Tuesday, January 21, 2014

MUFON vs. APRO, Allegations, Accusations & Countercharges

The Cash-Landrum UFO Case Backstage Drama 



"I am concerned that Betty Cash and Vicki and Colby Landrum may be merely pawns in some kind of game." - Coral Lorenzen



This historical correspondence released here needs an accompanying UFO politics and history lesson longer than I can provide.  So, I’ll try to give it a basic and informal introduction instead. 

In the days when giants roamed the Earth, there was a feuding, territorial situation with rival groups trying to stake claims on UFO cases. Jim and Coral Lorenzen founded APRO (the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization) in 1952 and for years it endured while other UFO organizations came and went.  MUFON (the Mutual UFO Network) was formed in 1969 by some discontented members of APRO over a difference in policies. Jim and Coral Lorenzen saw Walt Andrus, John Schuessler and his upstart MUFON group as traitors who’d led a mutiny. Publicly, however, there was a stated shared goal that UFO groups would cooperate and share data. 



Jim and Coral Lorenzen of APRO

When the Travis Walton case hit in 1975, APRO tried to own it and there was some controversy over how they handled the case, and to strain their dysfunctional relationship further, MUFON labeled the Walton affair a hoax. In 1981 when the Cash-Landrum case surfaced, APRO couldn’t effectively investigate it due to the distance involved, so they passed it on to a small independent research group called Project VISIT (Vehicle Internal Systems Investigative Team) chiefly because they were based in the Houston Texas area and near the witnesses.  John F. Schuessler, while MUFON’s Deputy director, was also the leader of Project VISIT, but VISIT was not MUFON.

Initially, it was a VISIT case, but soon became soon a MUFON property, prominently featured in their journal and annual symposium lectures.  The reporting of the case almost came almost exclusively through Schuessler, but at first he shared case files with the other major UFO groups including APRO. When the Lorenzens had questions about the evidence, their inquiries went unanswered, causing them to seek answers elsewhere. The resulting APRO column ignited a feud between APRO and MUFON, or at least between Coral Lorenzen and John Schuessler. The feud had the Cash-Landrum investigation squarely in the center, and the battle was fought in scathing letters which were distributed to a circle of UFO insiders and associates.



John F. Schuessler of MUFON


The exchange is a fascinating look behind the scenes, an emotionally charged swap of allegations, counter-charges, mud slinging and rumors. Along the way, a few factual case matters were discussed, too.

APRO Bulletin article firing the first shot.

Some highlights:

APRO insinuated that Andrus, Schuessler and Hynek had ties to the US intelligence community.

A rogue member of APRO intercepted the story and sold it to the Weekly World News.

Schuessler was unaware of any road repairs to the UFO incident scene until 1982.

Bill Moore was circulating a story that the UFO was a secret USG nuclear-powered vehicle.

APRO made bold charges in print that the UFO was definitely a military test craft.

APRO stated that by Schuessler promoting the event as a UFO, he intentionally or not, was allowing the USG to disavow it as their project.

APRO accused Schuessler of withholding case details including medical records.

APRO charged that MUFON was desperate for a good UFO case and was milking it for publicity.

In response to APRO’s US secret project allegations, Schuessler told Lt. Col. Sarran to question them.

Schuessler rejects their charges and accusation, accusing APRO in return of being sensationalistic.

Schuessler denied allegations that the US is paying Betty Cash’s medical bills (but does not disclose  they are partially covered by Medicare). 


APRO charged that by presenting the UFO as ET,
Schuessler was aiding the USG in a cover-up.

 
John Schuessler's annotations, correcting and refuting APRO.

Many of the topics mentioned branch into other complex areas which will be discussed later. Grab your favorite beverage, a notepad and dig in. Previously only seen by the UFO elite!

Index of Documents (26 pages)

1 Cover letter from Coral Lorenzen  to Robert Barrow 7/19/1982
2-3 APRO Bulletin Vol. 30, # 6 Cash-Landrum Case by Coral Lorenzen
4-8 J. Schuessler to APRO 6/29/1982
9-14  C. Lorenzen to J. Schuessler, 7/6/1982
15 Attachment: Vickie Landrum letter to APRO, 10/31/1981
16 Attachment: APRO’s letter to VISIT (case transfer) 2/20/1981
17 C. Lorenzen  to Robert Barrow  status report, 7/27/1982
18 J. Schuessler to C. Lorenzen, 8/15/1982
19-20 C. Lorenzen to J. Schuessler, 8/24/1982
21-26 J. Schuessler annotated Cash-Landrum APRO Bulletin articles.

