Sunday, March 16, 2014

Skeptic Proclaims the Cash-Landrum case was a "Crude Hoax"

When Robert Sheaffer covered the story about my publication of Texas Department of Health’s report on their Cash-Landrum investigation, it began a hit and run debate on his site that has continued to spill over to other discussions. The most objectionable comments were made by zoamchomsky who has made accusations (laced with insults) against Betty Cash of causing her own injuries. I wrote a piece on this, which contains a link to Sheaffer’s article and reprints one of zoam’s charges:

I’m eager to discuss the Cash-Landrum case here, and have presented new and reprinted articles discussing it from many perspectives, including skeptical analysies of it. I’d hoped to contact him to get a guest article, but received no response.  Somehow the topic was stirred again in a discussion of Sheaffer’s article,  The 2014 International UFO Congress, Part 5 (last):

zoamchomsky's online face

March 8, 2014 at 3:45 PM
That's why it's called a myth and delusion, deano, you and others believe these stories are true when there's no good reason to think that they are. There's certainly no evidence. Even the best "UFO" stories are mere anecdotes, and all of the "evidence" ever presented by Believers is really crummy.
So you see the problem? You believe in the existence of some extraordinary thing based only on highly fallible human perceptions and their subjective narrative creations. These stories consist of the teller's failure to identify an ambiguous visual stimulus, and the details are mostly confabulated afterwards according to a culturally supplied generic "UFO" script as it has grown, evolved and mutated over decades.
You know, like Betty Cash's attention-seeking simple-minded mashup of the Maury Island hoax and the Hills' flying-saucer "abduction" fairy tale. Both Bettys had read a lot trashy flying-saucer magazines and watched a lot of science-fiction movies and television. Or Terauchi's laughable "spaceship" scare over Alaska and the "UFO" myth and delusion-supplied and completely imaginary "scout ships" and the "giant mothership." Terauchi was so totally steeped in "UFO" mythology that he admitted to thinking of a famous "UFO" case even while his silly "UFO" scare was occurring!

Like you, they all had some level of difficulty distinguishing fiction and fantasy from our one scientific reality where "UFOs" of any kind do not exist and never have. No rational adult believes a bit of this nonsense, deano, the totality of real-world facts are incongruent with the existence of "UFOs." The idea that there could be unidentified objects of any kind haunting our atmosphere and nearspace and all the world not know it is absurd.
Even the best "UFO" stories are fundamentally unsound; the process of "UFO" reporting is questionable with ambiguity resident in every step; and the very idea of "UFO" reporting--that a failure to identify is worthy of consideration--is itself the very core of the absurd "UFO" delusion.

Please study this monograph and begin to help yourself out of your juvenile false belief about the world--your "UFO" delusion.

Peter Brooksmith asks him a few questions about his comments, but we are focusing on Cash-Landrum here, an excerpt:

The Duke of MendozaMarch 9, 2014 at 2:54 PM
Zoam he say: “Both Bettys had read a lot trashy flying-saucer magazines and watched a lot of science-fiction movies and television."If that’s the case with Betty Cash, (a) I haven’t heard of it, which isn’t necessarily significant :-) and (b) where did you get this fact(oid)?
Just stories?

That’s where I came in,
Curt Collins March 10, 2014 at 4:19 PMZoam, I too would like to know more about where you heard about: "... Betty Cash's attention-seeking simple-minded mashup of the Maury Island hoax and the Hills' flying-saucer "abduction" fairy tale. Both Bettys had read a lot trashy flying-saucer magazines and watched a lot of science-fiction movies and television."

I've looked for any evidence to support prior UFO interest and haven't found it. If events were fabricated, I feel it more likely they'd be working from "Close Encounters" or TV's "Project UFO" as source material. Also, I don't understand why you need to have Betty injure herself. Wouldn't it make as much sense to invent the story around the illness?

