Friday, November 20, 2015

The 1949 Roswell UFO Crash

The other day, as I was looking over some of my old files and interviews I found an interview that I had done nothing with at the time. At the risk of offending all those who get annoyed if I mention Roswell and accuse me of being obsessed with it, I thought this might be of interest. I remember nothing about this interview. It took place in late 1995 with Colonel Claude N. Burcky, who, in 1947 was a major assigned to the 390th Air Service Squadron.

Claude N. Burcky
I confirmed that I was talking to the right man and that he had been in Roswell in 1947 (though the Yearbook confirmed that as well). He told me, “I was base operations officer… and I knew of it [the alleged crash] and we knew that security requirements relative to it…” (I must note here that in July 1947, there were two base operations officers. First was Lieutenant Colonel James Hopkins and then Lieutenant Colonel Joe Briley.)

But Burcky told me he hadn’t seen anything first hand. He said, “Since I didn’t see anything and the only thing that I was told was that such and such hangar was off limits to everyone and that the parts, pieces and so forth that were picked up and put on this trailer… and put into that hangar and no one could get in there until the stuff was moved.”

He also said that he had heard the stories of alien bodies but that he had not seen them himself. So, he was providing some interesting second-hand testimony about what went on during that time but given the state of Roswell research today, it really adds little to our knowledge and might be seen as complicating it even more. I asked about the debris, but he hadn’t seen any of it either, and only knew what he had heard.

I said, “So you really didn’t see anything like that yourself? So all you’re really aware of is some event took place.”

He said, “Yeah, and I assigned a guy to drive the trailer, the vehicle that went out… you see it happened on the bombing range.”

And this is where the tale became interesting because the bombing range was south of the base and that suggested something had happened much farther south of Roswell. I had heard nothing of a crash site south of Roswell and even today there seems to be nothing to support that idea and I’ve talked to a number of people about this. Everything was more or less north of town and more or less north of the base. This didn’t fit with what I knew.

But there was something that I did know. There was a reported crash south of Roswell in 1949 and wondered if that might a source of confusion.  I learned that on February 11, 1949, Paul L. Ryan, in the AFOSI 17th District at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque prepared a report about an “Aerial Phenomena,” that had been observed on January 30. He wrote, “…Mr. Charles Naffziger, Administrative Supervisor, advised that a peculiar light or aerial phenomena had been observed at 1755 hours [or about six in the evening], 30 January 1949, in the vicinity of Walker AFB [originally Roswell Army Air Field], Roswell, New Mexico, and that Sgt. Edward P. McCrary, a tower control operator of Walker AFB be contacted.”

The next day, January 31, several of those at Roswell were interviewed about the sighting. The official report said:

…a blue-green light resembling a flare was observed travelling on a horizontal line. This light came out of the North headed South at an estimated altitude of 2,000 feet, moving slowly, and disappeared in the vicinity of SE Walker Air Force Base. To some observers, this phenomenon disappeared in its entirety while other statements mention a disappearance as a disintegration into a shower of smaller lighted fragments such as a shower of sparks. The only sound accompanying this object was heard by Sgt. McCrary, who described it as a high pitched whining noise similar to a blowtorch. All of these observers sighting this light from a position west of it while facing east.
One of those men was Sergeant Raymond D. Platt, who I interviewed more than forty years later. He provided a little more detail, saying the he, “didn’t believe it was a flying saucer. He believed it to be a meteor.” In 1949 he was “interrogated by base personnel, the CIC and the FBI.”

He said it was flying very slow, was very bright and it exploded into six or seven pieces. It was travelling at a very shallow angle, going from north to south and was bright white and blue. It burned out after it exploded, which is why he lost sight of it.

There were other reports of this object from other areas around Roswell. In Alamogordo, Major James C. Petersen, said that he had sighted a single bright green object looking to the east. He said it was a bright green fireball of flame travelling in a southerly direction, without evidence of smoke or trail of any kind. He lost sight of it when it, according to him, seemed “to fizzle out.”

Also in Alamogordo, Wilfred T. Martin, who worked as a technician for the Boeing Aircraft Company, said that about six in the evening, he saw a single green fireball to the east and travelling to the south. He saw no signs of an exhaust; he watched for about ten seconds and said that it did not explode.

Martin was with Sergeant Maurice C. Anthon at the time and who was also interviewed about the sighting in 1949. He said, “I observed an object that appeared to be travelling diagonally across in front of me… Its distance seemed very close and appeared to be travelling very slowly… Gentle downward glide, bright burning (Green and yellowish light) a fizzling out and then a bright burning, and then appeared to die out. This could have been the effects of its passing beyond my view.”

PFC Ira W. Vail, assigned to the weather detachment at Holloman AFB in Alamogordo told investigators in 1949 that he had “seen a green ball of flame with a trail of some kind in an Easterly direction.” Vail described the object as traveling in a Southerly direction and added that the object was visible for approximately six seconds. Vail described the object as “bright green and disappeared without exploding.”

There were other, similar reports coming from other parts of New Mexico and west Texas. The track of the object, or the green fireball, could be plotted based on the observations of the witnesses, and the investigators took many of them to the places where they had seen the fireball to get accurate measurements suggesting height and direction. Using the information gathered from more than 100 witnesses, Dr. Lincoln La Paz set out in an attempt to find where the object came to earth, if it was an ordinary meteor. He said that he’d have very good luck in the past finding the remains of meteors (in this case a meteorite.

According to the report, “Special Agent [Lewis] Rickett [a member of the Counter Intelligence Corps stationed in Roswell and who said he was involved in the UFO crash there in 1947] continued the search throughout Southeast New Mexico and West Texas from 1400 hours, 2 February 1949, to 2400 hours 8 February 1949, in the company of Dr. Lincoln La Paz of the University of New Mexico.”

A verbal report of that activity was made to the Scientific Advisory Board Conference of February 16, 1949. La Paz said:

In the case of the January 30th fall, due to the fact that there had been a large number of military personnel alerted, we were able to obtain observations within a minute after the fall occurred and pursued the investigation over a distance of 1,000 miles – in Texas mud primarily – in some ten days’ time interviewing literally hundreds of people, we saw not one substantial account of noise produced by the meteorite fall…
These lines are drawn [on a map of observers’ sightings, giving direction of the object from the observer and the direction of travel] from the points of observation. The center… of the points of appearance is somewhere Southwest of Amarillo or South-southwest of Amarillo. The disappearance point is in the vicinity of Lubbock, Texas.
La Paz explained that his plots suggested that the meteorite, if that was what it was, should have struck the ground near Lamesa, Texas, which is to the south of Lubbock. Working with a team, including military men such as Rickett, Platt and Neef, they searched the area for several days without results. La Paz was puzzled because in similar cases of large, bright meteorites, he had had great success in recovering fragments.

What struck me here was that Burcky talked of something to the south of the base and this was in the general direction of the bombing range. Platt said that he had been interrogated by people from the base, the CIC and the FBI which suggests that they thought there might be some sort of national security implication but not necessarily indicative of alien visitation. This also sort of describes La Paz, a civilian who was in Roswell interviewing the witnesses. It might be that Burcky confused his statements about what happened in 1947 with what happened in 1949.

Just to end a bit of confusion, it is clear to me and practically anyone else who looks at the 1949 sighting is that it was one of the green fireballs. There was a classified study of them being made in 1949 so there was a national security implication. When the sightings ended, even though there was a bit of controversy about what the green fireballs really were, it was determined that they posed no threat. The documentation and reports were eventually declassified so that we all can see what was being done back in the late 1940s.


I believe that I did nothing with this report because it suggested another site south of Roswell and there was nothing else to back it up. There was no testimony from any ranchers, no soldiers said they had gone out there, and everything else pointed to the events north of town. The report is just one of those anomalies that spring up when dealing with memories that are decades old, though I suspect that those who enjoy creating long lists of UFO crashes will use this tale to validate those claims regardless of the solution. The January 1949 event was a green fireball and not an alien ship.

73 comments:

cda said...

I believe that Lincoln La Paz, chief investigator of the green fireball phenomena in the late 1940s, was at one time a proponent that the fireballs were either from Russia or interplanetary. There were at least two high level conferences in Los Alamos in 1949 where large numbers of witnesses and military personnel were present. It was the lack of any meteoric fragments and the flat trajectories that concerned La Paz, although he was guarded in his comments.

Have you considered the possibility that Lewis Rickett, the same man who claims he was involved with the big Roswell site 'search and clean-up' in July 1947, has merely confused this with his undoubted involvement in the big search for meteoric fragments of the green fireball of late Jan. 1949? I did once see an official document on this fireball sighting (unclassified), and Rickett's name appears in it.

David Rudiak said...

Two other people named La Paz as being involved with Roswell, Canadian archeologist Boyd Wettlaufer (a student of La Paz's), who said La Paz discussed Roswell with him when they were working near Winslow meteor crater in Arizona, and Ed Zimmerman, who said La Paz told him about it in 1949 when they were investigating the green fireballs over Los Alamos:

Zimmerman affidavit:

http://www.roswellproof.com/zimmerman.html

"In early 1949, after being transferred to OSI in Albuquerque, I worked with Dr. Lincoln LaPaz of the University of New Mexico on an extended project at the university's research station on top of Sandia Peak. We were told the Air Force was concerned about "something" being in the night sky over Los Alamos, and we took 15-minute exposures of the sky with a four by five Speed Graphic camera. We worked in three-man, one-week shifts, and Dr. LaPaz was in charge."

"During this project, which lasted for several months, I got to know Dr. LaPaz very well. When I mentioned to him I had been stationed in Roswell during 1947, he told me he had been involved in the investigation of the thing found in the Roswell area that summer. He did not discuss the case in any detail, but he did say he went out with two agents and interviewed sheepherders, ranchers, and others. They told these witnesses they were investigating an aircraft accident. I seem to recall LaPaz also saying they found an area where the surface earth had been turned a light blue and wondering if lightning could cause such an effect."

So essentially the same story as Rickett from a completely independent source.

LaPaz and his family also had a "disc" sighting near Roswell on July 10, 1947, only two days after the story broke about the Roswell "disc" on July 8. Written up in Life Magazine's "Marilyn cover" in April 7, 1952, article "Have We Visitors From Space?" by by H. B. Darrach Jr. and Robert Ginna.

www.roswellproof.com/life_1952.html#anchor_3458

There are also some interesting follow-up Letters to the Editor 3 weeks later about the green fireballs that I reprinted at the end of the article.

David Rudiak said...

I think the most significant thing about LaPaz's investigation of the green fireballs (including the extremely widely seen Jan. 30, 1949 green fireballs) was how he was HEAVILY assisted by the military in trying to figure out where one of them may have come down. There is more than one example of this, and it strongly suggests that they took the idea of crash retrievals VERY seriously. Hmmmm. Wonder why.

The day after the Jan 30 green fireball, an FBI memo states that they were informed by Army and Air Force intelligence that the subject of the fireballs and flying saucers was "Top Secret". Guess nobody got the July 1947 memo that they were all explained by radar targets.

David Rudiak said...

