Green Fireballs, Project Twinkle,
Little Lights, and Grudge
At exactly midnight on September 18, 1954, my telephone rang. It was Jim Phalen, a friend of mine from the Long Beach Press-Telegram, and he had a "good flying
saucer report," hot off the wires. He read it to me. The lead line was: "Thousands of people saw a huge fireball light up dark New Mexico skies
The story went on to tell about how a "blinding green" fireball the size of a full moon had silently streaked southeast across Colorado and northern New
Mexico at eight-forty that night. Thousands of people had seen the fireball. It had passed right over a crowded football stadium at Santa Fe, New Mexico, and people in
Denver said it "turned night into day." The crew of a TWA airliner flying into Albuquerque from Amarillo, Texas, saw it. Every police and newspaper
switchboard in the two-state area was jammed with calls.
One of the calls was from a man inquiring if anything unusual had happened recently. When he was informed about the mysterious fireball he heaved an audible sigh of
relief, "Thanks," he said, "I was afraid I'd gotten some bad bourbon." And he hung up.
Dr. Lincoln La Paz, world-famous authority on meteorites and head of the University of New Mexico's Institute of Meteoritics, apparently took the occurrence calmly.
The wire story said he had told a reporter that he would plot its course, try to determine where it landed, and go out and try to find it. "But," he said,
"I don't expect to find anything."
When Jim Phalen had read the rest of the report he asked, "What was it?"
"It sounds to me like the green fireballs are back," I answered.
"What the devil are green fireballs?"
What the devil are green fireballs? I'd like to know. So would a lot of other people.
The green fireballs streaked into UFO history late in November 1948, when people around Albuquerque, New Mexico, began to report seeing mysterious "green
flares" at night. The first reports mentioned only a "green streak in the sky," low on the horizon. From the description the Air Force Intelligence
people at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque and the Project Sign people at ATIC wrote theo bjects off as flares. After all, thousands of GI's had probably been