Below is a documentary-style narrative of the experiences of Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum, Colby Landrum told in their own words, primarily based on the transcript of their interview of at Bergstrom Air Force Base on August 17, 1981.
CAUTION: The words below are 99.5% those of the witnesses, but edited and reordered for a chronological narrative purposes. Some comments are derived from other contemporary documented statements.
Words in parentheses are either added from a question asked to turn a fragmentary answer into a complete sentence, or in some cases, to help define a reference. The language has been edited for readability, but care was taken to preserve the context and intent by the speaker. It is intended to be used as an informational aid, not a substitute for the original case documents.
WARNING: For historical accuracy, read the full Bergstrom transcript archived at CUFON:
CUFON: Bergstrom Air Force Base C-L Interview Part 1
CUFON: Bergstrom Air Force Base C-L Interview Part 2
CUFON: Bergstrom Air Force Base C-L Interview Part 1
CUFON: Bergstrom Air Force Base C-L Interview Part 2
DISCLAIMER: You should weigh original evidence and testimony whenever possible instead of relying on pre-digested, packaged products, even this one.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Thanks to Betty Cash, Dale Goudie, Jim Klotz, Chris Lambright and George Sarran for making the Bergstrom AFB interview available to the public.
Betty, Vickie and Colby tell their story
THE ENCOUNTERBetty: My name is Betty Cash, 52 years old from Dayton, Texas, now living in Fairfield, Alabama. Prior to the incident, I was feeling fine, and I was not sick until this happened. I had heart surgery in Birmingham Alabama in 1976. Nothing (else) other than just a hysterectomy when I was 29. I'm five-five and a half feet tall, and I weigh 112 pounds now, because I have lost some weight. At the time of the incident, I weighed 118.
Vickie: My name is Vickie Landrum, and I'm live in Dayton, Texas, and am 57 years old. (Before the incident I was healthy,) about 22 years ago, I had hysterectomy. Other than that, I have never had nothing really wrong with me till this. I'm five feet exactly and I weigh about 138 pounds. I weighed 162 pounds, I was too heavy, so I guess my weight loss has done me a little good. I had a son that was a diabetic, my mother was a diabetic, but there's never been cancer in our family. This is my grandson, who I have legal custody of, Colby Lee Landrum, he’s seven years old.
Colby: I’m going to be eight in January.
Betty: I had a restaurant, well James did, I didn't, and I got a divorce. I had filed for it in January, or February, and I had gotten it in, July or August of 1980. It was a restaurant and a grocery store. Couldn't make no money. Closed it up. I wasn't (working) that’s the reason we was just out tooling around.
Vickie: I was working after work, at a little place she had out on the (road into Dayton) and we were moving, in the process of moving to a bigger place, and we were just out riding around, you know like friends do, and we run into this thing.
Betty: It was on Farm Market Road 1485 between New Caney and Huffman approximately between nine and nine-thirty at night on December the 29th. I was driving, the three of us were in my 1980 Cutlass Oldsmobile. We hadn't thought about it being a Monday night because we'd had so many holidays, and we had gone to Cleveland that night to play Bingo. We got to Cleveland there was no bingo game. We figured out, well it was through the holidays they had canceled it. So we thought well, we'd go on to New Caney, 'cause they had Bingo over there also. We got to New Caney and there was still no bingo, not realizing that it was on a Monday night instead of a Tuesday, and we stopped at the truck stop restaurant there on 59 and 1485, must have been about eight, eight-thirty.
After we got through eating, we got in the car and started home, and we drove approximately twelve miles, when we spotted this object, and we kept watching it, we couldn't figure out what it was, not ever dreaming that we were going to run dead into it. But all of a sudden, when we got out on this country road, it just set down, almost level with the treetops. They measured, and I think it was about 60 to 80 feet (high) and we had stopped about 130 to 133 feet from the object.
I guess maybe I would have tried to have gone on under it, that's how scared I was. But Vickie screamed for me to stop, and right where she put her hands, her fingerprints are still on my dash, it melted my dash in the car with her fingerprints imbedded. I guess that the dashboard melted, her fingerprints right where she pressed on my dash, when I threw on my brakes to save, to keep from going under it, they're imbedded in my dash.