I wrote from former OSI agent Ed Zimmerman's affidavit above:
"When I mentioned to him [LaPaz] I had been stationed in Roswell during 1947, he told me he had been involved in the investigation of the thing found in the Roswell area that summer. He did not discuss the case in any detail, but he did say he went out with two agents and interviewed sheepherders, ranchers, and others... I seem to recall LaPaz also saying they found an area where the surface earth had been turned a light blue and wondering if lightning could cause such an effect."

I'd forgotten about this (a witness turned up by Pflock), but another CIC/OSI witness who sort of confirms Zimmerman and Rickett's story of LaPaz with CIC agents finding a bluish fused sand area was Edgar Bethart, a CIC officer at Alamogordo AAF in July 1947, who remembered Rickett and Cavitt well. Bethart, who did speak Spanish, worked with LaPaz and "chased flying saucers all over southern New Mexico with him." He remembers hearing that LaPaz and another CIC or OSI agent found "a large, circular burned spot somewhere on the prairie" while investigating a flying saucer report."

cda said...

Things are not quite so simple. See Karl Pflock's "Roswell, Inconvenient Facts and the Will to believe", p.113-4.

He presents some persuasive evidence that Zimmerman is also recalling his involvement in the green fireball case, not the July '47 'crash'. Pflock also learned, from a colleague of La Paz, that La Paz often told witnesses he interviewed, who had seen the fireballs, that his team were investigating aircraft accidents. This was done to minimize competition from amateur meteorite hunters.

Bob Koford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Rudiak said...

CDA wrote:
Things are not quite so simple. See Karl Pflock's "Roswell, Inconvenient Facts and the Will to believe", p.113-4.

He presents some persuasive evidence that Zimmerman is also recalling his involvement in the green fireball case, not the July '47 'crash'. Pflock also learned, from a colleague of La Paz, that La Paz often told witnesses he interviewed, who had seen the fireballs, that his team were investigating aircraft accidents. This was done to minimize competition from amateur meteorite hunters.


No, in reality Pflock presents ZERO evidence (much less "persuasive evidence") that Zimmerman was simply recalling his association with La Paz on the green fireballs starting a few months after the Roswell green fireball incident of Jan. 30, 1947. Instead Pflock simply CLAIMS (no evidence) that Zimmerman must have been confusing La Paz and Roswell in 1947 with La Paz and Roswell (and Rickett an Zimmerman) from 1949. It's a typical debunker, "it's so because I say so" argument by assertion, the sort of argument CDA loves and uses here every day.

But what did Zimmerman's affidavit really say? Again: "I got to know Dr. LaPaz very well [during the green fireball investigation in 1949]. When I mentioned to him I had been stationed in Roswell during 1947, he told me he had been involved in the investigation of THE THING FOUND IN THE ROSWELL AREA THAT SUMMER."

So let's see:
1) Roswell happened in SUMMER of 1947.

2) Green fireball investigation in Roswell area was WINTER of 1949.

3) Nothing was ever FOUND from the green fireball investigation of the WINTER of 1949, the fireball being widely seen from Roswell to the east, but whose trajectory and expected impact point La Paz later concluded was West Texas near Lubbock, about 100 miles to the east (not the more immediate ROSWELL AREA).

Zimmerman was clearly referring to what had happened while he was stationed at Roswell in 1947, and that is what La Paz was specifically referencing in response to Zimmerman's mention that he was stationed at Roswell at that time.

According to Zimmerman, La Paz was investigating the something FOUND near Roswell in the SUMMER of 1947. Pflock "explained" NOTHING from Zimmerman's affidavit, certainly not the discrepancy in seasons, years, or the fact that "something" was clearly FOUND near Roswell in 1947, whereas NOTHING was found in 1949.

cda said...

I refer those interested to chapter 10 of Pflock's book mentioned earlier, where he relates his interviews with Zimmerman and others about their involvement with the green fireballs. People will have to make up their own minds over whether the surviving witnesses are confusing the events of summer '47 with those of winter 1948-49.

I will remark only that there are plenty of contemporary official documents on the fireballs, including some on the case cited (Jan 30, 1949, in which La Paz and Rickett and some others were involved) but none whatever on the Roswell case of July 1947. I should also point out that at the Los Alamos conference on the fireballs, La Paz at one point says that the first time he got involved with the military on UFOs was at the Four Corners case at the end of October '47.

Pflock takes the view I do and says (p.115): "As we have seen, it takes very little for decades-old memories, especially those of similar matters to become intertwined, which is what I am convinced is the case here".

If DR still thinks either La Paz or Rickett was really involved with the Roswell case it is up to him to produce the contemporary documentation proving this, and not to rely so much on distant memories. As it stands, the only such documentation we have shows both were involved with another event occurring 18 months later.

Brian Bell said...

Great Balls of 'Green' Fire

No doubt the green fireballs were observed in their day but the explanation for them (then and now) remains completely unresolved. Clearly the 1949 Roswell crash wasn't a green fireball, and it wasn't anything alien.

While green fireballs remain unexplained, I doubt they have anything to do with ET since the actual reports and conclusions led people toward two primary explanations; 1) meteors with a heavy concentration of metals that burn green when falling, and lastly 2) some type of man-made devise, possibly made of copper, yet unexplained.

I might add that barium also burns very bright green and if you follow the current weapons technology developments and the modern chemtrail controversy, we also know that when barium disintegrates into the atmosphere quote,

"...the chemical and electrical characteristics of the mixture will cause water moisture to stay in clouds.....the aerosol sets up an electrical and chemical environment that supports RF [Radio Frequency] ducting....and when sprayed in a straight line will also provide a ducting path from point A to point B and will enable high frequency communications along that path, even over the curvature of the earth, in both directions."

In other words, if Soviet spies sent up small copper rockets in the NM desert (or other places) that disintegrated into barium particles contained inside the process would have allowed spies to maximize communication over great distances.

If you still think that impossible, consider what contemporaries had to say about it:

"LaPaz himself saw a green fireball on December 12, which was also seen at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, enabling LaPaz to determine the trajectory using triangulation. From this LaPaz discovered that the center of the trajectory was straight over Los Alamos."

"Director of Army Intelligence from Fourth Army Headquarters in Texas: "Agencies in New Mexico are greatly concerned . . .Some foreign power [may be] making 'sensing shots' with some super-stratosphere device designed to be self-disintegrating . . . "

"Kaplan said, "This high selectivity of direction seems to indicate that some group was trying to pinpoint Los Alamos with a new sort of weapon."

Radiological weapons were also a possibility, and given spy networks around US military installations it seems more likely that green fireballs (and anything crashing around Roswell) had more to do with Cold War espionage than ET.

David Rudiak said...

Considering the natural fireball theory, LaPaz had ruled this out because he green fireballs had properties totally unlike natural fireballs:

1. Flew much too low and too slow
2. Made no sound (large meteor fireballs roar like a freight train when they get low)
3. Left no trail.
4. Never left any physical trace, despite LaPaz using the same triangulation methods for real fireballs to determine impact point that had repeatedly led him to discover meteorite fields.
5. Flew flat trajectories instead of ballistic arced ones
6. Sometimes seen to maneuver
7. Always about 2 seconds long and turned on and off like a light switch, instead of flaring up and fading out like real meteors
8. Seen in high concentrations in limited areas in a short period of time, instead of all over the place.
9. Made a sudden appearance in 1948 with no record of such activity before.
10. Did not fly out of a radiant or point in the sky like natural meteor showers, but from multiple directions.
11. Saturated lime-green color was highly unnatural for meteors. (LaPaz said he had never heard of or seen such a meteor in all his career.) Though like burning copper, copper is very rare or trace in meteors
12. Seemed to favor highly sensitive areas like Los Alamos (main reason why military intelligence was very concerned about them)

So, yes, LaPaz thought them artificial in origin, as did some other Project Twinkle scientists (Twinkle = AF study on green fireballs). He feared they might be Russian spy probes. (No evidence has EVER emerged this could have been the case. For one, Russian rocketry was primitive back the.)

Ruppert in his book describes a visit to Los Alamos in early 1952, saying he discussed the green fireballs with the scientists and technicians there, all of whom had seen one. None of them believed they had a conventional explanation, such as a new natural phenomenon, secret government project, or psychologically enlarged meteors. Instead, the scientists speculated they were extraterrestrial probes "projected into our atmosphere from a 'spaceship' hovering several hundred miles above the earth." Ruppelt commented, "Two years ago I would have been amazed to hear a group of reputable scientists make such a startling statement. Now, however, I took it as a matter of course. I'd heard the same type of statement many times before from equally qualified groups."

These were some of our very best scientific minds, people who had seen the things, and they didn't believe they were natural or some secret government project (for which there is, as usual, not a trace of evidence after all these years). The green fireballs remain unexplained.

KRandle said...

All -

I think that if I suggest that the sky is blue there would be those who would say they looked out their windows and it was gray... or it was black.

I will note that my discussion was of one, specific case and that is the January 30, 1949, case which is NOT a UFO crash. In the documentation I have, based on the interviews I conducted with some of the witnesses, and based on the overall conclusions of Project Twinkle which provides everyone information about what the Green Fireballs are not and a few speculations about what they are, the conclusion for this specific case is that it was a Green Fireball. You can interpret the Project Twinkle results in any way you wish to your heart's content.

But in the end, this is not a UFO crash... no wreckage was found (and that includes meteoric debris) and the best that LaPaz could do was suggest that the path of this object (whatever it was) was from around Amarillo to Lamesa (near Lubbock) and not even in New Mexico. (For those not paying attention, that would make if very high and moving very fast... there was talk of noise from it, there was some sort of trail reported and the sighting lasted for many seconds.)

David Rudiak said...

I still think the most significant aspect about this particular incident (Jan. 30, 1949 green fireball) and other similar green and other fireball incidents is that military intelligence employed meteor tracker Lincoln LaPaz to try to find where the fireball came down. Since when is the military interested in "meteors"? They were , however, very much interested in the flying saucers and were treating the fireballs as potential downed saucers and crash retrieval cases.

This is very clear in the FBI memo that was written the next day (Jan. 31) where they were informed that both Army and Air Force inelligence considered the subject of flying saucers and fireballs "top secret":

http://www.nicap.org/docs/490131_fbi.pdf

"At recent Weekley Intelligence Conferences of G-2 [Army intelligence], ONI [Office of Naval Intelligence], OSI [AF counterintelligence], and F.B.I., in the the Fourth Army Area, Officers of G-2, Fourth Army have discussed the matter of "Unidentified Aircraft" or "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" otherwise known as "Flying Discs", "Flying Saucers", and "Balls of Fire". This matter is considered top secret by Intelligence Officers of both the Army and the Air Force."

(At the time, the 4th Army, located in San Antonio, would have had an intelligence jurisdiction including New Mexico.)

This was not the first time La Paz had worked with the military on attempted "fireball" retrieval. As I wrote on Kevin's blog back in 2010:

http://kevinrandle.blogspot.com/2010/11/ufo-crashes-and-public-record.html

Starting in late 1947, N.M. meteor expert Dr. Lincoln LaPaz was chasing after large "meteors" hoping to recover same. Nothing odd there, except for the fact that it was with the assistance of Army CIC and AFOSI, and sometimes even the FBI. Since when does military counterintelligence go after meteorites?