Lastly, Betty's narrative of the story was sketchy, so you should be considering Vickie Landrum as the architect of your hoax scenario. She had a more active role, and a developed narrative of the scenario from the beginning, and she was the one to contact police and NUFORC.
He had a brief reply that I considered a non-answer, and I challenged him to produce facts, or at least a hypothesis that matched the facts. I thought it was fading away, but he responded in greater detail.
zoamchomsky feels there were media precedents to the C-L case.

zoamchomsky March 14, 2014 at 3:41 PM Since Curt has devoted himself to C-L and wants us all along on his misery trip:
"We thought it was the end of time." --Betty Cash
"If you see a man it's gonna be Jesus." --Vickie Landrum
Curt; If you don't see the unintentional hilarity--and self-exposing tell--in those unnecessary details added to this flying-saucer fairy tale for pure effect, then you might be just a bit too... credulous!
Exactly like the ridiculously stupid and impossible details of heat and radiation, which--if true--would have burnt them immediately and killed them in days! And the very same is true of every other bit of their fantastic celestial, and horribly noisy, event over northeastern Houston that somehow tens of thousands failed to observe, an event that--if real--would have made LIVE TV news but didn't!
"...over toward Crosby and Intercontinental Airport was the way they were."--BC Yeah, right, Betty! And let's hear that East-Texas drawl again: "We thought it was the end of time."

Curt; Most if not all of the skeptics here, Gary Posner and Phil Klass think C-L was a hoax, none or very little of their story is true or that it could not possibly have happened the way they tell it, and that their superficial injuries were self inflicted. Now, how is what I've said about this crude hoax substantially different?
And how can determining that it was a crude hoax and none of it ever happened be comparable to credulously believing that it all happened as they say and the flaming object the size of a water tower was a nuclear-powered black project? That doesn't make sense. It's Betty's simple fairy tale that has ZERO evidence.
As I said about flying-saucer fairy tales that offer photos as "evidence." Once the hoaxed photo is exposed it becomes real evidence that the saucer story is a lie. Without real-world corroborating evidence of any kind--no possibile helicopters--their injuries become real evidence of only one thing: Hoax for attention and with the hope of monetary gain--always the main motivators for dumb "UFO" hoaxes.

Repeating here, so you have an opportunity to address points unanswered:
And for a sketchy, hackneyed, scripted "UFO" fairy tale for which there is not a single bit of supporting evidence, and that real-world knowledge, experience and circumstances indicate not only the high implausibility of a real event but hoaxing by the purported "witnesses," what can be the only logical determination, Curt?
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. In logic, probability, and in real-world practical skepticism, the absence of evidence is evidence of absence. So evidenceless "UFO" stories aren't simply unproven, they're rightly dismissed as having never occurred. "Feelings" about some truth to the story are irrelevant.
You want science? The default position for any proposition/claim is the negation of that claim, the Null hypothesis. Show how any part of Betty and Vickie's highly implausible story--an utter and complete negative factually--could be true, okay?
Now insult me more, call me names on your blog for bothering to speak with you about your obsession over what was never anything more than a crude hoax for attention and money become inconsequential tabloid trash in 1981. Belief that it was more than that and obsessing over the details thirty years later is pointless.
- - - 

Curt Collins, on the C-L case

I thank zoam for taking the time to outline his thoughts more clearly. Well, I have to admit it would be more fun to insult him and call zoam names, but I need to get back to work on the case. Buried between his barbs, he does make several interesting points. My focus has been on reexamining the facts in the case, and in doing so I’ve uncovered some apparent (trying to be diplomatic here) inaccuracies in the details reported in the investigation. While I am concerned about the veracity of the original claims, finding out how a botched investigation led to the international publicity and legal action against he U.S. government is even more fascinating to me. What I’m trying to say, is that the case is important from several standpoints whether it is based on a hoax or not. 

I had hoped zoamchomsky had something solid to back up his allegations of hoax. There are some nagging inconsistincies beyond things the investigator may have inserted while trying to jazz up the case. The witnesses do make some inconsistent statements, and there are a few plot holes in their story, but I’ve found no evidence of a hoax. Still, it would be interesting to have all the “inconvenient facts” gathered in a presentation to see what mosaic picture forms. Working from memory, I don’t think it will line up to match zoam’s accusations, but we will see where this road goes


  1. Perhaps we are not talking about an outright hoax. Maybe there was "something" in the sky that night that got them excited to the point of thinking it was "a sign". However, additional details (like the fleet of helicopters) were added after prompting by UFO investigators. After all, it only takes a bit of prompting to change one or two helicopters into an entire fleet as well as the type. There are a lot of details that point towards a potential fabrication after the fact but, IMO, there seems to be a kernel of truth to all of this that got them thinking they had an encounter of some kind. Perhaps the ice pillar theory or something else (like a single helicopter with a bright spotlight). I doubt we will ever know for sure.

