Thursday, January 26, 2012

LaPaz, Fugos, and Roswell...

According to the testimony of former Counter-Intelligence Corps operative Lewis “Bill” Rickett, one of those that he worked closely with on an investigation of the object that crashed on the Foster Ranch, New Mexico, in the summer of 1947, was Dr. Lincoln LaPaz of the University of New Mexico.

That LaPaz was the director of the university’s Institute of Meteoritics and was later involved in a study known as Project Twinkle, the purpose of which was to investigate sightings of strange "green fireballs" seen in the New Mexico region and elsewhere in the late 1940s and early 1950s, has led many commentators to assume that this logically infers an other-worldly point of origin for the Roswell wreckage.

It is a seldom-discussed fact, however, that while it is true that LaPaz did undertake work for Project Twinkle and was a renowned expert on meteorites, he was also one of the government’s leading experts on Japan's Fugo "balloon-bombs" that were launched against the United States during the latter stages of the Second World War.

As evidence of LaPaz’s deep connection to the wartime studies of Fugo balloons undertaken by the Government, consider the following press release titled New Mexican Had Lookout Job For "Japanese Germs" and issued by the University of New Mexico shortly after the close of hostilities in 1945:

"Dr. Lincoln LaPaz of the University of New Mexico was in the thick of the fight against Japanese plans to send disease germs into America by balloon, said President J.P Wernette of the University today. Commenting on stories from the Navy in Washington revealing that use of germs and viruses in the Jap balloon-barrage was an enemy project as the war came to an end, Dr. Wernette said that Dr. LaPaz, head of the department of mathematics and the University’s Institute of Meteoritics, was with the government’s secret anti-balloon project during the war.

"'If the war had not ended when it did, in the opening stages of a full-scale balloon offensive which probably would have taken place between October 1945, and now, when the velocity of the west wind at high altitude is greatest, this country would have had unpleasant experiences,' Dr. LaPaz said today. 'People most concerned were trained scientists, and stockmen, too, he said. Anthrax spores could have been sent over in the paper balloons in great numbers, and Manchurian sheep pox could have easily struck the hooved animals of this country because the disease has not been found here and there would be no natural immunity, Dr. LaPaz went on.

"'But the Japanese, using radio devices to locate their balloons on the flight to this country, apparently did not realize that we could pick up the signals an find the balloons before they reached the mainland,’ said Dr. LaPaz."

A similar press release issued by the University of New Mexico – also in late 1945 – describes further data on LaPaz and his research into Fugo balloons and meteorites:

"Observers, watching for meteors, thought they had something when they saw some brilliant lights in the sky from February to May, 1945. And they did, said Dr. Lincoln LaPaz, mathematics department head at the University of New Mexico and director of its Institute of Meteoritics, today.

"The displays were actually made by Japanese balloons, Dr. LaPaz said, revealing the history of a scientific study of meteors which went on before and during the time that Dr. LaPaz was busy in secret government work of studying and combating the balloon offensive [Nick's Note: Italics mine].

"Nevertheless, a few months later, on Nov. 29, 1945, a great meteorite fell slowly across northern California and Nevada, and observers mistook it for everything from a jet plane to a Hollywood publicity stunt. Members of the Society for Research on Meteorites and the American Meteor Society, thought at first that it was a new type [of] Japanese balloon bomb."

If, as the interviewees in my Body Snatchers in the Desert book asserted, the key event that led to the legend of the UFO crash at Roswell involved a "next-generation of Fugo" balloon that was responsible for launching an experimental aircraft that catastrophically crashed, then who better to enlist into the study of how and why the experiment failed than an expert on those very same balloons?


cda said...


As Robert Todd and Karl Pflock wrote, and I have pointed out, there is every reason to believe that LaPaz was never involved with Roswell. Rickett, who gave this testimony, has confused LaPaz's involvement with him (and with Roswell) with a big green fireball episode in Jan 1949, i.e. 18 months after Roswell. This fireball affair was in the Roswell vicinity and covered other parts of New Mexico, with numerous witnesses. Rickett even helped LaPaz produce a report on it.

This is the trouble with decades-old testimony; the timescales get confused. I doubt you will find anything by LaPaz on the Roswell 'crash', certainly nothing in writing or in print by him. The only testimony is Rickett's, given 40 years afterwards!

Nick Redfern said...


Yes, I know of the date confusion issue. However, my main interest is in determining if La Paz's links to Japanese balloons is connected with the allegations of Japanese links to Roswell as per my Body Snatchers book.

The Rickett issue aside, that La Paz was in NM, was doing classified work for the government in relation to Japanese balloons, and that there are claims of a Japanese link to Roswell is primarily what keeps me interested in this aspec of the saga.

Could the Rickett story be in error? Certainly. But, the important thing for me is not to ignore these various strands above, in view of the potentially related nature of the threads.

alanborky said...

Nick, to me the LaPaz/fugo connection doesn't quite stand up - IF the US really were in deep fear of experimental Japanese balloonery as a means of waging germ warfare.

Surely this would've been a big BE ON PERMANENT ALERT FOR JAP BASTARDRY issue for all military in the area in which case even if a real alien flying saucer'd been found full of crispy fried litle spacemen most people at the time'd've automatically assumed weird lookin' little guys and unknown technology = sneaky Pearl Harbour style hijinks!

In fact it's almost a surprise to me this hasn't been one of the theories all along especially given accounts of island bound Japanese forces still fighting the war unwitting that years earlier Mainland Japan'd already surrendered, not to mention more apocryphal stories about postwar Nazi outposts in the Antarctic.

If though someone like LaPaz was using alleged Japanese germ balloon incursions as a cover for their own US backed experiments with such technology a la Porton Down's anthraxing of Gruinard Island as a feasibility study for a hypothetical Nazi attack, (something WE'D NEVER DREAM OF DOING OURSELVES of course...except experimentally on our OWN troops!) then suddenly the story of the saucer being briefly encouraged could make sense as a way of burying this sort of headline:


steve sawyer said...


"...a big green fireball episode in Jan 1949, i.e. 18 months after Roswell. This fireball affair was in the Roswell vicinity and covered other parts of New Mexico, with numerous witnesses. Rickett even helped LaPaz produce a report on it."

Interesting comment, one which I've heard before (i.e., the alleged confusion of Rickett having worked with La Paz in 1949, on a green fireball incident, not what Rickett stated, which was that he and La Paz were somehow involved with investigating some aspects of the Roswell incident in late July, or later, of 1947).

But, CDA, do you have citations or references to the supposed participation of Rickett and La Paz, and their being involved in exploring a green fireball incident, per se, in 1949, or a cite online to the alleged report La Paz and Rickett worked on? Is it available?

I'd be most interested in reading it, if so. La Paz is a particular research interest of mine.