The first of these I know about was the large fireball seen in the Four Corners area near Shiprock, N.M. in Nov. 1948. La Paz, assisted by his student Boyd Wettlaufer and the CIC were looking for it. Allan Grant of LIFE Magazine was flown in to cover it. (However, Grant later insisted this was a distinctly different incident from Roswell, which he was also flown in for.) Wettlaufer would later talk about LaPaz discussing with him the extraterrestrial probe origins of the Roswell object.

The second instance was the famous Kansas/Nebraska fireball of Feb. 1948. Again the CIC assisted La Paz, until La Paz figured out it really WAS a meteor fireball, at which point the CIC wasn't interested anymore. But what were they interested in initially? La Paz eventually recovered a ton of valuable meteorite fragments that August. (As a side note, the recovery required calculating a precise trajectory, based on La Paz carefully interviewing eyewitnesses MONTHS after the event. So much for the skeptical pap that eyewitness testimony more than hours or a few days old is worthless.)

And then, starting in Dec. 1948, La Paz was hired by the military to go chasing after the mysterious green fireballs. The most notable of these early incidents was the great green fireball of Jan. 30, 1949, in which CIC, AFOSI, and the FBI assisted La Paz in interviewing hundreds of eyewitnesses from northern N.M. and west Texas. It is also notable that there is a CIC document stating they were looking for a possible crashed saucer. As far as we know, they never found the remains of a green fireball, but they were definitely looking. La Paz was also on record saying the green fireballs were almost definitely artificial objects.

Brian Bell said...

"Since when is the military interested in "meteors"?

When they suspect Soviet intrusion over our airspace.

David Rudiak said...

Brian Bell wrote:
"Since when is the military interested in "meteors"?

When they suspect Soviet intrusion over our airspace.


So you admit they were treating them as artificial objects, REAL aircraft, not natural meteors, not delusions, not weather balloon radar targets, not hoaxes, etc. Have you asked yourself why they were so convinced that they were REAL aircraft of some type? And since ZERO evidence has ever emerged that they were Soviet or unknown natural phenomena, where does that leave us? Have you also asked yourself how all these intelligence agencies could gotten it so terribly wrong?

As Ruppelt said it, if nothing else, EVERYONE agreed the green fireballs were absolutely REAL since so many people of high repute had seen them, La Paz included (not to mention many scientists at Los Alamos and military intelligence agents). So if they were REAL and had characteristics completely unlike natural meteors, according to La Paz's study, leading him to the conclusion that they MUST be artificial, what the hell were they?

If they were an unknown natural phenomenon, why was there no prior history of such a phenomenon? Why did they appear in such frequency and concentration in the New Mexico area, seeming to favor highly sensitive areas like Los Alamos? Why the numerous artificial characteristics? No halfway decent explanation has ever been offered.

Brian Bell said...

@ David

"If they were an unknown natural phenomenon, why was there no prior history of such a phenomenon? Why did they appear in such frequency and concentration in the New Mexico area, seeming to favor highly sensitive areas like Los Alamos? Why the numerous artificial characteristics? No halfway decent explanation has ever been offered."

Yes, I think they saw SOMETHING and yes it appears the military took an active intetest.

I don't know what they were or their cause just like everyone else.

Like most mass sighting waves, there's going to be a few natural explanations for some of the sightings (meteors most likely).

But that still leaves some sightings unexplained. I was only offering a hypothesis that the military may have taken interest, quite naturally, because the things were seen flying over sensitive installations. New Mexico was a hotbed of government activity in those years. It was well known the Soviets took an active interest and had spy networks seeking to discover atomic secrets at that time from Los Alamos to El Paso. Stalin was also very concerned about development of suborbital rockets - enough so that he wanted the captured German antipodal bomber developed starting late summer 1947.

My suggestion was merely a hypothesis that materials known to us can burn bright green and leave no debris and that material happens to allow for extended global RF communication if done properly.

The Soviets were the first to put a man in space and were much farther ahead than we were with experimental rocketry despite Von Braun's assistance. It's possible these devises, just like Ghost Rockets, were merely designed to intimidate and burned up completely by design.

I don't think the evidence shared with us is enough to conclude anything however.

David Rudiak said...

We're talking 3 years after the end of WWII, which left much of Russia in ruins, and NOBODY was that advanced in rocketry--not even remotely. Remember it was another 9 years after the first green fireball that Russia finally orbited its first satellite. How could they possibly have been lobbing multiple "green fireball" missiles at us in 1948 and 1949 from all sorts of directions and with such pinpoint accuracy (directly over Los Alamos), also at extremely low altitude, soundless, and at speeds usually vastly in excess of any rocket at the time?

While I think you are undoubtedly right that there was concern that MAYBE Russia had some quantum leap in their missile technology, not many considered that likely, but something they needed to give proper due diligence to cover their asses.

But the fact is, it WASN'T the Russians, it wasn't a new natural phenomenon that didn't exist before, and yet there they were, green fireballs, absolutely REAL everyone agreed, but with no conceivable PROSAIC explanation.

Some sort of naive gullibility or fanaticism is not the reason well-informed people come to the extra-terrestrial hypothesis conclusion. It is because there seems to be no reasonable alternatives. Again Ruppelt mentioned his visit to Los Alamos in early 1952 and being told over and over by the scientists and technicians there who had seen the green fireballs that they thought them ET probes being launched from an orbiting platform. Not "fanaticism", but well-educated, logical reasoning at work. There was no sensible alternative explanation.

Ruppelt also wrote (Chapt. 15, "The Radiation Story) about some Los Alamos atomic scientists putting up a UFO radiation detection station (1949-51) that on multiple occasions recorded spikes in radiation readings whenever UFOs were spotted nearby (one on radar). (Similar radiation spikes were recorded near Oak Ridge on their radiation Net with UFOs spotted visually, on radar, and with jet scrambles ordered.) Probably this additional physical evidence had some influence on what some of those same atomic scientists told Ruppelt when he visited Los Alamos and asked their opinion on the green fireballs sighted there.

Rusty Lingenfelter said...

@KRandle, that is kind of my point. We have a collection of anonymous and reflexive skepto-bunkers who will argue any point, no matter how small and insignificant using the flimsiest of speculation. At the other pole there are the believers who miss no opportunity to to heap speculation upon speculation with copious references to their own moribund websites in an effort to bludgeon others into sharing their beliefs. Let me unapologetically speak for everyone when I say that no quantity of speculation equals a compelling argument, on either side. If you posted a story about the price of tea in China, I am confident we would wind up with a schoolyard slap fight about mogul balloons. What a disappointing state of affairs.

Jeanne Ruppert said...

David Rudiak wrote to BB:

"But the fact is, it WASN'T the Russians, it wasn't a new natural phenomenon that didn't exist before, and yet there they were, green fireballs, absolutely REAL everyone agreed, but with no conceivable PROSAIC explanation.

Some sort of naive gullibility or fanaticism is not the reason well-informed people come to the extra-terrestrial hypothesis conclusion. It is because there seems to be no reasonable alternatives. Again Ruppelt mentioned his visit to Los Alamos in early 1952 and being told over and over by the scientists and technicians there who had seen the green fireballs that they thought them ET probes being launched from an orbiting platform. Not "fanaticism", but well-educated, logical reasoning at work. There was no sensible alternative explanation."

Exactly. "No reasonable alternatives" and an eminently reasonable motivation for neighboring intelligent species to take an interest in the atomic and nuclear research, atomic and nuclear fuel production plants, bombing of two Japanese cities, and ongoing tests of increasingly destructive bombs in the New Mexico desert and elsewhere. Whoever they are, wherever they came from, they were and are monitoring our path to mutually assured destruction of this planet, whether on a fast or a slow track, and making broad demonstrations of their disapproval (I would say issuing a uniform 'warning'), from the first sightings over Hanford and Los Alamos through scores of intrusions over nuclear weapons bases here and elsewhere up to the present time. What more coherent [and thus satisfactory] explanation could you ask for concerning the modern ufo phenomenon on this planet, BB?

Paul Young said...

"moribund"... A rather harsh assessment of that particular website, me thinks, but anyway...

It would seem the experts of the day were, more or less, convinced the green fireballs were not naturally occurring. Meteors with a penchants for flying over New Mexico must have been, quite understandably, too much for them to swallow.
As mentioned by others here, Russia was on "the bones of its arse" in the years immediately after WW2. Even if the technology was there, you have to wonder what the Soviet's motivation could possibly be?
Flying ballistics over another nation is considered an act of war.
Why would the Russians antagonise the only nation on earth that had atomic weapons? (And with a recent track record of proving they could deploy them...and use them...when antagonised)
As for the explanation coming in the form of USA domestic testing...why then send your own people (scientists, The military, CIA and FBI) on a wild goose chase in order to discover what these things are?
(I suppose that old chestnut of a default argument "Because it was a PSYOP...stooopid!", can always be wheeled out.)

cda said...

Jeanne:

How do you manage to read the minds of the supposed alien visitors? You write that they "they were and are monitoring our path to mutual assured destruction of this planet.... and making broad demonstrations of their disapproval".

I simply do not see how you can be so sure they disapprove of our actions here on earth. For all you know they actually APPROVE of them since, once we as a species are eliminated, they (our visitors) can take over our planet and do whatever they like with it.

You are ascribing high morals and environmentally friendly motives to these visitors, because, presumably you disapprove of our own. After all, we keep annihilating ourselves in war after war, and we are now polluting and poisoning the planet. At least that is what some people keep telling us.

But of course, no other race of beings, especially those capable of travelling interplanetary, or interstellar, space to visit us, would ever dream of such behavior, would they? They would never be hostile, would they? (Ha!) Look back at ufology for the last 75 years and judge for yourself. Maybe the green fireballs were deadly weapons, but so inaccurate that none managed to hit their intended targets.

Please, stop trying to discern the minds and motives of our visitors!

Brian Bell said...

@ David

"...absolutely REAL everyone agreed, but with no conceivable PROSAIC explanation."

There are earth lights and other terrestrial phenomenon that remain inexplicable, but just because we don't have an answer doesn't mean we must assume they are caused by alien visitors.

- The Marfa Lights and similar lights seen in Norway.

- The deep ocean "bloop".

Because we can't explain them are we to assume then that these phenomenon are the result of aliens?

There are other prosaic explanations also - one being an atmospheric condition caused by the nuclear testing done in New Mexico.

Meteors burning through the atmosphere and interacting with the radioactive particles caused the green glow (or it has been surmised). Meteors usually burn up in the atmosphere leaving no debris.

Brian Bell said...

@ Paul

"Even if the technology was there, you have to wonder what the Soviet's motivation could possibly be? Flying ballistics over another nation is considered an act of war."

Motivation? Come on Paul, let's not pretend the Soviet regime at the time had no motivations.

Global, political, and military supremacy was their motivation as much as it was for the US. If you don't remember it was called the "Cold War".

And flying anything over another nation could be an act of war, but it happens all the time.

U2 and Oxcart flights over other nations didn't cause a war...but could have if the nations involved decided so.

Neither did the incidents where Yugoslavian (Soviet) aircraft shot down US military aircraft in the post war years. But it could have...

http://idnc.library.illinois.edu/cgi-bin/illinois?a=d&d=DIL19470115.2.3

Bob Koford said...

