Friday, December 11, 2020

40 years and the Cash-Landrum UFO Case


The 1980 Texas Piney Woods UFO incident is one of best known, thoroughly documented cases in UFO history. Much of the enduring appeal of this story is due to the investigation of it led by John F. Schuessler, then deputy director of MUFON, but the other reason is the dramatic story itself and the apparent credibility and sincerity of the witnesses. 2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the case, and this provides links to research, articles, and documents on the legendary Cash-Landrum UFO story.

 On December 29, 1980, friends Betty Cash (51), Vickie Landrum (57) and Vickie's grandson Colby (one month shy of 7) had been out for the evening. Betty was originally from Alabama, Vickie from Mississippi, and both had been living in Dayton, Texas, for many years. Betty had owned a truck stop cafe where Vickie was employed as a waitress. Colby lived with Vickie and she was his legal guardian. Although Betty had undergone heart surgery in 1977, all three were reported to be in good health at the time. 

For anyone unfamiliar with the case, Vickie’s call to report the UFO incident is a good place to start. 

Vickie and Betty eventually connected with UFO researchers and the media, but they got no real help or answers. In late July 1981, Senator Lloyd Bentsen replied by letter to Betty, advising her to contact Bergstrom Air Force Base (near Austin, TX) to make an official report and file a damage claim form. The three witnesses gave statements to AF officials during a lengthy interview. It was recorded and later transcribed, and it provides us with the closest thing we have to the witnesses giving their story in court.

From their own lips: Betty, Colby & Vickie tell their story

While they were in Austin, Vickie visited the office of state representative - Larry Browder, which led to an investigation of the UFO sighting in the fall of 1981 by the Texas Department of Health’s Bureau of Radiation Control. It was the first official investigation of the case, and the results were ignored by UFO investigators since they were unfavorable. 

Myths, Mistakes, Rumors, and Legends

In the absence of many solid facts, rumors and speculation flourished, and some of the stories took a life of their own. Here’s articles on some of the myths and misinformation, and how they were disproven. 

  • The allegations that a stretch of road on FM 1485 was burned and secretly removed:

Cash-Landrum UFO Case: The Legend of the Scorched Road

  •  Locating a CH-47 Pilot from the UFO mission:

  •  The Helicopter SNAFU:

Cover-Up: 100 helicopters- Robert Grey airfield, came in, for effect

  • The witnesses’ testimony was overwritten by UFO investigators:

The Cash-Landrum UFO: The True Picture

Despite all the exaggerations and distortions, most people familiar with the case think that there's still something genuine at the story's core.   

Where the Case Stands Today

The rumors, myths, and mistakes are piled high, and the problems with the case seem insurmountable. While the UFO investigation was flawed, it does not necessarily reflect on the credibility of the witnesses. Whatever happened, the story transmuted into legend long ago. All that has surfaced in the 40 years since amounts to stories. Even so, the case remains an enduring mystery, and there are lessons to be learned from studying it.

Since 2012, Blue Blurry Lines has been gathering documentation on the Cash-Landrum case, and in 2017, published files previously unseen from the original investigation. Readers can see for themselves the differences between the information that was gathered, and the story that was spun around it.

The Original Cash-Landrum Case File, 3/4/81: Transcript & Analysis

There's much more to the case than the original report, however. For the complete set of documents on the events, investigation and aftermath, see:

The Cash-Landrum UFO Case Document Collection

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