A note about the image quality: These scans were made from second-generation or later copies, sometimes of old carbons. In cases of the worst images, attempts were made to adjust for clarity.

PDF link to documents: 


APRO letter dated 2/20/1981 transferring the C-L case to Schuessler & VISIT.




A special thank you goes to Robert Barrow for furnishing the missing pieces of this documentation. 
Also check his blog about the classic film,  UFO: The True Story of Flying Saucers 

Additional document sources were the collections of Philip J. Klass, and Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle.


Friday, January 17, 2014

One of Ours? Earth Technology Candidates for the Cash-Landrum UFO

Cash-Landrum UFO Suspects: Military Tech


If the Cash-Landrum UFO incident in December 29, 1980 could have been a military operation, the leading candidate would be a  Delta Force exercise by Task Force 158 practicing for a rescue of American hostages held in Iran. If the UFO was part of this, it must have been intended to serve a specific and necessary purpose for that mission. Based on the mission needs and what the witnesses saw, two of the most logical possibilities are either a battlefield illumination system, or a vehicle to provide transportation of the hostages. I’ll cite some known experiments along those lines and suggest a few past projects that were designed for similar purposes. Most of these possibilities, however, do not suggest causes of injuries reported in the case. If it wasn’t an alien space ship or a WASP II, what was it?

The following is a visual checklist of candidates I gathered in 2012. Some of this equipment might have played a role in this or other UFO cases.*


V/STOL Rescue Vehicle?

Vertical or Short Take Off and Landing vehicles are desirable when areas for landing strips are not available. The embassy building where the American hostages were being held offered no landing strip for a rescue mission except for a nearby soccer stadium. In an effort code named Credible Sport, Lockheed modified at least two C-130 Hercules planes, expanding their lift surfaces and equipping them with a series of rocket thrusters to allow them to make use of an  incredibly small landing strip for the size of the plane.







On a test flight on October 29, 1980, a crash destroyed one of the planes and the program was reportedly scrapped. The test was top secret and developed at breakneck speed, ignoring standard safety protocols. Credible Sport was developed as an Air Force project. Is it possible that they had other vehicles in development for this mission, or that other military branches were conducting tests?

Project Nite Fite Test?




There were tests run on systems based on the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system (STARS). From the JTF (Joint Task Force) Capability Review:
“Project Nite Fite investigated the possibility of using a hot air balloon mated to existing in-flight satellite recovery systems. The system would be capable of recovering 7-10 personnel on a single pass.”

          

Airfield Illumination Device?

The bright light produced by the UFO is puzzling if it was part of a rescue operation. Task Force 158 was drilling for night missions using night vision goggles, which seem incompatible with airfield or battlefield illumination techniques.
Click for larger view
The light may have been produced by a powerful military flare of some kind.







High-Powered Helicopter Spotlight?


The most mundane scenario is that the UFO was an Army helicopter outfitted with high-powered illumination equipment. With the beam directed towards the witnesses, they would be unable to see past its brilliance to identify the vehicle.
                                                                                   

  
Nightsun searchlight used to simulate a UFO.
National Helicopter Service & Engineering Co.
                                                             


Carbon Arc Searchlights were designed, and built as a searchlight to search out, and illuminate enemy aircraft at over 20,000 ft during World War II. It has a 5 ft, 5 mile beam length visible for over 35 miles. 
Further details and history of searchlights: http://www.victorysearchlights.com/



These are just possible candidates to investigate; ones that had a military connection and a reasonable chance of being in play on that night in December 1980. While none of these are a perfect match, it is worth examining the military technology in use at the time that could have produced UFO reports.






*Notice the frequent use of question marks, a journalistic tradition to make the author sound like he's really on to something while just clutching at straws.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Not a UFO, Not Bigfoot, but a Mysterious sighting of a Vanishing Cat

And now for something completely different...


Working outside in the morning, I found cat tracks. Bad news- I have a dog with a feline intolerance of the fatal kind.




Chores continue, but breaking for lunch, I see a cat in the edge of the trees.