One of the great mysteries surrounding the phenomena collectively known as UFO is how they were handled over the complete history of investigation:

1 Something is going on, we will investigate
1b Never mind, there is nothing going on

2 Something is going on, after all, and yes we ARE investigating
2b Never mind, go back to sleep

3 Something is going on and we are looking into it
3b never mind, they pose no threat

This is how it appears to me, stretched out over the ensuing years the UFO program was under way. The "they pose no threat" phrase was repeated several times, in 1958, when the AFOIN tried to get ARDC to take over the program.

Bob Koford said...

Kevin:
Ps/ this is related to the fact that this is how you phrased it at the end of your article. It caught my attention.

Jeanne Ruppert said...

cda wrote:

"I simply do not see how you can be so sure they disapprove of our actions here on earth. For all you know they actually APPROVE of them since, once we as a species are eliminated, they (our visitors) can take over our planet and do whatever they like with it."

Then why haven't they triggered the nuclear war that you curiously suggest would make our planet more useful/usable for them? That theory makes no sense, cda. They've repeatedly demonstrated that they can remotely start the launch sequences for the firing of nuclear missiles here and in Russia and have then shut them down. Otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation.


Suggest you read Robert Hastings, UFOs and Nukes.


KRandle said...

All -

This discussion of alien motivations are speculation heaped on speculation and centered on human thought... we don't actually KNOW anything about how aliens think, what would motivate them, or how they would respond, this line of discussion seems pointless.

Paul Young said...

Brian wrote..."Motivation? Come on Paul, let's not pretend the Soviet regime at the time had no motivations."

I'm talking specifically about the Soviet motivation to fire green fireballs at New Mexico.
What's the point in firing a ballistic object that seemingly couldn't have any reconnaissance equipment onboard (you suggest they burn up to nothing)...and seemingly didn't carry a warhead (nothing exploded)...or NCB stuff (no record of any increased illness in the area.)
So, once again, what could possibly be the point?

Brian wrote..."U2 and Oxcart flights over other nations didn't cause a war...but could have if the nations involved decided so.

U2 and Oxcart were a complete different kettle of fish. The whole point of them was to gather intelligence covertly...where as these green fireballs managed to get themselves noticed by practically every man and his dog!

The other thing you'd have to consider is what kind of platform did the Soviets use in which to fire/launch these things from? ...and where were these platforms positioned? Even the most extreme range capabilities of the day suggest it would have to be fired from US or Mexican mainland itself...unless the antique Soviet Navy managed to evade your Pacific fleet and sneak up the Gulf of California and stay undetected for a year or so. Same as the Russian Air force...they might have got lucky on a couple of sorties...but this was something happening over a concentrated area over a period of time!
Personally, I believe a Soviet explanation for this business to be a complete non-starter.

Jeanne Ruppert said...

KRandle said...

"All -

This discussion of alien motivations are speculation heaped on speculation and centered on human thought... we don't actually KNOW anything about how aliens think, what would motivate them, or how they would respond, this line of discussion seems pointless."

I'll avoid such speculation here if you prefer, but I don't see it as pointless or indeed as irrational to attempt to assess the motivations of these 'visitors' based on their typical behaviors. As cda said, we can't 'know' the minds of these beings, but as it is many people speculate on their motivations and assume the worst, based on our own history. I do think it's possible to read their intentions concerning our stockpiling of nuclear weapons that, as we all realize, could destroy life on this planet. Moreover, when approached by our military craft over the last 70 years, their responses have been almost uniformly passive -- to disable our jets' firing mechanisms and temporarily disable our pilots' communications and control over their planes until they turn away. Or else they just accelerate out of the vicinity.

It's also occurred to me that if they intended to take over this planet they would have done so at some point before we disrupted its ecosystem and poisoned the water and much of the land. Is it such a leap to suppose that their intentions might have been to influence us toward preservation of the planet and its wondrous variety of life forms, that in fact they see us, or at least did earlier on, as possibly teachable?

To return briefly to the topic of the green fireballs, it's obvious that they weren't weapons directed at Los Alamos but another demonstration to the scientists there of the limits of their understanding of nature, thus a warning to rethink the more powerful nuclear weapons they were in the process of developing?

Maybe it's all quite simple after all -- they've seen more, overcome more, and know much more than we do and despise an ignorant waste of life.

cda said...

Jeanne:

Kevin probably won't like me for suggesting this, but here's a thought: When the Roswell disc crashed to earth the ETs lost several of their fellow people, plus the craft itself of course. Thus the bright green fireballs were sent to light up the area so the ETs could better search for, and locate, their missing brethren.

Which constitutes my final word on this topic.

David Rudiak said...

Brian Bell wrote:
There are other prosaic explanations also - one being an atmospheric condition caused by the nuclear testing done in New Mexico. Meteors burning through the atmosphere and interacting with the radioactive particles caused the green glow (or it has been surmised). Meteors usually burn up in the atmosphere leaving no debris.

Brian, while I take your point (I surprised you didn't throw in something like sprites or ball lightning into the list of natural atmospheric phenomena), in the end you resort to magical thinking, this time with totally unscientific theories. (Usually it is the U.S. military or Russians with magical technology that simply did not exist.)

N.M. had only one A-bomb test in July 1945 (Trinity). Quite impossible for anything to be lingering uniquely in the N.M. atmosphere from this test after more than 3 years. No magical lingering "radioactive cloud" for natural meteors to go streaking through to glow green ("as has been surmised" by whom exactly?).

No reason if you even assumed such a cloud that it would glow extremely bright green. Still doesn't explain other typical characteristics of the green fireballs, such as very low altitudes and speeds highly atypical for meteors all with the absence of sound, lack of a meteor radiant, the high concentration of such fireballs, the predilection for high sensitivity areas like Los Alamo, and the sudden appearance in late 1948. If N.M. atomic testing somehow created the green fireballs from natural meteors, why did the meteors "wait" 3-1/2 years before making their appearance?

Very large, brilliant fireballs (the green fireballs were said to light up the ground like daylight) almost always leave some sort of meteoritic trace of themselves if you know where to look (La Paz's specialty). But nothing was ever found, despite a high expenditure of manpower by the military assisting La Paz.

Thus NATURAL causes for the green fireballs seem highly remote. However, there might be an atomic energy/testing connection after all for the green fireballs, but an artificial one. A researcher named Daniel Wilson began noting a correlation between UFO and later green fireball sightings and fallout from recent A-bomb tests (these being the Nevada A-bomb tests that started in 1951). The sightings tended to concentrate in the region of the fallout from the tests extending for several states downwind.

Under this theory, the green fireballs might be probes designed to detect and measure radioactive contamination from these tests, also nuclear processing plants such as Hanford, WA which released large quantities of radioactive wastes into the water and air. Maybe it's not a coincidence that when the saucer wave hit in the summer of 1947, the highest concentration of sightings was in the most contaminated areas from Trinity test and Hanford, including Washington, Idaho, New Mexico, and Texas. The Foster Ranch was in the direct path of the worst fallout from the Trinity test, which heavily contaminated nearby Carrizozo only about 25 miles away. The Jan 1949 green fireball was in the Texas panhandle, also heavily hit by fallout from the test (This is GROUND contamination from fallout; atmospheric contamination would have long since dispersed, thus no radiation cloud for those magical meteors to pass through and glow green as "has been surmised".)

At least this is a theory that can potentially be tested to see if there really is a significant correlation between UFO sightings and nuclear contamination. There is little doubt that UFOs are associated with intrusions at nuclear facilities, whether Hanford, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, minute man missile silos, or Rendlesham. The lesser known Pantex nuclear facility near Amarillo had a UFO incursion there Nov. 7, 1957, as documented in the local newspaper, Amarillo Globe-Times the next day.

Wind Swords said...

An interesting topic. A few comments/observations after reading what has been posted so far.

DR said:

"I still think the most significant aspect about this particular incident (Jan. 30, 1949 green fireball) and other similar green and other fireball incidents is that military intelligence employed meteor tracker Lincoln LaPaz to try to find where the fireball came down. Since when is the military interested in "meteors"?"

BB replied:

"When they suspect Soviet intrusion over our airspace."

To expand on that, if the military did not investigate these sightings, especially if they occurred over or near sensitive installations then one would have to assume they were "drooling idiots", to repeat a popular phrase on this site. This does not = aliens however. It equals due diligence on the part of the military.

DR further said:

"Have you also asked yourself how all these intelligence agencies could gotten it so terribly wrong?"

There is no right or wrong here, it was just an investigation to make sure it was not an intrusion by a foreign power.

"If they were an unknown natural phenomenon, why was there no prior history of such a phenomenon?"

So if a new scientific discovery is made, we are to say "hey, there was no prior history of such a phenomenon, so it can't be"? Do you see where this logic leads? What exactly does "unknown" mean? I know you want to push the idea that the fireballs were alien, and maybe they were, but this is not the way to do it.

I would like to add that the Soviets very effectively used rockets in WWII as offensive weapons. They did not develop a long range ballistic missile like the Germans but they scooped up a lot of their scientists and they learned very quickly. So was it the Russians? Doubtful but not outside the realm of possibility, and certainly a legitimate concern for the military back then.

Rusty wrote:

"Let me unapologetically speak for everyone when I say that no quantity of speculation equals a compelling argument, on either side."

^^^ This! True wisdom.

Jeanne wrote:

"... and ongoing tests of increasingly destructive bombs in the New Mexico desert and elsewhere."

I have seen others state this as well and I just want to point out for historical accuracy that the only atomic explosion in New Mexico was the very first one, the Trinity test. After that all tests were conducted in the Pacific or the Nevada desert. Which brings up an interesting point: if the aliens were interested in our nuclear weapons tech, did they appear over the Nevada test range? I'm sure there were sightings in Nevada, but were they of the intensity of New Mexico and over similar sensitive nuke sights?

Paul Young said:

"What's the point in firing a ballistic object that seemingly couldn't have any reconnaissance equipment onboard (you suggest they burn up to nothing)...and seemingly didn't carry a warhead (nothing exploded)...or NCB stuff (no record of any increased illness in the area.)
So, once again, what could possibly be the point?"

As BB stated, it could be to extend the communications range of Soviet operatives to transmit their intelligence. So there is a reason. Is it a crazy theory? I think so, but no more crazy than the fireballs were alien.

Jeanne Ruppert said...

Wind Swords, re sightings over the Nevada atomic and nuclear test sites, see the following, one of two articles on the subject by Robert Hastings:

http://www.mufon.com/ufos-and-nukes/ufo-activity-at-the-nevada-proving-ground-during-atomic-testing-in-the-1950s



Brian Bell said...

@ Jeanne

To make a convincing argument that aliens were (are) flying over nuclear test sights as a warning or for observation while naming only US domestic locations won't cut it.

Can you document that multiple UFOs buzzed other nation's testing locations as well? India, Pacific Islands, China, North Korea, Pakistan, several locations in Russia?

Or is it that you would have us believe aliens were (are) only interested in US test ranges?

If they were interested, they would have monitored all of them - not just ours.

Brian Bell said...

