Michael D. Swords, Ph.D, Reporting on the Cash-Landrum UFO Investigation
UFO historian Michael Swords reported on paranormal conferences in Pursuit magazine (Pursuit: Science is the Pursuit of the Unexplained), and in two of his articles he covered lectures by John F. Schuessler discussing the Cash-Landrum case. Case historians will be interested to see what details were discussed at the time, and what notable details went unmentioned. Further, Dr. Swords offered his expert analysis and historical context for the case and its investigation.*
Pursuit 84 Second Quarter 1984News From Another World: The Nebraska UFO-Cryptozoology Conference
reported by Michael D. Swords
November 11, 12, 13 of 1983: Ray Boeche, Nebraska State
Director for the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), engineered
one of the finest Fortean conventions in· recent years. Big Guns,
J. Allen Hynek (Center for UFO Studies), Walter Andrus
(MUFON), and Roy Mackal (International· Society for Cryptozoology),
headed a sparkling cast of experts who kept the audience
and the press crackling with interest. ABC television
featured the activities nationwide.
The mysteries of living dinosaurs, out-of-place animals, lake·
monsters, spontaneous human combustion, UFO abductions,
crashed saucers, and cattle mutilations paraded before the conferees
in an inspired format: four speakers per day, scheduled
half-hour question and discussion sessions behind each talk, and
one and a half-hour discussion sessions for all speakers at the
end of the day. The interchange· was dynamic and intimate.
Everyone shared in the exchange. Even the experts learned some
things. Thank you, Ray, for an extremely good show.And, now to business …
|John F. Schuessler|
John Schuessler is a key researcher in MUFON and an
employee of McDonnell Douglas Astronautics, working with
NASA on Sky lab and the Space Shuttle. He reported on the
"Cash-Landrum" close encounter incident in Texas, involving
health damage to the percipients. This case hints. very strongly
of governmental secrecy.
Driving on a quiet country highway, two older women and
the young grandson of one of the women were surprised by a
diamond-shaped object with two rows of blue lights laboriously
blasting fire from its underside and struggling in the air.
Flames seem nearly to reach the car from over one hundred feet
away. One of the witnesses felt that Christ's final coming was
at hand. As the device, "big as the watertower,", groaned slowly
across the trees, it was joined by at least 23 helicopters of the
large twin-rotored military kind. The whole ensemble moved
off and the witnesses continued home.
Later, all three experienced a barrage of symptoms classical-,
Iy related to radiation sickness. A MUFON radiology consultant
stated, "we have strong evidence that these patients have
suffered damage secondary to ionizing radiation. It is also possible
that there was an infrared or ultraviolet component as well. "
As health and behaviors changed, both women lost jobs (one
of them even lost ownership ,of businesses) and their lives altered
markedly. Naturally, they would like some compensation if they
were innocently damaged by some military activity.
Attempts to track, down the cause of the incident have been
completely unsuccessful. All military bases in the area deny any
knowledge and consequently; any responsibility. Some people
in the UFO field see this lack of evidence for military involvement
as an indication of the likelihood of extraterrestrial involvement,
even hailing this as "the most important UFO case in
years. " Some have gone so far as to suggest that aliens disguise
their craft as helicopters to throw us off. Most of PURSUIT’S
readers, it might be ventured, have come up with a lot less complicated
alternative for this case: no UFOs, a lot of secret military
There are plenty of reasons to guess "U.S. Military Project"
on this one:
1. there were loads of "U.S. Military" helicopters in the
story, and there are many of that type of device in several
bases in the area;
2. on that very night there was a 100 helicopter operation
elsewhere in Texas, so such an activity would not be
3. the "UFO" was blasting flames from its underside - very
unusual for a UFO-incident, but rather common for "earth-technology;
4. the witnesses noted the odor of "lighter fluid" in the air;
perhaps liquid hydrocarbon ("gasoline-like") rocket fuel?;
5. the U.S. Military has ample reason to tell us nothing on
this case even without extraterrestrials being involved (for
one, a possible secret vertical takeoff military device test;
for another, little incentive to take responsibility for irradiating
citizens with a snafu'd test).
To this reporter, there are two really sad things about this case:
One, that Mrs. Cash and Mrs. Landrum have had so many difficulties
and there seems little chance for justice and compensation.
This is by far the most important outcome of this experience.