Well, it had lit up the entire sky. Well it was seen as far as fifty miles away from where we were. But tell you the truth, we thought the end of the world was coming. I mean we'd, I'd never in my life gone through such a situation. But I knew that there was no way we could go under it the way the fire was shooting out the bottom of it.
But, on that country road, the lights were so bright, and the heat was so intense, I got out of the car. I don't know what my purpose was unless it was just normal instinct to think well, maybe I'd be safer outside than I would be inside. I had not killed the motor on the car, I had put it park. The radio was playing on low, but the car completely went dead. I mean, it was like somebody had turned a switch off on it.
We could not get up close enough to detect what the figure was. Or I couldn’t at least, the lights were too bright in my eyesight. (Colby said) it was a diamond shape. The only thing that I can believe that I can establish, maybe it was as large, if not larger than a water tower. It was over the road, it was- they have real huge tall pine trees in that area and it was hanging down over the pine trees. (There were no markings on the object) that I could see, the light was so bright. (There was a) shrill beeping sound the object was making. it was just like it was deafening. That's how shrill it was.
|C. Lambright, based on witness testimony|
|Betty Cash's sketch of UFO|
Vickie: The object was about the size of, I'd say a big water tower. Not at the top, you know, but I mean it come kinda down this a way, but it was long (vertical), it wasn't short, it was long. There was so much light, the flame came down, just like, just like a rocket, just like you'd shoot off a rocket or something.
Colby: I don't know what it was, but all I know is it was some kind of object, kinda yellowish-red. It stayed there for about 15 to 20 minutes. I just wondered what it was, sitting there wondering what it was.
Betty: I walked toward the front of the car, and the light was so bright, and the heat was so intense, I didn't know whether to run, to get back in the car, or what, and I stood there for few minutes. Not too long, because it was so hot and the light was so bright. And then I started to get back in the car, and when I did, I had to use the bottom of my leather jacket. I touched the door handle, and the door handle was so hot I couldn't stand it with my bare hand, so I got the pocket of my leather jacket to open the car door and get back in. At this time fire would shoot out of it and then it would let up, when it would let up, it made- I don't know what kind of sound to tell you it was making, similar to air brakes or a whooshing sound.
Vickie: Colby Lee was screaming and crying and everything so, and I thought the world was coming to an end, and I believed that sooner or later we'd gonna have to meet somebody. I was telling him, look right in it. The object was was kinda like a flat... aluminum, I guess, you know, the inside of it looked dark, the object did, and I was telling him to look right inside if he saw a big man it'd be Jesus. And we set there and I kept talking to him to watch for that man to come down inside. And I looked at it from the time Betty got out of the car until she got back in, I got out for just a few minutes and burned my arm on top of the car, and this one (left hand) has always been a lot worse than this one. I was holding Colby Lee in and had my arm up on the car, you know, like you kinda hold somebody in the door, and I guess I looked at it too long. Because I was trying to keep him quiet and show him something that would be more pleasant that what he was seeing.
Betty: I was looking for a way out, and when the thing began to lift up, well we were all horrified. I finally got the car started and it was so hot I had to turn on the air conditioning in order for us to get cool. And by that time we were all burning up. It was just well it's just something really you've got to experience to really describe.
Vickie: There's something that Betty didn't tell when she was talking about the fire. When it was hanging up over the trees, when the fire would come down, it would lift up, and when the fire would let up, kinda go away, that's when it would come back down. Finally, when a big gust of fire came down and the sound was so shrill, that's when it lifted to where it would get up and go away.
Betty: There was helicopters completely around the object, and its the type of helicopters that I've never been used to seeing. They were the ones that had two deals, two rotors on them, and they were quite a few. We drove on up the road and pulled over and stopped, and I counted twenty three. They had round (markings saying,) "United States Air Force". Vickie says she counted 26. Who knows? We were all so sick and burning and hot and scared till- that I don't say that we didn't vary.
Vickie: I don't say the helicopters were from the Air Force.. I didn't see no sign, no name on them or nothing, I was too busy with the Colby, and when we stopped looking at them and everything, he was showing me, they had the twin rotaries on them. The only thing I can tell you is that, to me they, they looked just like this (photo of Army CH-47), and I couldn't see nothing on them. I might have counted more or less, but I was saying: 1, 2, 3, because they were coming, I mean, even when we got down there to the bank (back home in Dayton) we could look back and there were some that were going like they were going toward it. I mean some of them wasn't the double rotary type, some of them was the other type, they weren't quite as big, but what caught our eyes was the ones that had the double rotaries up there.