@ David

It was Hastings' theory:

"A recent theory of the green fireballs was introduced in Robert Hastings' 2008 book UFOs and Nukes. Although it had been a concern from the beginning to military intelligence that the sightings seemed concentrated near sensitive nuclear facilities such as Los Alamos and Kirtland AFB, researcher Dan Wilson discovered that later heavy concentrations of sightings might also be correlated with atomic tests that began in Nevada in January 1951. In particular, green fireball sightings, and other reported UFO sightings, seemed to follow the drift of the fallout clouds as winds carried them into other states.

Hastings cites a number of examples from Wilson's research. Perhaps the most graphic example occurred during the "Buster series" of atomic tests on November 1 and 5, 1951, which were accompanied by so many reported green fireball sightings in states affected by fallout, that even the New York Times carried a story on November 9, "Southwest's 7 Fireballs in 11 Days Called 'Without Parallel in History'." Dr. LaPaz was widely quoted saying, "There has never been a rate of meteorite fall in history that has been one-fifth as high as the present fall. If that rate should continue, I would suspect the phenonenom is not natural... [they] don't behave like ordinary meteorites at all."

Initially the green fireballs were reported in Arizona and New Mexico as the fallout clouds left Nevada, but as the clouds spread out and drifted further east, south, and north, green fireball sightings then followed in Texas, northern Mexico, Iowa, Kansas, Indiana, Michigan, and New York. Portions of the fallout also drifted west into the Los Angeles area on November 7, followed the next day by a green fireball sighting there.

David Rudiak said...

Brian Bell wrongly wrote:

It was Hastings' theory:

"A recent theory of the green fireballs was introduced in Robert Hastings' 2008 book UFOs and Nukes. Although it had been a concern from the beginning to military intelligence that the sightings seemed concentrated near sensitive nuclear facilities such as Los Alamos and Kirtland AFB, researcher Dan Wilson discovered that later heavy concentrations of sightings might also be correlated with atomic tests that began in Nevada in January 1951. In particular, green fireball sightings, and other reported UFO sightings, seemed to follow the drift of the fallout clouds as winds carried them into other states."


No Brian, it's NOT Hasting's theory. It was Dan Wilson's research and theory that Hasting wrote up in his book "UFOs and Nukes". That should have been obvious if you had read more carefully.

David Rudiak said...

Brian Bell curiously wrote:
Can you document that multiple UFOs buzzed other nation's testing locations as well? India, Pacific Islands, China, North Korea, Pakistan, several locations in Russia? Or is it that you would have us believe aliens were (are) only interiested in US test ranges? If they were interested, they would have monitored all of them - not just ours.

Brian, can you document where India, Pakistan, China, and North Korea were testing A-bombs in he late 1940s and early 1950s when the green fireballs were commonly reported? That's right, they weren't. So why bring it up? (Most if not all of these countries would not be sharing such information with the U.S. in any case even if they did have incidents while later testing nukes.)

Only Russia was a nuclear power in that time period. But we largely don't know what was going on inside Russian borders. You know, the Cold War thing, kinda hard to collect UFO information.

As for UFO incursions at nuclear sites in Russia, one incident came to light in 1991 with the collapse of the U.S.S.R. when some Russian military personnel revealed a giant saucer-shaped UFO hovered over a nuclear missile site near the Ukrainian town of Byelokoroviche in 1982. During the encounter, a number of missiles were activated without human intervention and were in launch mode. They had to be manually shut down. This was very similar to incursions at U.S. missile sites where missiles were taken off-line without human intervention.

The only valid point you've made is whether green fireballs were associated with U.S. atomic testing in the Marshal Islands from 1946 on. Not that I'm aware of, but then Dan Wilson never said that the fireballs were ALWAYS associated with nuke tests, only some of them. The Marshalls, BTW, are one of the most sparsely populated places on earth, only about 70 square miles of land total in an area of 1.5 million square miles, population only about 25,000 back then scattered over all that area. The U.S. military monitored the tests, so maybe they observed something, or maybe not. I don't know. (I think there was something in Hasting's book about a UFO sighting in the Marshalls during testing, but I don't have the book handy at the moment, so I could be wrong about this.)

Paul Young said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Young said...

I wrote...

"What's the point in firing a ballistic object that seemingly couldn't have any reconnaissance equipment onboard (you suggest they burn up to nothing)...and seemingly didn't carry a warhead (nothing exploded)...or NCB stuff (no record of any increased illness in the area.)
So, once again, what could possibly be the point?"

Windswords answered with..."As BB stated, it could be to extend the communications range of Soviet operatives to transmit their intelligence. So there is a reason. Is it a crazy theory? I think so, but no more crazy than the fireballs were alien."


If you're suggesting the Russians could have been using these green fireballs as low flying communications satellites, then YES it really is a crazier theory than the ET one!
I don't know how a Soviet spy could transmit a message from New Mexico to Mother Russia by bouncing a signal off a sub-orbital flying object.
The whole point of blasting comms satellites into orbit was (and still is) the required height aspect in which to mirror the signal down to another point at great distance!

Brian Bell said...

@ Paul

"I don't know how a Soviet spy could transmit a message from New Mexico to Mother Russia by bouncing a signal off a sub-orbital flying object."

You've missed the point entirely. Not satellites and not bouncing RF signals off of them. What I said was barium burns bright green and has been shown to leave atmospheric residue that enhances RF signal range and can boost it great distances.

No one suggested suborbital satellites - most of the sightings where at much lower altitude than that!

A spy in NM could go out in the desert, fire a small rocket, leave barium trace elements, and then transmit from the SW US to someplace outside of the US.

It's a way of covertly boosting signal range from deep inside a nation.

Look, it's just a theory based on known barium properties and current military application.

If you want to believe aliens fly discs, triangles, Horten wings, heel shaped ships, orbs, balls, and flaming green destructible bombs go ahead.

I guess these super intelligent aliens believe kamikaze missions make for good surveillance technique when it comes to atomic power - and that for them would clearly be nothing but ancient history.

"Hey Xorg, your mission is to fly the flaming green bomb over the humans atomic site until it explodes just to show them we're watching...at-a-boy...you're mom will be proud of your sacrifice!"

Bob Koford said...

@Paul said (in part): "The whole point of blasting comms satellites into orbit was (and still is) the required height aspect in which to mirror the signal down to another point at great distance!"

Just an interesting note:

We experimented with this, in the SAMOS sub-system period but ran into many problems. This was about 1957-1959. This is why we went with ejecting canisters/pods to be retrieved. A special unit trained to grab them pout of the air, the Navy trained to get them if they landed in water, and I believe special units like MoonDust units could have been used to grab them if they came down on land.

Transmitting real, or near real-time was not an option for some time.

Brian Bell said...

@ David and Jeanne

Sure, you can say those other nations weren't testing at the time, but they did test later simultaneously with supposed nuclear intrusion episodes by flying saucers in the US and Russia.

So why is it that these aliens no longer have interest in nuclear proliferation? Because the Cold War ended?

If anything they should show more interest given global terrorism and the fear of nuclear acts of terror. It's actually more dangerous now than then.

So what happened? Abductions sounded more interesting to them? Got tired of buzzing atomic sites? A little too bored?

Jeanne Ruppert said...

Brian Bell said...

@ David and Jeanne

"So why is it that these aliens no longer have interest in nuclear proliferation? Because the Cold War ended? If anything they should show more interest given global terrorism and the fear of nuclear acts of terror. It's actually more dangerous now than then."

No, actually it's not, Brian. Even if terrorist groups succeeded in obtaining the necessary materials and expertise to produce and use small nukes, their use would not produce a massive exchange of big nukes and the spectre of mutually assured destruction feared during the Cold War between the US and USSR/Russia.


"So what happened? Abductions sounded more interesting to them? Got tired of buzzing atomic sites? A little too bored?"

Sarcasm is not argument. Besides, ufo events and shutdowns at SAC bases have continued in the decades since the Cold War ended, and ufos continue to be observed over nuclear energy plants, as recently as last year in France and Belgium.

If you want to talk about abductions you'll have to find someone else to argue with; that's not a subject on which I carry any brief at all.

Wind Swords said...

Jeanne,

Thank you for the link, I enjoyed reading the article. It seems that from the limited testimony of those who were at the nuke tests that there were no green fireballs before, during or right after the tests. But there were other types of UFO's seen. By UFO I mean unidentified not alien. But it does mention the presence of these fireballs in correlation with drifting radioactive fallout. Since the fallout from the first atomic bomb test in New Mexico was long gone by the time the green fireballs first made their appearance, and the first test detonations in Nevada did not occur until January 1951, this would not work as an explanation wave of sightings in 1948-49. However there was an increase in sightings of green fireballs in 1951 in early November. Wikipedia says it was "a huge flurry of green fireball sightings occurred in the Southwest and other states...". In late October the Buster-Jangle series of atomic explosians took place at the Nevada Test Site. There were 4 detonations between Oct 22 and Nov 1, 3 more on Nov 5, 19, and 29. So maybe there was a connection.

Paul Young:

"I don't know how a Soviet spy could transmit a message from New Mexico to Mother Russia by bouncing a signal off a sub-orbital flying object."

Doesn't have to be all the way to Russia. Just enough boost to reach that Russian "fishing" trawler just of the coast of Mexico. Or perhaps to the Russians already inside the United States. Those would be the diplomats in San Francisco. Before the UN building was built in New York it was headquartered in San Francisco. If Soviet diplomats had secret intelligence information they could transmit it home in code or put it in a diplomatic pouch and send it physically.
The point is that if you are going to speculate on something that is a mystery you have to separate out the impossible from the possible and then the improbable from the probable. Alien green fireballs is possible. So is the communication theory. Neither is probable in my mind. To me the most probable is a natural phenomena like meteors. You may think differently. In the end we have to admit that we just don't know and enjoy a beer together at the local pub!

Wind Swords said...

By the way according to Wikipedia in January 1953 Dr. LaPaz was quoted in newspaper articles saying the green fireballs were artificial devices and might be a Soviet missile scouting the U.S. and other parts of the world. So the idea that it might be something Russian was one of the possibilities considered by LaPaz, not just the extra-terrestrial.

Bob Koford said...

Another side note:

The mist effect for communications mentioned by another seems similar to that particular aspect of MIDAS- Missile Interception Detection And Surveillance.

Copper "dust" (minute di-poles) antenna were released at a certain altitudes (22k ?) to assist in targeting and Military Communications.

That wasn't until the nineteen-sixty time-period.

Paul Young said...

Brian and Windswords... I'm well aware of what you meant concerning the theory behind the atmospheric residue being used.
The point is that to be used in this way...Brian's words "It's a way of covertly boosting signal range from deep inside a nation.... Then this can only knock-out the Soviet connection. (mainly due to the assumption that Soviet intelligence, or that of any other nation, wouldn't even contemplate using such a high profile/in your face/noticeable to everyone...communications system.)

The only prosaic argument left (that I can imagine) is covert US testing of an earlier idea as that outlined by Bob Koford.

Either way, you have to wonder why they would then let the various military and intelligence agencies expend so much time and effort on a wild goose chase, investigating a home-grown product...and almost 70 years later, still keeping quiet on something that is now so obsolete.

Brian Bell said...