Two, this incident points out the danger of' “wanting
it too badly" by some UFO enthusiasts. Since there is such a
conceivable alternative hypothesis (U.S. Military test), we certainly
shouldn't be hailing this as the most important case in
years, nor scrambling for "disguised helicopters" theories to
firm up the extraterrestrial hypothesis. To John Schuessler's
credit, he has stayed quite objective about this case and is
primarily driven by humanitarian concerns for Mrs., Cash and
Landrum. Others haven't kept as cool, however, and seem not
to recognize the danger of selectively believing the military
whenever it fits their theories (i.e. the military is constantly accused
of covering everything up, but is believed in this case
when it says that the "object" was not its device). This doesn't
mean that there's no chance of UFOs in this "sighting," but
it should indicate that, as of now, there's no evidence of any
concrete kind to support that' speculation.
|"diamond-shaped object with two rows of blue lights"|
Pursuit 87, Second Quarter 1985
Meet E. T. in St. Louis: The 1985 MUFON UFO Symposium
by Michael D. Swords
Most of the nation's leading "alien watchers" convened at
the end of June, 1985 to see what they had se~n. Some of them
had searched for alien bodies, some for secret documents, some
for landing marks, and some for medical evidence. They all
agreed that UFOs are real and probably extraterrestrial. It was
the national MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) convention in St.
|Peter A. Gersten|
The fourth presenter was Peter Gersten, a New York lawyer
and a leading advocate of abolition of UFO secrecy in government
documents. Gersten compared UFO evidence to trial
evidence, stating that evidence for the reality of UFOs exists
"beyond reasonable doubt." He created an analogy between,
the acceptability of witness testimony in criminal cases and in
UFO cases, noting that often one credible witness is "Sufficient
to convict a criminal whereas thousands of UFO witnesses are
available to "convict" the UFOs. This line of reasoning lacked
"conviction" to this author, however, as criminal cases require
"motive" and "opportunity" to be obvious in such open
and shut witness testimony cases, and neither is obvious in the
UFO situation. "Opportunity," especially here, would refer to
whether extraterrestrials and their spacecraft exist in our air space
at all, and without solid determination that premise, the witness
testimony fails ... particularly if there is "motive" and/or "opportunity"
for the witness to fool or be fooled.
Several other points of interest were made:
a) An important Air Intelligence Report on analysis' of flying
objects in the U. S. has been obtained through the
Freedom of Information Act. Its job was to "examine the
pattern and tactics of flying saucers;" its conclusions included
that "the origin of the devices is not ascertainable"
and that "it must be accepted that some type of flying objects
have been observed." The report was reprinted in
the July 1985 issue of the MUFON Journal.;
b) Gersten knows that some government documents have been
"leaked" after they have been falsified by adding bogus
information, which does wonders for the search for truth;
c) he 'reminded us that evidence received via hypnosis and
lie detectors is not admissable in a court of law; and that
evidence by "anonymous" informants is merely hearsay;
d) so far as is known there is no government documentation
on abduction cases, and that crashed-saucer cases have
essentially nothing supporting them admissable in a court
of law . Or to put it another way "Habeus corpus we ain't."
|John F. Schuessler of MUFON|
John Schuessler, an aerospace engineering manager working
on most of the famous NASA projects became interested in
UFOs naturally as to their technology and their mode of propulsion.
He has been led into an investigation of close encounters
which resulted in physiological and medical effects as an oblique
approach to what the forces involved may be. Mr. Schuessler
is another case of the advanced, disciplined, and analytical
researcher needed in ufology. Very serious and precise in his
approach and never catering to the emotionalism or fantasy some
speakers feel their audiences need, he laid out the best medical
cases from his experience in ufology and commented upon their
significance. In general, the symptoms seem the products of
radiation, often mutating or "ionizing" radiation, occasionally
even nuclear or particulate (so-called "hard" or penetrating)
radiation. Sometimes we are dealing with generalized burns,
sometimes patchy or shaped burns or marks, sometimes more
thorough effects such as hair loss or erratic growth. Many times
the common signs of dizziness, headache, nausea, disorientation,
et al are present. In the now-famous "Cash-Landrum"
case' where two older women and a grandchild were exposed
to a roughly diamond-shaped vehicle belching a powerful exhaust
(and accompanied by U.S. military-type helicopters) more
spectacular and dangerous effects (inc. rapid deterioration and
lesions of the skin) were present. This last case is important to
understanding the UFO phenomenon as the U.S. government
has now stated (since Peter Gersten is suing it for damages to
Mrs. Cash and Mrs. Landrum on grounds that this was a secret project
vehicle gone awry) that although it agrees that a device
of some sort was present in the incident, that it was not a U.S.
technical craft of any sort. So ... have they (the government) spun
a weird sort of intermediate lie, or was it really a non-U.S. production?
And if not "us," who?
_ _ _
*Note: Dr. Swords comments were based on some case details now revealed to be inaccurate, but otherwise his analysis is still relevant.
Should Dr. Swords wish to give an updated opinion, I'd be honored to host it!
Should Dr. Swords wish to give an updated opinion, I'd be honored to host it!
Pursuit is now archived online by
Pursuit - SITU journal (Ivan T Sanderson)
A special thanks for Isaac Koi for leading me to this (and a great many other things).