will add some more information about these strange UFOs at the end of this post.
Why Mysterious Green Fireballs Worried the U.S. Government in 1948
On February 29, 1949, the Los Alamos, New Mexico Skyliner newspaper ran a piece on what it referred to, in typical newspaper parlance, as “flying saucers”—and a possible conspiracy around them:
“Los Alamos now has flying green lights. These will ‘o wisps seen generally about 2 a.m., have alerted the local constabulary and their presence is being talked about in Santa Fe bars. But local wheels deny any official knowledge of the sky phenomena. Each one passes the buck to another.”
The story ended with, “Have you seen a green light lately?”
In fact, a great many had, and would continue to do so—enough to prompt TIME magazine, in November 1951, to publish a piece on the phenomenon called “Great Balls of Fire.” What makes the multiple sightings of “flying green lights” in New Mexico in 1948 and onward such a significant chapter in UFO history is exactly that—there were multiple sightings.
That was unnerving enough. But most alarming—particularly to the United States government—was that the sightings were concentrated around the Los Alamos and Sandia atomic-weapons laboratories. And other highly sensitive military installations, including radar stations and fighter-interceptor bases, weren’t far away. That meant the sightings were reported by typically cool-headed pilots, weather observers, scientists, intelligence officers and other defense personnel, and led many to suspect the fireballs were Soviet spy devices.
On the night of December 5, 1948, two separate plane crews reported having seen a “green ball of fire,” heading west to east. In one of these instances, the fireball raced head-on toward the plane itself, compelling the rattled pilot to swerve the plane out of the way.
One pilot, sometime later, would vividly describe the green fireballs: “Take a soft ball and paint it with some kind of fluorescent paint that will glow a bright green in the dark… Then have someone take the ball out about 100 feet in front of you and about 10 feet above you. Have him throw the ball right at your face, as hard as he can throw it. That’s what a green fireball looks like.”
When a crew of intelligence officers, led by Dr. Lincoln LaPaz, head of the University of New Mexico’s Institute of Meteoritics, plotted the fireball’s flight path and scoured the area a meteorite would have hit, they found nothing—no meteor fragments, no debris, no craters, no evidence of fire.
The inexplicable sightings continued in the area, with sightings on December 6th, 7th, 8th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 20th and 28th. December 20th proved a turning point, literally, and a particularly alarming one for those clinging to the theory that these were meteors: The balls of fire descended from the heavens at a 45-degree angle, then abruptly leveled off into a gravity-defying horizontal flight path. And, as LaPaz would note in a letter to the district commanding officer of the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations, “none of the green fireballs has a train of sparks of a dust cloud…”
In the years since, there have been reports of green-fireball sightings around the world, from Alberta, Canada to South Africa. In June 2018, a green fireball made an impressive appearance at a concert performance in the Netherlands by the Foo Fighters (coincidentally, the band named for the U.S. pilots’ term for UFOs during World War II). And according to the International Meteor Organization there were more than 170 reported sightings of the fireballs that night, in at least five European countries. The band’s reaction, according to their official Twitter account: “The sky IS a neighborhood.”
I'll skip over the part about these objects as possibly being some form of lightning.
Cold War spy craft…or extraterrestrial probes?
This potential explanation could not have occurred to those on the ground in New Mexico in 1948. After interviewing more than a hundred witnesses, Dr. LaPaz went on to advise the military and the Atomic Energy Commission of his opinion that the fireballs were likely either top-secret “unconventional defensive devices” being tested by the U.S.—or Soviet spying devices.
When Edward J. Ruppelt, director of the U.S. Air Force Project Blue Book UFO investigations, visited the Los Alamos National Laboratory in early 1952 to interview scientists and technicians, he noted that they became particularly animated when the idea of interplanetary vehicles was suggested.
“They had been doing a lot of thinking about this, they said, and they had a theory,” wrote Ruppelt in The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (1953). They thought the fireballs were actually extraterrestrial probes “projected into our atmosphere from a ‘spaceship’ hovering several hundred miles above the Earth.”
Officially, government investigators concluded that the green fireballs were some kind of never-before-seen natural phenomenon. Interest in, and investigation into, the fireballs dropped off at the outbreak of the Korean War.
“Writing these off as natural phenomena did not solve the problem,” says UFO researcher Jan Aldrich, who believes the green fireballs were related to aerial phenomena spotted in Fort Hood, Texas, in 1949. “It just pushed it under the table.”
You can read the rest of the article here - Why Mysterious Green Fireballs Worried the U.S. Government in 1948
Here are a couple of reported sightings that were brought to my attention after I ran my original article. These would seem to back up the assumption that these objects are indeed spying on our military, in this case Kirtland Air Force Base just south of Albuquerque. It should be noted that my best friend's brother, who worked for the US government as a photographer documenting top secret tests at the base, told us that he witnessed some sort of laser weapon being used that could blow up boulders. Of course he could have just been trying to impress us, but I never knew him to make up tall tales, so I always took the report to be a factual one. Oh, and before I forget, it was always rumored that there was a large stockpile of nuclear warheads stored in the adjacent Sandia Mountains.
I can see why you would want to keep the fact that an arsenal of nukes were being stored in the outskirts of a city of some five hundred thousand people under wraps.
Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico
8 August 1980
Three Security Policemen on duty in Charlie Sector, East Side of Manzano Weapons Storage Area, observed a very bright light that traveled with great speed and stopped suddenly in the sky over Coyote Canyon. They at first thought the object was a helicopter, but after observing the object perform unusual aerial maneuvers, they felt it could not be a helicopter. The light was observed to land in the Coyote Canyon area. Sometime later they observed the light take off again and proceed straight up at a high speed until it was no longer visible.
9 August, 1980
A Sandia Security Guard was driving east on the Coyote Canyon access road on a routine building check of an alarmed structure. As he approached the structure, he observed a bright light near the ground behind the structure. He also observed an object that he at first thought was a helicopter. As he came closer, he observed that it was not a helicopter, but a round disk shaped object. When he attempted to radio for backup, he found that his radio was not functioning. He approached the object on foot armed with a shotgun, and the object thereupon took off in a vertical direction at high speed.
22 August, 1980
Three other unnamed Security Guards observed a light over Coyote Canyon that behaved in a similar manner as the one seen on 8 August. Coyote Canyon is part of a large restricted test range used by the Air Force Weapons Laboratory, Sandia Laboratories
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Painting by Mrs. Lincoln LaPaz of a baffling green fireball seen numerous times over the Sandia mountains east of Albuquerque in late 1952. Mrs. LaPaz's husband, head of the University of New Mexico's Institute of Meteoritics, investigated the sightings but couldn't find an explanation. The painting was published in TIME Magazine in November 1951 and in LIFE magazine a few months later, an illustration of the nation's Cold War obsession with UFOs.