@ Paul

"Either way, you have to wonder why they would then let the various military and intelligence agencies expend so much time and effort on a wild goose chase, investigating a home-grown product...and almost 70 years later, still keeping quiet on something that is now so obsolete."

As said before, if it's compartmentalized there is no need to tell everyone in the military about it, even Blue Book investigators in the same service branch. Not every officer or command in the military is obligated or required to inform each other of their covert operations or their secret weapons development. Besides, the military would be working with contractors developing the material anyway.

Possibly still classified if it's currently being used or was found to have potential advantages as already described by some weapons development examples. As we said before, there remains classified information going back to WW2 to this very day.

And there are advantages to letting something remain unexplained or letting people think they are the product of space aliens.

David Rudiak said...

Brian Bell magically wrote:
No one suggested suborbital satellites - most of the sightings where at much lower altitude than that! A spy in NM could go out in the desert, fire a small rocket,

A "small rocket" doing at least 15,000 (LOW-end green fireball speed), usually more like 25,000 mph in 1949? It was 10 more years before Russian and U.S. rockets achieved such speeds, and not in the lower atmosphere like the green fireballs where a real rocket would explode from the pressure of trying to push through the atmosphere, but in the vacuum of near space.

More complete nonsense; more magical BB thinking; more time travel theories. Takes a BIG rocket, even today, to achieve such speeds from a BIG launch facility like Vandenberg or Cape Kennedy, not some toy spy rocket out in the middle of the desert.

It's a way of covertly boosting signal range from deep inside a nation.


Hardly "covert" launching a LARGE rocket that didn't even exist back then. What did Russian spies have anyway? Their own White Sands missile range with magical orbital-capable rockets housed in James Bond-like Smersh underground facilities near Los Alamos so they could release high speed barium clouds over the facility to magically create green fireballs and "covertly" boost Russian spy radio signals. Seems pretty damn impractical way of communicating "covertly" back to mother Russia, even if it could have been done in some magical universe.

The real way to be "covert" is to use something like mail, phone calls, microfilm at drop sites, mobile short-wave radio, whatever, not giant "secret" Russian spy rockets.

Look, it's just a theory based on known barium properties and current military application.

It's just another totally PREPOSTEROUS theory out of the endless BB supply of magical, mystical, time-traveking UFO debunking theories, using nonexistent technology, and made up BB "science". Barium experiments using rockets didn't take place until the 1960s, they were NOT low-altitude (like the green fireballs) but in near space, at least 60 miles up, the barium ion clouds released did not travel ~25,000 mph horizontally (like green fireballs)--they just sat there and expanded, and the barium clouds did not boost radio signals but blocked and dispersed them.

If you were a spy and wanted to transmit secret radio signals long distances, good old short-wave radio bouncing radio waves off the ionosphere would have done the trick, no need for magical rockets and barium clouds.

Don said...

David: "2. Made no sound (large meteor fireballs roar like a freight train when they get low)"

"4. Never left any physical trace..."

How can that be -- some assumptions about mass, size, speed, distance have to be wrong. Leave no trace? Nothing disappears without a trace.

I don't know anything about green fireballs after the mid-50s. Are there later reports?

Best Regards,

Don

Brian Bell said...

@ David

Perhaps as Don has suggested, you're making assumptions of your own regarding "giant rockets" that flew "25,000 mph" and "60 miles up".

Witness sightings at night are notorious for observational distortions and if something was that high up it probably WAS a meteor incorrectly identified as a "flaming green UFO".

Many of these reports stated the object came up, went horizontal and then disappeared or came down rather quickly. Giant rockeys requiring large launching pads are not needed to recreate this - go to your local hobby store and examine Estes Rockets - they don't require what you presume in your statement.

Soviets were already playing with rocket launchers during WW2 and deploying them. Simple self destructive mortar rounds could do the same thing without elaborate hardware.

zoamchomsky said...

Experts can be wrong. They can also be victims of social delusions like anyone else. They can misperceive or fail to identify otherwise mundane things in the sky and honestly create a "UFO" narrative about it. Prof La Paz was such a person.

Many other experts at the time thought the "Green Fireballs" were completely natural. They were right. Green fireballs are caused by common iron-nickel meteors burning up in the atmosphere. It's the nickel that produces the green color.

The "Green Fireball" "UFO" related flap was the product of post-war jitters just as much as the larger "flying saucer" mania. And it had all of the same elements of human psychology and followed a similar course. Like all "UFO" reports and flaps, some single report in the media initiated this “flying saucer” mania, “red scare” expression of latent paranoia flap, a sudden flurry of interest in some mundane thing—now perceived as a danger--that was present all along. But the threat is nonexistent, unreal, and the flap runs its course and resolves itself into inconsequentiality.

Most important in understanding this flap is the fallacy of selective observation. There had always been green fireballs, there were green fireballs reported in many states west of the Mississippi even during the flap--it was never confined to New Mexico. And green fireballs are still very much a common occurrence the world over.

zoamchomsky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Don said...

Brian: "Witness sightings at night are notorious for observational distortions and if something was that high up it probably WAS a meteor incorrectly identified as a "flaming green UFO"."

I don't know what witnesses you refer to. LaPaz and the various military and civilians were not taking "UFO" reports, but attempting to find traces, Simply put, the witnesses would stand at the spot and point and maybe trace an arc. Given enough witnesses from various locales, a location could be determined.

LaPaz would have agreed with you the green fireballs (and the saucers, as well) were foreign or domestic. However, USAF disagreed with him, and went so far as to issue a press release against his opinion in 1952.

Regards,

Don

Wind Swords said...

Don asked:

"I don't know anything about green fireballs after the mid-50s. Are there later reports?"

If you search on Youtube for "green fireballs" you will see a half dozen videos taken of a meteor in Thailand and one in California plus a video of Dr Stephen Hughes, a senior lecturer at QUT's Science and Engineering Faculty on what causes the green coloration. The ones from Thailand were posted about 3 weeks ago.


Zoamchomsky said:

"And green fireballs are still very much a common occurrence the world over."

This would appear to be the case.

Don said...

Wind Swords, Zoam,

By green fireballs I meant similar to those reported to LaPaz, which characteristics David outlined above. The Thailand fireball is green, but I don't think any of the other characteristics were there. The Wikipedia article on it refers to sounds, for example.

Regards,

Don

Wind Swords said...

Don,

I believe that meteorites can have many different characteristics when it comes to sound, color, brightness, angle, etc. It was mentioned that "normal" meteorites are not green, but as we've seen that is not the case. Some, but not all of course, are. That was my point. Some also disintegrate in the atmosphere leaving no traces. I have watched meteor showers myself and there was no sound. I don't know how close a meteorite has to be to the ground before you can hear it, and I don't think that even a scientist just looking up at one in the night sky can tell exactly how high it is, and therefore can not say with certainty whether it should be heard or not. The bottom line is that there is nothing in the behavior of the objects that LaPaz saw that rules out a natural occurrence.

To borrow a phrase attributed to Giorgio Tsoukalos:
I'm not saying it was meteorites... but it was meteorites.

David Rudiak said...

The green fireballs were about more than the color green. There was a long list of anomalous characteristics associated with them. Trust Noam to focus on only one and ignore all the others. (how typically "scientific" of him)

La Paz did not guess the trajectories, speeds, or altitudes of the green fireballs. He CALCULATED them. He did not rely on one witness' guess. He (and or aides) would typically interview dozens of eyewitnesses, usually go to where they had their sighting, and had them recreate what they observed (point where they first saw it, where it disappeared, and how high it was--i.e., elevation angle(s), not absolute altitude).

By triangulation from MANY such reports (not one), La Paz could very accurately determine the trajectory, absolute altitude, and speed (within error limits). From that, he usually had great success in retrieving meteorite fragments near the calculated point of impact. E.g., here's an article of his demonstrating his triangulation technique in the case of the large Feb. 18, 1948 bolide over Kansas (which briefly attracted the interest of military intelligence who conducted a search for it before La Paz informed them it was an ordinary meteor fireball, not something artificial):

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1949PASP...61...63L

In the case of the Jan. 30, 1949 green fireball, literally hundreds of eyewitnesses were interviewed with the assistance of the CIC, AFOSI, and FBI. This led to the trajectory about 100 miles from Roswell, where many eyewitnesses were. Maybe one of Brian Bell's Estes rockets fired by a Soviet spy was responsible.

But the green fireballs in MANY characteristics did NOT match those of a regular meteor fireball. They were typically too slow, too low, left no trail, made no sound, and never seemed to leave physical evidence on the ground, despite using the exact same triangulation techniques that had proven so successful in other meteorite hunts.

Wind Swords: Direct meteor sounds from LARGE fireballs can be heard if the meteors are below about 30 miles. Probably all the anomalous green fireballs were triangulated well below this altitude. E.g., La Paz's own sighting of Dec. 12, 1948 coupled with more observations from observers at Los Alamos indicated that the fireball was only at an altitude of about 10 miles (flying a flat horizontal trajectory) at about 10 miles/sec. Observers should have heard a very loud roar on the ground and an explosion at the end. But nothing was heard.

Another green fireball Dec. 20 seen at Los Alamos was even more bizarre. Again the fireball was only about 10 miles up initially, descended at a 45 degree angle to only about 12,000 ft, leveled off, then flew horizontally for about 7.5 miles at a speed of about 3.75 - 7.5 miles per second (13,000 to 27,000 mph). So very anomalous slow speed, ridiculously low altitude, CHANGE OF DIRECTION, all with the complete absence of sound (and no physical fragments ever found).

Brian Bell: Can we agree if one speculates that the speculation rises to some minimal level of PLAUSIBILITY? Do you seriously think that a toy rocket, like those made by Estes, could achieve such speeds, altitudes, and be seen by hundreds if not thousands of people for distances exceeding 100 miles. Let's get real here.

Don: The only time physical evidence might have been found was the Jan. 24, 1949 green fireball seen near Socorro, N.M. La Paz contacted a colleague of his at the NM School of Mines in Socorro, Dr. William Crozier, who was using filtered air samplings to try to collect meteor dust drifting down from the upper atmosphere. Crozier on two successive days found large amounts of unusual microscopic copper spherules, though copper is one of the rarest elements in natural meteors. Burning copper would account for the bright, saturated lime-green color of these fireballs, but what was it doing in large numbers of "meteors" in such a short period of time? And it still didn't account for the other anomalous properties of the green fireballs.

Wind Swords said...

David,

13,000 to 27,000 mph is hypersonic speed (actually 27,000 mph is well above escape velocity). So unless the fireball was made of "unobtainium", it would have 1.) burned up (vaporized) at the estimated altitude only 12,000 ft (hell, it would vaporize at the beginning altitude of 10 miles) and 2.) would have made a hell of a bang. If it could have survived then at the upper estimated speed it would have left the earth for good. As Scotty says "you canna change the laws of physics".

So that leaves only two choices in my mind. It was not a physical object with mass (so it would not make a sound so fast and so close to the ground) or more likely, human error in judging the height and speed. I know LaPaz was a very distinguished scientist but that doesn't preclude him from making an error as we all do from time to time.

David Rudiak said...

Wind Swords wrote:
So that leaves only two choices in my mind. It was not a physical object with mass (so it would not make a sound so fast and so close to the ground) or more likely, human error in judging the height and speed. I know LaPaz was a very distinguished scientist but that doesn't preclude him from making an error as we all do from time to time.