  2. Tim, what you say sounds plausible. There's a blank in the narrative and we don't know the first version told of the story, only what was said when Vickie Landrum called it in to NUFORC on 2/2/1981.

    By the way, I recently came across a helicopter pilot who flew CH-47s with Special Forces just a few years after the incident alongside men who "should" have been involved. No "war stories" of UFOs surfaced. He's provided me with technical details that confirm how unlikely the helicopter part of the story is. About the only bread crumb in a positive direction is that he said his men did not benefit from the holiday stand-down period and would have been on duty between Christmas and New Year's Day.

    Good to hear from you, and thanks for your comments!

  3. I'd like to add briefly to Tim's comments, the history of aviation accident investigation (Which I've read about, not participated in.) is littered with well meaning (And sometimes not so well meaning...) witnesses who take whatever it was they saw and over time, sometimes with the prompting of the media turn it into something more 'spectacular'.

    The best example I can think of right now would be the 1952 Farnborough Airshow crash, where thousands of people 'knew what they saw', in defiance of both newsreel footage of the event and the results of the subsequent investigation.

    1. I know what I saw have dozens of pics showing many craft none have been or can be debunked they were there and I hope you never see a family member assaulted or killed because according to YOUR OWN words your evidence is useless It doesn't work For Us unless it works for everyone shall we auto release every single prisoner from the prison and I hope no member of your family is ever assaulted yeah we need to release most of the prisoners Because most of them have been sent to prison on Far less evidence then the UFO have It's like saying that the 509th bomb group the only atomic group in the world So project mogul would have been Part of their job since it would test for atomic weapons And then insultthe people that have the keys to the atomic bomb By saying they would be beers A Balloon with a space shipp00 and then shortly after that after committing the biggest blunder in history all were prompted yeah right that's logical

  4. "But the break-up, ( Farnborough Airshow) happened in less than a second - too fast for the mind to recall with any accuracy. "

    Doesn't seem to apply to C-L which is said to have lasted a few minutes.

    1. It does not matter if an event takes a split-second or several minutes, the same memory processes apply.

      The best time to get testimony is right after the event. It is a real pity that Cash and Landrum did not write down their experience as soon as they got home.

  5. The "trials" of "UFO" cases are akin to that of courts of law in which a logical argument made on circumstantial evidence is all that is required for decision. Ambiguous visual stimulus or not, they manufactured "evidence" so it's a hoax.

    Just because one tells a "UFO" story doesn't mean they've seen anything at all; not all "UFO" stories are misidentifications of ambiguous visual stimuli. Over the last century, hundreds of "UFO" stories tell of landings of unambiguous airships, balloons, mystery airplanes, flying saucers, other imaginary spacecraft, and of their human-like or otherworldly pilots and crews interacting with human beings.

    The details of these stories are variously so bizarre and having known fictional antecedents, mundane and of purely human concerns, or some combination of elements and situations that reveal them to be wholly implausible and complete fantasies. They are all utterly inconsequential fabrications for which there is most often not one bit of evidence. The motives for concocting these stories is another topic, but the fact is that people do tell "UFO" stories when no real event has occurred.

    [Curt wants real evidence of a hoax] And when they manufacture "evidence" to support their story it's called a hoax. Like some phony flying-saucer photo, Betty and Vickie's stupid self-inflicted injuries were merely evidence that the event of their otherwise evidenceless and laughably impossible story never occurred.

    After young David tells his flying-saucer story to the police, his abducted and Martian mind-controlled mother tells them: "He's been reading those trashy science-fiction magazines. He's completely out of control!"--Invaders from Mars, 1953.

