Project Twinkle: Goodness Gracious Green Balls of Fire!


“If these [green fireballs] are not of military origin, they are a matter of serious military concern” – Dr. Lincoln La Paz.

The late 1940’s saw a multitude of UFO sightings. One of the best documented are the green fireballs observed in the southwestern United States, especially in New Mexico. These sightings led to the creation of Project Twinkle, an observation program located at Holloman Air Force Base, near Alamogordo, New Mexico.

The mysterious green fireballs occurred near sensitive military installations such as Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory and Kirtland Air Force Base and at the time were a cause of great concern. They appeared randomly and suddenly and were sighted many times per month. Their existence was unquestioned yet their source remained unknown. Heading the investigation was meteor expert Dr. Lincoln La Paz, who concluded the flying objects were definitely not meteors or any other known natural phenomenon.

An investigation led by Edward J. Ruppelt (Director of Project Blue Book) in 1952 revealed that none of the other scientists at Los Alamos had a conventional explanation for the green fireballs. Most of them believed the objects were in fact probes “projected into our atmosphere from a spaceship hovering several hundred miles above the earth.” Keep in mind this statement came from an eminent group of scientists working at the most prestigious laboratory at that time.

The objects exhibited an anomalous behavior and followed weird trajectories. Several experienced pilots reported encountering them and described the objects as considerably bright green spheres, “definitely larger and more brilliant than a shooting star, meteor or flare.”

On December 5, 1948, one of these objects was observed by two separate plane crews, one military and one civilian. The military crew aboard a C-47 airplane reported the UFO heading straight for them on a collision course and then rapidly ascending. Meteors do not behave this way.

Despite all this evidence, military brass decided the green fireballs were not worth investigating because they weren’t able to determine what they were exactly. In December 1951, Project Twinkle was discontinued. Their verdict: Inconclusive.

Despite the fact that many theories have attempted to explain this phenomenon, it is as mysterious today as it was back then.

Ragnar Larsen

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