I move closer and see that it's an unfamiliar cat,





a gray and white one, a bit like this.

Random similar cat pulled off the Net.


Closer still, getting concerned the cat is not moving, fearing the worst,




wondering if somehow, the allegedly murderous dog got out.




At some point, maybe 15 feet away, the cat seems to change form, and in its place, 



I see something with writing on it. Closer inspection reveals it to be the empty of a bag of sand, blown away from one of my morning chores.

So, I had to go back and look up a word I'd heard, pareidoliabasically that's when you see something like an empty bag, but your mind thinks it matches a cat instead.

This kind of thing has happened to me many times before, but this time, I had a phone camera handy to recreate it. Usually, even after scary false alarm, the memory of it soon fades away.

Funny thing is, if I had looked away and the wind had carried it into the woods, I'd have fiercely sworn the cat simply ran away.

A true story, and I am prepared to produce the bag in a court of law. Some of you may be asking yes, but what about the very real cat tracks? 

Not all mysteries are fully solved!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Exposure to Flying Saucers: Your life may change!


This is an autobiographical piece of sorts, where I look at my memories of being exposed to the notion of Flying Saucers from childhood and beyond.

Me circa 1965,  ready for school.


Roughly the order of exposure, regardless of my love for them:



Past my bedtime, but caught this episode that gave me the creeps!


Not really Saucers, but Ancient Aliens at the Earth's core!

Not really My Favorite Martian, but nothing else on… At least he's friendly!


WE are in control (but lost).
Less scary when we have the Flying Saucer! Space travel goes mainstream via prime time TV.


THEY are in control (but humorless).
A scary show, bad aliens every week!

This is where I got hooked! All the Blue Book classics in four color glory!


An examination of alien races, featuring Orthon and the Flatwoods Monster!


After that, the first "real" book I ever bought!

 Flying Saucers- Here and Now!  by Frank Edwards!
And this book had pictures of real flying saucers!
They can't put it in a book if it isn't true!

 And in the news...

The first UFO case I remember on the news, mostly due to it happening in my home state of Mississippi.

The Pascagoula (Hickson/Parker) Alien Abduction


Through the 70s, I read every UFO book I could find in the library (not many, but free). Along the way, I also had interest in many other sensational things like the NASA programs, comic books, Bigfoot and Fortean weirdness. The only movies I recall seeing about UFOs were Chariot of the Gods (spooky), and later, Close Encounters (disappointing). By 1980, my interest in UFOs was waning, but a film advertised as if it were a documentary caught my attention.

WHY WON'T THEY TELL US?
I actually took my mother to see this!
Hangar 18 was so bad it may have killed my interest in the topic. After seeing it, I just drifted away to more concrete and productive interests. I still loved science fiction and monster movies, though!

If a UFO show came on, I'd watch it, but there was all this very weird stuff about abductions, probing, cutting cows and Cosmic Watergate… pretty ugly and unbelievable stuff. Later, it was more entertainingly served up on the X-Files, which I didn't realize at the time was basically a filmed adaptation of the 80s "darksider" UFO mythology.


Years passed, and I happened to watch a film on Netflix about Gray Barker, a flying saucer writer who was equal parts trickster:

Shades of Gray


I became fascinated with Barker and tried to learn more. Reading about him, I kept seeing mention of a friend and co-conspirator of his who was also featured in the film. Having not found my answers in the literature, one day I wrote him a letter. Before long, the phone rang, 
"Hi, it's Jim Moseley…"



The conversation was interesting, the first of many.

I was back in the grip of the saucers...

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Area 51, the CIA and Cold War UFOs: TD Barnes

TD Barnes on Area 51, the CIA and Cold War UFOs

In Mirage Men, Mark Pilkington discusses how Dr. Leon Davidson thought some UFO radar appearances were man-made, created for covert counterintelligence purposes. Pilkington discussed the use of a program used to create radar "ghosts," Project Palladium, and how it could be used for this purpose.


TD Barnes, president of Roadrunners Internationale, was kind enough to answer some of my questions about his work at Area 51 and the purpose and capabilities of the CIA radar program known as Project Palladium.


TD Barnes



Q: What can you tell me about Project Palladium?