  6. As if I hadn't made the case for crude hoax abundantly clear, [ Zoam keeps denouncing the incident because of the "Christian/prophecy" remarks.]

    Correction, deano: I dismiss their claims because there is ZERO evidence an event even occurred; and because if it had occurred as they claim, all of the tens of thousands of residents of Kingwood and northeastern Houston would have seen it too. An event of the magnitude they describe and in such proximity to Houston would have been LIVE TV news! But it wasn't because it didn't happen!

    And then there's no source for the twenty-three Chinooks either; and the very idea, the physical how, of twenty-three helicopters controlling a glowing flaming whatever the size of a water tower simply doesn't make any sense. It's narrative overkill, as if the naive teller of this tall tale thinks a greater number of helicopters makes for a more impressive story, when it's really just another hoax-exposing tell since it's not logical. Twenty-three Chinook helicopters are no more likely to be able to corral and wrangle a glowing, flame-sputtering, radioactive whatever the size of a water tower any more than three, thirteen or forty-three. It's just stupid.

    Then they all flew over to Houston Airport, according to the guileless Betty. ... As if that's believable!

    And then given that their injuries were superficial and simply did not require any cause more extraordinary than a heat-lamp or household chemicals, I don't think my hammering on these very obvious problems is overstating the case for hoax.

    Now, the fact that Betty--as if according to a script--repeatedly included in her interviews the sentence: "We thought it was the end of time," and Vickie would include her attempt to calm Colby by telling him that he would see "Jesus" and that "he was gonna take us to a better place," when such apocalyptic/theophanic tropes are hackneyed devices of science-fiction and 1950s Contactee flying-saucer fairy tales, is only deliciously hilarious icing on this half-baked and fallen fruitcake of a "UFO" story as concocted by two simple-minded fifty-something East-Texas women. Such unnecessary inclusions when we know their source material--their "UFO" script, just as millions of others do--only further exposes their crude hoax.

    "We Thought It Was The End of Time!"--National Enquirer headline for this story!

    Curt; It was tabloid trash in 1981. Even then it was a retro sort of "UFO" story: Maury Island 1947; Hills 1961; Falcon Lake 1967.

    Best of Luck!

    1. Thanks for your reply. While I disagree with your opinion, I'm wiling to discuss the issues you raise. If the story is fabricated, I don't think it wouldn't require awareness of some of the arcane cases you reference. After all, Close Encounters of the Third Kind had been rereleased earlier the same year, and it presented a cut-and-paste narrative that included elements of most of the top UFO legends. I've looked hard to find the kind of "tell" you seem to feel is there to reveal the story as being derived from knowledge of UFO cases or fiction. The closest thing I've come across is what seems like an affected reference to the UFO as "the object."

      Also, I think you are mistaken about the medical problems. Whatever the cause, Betty Cash's problems were genuine. What is less certain are the problems of Vickie and Colby Landrum. Neither were hospitalized for their condition, but Vickie did see her eye doctor about her vision complaints. IF there were phony injuries, the Landrum's would be the area to examine. For example, the small patch of hair Colby lost seems to be consistent with exposure to a small pair of scissors.

      Another problem with your scenario is the timing and content. The story surfaces only about three weeks after the incident, and it is related more like a hit-and-run accident with a military exercise than a UFO encounter. Precise documentation is lacking, but apparently the UFO interpretation was made more by the listeners hearing the story than what the witness themselves said. Certainly, the UFO groups and tabloid press promoted it as a UFO story. So, I think you are wrong, if it was fabricated, the purpose would have been to fleece the US military, not pitch a flying saucer story.

      Another thing that bothers me, the story is not even good enough to be a lie. There seems to be no plot to it, beyond furnishing a vehicle for the injuries. Most hoaxers are vain enough to put themselves in a starring role in their story, being singled out above all others on Earth to receive love from above… If it was a hoax, they were a one-hit-wonder. Many of the fakes continue to have further adventures throughout their life, but this was not the case with the C-L witnesses. While there is the small matter of a $20,000,000 lawsuit, they otherwise did not seek to capitalize on the incident. They appeared on a few television programs, but didn't write a book or do UFO lectures and engage in the things that say, a Travis Walton would do.

