Friday, July 19, 2013

The 1980 Cash-Landrum UFO: Paracast Q & A

Due to my discussion of Chris Lambright’s accurate illustration of the eyewitnesses’ description of the UFO, Gene Steinberg invited us to appear on the Paracast radio program.

Illustration by Chris Lambright
Gene and Chris present a full-scale discussion of a classic UFO encounter, the Cash-Landrum incident, which occurred on an isolated two-lane road near Houston, Texas on December 29, 1980. This sighting includes a witness who received possible severe radiation burns as the result of being in close proximity to the strange aircraft. To flesh out the nuts and bolts of the case, we invited two UFO investigators, Chris Lambright and Curtis L. Collins (whom our forum members know as Sentry).

There were discussions about the case there on the Paracast forum before and after the episode:
Paracast: Cash-Landrum UFO: Chris Lambright & Curtis L. Collins

Also, there was an opportunity for listeners to post questions on the forum to be asked on the show. There were many good questions, but some came in too late to be used. I decided to post all the questions and my expanded answers, after I had the chance to “cheat” by checking references.

Paracast Forum Q & A

I've heard that witnesses to this event were exposed to radiation. If true, what was learned from the Cash-Landrum radiation exposures? Has there been a documented report to correlate their radiation sickness symptoms with known sources or types of radiation fields? There are a lot of differences between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation and acute vs. chronic exposures (and all combinations).. I would think there symptoms should be qualitatively linked to a known source type.

A: The symptoms were not a precise match for ay radiation exposure. Once again we are challenged by what really happened versus what we were told about it.
John Schuessler newspaper quote on medical treatment from 1981:
“There was no diagnosis: the doctors did not know what they were dealing with.”
“You can’t guarantee it’s radiation sickness, but it looks like it.”
“Other things can cause these (symptoms) but not likely the whole package.”

Vickie Landrum's later skin ailments

Betty Cash diagnosed with "Alopecia Areata"

That is one of the most controversial aspects of the case. Further, only Betty Cash received hospital treatment for her injuries. Vickie Landrum did not seek treatment for Colby’s and her complaints, except to see optometrist Dr. Steve Chandler for her eye problems. He said: “an allergy to sunlight, chemicals and other things could have caused the same symptoms as radiation”. 
There was a medical examination of all three performed at Houston Medical Center in connection with their appearance on ”That’s Incredible!”
Dr. Mel Spira (a plastic surgeon) said on the program that some of Betty’s symptoms resembled radiation exposure. 
“Dr. James Easley, a Houston radiologist, examined the women more than six months after the incident but said his results were not conclusive because he saw the women so late.”

The primary supporters of the witnesses possibly receiving radiation comes from doctors that never examined them, MUFON medical consultant Dr. Peter Rank, radioligist. He examined the UFO case file, photos of the witnesses and the available medical records. Dr. Richard Niemtzw also favored the radiation theory, but his examination was based soley on published reports and he was not allowed to view the medical records.
The physican who directly stated the exposure was from radioactive materials is Dr. Bryan McClelland, who started treating Betty Cash in the mid 1980s. He is not a radiologist, his specialty is Family Practice and Geriatrics.
In Vickie Landrum’s report to NUFORC, and in a letter to Dr. Peter Rank, she said that the original check of Betty’s blood test for radiation was negative.

Stanton Friedman has reported that he worked on nuclear powered aircraft. Do you think the UFO in this case may have been such a prototype aircraft? (If so, then the government was certainly liable for the illness the observers developed.)

A: No, and in a rare flip-flop of position, neither does Stanton Friedman. In in 1985:
I don’t think it was an alien spacecraft, frankly. I think it was a nuclear powered aircraft.
“I worked on nuclear airplane engines back on the late 50s. It seems unlikely...
... didn’t seem appropriate to me... I don’t think it was one of ours.” 
(About 1.5 hours into the show.)

Even if it was a nuclear powered aircraft that somehow burned the witnesses to differing degrees without leaving trace radiation and the automobile, as John Schuessler noted there needs to be some other radiation sources to account for the other reported symptoms. The craft had produce an improbably broad spectrum of radiation, and yet not emit a lethal dose.

How well is Colby Landrum doing since that awful exposure to the "UFO Radiation"?
tom1961:  has any one talked to him lately.

A: Colby Landrum is alive and well in living in the Dayton area. He was examined for a 2009 episode of UFO Hunters by Betty Cash’s doctor (not a radiologist) and given a clean bill of health. One of the many fears was that he would be rendered sterile from the alleged radiation exposure, but he has a little blond daughter that he calls his “mini-me”. Colby has been approached for interviews, but prefers not to talk about or relive the incident unless compensated to do so. He’d agreed to participate in a Kickstarter financed documentary with Dan Marro, but the funding failed.

I have read that around 20 CH-47 "Chinooks" were seen.
Question (1) Has a FOIA relating to the helicopters i.e radar data or flight plans etc been attempted?

A: Yes, several times, and next to nothing was produced. There were classified operations involving helicopters in a planned second attempt to rescue American hostages held in Iran. some of those documents were classified until 1992, and FOIA requests may not have been responded to in this area. (Although Col. Sarran insists he examined this possibility.)

Han: Question (2) Were ALL of the Helicopters CH-47s?

A: No, but the double-rotor helicopters were all they originally mentioned, supposedly because they were the most prominent. Some were described as smaller, traditional helicopters with a single central rotor. The claim that there was more than one model used makes the sighting more plausible, as covert military exercises conducted involved using such a combination.