Betty: They’re weird looking.
Vickie: Well, they really were!
Betty: (The helicopters stayed with the object and) in fact, would you believe the first thing that entered my mind was about the pilots that were in the helicopters, because of the heat that we were feeling there. I was scared for them, to tell you the truth.
Vickie: I was too scared... put it that way, cause I ain't going to say I wasn't scared, cause I was scared, I guess I'm a coward, but I was (too scared to notice many details). I wish they would have asked me (about the object’s flame details) when I was under hypnosis. The reason I was hypnotized, because, I mean, I knew I wasn't lying, and I did it because I wanted these other people to know I wasn't lying.
Betty: (As it left,) they drifted more to the west over toward Crosby and Intercontinental Airport was the way they were- it was headed and the helicopters were on both sides of it and looked like they were trying their best to get around the top of it. It was unreal. In fact, even driving down 1960, when we stopped at the stop sign to turn onto highway 1960, we drove to the First National Bank in Dayton which, at the time, was under construction, and we could still see helicopters coming. Now whether they were going to help the other crews or what, I didn't take time to find out. I'd say (it lasted) about 15 to 16, 17 minutes, it seemed like hours to me, but it couldn't have been that long because when I got home it was ten minutes till ten.
(When I got home) I didn't report it to any of 'em, I was too sick, by the time I got home, I had blisters all over my head, my face, my back, my neck, I was burning from the inside out. I was completely blistered, in fact I have a scar over my eye where one of the blisters was.. Every time they would come up, they would break open and just run like water... just sticky water, there was no pus or anything, you know. I stayed in the hospital for a month, maybe a little bit longer at Parkway Hospital in Houston. I laid in that hospital and suffered that thirteen days before I would even level with my doctor.
Vickie: I told Colby not to tell nobody...
Betty: Because I didn't want anybody to think I was crazy 'cause I had never believed in things like this. But it definitely didn't have little green men with pointed ears.
I had- still have diarrhea, I still have upset stomach, I still feel weak, I'm tired, I don't have any energy like I used to have, I have severe headaches- and I have- I'll bet I could count on my hand how many headaches I'd ever had in my lifetime, until this happened. But, it's unreal how my head hurts. My right ear is bothering me right now. Its the beeping sound, the shrill beeping sound the object was making. It was just like it was deafening. That's how shrill it was.
The only thing I know was that I was sick within 30 minutes after the time it happened, and burning up. It was just like I had been blistered (sunburned) all over, like I had been laying on a beach, and it happened within 30 minutes after this incident. I was feeling fine before, then all this took place. The next morning I was so sick I couldn't even get out of bed to get myself a glass of water. I was craving water, dying of thirst, or I thought I was. I felt like I was so dehydrated.
My lips were swollen, my ears were swollen about three times, in fact my entire body. My family didn't recognize me. When they came to the hospital, they were told what room I was in. Had they not known for sure that it was me, they wouldn't have known me.
(Dr. Shenoy and the others at Parkway Hospital) ran every test possible on me, and the said they could find NO problems wrong with my body anywhere, to cause me to be in that condition.
After the incident, I'd get up to go to the bathroom, and I'd get so sick that I'd have to lay down on the bathroom floor until I got able to get back to bed.) I still have headaches, I still have upset stomach, I still can't take a hot bath, if I do, I look like a burn victim all over again. I can't stand the heat. I can't take the sunlight. I mean, it's just to the point where I have to stay in the house until it gets cool in the afternoon after the sun goes down, or either I am in the bed sick the next day. (I’d lost most of my hair after the incident, and) I just got to pull my wig off about a month ago (July). I'm not retired, I'm just not able to go back to work. I would imagine that my medical bill has been around ten thousand dollars, or better.
Vickie: It seems like it's only my eyes and my arms affected. My eyes feel just like they've got sand in them, and I can get out in the sun or anything and it feels just like I want to just put my hand up there and just rub them out I guess, if I didn't make myself stop I could just rub them until I didn't have any eyes anymore.