You are leaving out the very real possibility of an artificial object with an atmospheric control system, as proposed by such engineers/scientists as Hermann Oberth (father of 20th century rocketry), James McCampbell (NASA and nuclear engineer), Leik Myrabo (professor of aeronautical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), and Paul Hill (NACA/NASA engineer), and others.

Hill's book "Unconventional Flying Objects" devotes an entire chapter to how this would work. The basic idea is using a field (microwaves for McCampbell and Myrabo; hypothetical antigravity field for Oberth and Hill) to create the equivalent of a virtual streamline ahead of the craft, changing the shockwave to a laminar airflow around the craft, eliminating the shockwave of a supersonic craft and greatly reducing the heating and air friction. This is how a craft can theoretically be super- or hypersonic in the lower atmosphere without generating a sonic boom and without disintegrating from friction.

(In the case of the green fireballs, if the design included self-destruction, it would simply be a matter of turning off the atmospheric control system. The object would VERY quickly heat up from friction and disintegrate and/or explode.)

(Myrabo's work ongoing, although usually with laser-propelled craft. However his early work on microwave-propelled "saucer" with atmospheric control microwave spike can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/PM-Myrabo-1995-article)

UFOs have also been clocked on radar going at least 9000 mph through our atmosphere. Major mistakes by La Paz in calculating speeds, altitudes, and trajectories are very unlikely when multiple eyewitnesses are involved. With the green fireballs, he usually interviewed witnesses within days. In the Feb. 1948 Kansas bolide, witnesses in often not fully interviewed for weeks (because it was winter and the distances involved). The observations from about 2 dozen witnesses interviewed were very self-consistent (all accurately pointing to the actual trajectory), La Paz calculated the likely impact point, and he and crew had little trouble locating the meteorite field and recovering large quantities of material.

In the case of the Jan. 31, 1949 green fireball, with literally hundreds of eyewitnesses being interviewed, La Paz STILL found the fireball traveling at very low altitude, starting at 12 miles and descending to about 8-10 miles along a 140 mile path. Speed was up to 14 miles per second or 50,000 mph, not unusual for an ordinary meteor, but still MUCH too low to be a meteor.

LaPaz plots the sightings and concludes that the fireball was visible on a path beginning at an altitude of 12 miles above a point southeast of Portales, NM, and ending at eight to ten miles above 32 deg 48/ 102 deg 22 after traversing a nearly horizontal path approximately 143 miles long at a velocity of up to 14 miles per second (about 50,000 mph). The path was STILL closer to the earth through its entire extent than any natural meteor he knew of, EXCEPT the green fireballs of December 12 and 20, 1948, I previously mentioned, starting at about 10 miles altitude.

The chances of major error with hundreds of reports to go on is near zero (basic statistics--random error margin goes down the greater number of samples). The results were also self-consistent with previous green fireballs. The major error would be in the speed based on less accurate witness estimates of duration. The speeds La Paz usually gave a factor of 2 range, thus 13,000 to 27,000 mph for the Dec. 20, 1948 green fireball. The Jan. 31 fireball probably had a range of 25,000 to 50,000 mph estimated speed.

zoamchomsky said...

"human error in judging the height and speed."

Exactly, everything deemed "anomalous" about the "Green Fireballs" was completely subjective, based on perceptions of events lasting only a few seconds. And they were made inside an excited social climate known as the "Cold War" in the high-altitude, transparent atmosphere of the land of enchantment where nuclear weapons were developed and tested, so where such people as La Paz were present to observe.

There were just as many green fireballs falling elsewhere in 1948 or in any other year for eons.

Like "Foo Fighter," "Ghost Rocket" and "Flying Saucer" reports, the "Green Fireball" flap was completely the product of war-jitters and latent paranoia.

Almost unbelievably now but understandable given the situation, La Paz was convinced that the "Green Fireballs" were Soviet missiles! (Launched from a secret base in the Baja like Moore's "missile," I suppose.)

And even if people weren't such poor witnesses to brief events, there are idiosyncratic variables involved in each meteor--composition; size; speed; angle of entry--so that any one of the thousands falling in Earth's atmosphere every day can exhibit just about any behavior reasonably imaginable: They can be slow moving, travel vertically, flicker on and off, drip or cross the sky, change direction, change brightness or color, make sound or not, or have a trail or not.

Contrary to David's claims, the green fireballs of the New Mexico flap were completely mundane meteors in every respect. La Paz was entirely predisposed to his artificiality hypothesis from 1947 and guilty of selective observation thereafter, so he was hardly objective.

Ultimately, the "Green Fireball" flap was utterly without consequence--that most important real-world aspect that some here studiously ignore about the entirety of the "UFO" myth.

"In early 1948 [La Paz] was approached by Project SIGN to act as scientific consultant to the UFO program, but declined due to his teaching duties, suggesting instead his Proximity Fuze project colleague Dr J Allen Hynek of Ohio State University. LaPaz's notes make it clear that he came to believe early on that the strange luminous phenomena being reported in New Mexico from late 1948 were Soviet missile experiments of some type - or at the very least, highly classified domestic secret weapons tests. But surprisingly, his papers reveal that as early as 1947 he was already intent on this theory, even racing to recover the famous Norton County, Kansas meteorite because he suspected that it might be a manmade object coming from the USSR."

http://www.project1947.com/gfb/gfbchron.html

Don said...

So, then when did the green fireball "flap"* end? Has it ended? NB, I am not referring to just plain green fireballs**, but the "flap" type green fireballs.

The question (and answer) ought to interest all sides to this debate.


* 'flap' is used as a 'term of convenience',

** or, 'non-flap green fireballs'.


Regards,

Don

zoamchomsky said...

Don; See wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_fireballs#Green_fireballs_after_Project_Twinkle

The "Green Fireball" flap of 1948-51 was a "flying saucer" adjacent hysteria or mania that was very similar to the European "Ghost Rocket" delusion of 1946.

In both cases meteors were the most likely visual stimuli for reports, in both cases the most popular misinterpretation was Soviet missiles. And in both cases, no evidence of Soviet rockets or anything extraordinary was ever found.

"Dr Donald Menzel, who sighted one in May 1949 near Alamogordo...stated he was never puzzled by his sighting, instantly identifying the object as an ordinary meteor fireball."

Wind Swords said...

David,

Very interesting article. It put me in touch with my geek/engineering side. I notice that the date is Sept 1995. That is 20 years ago. It could be that this propulsion system is still under development. But it is very possible that it was as the article said, "... just a concept that looks good on paper...". It takes us back to the possible vs the probable. It is certainly possible that an ET intelligence could devise a propulsion system that could fly at those terrific speeds and not destroy itself in our atmosphere. But it's much more possible in my mind that it was natural phenomena and mistaken identity has occurred. I hope that something as described in the article is feasible some day for terrestrial use.

David Rudiak said...

"ZoamChomsky" VERY deceptively quoted from Wikipedia:
"Dr Donald Menzel, who sighted one in May 1949 near Alamogordo...stated he was never puzzled by his sighting, instantly identifying the object as an ordinary meteor fireball."

Hilarious! (Disgusting!) ZoamBot is deliberately quoting from Wikipedia totally out of context. Here's the ENTIRE entry (note the DOT DOT DOT part Zoam left out):

"Astronomer sightings of green fireballs
Other astronomers besides LaPaz known to have sighted green fireballs in New Mexico during this period were Clyde Tombaugh, who in 1956 said he had seen three, and Dr. Donald Menzel, who sighted one in May 1949 near Alamogordo. In a letter to the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, Menzel admitted the phenomenon must be real and expressed puzzlement, wondering why the fireballs should be so confined to New Mexico if they were natural phenomena.[12] Menzel eventually became a famous UFO debunker, and in two of his books stated he was never puzzled by his sighting, instantly identifying the object as an ordinary meteor fireball.[13]"

Ref. (12) reads: "Menzel letter, May 16, 1949, cited at an Air Force Scientific Advisory Board meeting on the green fireballs in Washington, D.C., Nov. 3, 1949. The quoted section read, 'Circumstances force me to conclude that the phenomena described are actually real. With regard to Dr. Kaplan's [meteor] explanation, which deserves very serious consideration, I merely raise the question as to why the phenomenon seems to be confined to the Alamogordo region.'"

And Ref (13): "For example, in contrast to his 1949 private statement to the Air Force that he didn't find the meteor explanation totally adequate, Menzel later wrote in his UFO debunking book "The UFO Enigma" (1977) with Ernest Tavres that, 'He and several other astronomers present observed the bright green object as it slowly traversed the northern sector of the heavens, moving from east to west: they quickly and unequivocally identified it as a meteor, or bolide...'"

Hmmm, quite a contrast between what Menzel INITIALLY said right after his sighting, vs. what he said nearly 30 years later. In other words Menzel LIED in his debunking book about what he really thought he witnessed at the time.

And Zoam is also lying through his teeth in quite deliberately leaving the full context out. No surprises there.

David Rudiak said...

How about underwater torpedoes that can go at least 230 mph (200 knots)? Sounds almost impossible, but the Russians have developed one, operational for around 20 yuears. It uses exhaust gases from its rocket engine to create a gas bubble around the torpedo, drastically reducing friction by keeping the torpedo skin away from the water:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VA-111_Shkval

"The VA-111 is launched from 533 mm torpedo tubes at 50 knots (93 km/h) before its solid-fuel rocket ignites and propels it to speeds of 200 knots (370 km/h). Some reports indicate that speeds of 250+ knots may be achieved, and that work on a 300-knot (560 km/h) version was underway.[3] This high speed is due to supercavitation, whereby a gas bubble, which envelops the torpedo, is created by outward deflection of water by its specially-shaped nose cone and the expansion of gases from its engine. This minimizes water contact with the torpedo, significantly reducing drag."

What does this have to do with the atmospheric control systems proposed by various engineers to enable hypersonic flight within the atmosphere (inspired by UFO observations of being able to do this)? Because the principle is the same. Instead of a gas bubble greatly reducing friction, you project some form of energy ahead of the craft (using lasers, microwaves, or exotic hypothetical antigravity beam), which pushes the air aside ahead of the craft, keeping the air from plowing into the lead edges of the craft, and diverting it around the craft.

Since you say you are a geek/engineering type, pick up NACA/NASA aeronautical/aerodynamics engineer Paul Hill's book "Unconventional flying Objects" where he devotes a chapter explaining this in detail.

Hill designed the aerodynamics on the P-47 fighter and hypersonic wind tunnels for NACA, so he knew what he was talking about when it came to streamlining. The energy "spike" in front of the craft is another form of streamlining, keeping the air in front of the craft away from the leading edges, changing the usual supersonic shock wave on the leading edges of the craft into nonturbulent laminar flow around the craft (just like the air bubble in front of the torpedo parts the water in front of the torpedo and away from the nose of the torpedo.

zoamchomsky said...

You know it's desperation time when David stoops to calling a great astronomer a liar:

"quite a contrast between what Menzel INITIALLY said right after his sighting, vs. what he said nearly 30 years later. In other words Menzel LIED in his debunking book about what he really thought he witnessed at the time."