Han: It is my understanding that the "CH-47 Chinook" has a crew of at least 3 usaully 4 and sometimes five if we take the lowest number 3 crew per Helicopter that would be roughly 60 crew or "witnesses". Also getting 20 chinooks ready to fly would take a lot of ground crew and a lot of planning, especially if they were to fly in formation.(imagine the noise that they would make!) It is also my understanding that "U.S" Chinook squadrons consist of 12 aircraft so if over 12 were seen then it would seem to suggest 2 or more squadrons.

A: Your information seems good, but recalculate for about half as many CH-47s mixed with maybe the smaller OH-6. The exact numbers of helicopters is not known, but I agree that it would have been a massive operation involving possibly over a hundred people.

Han: Finally: the "CH-47" has a top speed of around 200 mph which although fast for a Helicopter is significantly slower than an Aeroplane. were any "jets" seen flying at the same time?

A: None reported. The UFO was never described as flying rapidly, and in fact was described in terms more closely matching a balloon, hovering, floating drifting etc. When the UFO and helicopters flew away from the initial scene, Betty waited a few moments for her eyes to readjust before driving away. Even with a head start, the witnesses were able to catch up to the UFO and copters three or so miles down the winding road. 

Has there been any recent attempt to learn more about the government's involvement in the case through FOIA requests? If so, any success?

A: Yes, but my request was for a duplication of previously released data, where I was hoping previously redacted material would be available- no luck. I’m not aware of anything relevant, but am hoping to try again. This is complicated somewhat in that if this was a secret exercise, it involved a blend of Special Forces from different military branches. Figuring what to ask for and who to request it from is the first step.

1982 UFO described by Jon McDonald
joeyk22: Do either of you know of any sightings since 1980 that resemble the craft in question?

I’ve not examined this since finding out about the original description. John Schuessler reported in the 1983 MUFON Journal:
”A similar object was sighted near Cleveland, Texas, on May 22,1982. Jon McDonald, a deputy sheriff for Liberty County, was on routine patrol..”
McDonald’s description:
"It was in a diamond shape, y'know, all four corners were rounded; but it was in a diamond shape." He went on to describe the color as grayish; like a dirty galvanized steel — "a dirty, dirty gray." And it was large. "I'd say you could fit ten cars into the square it would form if it was placed on the ground.” 
He described it as having flashing red lights on the body and two white “headlights”.

joeyk22: Is it possible a government contractor was doing a test flight of some sort and this gives the U.S. government plausible deniability when it comes to disclosing information about the object if in fact it is "man-made"?

A: I think Joey has been peeking at my notes! IF it was a test craft, this is my top pick for a scenario. Unfortunately, there are no plausible contractor candidates. This touches another area, why would they be conducting test flights so near a populated area? As unreasonable as it sounds, it really happens, from anything to plane exercises to the transport of nuclear materials and weapons. It probably happens way more often than we can imagine, as our documentation come mostly when these things crash near cities. I’ll put up an article on this on my blog in the near future, that’s too deep a tangent to explore here, but it does offer some credibility for the man-made craft hypothesis. 

I've always wondered about this case and the fact that it happened within days of the Rendlesham Forest/Bentwaters incident. Both Cash-Landrum and Bentwaters appeared to have military involvement. A coincidence? Has anyone ever looked for a connection between the two?

A: Jenny Randles and her collaborators examined the comparison in “Sky Crash”, but I’ll say coincidence just from the lack of specific similarity. The UFOs are only share a few superficial characteristics- they fly and behave unlike one another and the experiences of the witnesses are also completely different. There are some that do try to stretch the similarities to make this part of a global ET operation, and others have claimed that Rendlesham was a “smokescreen”, a staged event to fake a ET UFO so that the military operation in Texas would be obscured.

Here are the key points I intended to make on the show about the Cash-Landrum events:

This case is important, because whatever it was, it is the tip of a UFO iceberg. By uncovering more on the military involvement, we should be able to trace the activities to specific operations and personnel. Much can be learned from this, whether or not this was an ET craft the helicopters were following. Even if we only study just the UFO investigation methods here, we can learn both from the successes and failures in a case which features some compelling evidence and eyewitness testimony.

Despite hard work and good intentions serious errors and inaccuracies crept in to the investigation led by John F. Schuessler of MUFON.

The popular version of the story is an inaccurate portrayal of events, the most visual example is the erroneous portrayal of the UFO itself.

Since the case was effectively owned and controlled solely by MUFON, it raises questions to the bias of the investigation and choosing what evidence to include or eliminate.

The Medical records should be open for review by qualified, unbiased experts (whether or not the records themselves are made public).

The Schuessler/Project VISIT files on this case should be open for examination by researchers. There is the potential for overlooked leads or connections that were not apparent to the time due to government classification.

Based on today’s knowledge of the military events of 1980, new investigations and FOIA request should be targeted at the Special Operations Forces active in classified missions during the winter of 1980.

FM 2100, scene of the events.

Reaction to the show has been positive, and I thank Gene Steinberg and Chris O’Brien for giving us the opportunity to spotlight this case.

It was suggested that a “tip line” be added to this site for anyone with information on this case, whether a pilot who participated in the helicopter operation, or a resident of the area during the time of the events who might have some background.

To report leads on the 1980 Cash-Landrum UFO, contact
Post a Comment