You can see the scars on my arms, and when I get out in the sun you can see that this comes up in a big blister. My eye doctor said that there's a possibility that within a year or year and a half that he'll have to operate. The film is already has started forming a film, like cataracts, except that my eyes were burned so bad that they teared for about three months. Nothing but tears would pour, you know?, They was swelled so that I could hardly see. Dr. Chandler said that if they were regular cataracts hopefully that he could remove them and I'd yet have some of my sight. But if they're imbedded cataracts, that I won't never see again.
Vickie: When I went to the doctor there in Houston, I mean I was sick, I had the diarrhea and everything, but I was taking care of Betty, I was taking care of Colby, I didn't have time to go to the doctor, and I didn't have time to carry him 'cause he was like a little baby for over a month. I mean he had no control over his bowels, or his, you know, nothing, and I was taking care of him, and I wasn't going to leave him. The doctors down there asked me had I been around any poison oak or poison ivy on my arms. And when finally the blisters kinda cleared up and left, places healed up and looks terrible. They yet come up, and now the ones that come up is leaving knots.
This past Saturday we were out in the sun for quite a while, and the sun does it to me. Just like one's been right here it was a big old blister, you know, it'd go away and come up a like a scar. like this.
And my fingernails come off. They're they're back now, but they come completely off, my fingernails did. I saved the fingernails for some scientist. I've got them, each one of them tagged and named.
Vickie: We was completely blistered (sunburned), and Colby's got scars on his face where he had hanging water blisters, on his little cheek and everything, over on that side. Just one, one side of his face because, the reason I believe its not on this side is because I was hugging that side to me, I think that other side is the one
that got it, the one that had the hanging blisters because one side wasn't blistered as bad as the other side.
Vickie: My hair didn't come out until about, it was about six weeks after the incident, about a month after the incident, my hair started coming out, and it's just come back, I mean this is the way it looks since it's come back, I had soft, manageable easy hair, extra fine hair, it was a little like baby hair, and it was kinda, you know, wavy, curly. I could do anything with it. After it come out and came back, this is what I got, I'm ashamed to even go to the grocery store.
Vickie: Dr. Chandler in Liberty is only an eye doctor, but I got all faith in him because he has a doctor that works with him that is one of the best I think, and he told me that when he felt he wasn't capable of giving me what I needed that he would turn me over to this doctor. You can't ask for nothing better than that.
I talked to (Betty’s cardiologist) Dr. Shenoy, but I never did see him as a patient, I was there now with Betty so much and talked to him. There was this doctor that saw me (in July, in connection with the filming of the television program, “That’s Incredible!”) Dr. Easley radiologist at the Medical Center in Houston.
Vickie: Nobody's never told me nothing. Except my family doctor told me that he couldn't doctor me because he didn't know nothing about it and that he would do me more harm than good, and he wasn't about to.
My eyes are bad and I can hardly see how to drive. I'd say I’ve spent approximately about six or seven hundred dollars on treatment for my eyes and Colby's eyes.
Colby: I didn't feel nothing until I got up the next morning. I just had a bad virus.
(When I went to the bathroom) it was all runny. My stomach was just hurting real bad. I don't remember if I (threw up) or not.
Vickie: Colby went from a size 6 slim blue jean and they fit him perfect, and when I went to buy him some clothes the other day, and I got them on him, and I had to go back to a 5 slim blue jean. But, what's so terrible about it, now this is what the doctor in Houston told me, and Dr. Rank from Wisconsin told me the same thing, that there's a possibility within the next eight to twelve years that Colby would come down with a form of leukemia, which wouldn't be leukemia, but if he was treated for leukemia, it could kill him. I mean, nobody knows how much radiation he might have consumed, or what kind it might could been, but it had to be radiation to have burned us like we were burned.
Colby: I lost just a little hair, a little bitty place started coming out, just that spot right there (the crown).
Vickie: I've been doctoring him at home for the simple reason that I always worked. When it got so I couldn't work anymore- my husband has a good job, but by the time we pay rent, bills and our car note and gas, there's very little left for groceries, much less for medical bills. So, I doctor him at home.
Colby: (After it happened, I had some blisters.) They started popping every time I got in the sun they'd pop. Every time I get in the pool, my eyes start getting real red. I get sunburned after being out there for about a hour or 30 minutes. Sometimes (I still feel sick, and) my stomach was starting to hurt this morning when I was eating (breakfast).