No, not at all. That's just you intentionally misrepresenting what Menzel said in general about the "Green Fireball" flap in a letter to the AFSAB, and then misrepresenting what he said about his specific observation of a green fireball meteor and confusing it with the letter.

The letter addressed Kaplan's green meteor suggestion and merely questioned why the flap seemed confined to New Mexico, when Kaplan had suggested that "the extraordinarily fine visibility in that region and the fact that a greater number of people than ever before are looking at the skies in that area." A completely separate issue is the fact that Menzel and the other astronomers present agreed in 1948 that the green fireball they witnessed was a completely natural green meteor.

In other words, Kaplan had it all figured out during the flap! They were simply meteors, and the observations were completely subjective, based on perceptions of events lasting only a few seconds. And they were made inside an excited social climate known as the "Cold War" in the high-altitude, transparent atmosphere of the land of enchantment which just happened to be where nuclear weapons were developed and tested, so where many more people than ever before were present to observe. Edward Teller and many others agreed.

There were just as many green fireballs falling elsewhere in the US and the world over in 1948 and in every other year. Selective observation in time and place--the latent paranoia of the "Cold War" expressed as Soviet "Ghost Rockets" in the form of "Green Fireballs" in newly nuclear-bristling New Mexico in 1948--is the entire story, period.

And David manufacturing a false dilemma as an excuse for ad hominem doesn't change that.

KRandle said...

David, Zoom -

You both treat close to the line here... The rhetoric is close to being unacceptable so I ask that you both rein in your comments. You can make your points without calling people names. Apropos of nothing at all, I will note that it is impossible to libel or slander they dead...

Paul Young said...

Considering meteors (be them green or gold or whatever colour takes your fancy) are something that have regularly been noticed by people since we swung around in trees...it does seem odd (don't ya think, zoamchomsky?) that these particular "meteors" were baffling to people like La Paz and (before he decided to take the dollar from the US Government debunking programme) Menzel.

Seemingly, no other "meteor shower" has ever caused such a stir amongst professionals in the astronomy field as these "meteors" did.

I wonder what it was about these green "meteors" (that flew through the skies of New Mexico, in generally the same direction, so low, so slowly and silently and on occasion changing direction,leaving no trail and seemingly not crashing to ground in order for a seasoned "meteor crash site finder" (like La Paz) to find)....that baffled these chaps so much?

Don said...

Paul: "...these particular "meteors" were baffling to people like La Paz and (before he decided to take the dollar from the US Government debunking programme) Menzel."

LaPaz was as much a "debunker" as was Menzel. Since neither had a sample, all they had were their opinions. Since LaPaz devoted attention to the matter for decades, I have to assume he produced a 'text' -- a body of work containing the data, the details of the reports in question, upon which he based his opinion. Where is it?

Regards,

Don

David Rudiak said...

La Paz was on public record (also in later declassified documents) stating that he thought the green fireballs artificial, specifically man-made, because there were numerous characteristics that made them distinctly different from normal meteors and more akin to probes. He worried about them being Russian. The last known statement I know to that effect was mentioned by Alan Hynek when he visited La Paz in 1964 or 1965 while investigating the Socorro/Lonnie Zamora UFO landing. According to Hynek, La Paz believed that both the green fireballs and the Socorro craft were part of a highly classified government project, and that Hynek was helping to cover it up.

(Yes, I know, if he had worked on figuring out the Roswell craft trajectory in 1947 and remarked to several people about it being ET, why was he so insistent that something like the green fireballs or the Socorro craft was man-made? Fair question, for which I have no clear answer. He also seems to have changed his mind about them being Russian in origin. Regardless of La Paz's shifting opinions about origin, he clearly thought these things physically real and artificial.)

Another scientist who worked with La Paz on investigating the green fireballs and flying saucers was Dr. Anthony Mirarchi, who initially headed up Project Twinkle. When a story ran in Feb. 1951 that all flying saucer reports were caused by Skyhook balloons, Mirarchi publicly begged to differ. As Bruce Maccabee describes it:

http://www.nicap.org/ncp/ncp-brumac.htm

"According to a United Press story filed on February 26, 1951 Mirarchi said he believed, after investigating 300 reports of flying saucers, that the saucers were missiles from Russia which had photographed our atomic bomb test sites. According to the United Press article the 40 year old scientist who “for more than a year conducted a top secret investigation into the weird phenomena said that he had worked with balloons and balloons did not leave an exhaust trail.” Another reason given against the balloon explanation was that balloons could not be seen at night. Mirachi explained how “scientists had picked up dust particles containing copper which could have come from no other source than the saucer motive plants (the engines)." Further, "...flying saucers or ‘fireballs’ as he terms them, were regularly observed near Los Alamos until he set up a system of phototheodolites to measure their speed, size and distance away.... but the fireballs mysteriously ceased appearing before the theodolites could go to work. Dr. Mirarchi concludes that spies must have tipped off the saucers’ home base.”

Unfortunately for him, this information was still classified, and almost got Mirarchi prosecuted 2 years later. Although declassification of the final Project Twinkle report was considered in late 1951, the A.F. Scientific Advisory Board recommended against it Feb. 1952:

“The Scientific Advisory Board Secretariat has suggested that this project not be declassified for a variety of reasons, chief among which is that no scientific explanation for any of the ‘fireballs’ and other phenomena was revealed by the (Project Twinkle) report and that some reputable scientists still believe that the observed phenomena are man-made.”

At about the same time the Directorate of Intel. to the Research Division of the Directorate of R&D stated the report shouldn't be declassified because there had been no solution and they feared as such would create public anxiety.

Thus 3+ years after the green fireballs first made their appearance, it was still considered they were quite real (including their flying saucer cousins), no prosaic solution was apparent, and that they should remain classified out of concern for how the public might react. I don't see anybody here in-the-know thinking they were dealing with ordinary meteors.

Don said...

David: "(Yes, I know, if he had worked on figuring out the Roswell craft trajectory in 1947 and remarked to several people about it being ET, why was he so insistent that something like the green fireballs or the Socorro craft was man-made? Fair question, for which I have no clear answer. He also seems to have changed his mind about them being Russian in origin. Regardless of La Paz's shifting opinions about origin, he clearly thought these things physically real and artificial.)"

At the beginning LaPaz thought it was a new type of meteorite and he wanted samples, but at some point he believed they could not be meteorites. I don't think he ever really considered them to be Soviet (perhaps he added it for reasons of completness -- or more likely, because it would get the attention of the USAF, he hoped). It seems obvious he believed the USAF may have continued the Zwicky "artificial meteor" project and that the fireballs were evidence for it.

Afaik, he referred to the fireballs' origin as "earthly" in the press. It appears the 'saucers' caused him some...anguish?...probably for both personal and 'political' reasons. With a lead-in from April 1949, the saucers had become ETized by 1950. Keyhoe, then a bit later, Menzel. LaPaz did not want the fireballs to become part of that dispute.

That the saucers were of interest and concern to him is evident in his dispute with Kirtland in early 1952.

LaPaz: "Long ago, the Air Force set up a separate agency, Project Saucer and has spent large sums of money and even suffered casualties in saucer investigations".

The AP picked up on "casualties" and talked to a "spokesman" at Kirtland...

"The Air Force representative declared he "never heard about them" and "never heard of Project Saucer" and said further information would have to come from LaPaz".

Or, basically, "shut up".


I've read the PBB material. What LaPaz really thought about it all, looking back over the decades? That I don't know.

I want to compile a small dataset of the green fireballs that LaPaz investigated -- got out into the field and met the informants etc, as the most representative of LaPaz' opinion, and get as much info on them as is available.

Best Regards,

Don

David Rudiak said...

Don wrote: (1 of 2)

At the beginning LaPaz thought it was a new type of meteorite and he wanted samples, but at some point he believed they could not be meteorites.

LaPaz was first consulted Dec. 9, 1948 and thought they might be Geminid meteors (the Geminids being the only meteor shower going at the time), but he had observed over 400 Geminid fireballs since 1915 and not one had been green. His thinking along these lines lasted only 3 days, because he had his own green fireball sighting Dec. 12, the one which was on a flat, horizontal trajectory near the horizon. Neither he or those with him heard an expected sonic boom. He later determined by triangulation from observers at Los Alamos that it had passed almost directly over Los Alamos, only about 10 miles up and doing about 35,000 mph. (His wife was with him and later painted a picture that was used in the famous LIFE magazine UFO article of April 1952. See http://roswellproof.homestead.com/life_1952.html LaPaz's "disc" sighting near Roswell on July 10, 1947, is also provided in this article, though LaPaz chose to remain anonymous for this in contrast to his green fireball comments and observations in the same article.)

LaPaz had also observed the usual Geminid fireballs. They were all on vertical paths and, as usual, none of them were green. After his own green fireball sighting, LaPaz never seem to consider them being natural meteors.

I don't think he ever really considered them to be Soviet (perhaps he added it for reasons of completeness -- or more likely, because it would get the attention of the USAF, he hoped).

The LIFE article mentioned a 1951 green fireball observed in Arizona (Incident 10) and followed with LaPaz's comments why they were NOT normal meteors (long list). LIFE then commented (perhaps using LaPaz as a source) why it seemed unlikely they could be Soviet missile probes: "Could they be self-destroying Russian reconnaissance devices? Not likely. While the U.S. believes the Russians have an intercontinental guided missile, there is no intelligence that indicates they have developed silent power plants or objects capable of moving nearly as fast as meteors (12 miles a second)..."

At the same time, and with later observed green fireballs, LaPaz WAS quoted saying they might be Russian devices and he was concerned. Now whether he said this because he actually believed it, for completeness, or to keep research money from the AF flowing I don't know. He had his classes to teach, his other research, and other responsibilities. He only dealt with the green fireballs a small percentage of his time and when he could get away from his regular academic life.

David Rudiak said...

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It seems obvious he believed the USAF may have continued the Zwicky "artificial meteor" project and that the fireballs were evidence for it.

For those who don't know, Franz Zwicky was a brilliant Cal Tech astrophysicist (among other things proved the existence of supernova in the 1930s). In 1946 he proposed using high explosives atop rockets (and later balloons and planes) and at high altitude to propel copper or iron particles to orbital or escape velocities, also to study meteor dynamics by producing artificial meteors. The copper particles burning in the atmosphere would produce a brilliant lime-green trail.

They actually did this in December 1946 using a V-2 at White Sands that went to 116 miles. But the experiment failed when the charges didn't go off. Zwicky talked about his ideas freely in the newspapers, but he got blackballed before he could try again. (whereupon the newspaper stories vanished) So unless the experiments got continued in great secrecy (for which there is no evidence), Zwicky's artificial green meteors could not have had anything to do with the green fireballs that started up 2 years later. (Other problems would be them testing over Los Alamos, the horizontal flat trajectories, the absence of sound, the speeds often being too high, and so on.)

I am not aware of LaPaz ever commenting on the possibility of a connection between Zwicky and the green fireballs, though he was almost certainly aware of Zwicky and his ideas. However, this is about the closest anyone has ever come to a semi-plausible explanation for the green fireballs, but it still falls far short of explaining all their characteristics (such as seeming to have their own propulsion system to produce flat trajectories and sometimes observed changes of direction).