A: Gene Poteat was a fast-rising star in CIA who headed up the project. (See link below for more technical and operational details.) As you will see, the CIA Project OXCART at Area 51 was the purpose and need of Project Palladium to determine if we would be able to safely overfly Russia with the Mach 3 A-12 Blackbird intended to replace the U-2. We were very hot in the arms race at the time and didn't have a clue what the Russians were up to. 


Eugene Poteat and TD Barnes


Q: Was Palladium or another radar spoofing system used on China in the early 60s? I'm wondering if the "ghost planes" it could generate explain the story told in Above Top Secret by Timothy Good:
"Miles Copeland, former CIA organizer and intelligence officer, related an interesting story to me involving the Agency's attempt on one occasion to use fictional UFO sightings to spread disinformation. The purpose, in this case, was to 'dazzle' and intoxicate' the Chinese, who had themselves on several occasions fooled the CIA into sending teams to a desert in Sinkiang Province, West China, to search for nonexistent underground 'atomic energies.' The exercise took place in the early 1960s, Copeland told me, and involved launching fictional UFO sighting reports from many different areas. The project was headed by Desmond Fitzgerald of the Special Affairs Staff (who made a name for himself by inventing harebrained schemes for assassinating Fidel Castro). The UFO exercise was 'just to keep the Chinese off-balance and make them think we were doing things we weren't,' Copeland said."

A: I'm not sure the project name of the spoofing action in China. We were doing a lot U-2 overflights of China and losing a lot of planes in the process. I recall our training a group of Taiwan Chinese at Groom Lake in 1969 in a C-130E to drop motion and light sensors in the desert of northwest China to gather intelligence on the Chinese nuclear weapons development program. These were palletized sensors that looked like ordinary rocks that they dropped out of the back of a C-130 over Locknor and Zhang Sinzu area. 


"TALL KING" parabolic shaped radar antenna
CIA Saucers?


Though I have no first-hand knowledge of UFO disinformation, I don't doubt for a minute that we did it. Our U-2 and Blackbird flights were UFO sightings that we really didn't want to occur, especially the CIA A-12 whose existence we wanted to keep secret. In the A-12 alone, we flew 2850 flights out of Area 51 and many of them were responsible for UFO sightings. The Air Force Bluebook investigators having to make up stories to cover for us caused a lot of the skepticism that exists today. Psy-Ops by all parties were a major component of the Cold War, but in our case we preferred to be undetected.  


A-12, CIA plane built by Lockheed.




Thanks to Mr. Barnes for answering my questions. For more information on him and his work, check out http://roadrunnersinternationale.com/

For more information on Project Palladium, see Gene Poteat's article, 
Stealth, Countermeasures and ELINT 1960-1975 pdf



Monday, January 6, 2014

Cash-Landrum Case versus Nuclear Accident Response Methods

Radiation Accident: Field Exercise


If the Cash-Landrum UFO incident involved an accident producing a radiation leak, and  a military cover-up, they would have had to use standard equipment and techniques to deal with the aftermath. The video below is of a test showing the Government response to a nuclear weapons accident resulting in area contamination.

"The NUWAX-81 Nuclear Weapon Accident Exercise documents the Defense Nuclear Agency (now renamed the Defense Special Weapons Agency) directed response to a simulated nuclear weapon accident in the vicinity of a hypothetical California town. Other agencies involved included the Department of Energy (DOE), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and State of California emergency response teams.
The film summarizes the highlights of six days of field exercise play, involving over 600 accident response personnel at the DOE Nevada test site in April of 1981."

This film was made the spring after the Cash-Landrum encounter of Dec. 29, 1980, so it should provide an accurate picture of the response methods and materials available. It's not an exciting film, but worth a look for the historical connection to the case.








The NUWAX-81 Nuclear Weapon Accident Exercise
Defense Nuclear Agency Educational Documentary

   

The pieces don't fit very well in the puzzle. The film shows that a response to a radiation leak would have been so big, it would have disrupted the surrounding towns, an operation that would have been noticed. Also, the witnesses' injuries in this case were not consistent with "radiation burns" and hospital tests did not indicate exposure to radioactive materials. Trying to link the case to radioactive materials may have been a false trail.



Documentary footage courtesy of:
wdtvlive42, who hosts hundreds of U.S. historical films:
"Transport and general interest movies from the past - Newsreels, old documentaries & publicity films."