Vickie: They couldn't find out what was wrong with Betty, and I'm not going to put Colby through all this unless they come up with something without doctoring him for everything under the book.
Betty: You would be surprised of the people, the doctors even, that don't want to treat a person if they think you've had radiation burns. You would be surprised, and if you doubt me, get 'em and try to get a physician to test you.
REPORTING THE INCIDENTBetty: Vickie is the one that called everybody and tried to get help for me. A policeman in Dayton is the one that gave her the number to call. We kept calling (Robert Gribble of the National UFO Reporting Center in Seattle) Washington. In fact I still have the phone number. They said that they would have someone come out and check. They got in touch with Bill English with APRO and he contacted us.
(NOTE: Near the end of February 1981, Betty called John F. Schuessler about the case, and they met the next day. The next week he met Vickie and Colby, then wrote up a preliminary report and filed it with MUFON and other UFO organizations. For some reason, during the Bergstrom AFB interview, Vickie and Betty make no direct mention of Schuessler, Project VISIT, only saying that “they” measured the UFO scene. Later, both Betty and Vickie refer to Schuessler, but say a “certain person”, deliberately not using his name. )
Betty: Allan Hendry (of the Center for UFO Studies), from Atlanta, Georgia contacted me and said he wanted to help any way he could and he's the one who asked me to write to Representative Charles Wilson, to Senator Lloyd Bentsen and to Senator John Tower, and he said he felt sure that that way I could get some help. Charles Wilson referred me to a UFO researcher or something in Van Nuys California, but Lloyd Bentsen wrote a real nice letter back and asked me to come here to Bergstrom Air Force Base and talk with y'all, and he felt sure that you-all would try to help in any way you could.
|John Schuessler's Car Tag circa 1981|
Vickie: I don't want no more uh, (UFO) investigators having me go over the deal, because the thing about is I was hypnotized, I have the tape if they want to hear the tape, that's fine, but I don't intend to go through it anymore. I don't, I don't, and there's a lot of quacks, there really is, that's supposed to be big UFO dealers and wheelers, and they're not after hunting the truth, they after something, proving something that's unreal. What was up there was real. It hurt us. It wasn't (from) outer space either.
Betty: And they're out for a story. And once they make their few dollars off their stories, which is not true nine times out of ten. Parts of it, I can say may be, if you're fortunate, but they misconstrue it quite often too.
Vickie:(After reporting the incident) I wrote (Representative) Charles Wilson, he wrote me back a write-off letter. It was a thing where UFOs had been discontinued (cancellation of Project Blue Book) since 1973, I believe it said, and he gave me a whole list of who I might be able to contact. I turned it over and wrote him a letter on the back side of it and I told him exactly how I felt, and sent it back to him.
Betty: We don't need any legal advice. 'Cause, we have the proof, and when you have the proof, you don't need legal advice.
Vickie: I wrote the Congress, and the way I feel, that if our government doesn’t know what that was that hurt us, then we're in a bad shape, because it had to be manmade. I don't think there are any little green men out there to make one. I never have believed in life on other planets.
Betty: I never have believed in it either. Who is responsible for us being injured? There has to be an answer somewhere, you know? I hope to find out what the object was, and what the purpose of it was, being there on the road at the time, and God forbid, I don't ever want anything to happen to any of my family or my friends, even to you or your family, even to an animal to what I've had to go through. It would satisfy my mind to find out what it was and what it was doing there. I believe that our federal government... we've got to have secrets, let's face it, in a very severe time like we are going through right now, but things that hurt the American people, then I think it's time they should be stopped.
Colby: Who’s supposed to protect us?
Betty: Well now, what can we do?
Vickie: Where... but where do we go?... What do we do? To put it point blank, we thought maybe you (the Air Force) could give us an answer of where to go from here, or what to do, because I'm gonna find the answer.
We've been trying for seven, almost eight months now to get answers which we get in pieces, a little here, a little there, its pretty well like a puzzle you're putting together, and we’re gonna get it together, it's gonna be fit together. It might take me a lifetime, but I intend to find it. I'm gonna find the answer, and it had to be something the government had up there, and I intend to find it.
(The meeting concluded with officers explaining that Project Blue Book was cancelled and the Air Force no longer investigates UFO cases. They were give damage claim forms and advised to get the help of an attorney to file them.)
Copyright 2013, Curtis L. Collins