      I want more evidence in this case, pro or con. My personal conclusion is at the core, there most likely was a genuine event, but it was distorted first by emotional witnesses and later by agenda-driven UFO promoters, not to mention the tabloid press machine. Once the story was trimmed to fit into the UFO paradigm, it was placed to become what it is today, a cautionary tale of three poor people victimized by the UFO cover-up.

  7. I'm sorry, but "zoamchomsky" is just being obnoxious and the shouts of "HOAX" remind me too much of the recent claim that the 1964 Socorro, NM UFO sighting was a practical joke pulled by area college students who had it in for Officer Lonnie Zamora. (No former New Mexico Tech student has come forth claiming responsibility as far as I know.)

    I have to agree with Curt Collins; whatever this was, it was a one-time event unlike Ed Walter's Gulf Breeze photos. I never believed the "defective military prototype" idea because it seemed insane to test an aircraft like it over a populated area. If the case was a scam to bilk the Pentagon, it would have to be the greatest longshot in legal history and a more prosaic story would have made more sense. To me, this was one of those bizarre happenings that went horribly wrong.

  8. Colby Landrum (now well into adulthood) would disagree with you...


    1. Anthony, I'm not sure who your comments are addressed to, but I'll assume it deals with the title of this piece and zoamchomsky's allegation of a "crude hoax." After participating in an interview of Colby on Podcast UFO last December, I was in email and telephone contact with him for several weeks, before contact lapsed.

      Colby insists the events are true, but his memory of them seems very subjective and contains many gaps. He distanced himself from the case for most of his life and didn't closely follow details of the legal case or media coverage over the years. While he now feels the urge to get the word out and keep the case alive, re-living the experience is deeply unpleasant for him. I'm eager for him to share and do more, things have to proceed at a pace and method he's comfortable with.

      Whatever happened that night, it surely left its mark on Colby.

    2. Interesting discussion. So, am I to understand that the well documented medical data regarding radiation exposure does not constitute a form of evidence? Also, the roadbed & car involved exhibited the effects of extraordinary heating as well as the tops of trees on both sides of the road. Combined with Betty's death from radiation poisoning, I have to submit that taken together, they constitute an altogether remarkable "prank" for a couple of elderly women. Forget about the other witnesses, including a Sheriff. They were no doubt "in on the gag".

      For the record...I was a field investigator for Project V.I.S.I.T. during that period, so having personally examined some of the data, my take on this event is somewhat slanted.

    3. Don, thanks for your comments. I've been unsuccessful in getting the other members of VISIT to comment, and I'd be interested in hearing more about the original investigation. I've got much data on the case, but have been unable to locate the original VISIT report or the photos showing damaged trees or roadway. Please contact me at


      Curt Collins

  9. Donald R Tucker writes, "Betty's death from radiation poisoning...."

    Betty Cash died in 1998 at the age of 71--eighteen years after her "UFO" HOAX.

    [Most probably, writes Phil Klass] "Betty’s death certificate shows that her demise resulted from 'heart failure.' Schuessler’s MUFON article made no mention of a few key facts about Betty Cash’s health problems. For example, four years before the UFO incident, Betty underwent heart bypass surgery at the age of 47. Barely two years after the UFO incident, cancerous lumps were discovered in Betty’s right breast and it was removed. Two months later, Betty suffered a heart attack and a month later she underwent surgery to remove her left breast. In early 1997, Betty suffered still another heart attack. So far as is known Betty never suffered from or was treated for leukemia or other radiation-induced health problems. (Shortly after the UFO incident, Schuessler used a geiger counter to check for the presence of radiation in Betty’s car but found none.) Vickie Landrum—now age 77—and her grandson Colby seemingly have not suffered any long-term adverse health effects."

    "We thought it was the end of time." --Betty Cash

  10. Vickie Landrum to the NUFORC within five days of the non-event:

    "There was nothing happened to me but my eyes is burned."

    [Vickie displaying self-inflicted injuries to arm]

    As if we needed even more real evidence that this impossible "UFO" story was nothing but a crude hoax for attention and money.

    "I thought that the World was coming to the end... I told my grandson not to be afraid, that if he saw something come out of it, that it would be Jesus."

