Flying Green Lights Alert Constabulary

This is the only article I could find in the Los Alamos newspapers concerning "green fire balls".  This sarcastic little item refers to the Atomic Energy Commission information office as the "thought-control office".  The reference to "the Hill" is the Los Alamos Laboratory and some living quarters which were patrolled and surrounded by barbed wire until 1957 when the containment area became open.  Many scientists and others who worked at Los Alamos lived at the facility.  Others lived around the base, many in Santa Fe, and commuted to work.  The writer here is making light of loose talk in the Santa Fe bars.

Many times in the late forties and early fifties the Air Force was still referred to as the Army.  The Army Air Forces became a separate Service, the U. S. Air Force, in September 1947, but references to the Army remained in many press stories.

Jan Aldrich              
Project 1947              

Los Alamos, New Mexico, Skyliner - 29 Feb, 1949

Flying Green Lights Alert Constabulary

    Shades of the flying saucers!

    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.

FBI Denies

   A call to El Paso, Tex., brought official denial from D. K. Brown, head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation district that embraces Los Alamos, that his agency had not been called to deal with the matter.

    At the information or thought-control office officials indicated that they knew about the recurring green flame in the sky but indicated that it wouldn't be wise to write about it.

    Capt. Carroll Tyler, project manager, said simply that all he knew about the lights was rumor -- the same rumors that everyone is hearing.

Call the Army

    At the thought-control office the general reaction was that the matter was out of AEC jurisdiction and the best way to find out what was going on was to call Kirtland Field.

    A call to Kirtland showed that an Army captain who asked that his name not be used because he didn't know anything, didn't know anything. He was eager to learn, though.

No Speculation

    Official reaction was the same on the Hill except for the atmosphere of secrecy that has been thrown about a matter discussed in every saloon and drawing room from here to Santa Fe.

    There was even no speculation.  Could these be visitors from Mars or from the Russias [sic]?  No answer.

    But enough competent observers had told this observer that there was indeed something in the wine.

Shott [sic] Down Venus

    And something much more tangible than the time last summer when one of the local security officers ordered out tanks and jet planes from Kirtland Field to shoot down a light low on the horizon that happened to be Venus, a well-known planet.

    The jet pilots, trigger fingers ready, were disgusted at that alarm.  Maybe that's why they're now querying the green lights.

    Have you seen a green light lately?

Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal, Monday, Dec. 18, 1950 - p. 1.


Another brilliant "fireball" streaked through New Mexico skies late Saturday night (12/16).

   It was seen by Captain A. Harvey, pilot of a Frontier Airlines plane approaching Albuquerque from Gallup, and co-pilot Merrick C. Marshall.

   The two flyers reported to Dr. Lincoln LaPaz. head of the Meteoritics Institute at the University of New Mexico, that the light first appeared in the northeast, approximately over Las Vegas.  They watched the light for ten minutes, they said, as it moved in the direction of Las Alamos.  During that time the "greenish fireball" seemed to circle Los Alamos and then head directly toward Albuquerque.

   In turning, the light changed from green to a very bright white and passed over and to the rear of their plane -- then near Albuquerque -- at an estimated speed of over "700 miles an hour."

   The time when the light was first sighted was at exactly 11:25 p.m.  It remained in view until 11:35.

   Both pilots are experienced airmen and said it could not possibly have been another plane.

   Dr. LaPaz is anxious to have reports from other observers.  Things that would be of most value to him are: (duration, observers' position; color and direction object was going when last seen; and close observation of any noise or explosion).

Dr. LaPaz can be reached at the U of NM, telephone 8861, or at his home, teiephone 54693

Alamogordo Daily News - February 12, 1953, page 11.

    Continuing investigations of the "green fireballs" which have appeared mysteriously over the Southwest has led Dr. Lincoln LaPaz, University of New Mexico met[e]oritics expert, to the conclusion that they may be "man-made" according to an article in the February number New Mexico Magazine.

    "If they are man-made," LaPaz warns, "for the sake of civilization, let's hope they are made in America."

    Jack Gill, Albuquerque newspaperman, writing under the title, "The Mystery of the Green Fireballs.," relates the history of the fireball investigations and some of LaPaz' conclusions.

    "The fireballs are Kelly green, whereas meteors are red, yellow, blue, or white.  A green color could be caused by large amounts of copper, but this element is rarely found in ordinary fireballs.  It could also originate from certain man-made atomic fuels."

    Continuing, "They make no noise.  None of the observers of green fireballs, nor persons in the area of the balls, have report any sound whatsoever.  Also the fact that they disappear and no fragments have been found on the earth, may be evidence that their flight is controlled."

Alamogordo Daily News - March 12, 1953, page 14.


    T. B. Holliday, President of Land-Air, Inc. which handles instrumentation services at Holloman Air Force Base, and John Proctor, vice-president, men whose scientific training qualifies them to be in the know along such lines, said in a prepared statement recently that they saw "an object" in the skies near here which "does not appear to be explained by any known phenomena."

    The two men said they could not estimate the size of the object because they did not know its distance from them.

    "If it was of an appreciable size," Proctor said , "its velocity when last seen must have greatly exceeded the maximum velocity of a V-2 rocket."

    Proctor described the "strange light" in the following manner.  "The night was clear and the object stood out against the starlit sky as a brilliant orange-yellow disc, appearing to rotate slowly.  It had many colored spots around its rim and there was no indication that it formed part of an airplane or other objects as there was no silhouette or such configuration against the sky."

    "The light," Proctor said, "moved from west to east with an upward trajectory of an estimated 10 degrees."  He and Holliday watched the object about two and half minutes, then it suddenly shot vertically upward and disappeared in the atmosphere within four seconds.

    There have been many other instances over a period of time where credited persons across New Mexico have seen strange sights in the skies that have the experts baffled.

    Although descriptions of the "things" seen do vary, none have been thought to be just optical illusions and, so far [as] is generally known, all have defied explanation.

(As an interesting aside Joel Carpenter pointed out that in the movie "U. F. O." in one scene actors appear wearing the Land-Air uniform. Another attempt by Greene and Rouse to make their production more authentic.)

Jan Aldrich              
Project 1947