    "And we counted 23 helicopters. It might have been more."

    "And I mean this is not a hoax- I’m not calling you for a hoax."

    "I’ve been afraid to call- afraid that somebody would think I was- you know, that it was a hoax."

    And rightly so, Vickie. But call you did. Another tell there, protesting too much.

    Something's rotten in the state of Texas, methinks.

    1. zoamchoamsky, I won't address your opinions, but there's a factual error.
      "Vickie Landrum to the NUFORC within five days of the non-event"
      No, the date was December 29, and the NUFORC call was made February 2.

    2. Yes, Curt, thank you. You're right, the call was in February so it was more like a month and five days later. But the fact remains: Vickie initially reported "There was nothing happened to me but my eyes is burned," while photos (dates unknown but presumably later) purport to show localized spotty burns or scars from burns to the arm, hand and forehead resulting from exposure to heat radiating from the "UFO."

      Not only are the self-inflicted injuries as "evidence" in the photos contradicted by her earlier statement, a distant radiating source could not produce localized effects. So like the rest of their impossible fairy tale it's laughable, not even plausible.

  11. Hey, "zoamchomsky," I have a question for you:

    Why don't you use your real name instead of a pseudonym?

    You seem to be an extremely opinionated, and often very insulting, debunker of all things UFO-related, and I was wondering just why you don't stand behind such often vituperative commentary by using your real name.

    Care to give us all here some kind of explanation for that?

    It just seems to me that hiding behind a pseudonym is sort of dishonest, in ways.

    1. Scientific skeptics deal in facts and reason. Self-styled ufoolergist, bereft of facts and reason, deal in logical fallacies. Here we have one doing the desperate ufoologist's ad hominem fallacy, since the fundamentally absurd "UFO" delusion has all but evaporated.

  12. Nice little diversionary non-answer, Zoam.

    Ad hominem insults to boot, as usual.

    But, you did not answer the question:

    Why don't you use your real name instead of a pseudonym?

    Is it because you don't want to be accountable for your persistent slanders of others?

    Or, your misstatements of fact regarding the UFO phenomenon, and that by using a pseud you avoid responsibility for your unfounded accusations and distortion of the historical record of some still truly unknown, but well-documented UFO incidents?

    Why won't or can't you answer these quite obvious and simple questions?

    1. Scientific skeptics deal in facts and reason. Self-styled ufoolergists, bereft of facts and reason, deal in logical fallacies. Now we have one appealling to the Fairy Tale fallacy: Long ago and far away in some Believers' counterfactual fantasy world there are substantial "UFO" reports that they pretend have not been debunked thoroughly and repeatedly over decades.

      Excellent! I would ask him to name what he thinks are the best of these "UFO" fairy tales but he won't even address the fatal facts of the HOAX in front of him.

  13. Yet another puerile, diversionary non-response, "Zoam."

    It's obvious you don't want to say who you really are. That's OK.

    My question now is, just _why_ is that? What are your concerns?

    What prevents you from even mentioning why you use a pseudonym? Is that also a secret?

    Never mind for the moment who you actually are, what are your reasons for using a pseud in the first place?

    That's a pretty straight-forward, direct question, without ad hominems, isn't it?

    Or is that too difficult for you to reply to, also?

  14. First "Steve" assumes zoamchomsky isn't my name, then assumes that there must be an insidious reason for having what is an innocuous real or mere screen name.

    Paranoid much, "Steve?" Conspiracy-minded? You bet you are! (vbg) In fact, your posts are exemplary answers to your pointless self-inflicted puzzlement. Otherwise, what's an Internet identity, an intentional non-identity or any reason for that anonymity to you? It's simply not an issue. The subject is the "UFO" myth and social delusion--specifically the 1980 Cash-Landrum hoax as an expression of the delusion.

    Native Scientific skepticism and the Null hypotheses destroy the tired myth; the PSH destroys the delusion by exposing and exploding the reasons for belief.

    Don't see any ad hominems in my posts; stating facts about stupid ufoolergists' tricks--fallacies so well known that they have established names--is hardly name calling. But ignoring the subject, Betty and Vickie's crude hoax, and trying to make a Scientific skeptic's identity the subject is the definition of a slimey ufoolergist's ad-hominem diversion. Get it, "Steve?" Address this blog's subject, if you're capable.

    I say it was an obvious crude hoax from the get-go. It's an impossible story. It simply could not have happened the way they tell it. It's a simple amalgam of earlier specifically identifiable and generic "UFO" tales recast in 1980 by a couple of simple-minded East Texas women--who had been exposed to the paranoid and apocalyptic "UFO" myth and delusion for all their adult lives--for attention and money, the very same motivators of "UFO" hoaxes since 1896.

    Vickie initially reported "There was nothing happened to me but my eyes is burned," while photos (dates unknown but presumably later) purport to show localized spotty burns or scars from burns to the arm, hand and forehead resulting from exposure to heat radiating from the "UFO." Certainly Vickie would know and would say if she had been burned. But no, Vickie got burned later, somehow....

    And relatively distant radiating sources cannot produce localized effects composed of well-defined spots. As with the rest of their phony "UFO" narrative, it's nonsense, it's simply not the way things are and work. One cannot be NOT burned after a "UFO" encounter and later exhibit burns attributed to that event and be believed by rational people. Just as one doesn't later claim that "We thought it was the end of time" but during the event, get out of her car and walk towards that frightening apocalyptic vision of intense heat and light for a closer look and be taken seriously because no one, not even good ol' Betty, would do that.

    Address those glaring contradictions, "Steve." Or is it more preferable and convenient to keep this fractured "UFO" fairy tale in the long ago and far away counterfactual fantasy world where "UFO" reports subsist only by Believers ignoring the fact that they've been debunked thoroughly and repeatedly over decades.

    I'm curious, "Steve," as I ask all unfortunate victims of the "UFO" myth and delusion: Do you really hold these bizarre, demonstrably false beliefs about the world--even though they're utterly destroyed by the Null and Psychosocial hypotheses, and the failure of ufoolergy and the ETH, etc--or is it just an intentionally stupid anti-intellectual protest, worthless punk posturing, an antiscientific contrarian act for attention?

    ufoolergy is history; let's make belief in the myth and delusion history as well.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. I am a former USAF historian and this case has fascinated me since I saw it as a child on "That's Incredible" and then read a more detailed description in a set of a sort of unexplained mysteries encyclopedia in my high school library.

    I don't quite buy the hoax story nor do I buy an ET explanation. A US Government explanation is still my guess.

    Curt makes excellent points about the problems with the helicopters being present but as some other commenters have said, don't assume 23 is an accurate number. The number might have been very small: in a tree-lined highway without a full view of the sky, four circling helicopters might have seemed like 16.

    Also, everyone wonders why test such a craft in a populated area. That presumes that was the intention. We don't know whether this craft was manned or remotely controlled. Either way, it was likely WAY off course and thus very much in trouble. Whatever helicopters were dispatched were probably to prepare to cordon off where it might crash. The US military has plenty of experience recovering classified aerospace craft and sanitizing the crash area.

    Also, if there were indeed helicopters, that goes against any ET explanation. If an alien or even a foreign aerospace craft had been detected, NORAD would have scrambled fighters, not Army helicopters to pursue it. (To be fair, the 1986 JAL UFO sighting involved a KC-135 being asked to check out the sighting as it was airborne, but that was one aircraft diverted, not a flight or squadron or more). Again, if helicopters were present, it suggests to me someone in the government/military knew exactly what that thing was.

    As for keeping something under wraps, I can point to a few examples. First, the Army's Delta Force is classified and yet is an open secret. To my knowledge, only two men have ever written books about its selection process: Colonel Beckwith and Eric Haney (I'm not sure if General Boykin covered it in his book). There are bloggers here and there who write some details of it but they cannot all be verified. So in the history of the unit now almost 40 years, only two authors has gone public with that aspect of the unit.

    If there was a USAF or CIA or Army unit involved in the recovery of this craft, we don't know how big it was. It's likely fewer people have passed through it over 33 years than have passed through Delta since 1977.

    Also, in 1996, I was at Bolling AFB at a seminar when a historian mentioned the declassification of Project Ox-Cart. Nobody knew what the hell that was. I had a buddy there from National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Pat. NASIC knew all about all the cutting edge stuff worldwide. He was a big plane nut and he'd never heard of it. We soon learned it was the CIA's Lockheed A-12. Some details of that aircraft had been released over the preceding years but in that room, full of Air Force historians with far more service time than me, not a single one had ever heard of it.

    Tacit Blue is another example of a covert aircraft that "came out of the blue." When it was declassified in the mid-90s, it took all of us again by surprise. Sure, those connected to the project at Groom Lake knew it, but nobody else had. Unlike the "F-19" rumors in the 1980s, nothing had leaked out in the pages of Aviation Week. I suspect if the Air Force had not chosen to declassify it, nothing would have ever leaked about it. One reason I believe its secret was so well kept is that there was just one Tacit Blue ever made. Again, whatever that diamond was, if it was built by Uncle Sam, there probably was only ever just one.

    Of course, with potential lawsuit exposure, the Government would have many reasons to keep this craft classified.

  17. Great comments, Chris. I've tried to find a connection between the events and any program or military operation, but just haven't seen anything solid. If you have any ideas on how it could be proven or disproven, I hope you'll post ot write.

  18. Curt

    I'm not sure there is a way to prove or disprove DOD/CIA provenance of the diamond craft.

    In recent months over Amarillo, triangle craft have been photographed by legitimate aviation photographers. These are clearly some advanced ISR or perhaps strike aircraft and almost certainly USAF. But no further details have come forward,no leak. These craft did not harm any individuals on the ground nor did they do anything remarkable except take on a totally new appearance from say, a B-2. One day, they may be declassified. Or like the possibly mythical "Aurora" which has some supposed visual/aural sightings, we may never get an explanation.

    I want to detour a bit and say the balloon explanation does intrigue me. It would account for the dark object with light coming at the bottom. But I am not sure how you get its flame or even some sort of strobe light to be so bright as to be blinding witnesses on the ground. And a chase helicopter makes sense--but not more than one or maybe two at most. And a balloon would not cause physical effects on the women, if indeed the object did do that. You'd also think any balloonist in the area would have come forward by now to say "our bad"...unless they were fearful of a lawsuit.

    But back to black projects. I think we should discuss what mission this diamond craft could possibly have. In all this story's literature I read about "secret test craft" and the like. But to test "what?" Nobody seems to ask that question.

    And remember the year, 1980. The Space Shuttle was still a year from flight and the last US manned spacecraft had been launched in 1975. I want to be clear I am speculating here but I can imagine the DOD and maybe CIA were not particularly pleased not having any manned access to space.

    I also think of a comment my NASIC friend once told me. I asked him if he had any data on SSTO (single-stage-to-orbit) craft in his archives. He told me had found a lot of interesting stuff but I wasn't cleared for it.

    Curt has already made the connection the DC-X SSTO test vehicle. This diamond craft, if not a balloon or a hoax, has to be some kind of SSTO craft. I can speculate that perhaps it was on its reentry when it went off course into Texas, prompting a scramble to recover it.

    The Limited Test Ban Treaty presumably bans nuclear space propulsion so I could see why if the craft used some sort of nuclear fuel why it would need to be classified into 2014. As for how such a craft could cause injuries to the witnesses, I do not know. Perhaps instead of ionizing radiation, the women were exposed to leaking fuel and/or vapors? Has anyone looked into what propellant would do if skin was exposed to it?

    Anyway, the USAF has long been interested in its own rapid access to space. Propulsion and its cost are the major stumbling blocks to any spacecraft. Nuclear or some advanced propulsion might have been seen as a shortcut. Clearly this craft was a one-off or not a success in and of itself. There may be other black programs since it or the USAF may be happy with technology like the X-37B.

    So to sum up Curt, we won't know more unless someone leaks. And as I tried to make my point above, the smaller the program, the fewer people involved to leak. And if it is CIA or USAF-owned, you'd expect a major lawsuit from Colby and his family. So there's no way this is going to be acknowledged any time soon if in our lifetime.