Showing posts with label Dr. Peter Rank. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dr. Peter Rank. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

UFOs, Fame and Anonymity


Anonymity is a contentious issue in UFO research, drawing criticism for relying on unnamed witnesses, undisclosed sources, and the use of pseudonyms by authors and researchers. Then there is the UFO field’s long problem with the many types actively seeking attention, such as show business personalities, snake oil salesmen, cosmic televangelists, and hoaxers. Meanwhile, some sincere people who have had their name published have been subjected to ridicule, harassment, and the loss of their jobs. How can ufology seek truth and transparency while safeguarding the privacy of individuals?

Dr. Rank's Proposal

Dr. Peter Rank (1935-1988) was the Director of the Department of Radiology of the Methodist Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. In the 1980s, he served on the board of the Fund for UFO Research (FUFOR) and as a medical consultant for the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON). Dr. Rank is perhaps best remembered for consulting on the famous 1980 Cash-Landrum UFO case in relation to Betty Cash’s medical issues. When the U.S. Army investigated the case, Col. George Sarran sought out to Dr. Rank for his thoughts. The documentation shows that Rank was interested in cooperating with the investigation, but he desired “no public attention” relating to the UFO case.

Leonard Stringfield’s work on UFO crash retrievals received much criticism for relying almost exclusively on anonymous witnesses. Dr. Peter Rank supported Stringfield’s work and defended him in an article in The MUFON UFO Journal, March 1982, page 16. The key portions discussing the issue of identity exposure are reproduced below.

Witness Protection: A Comment

by Peter Rank, M.D.

For a generation now UFOlogists have been unconsciously assuming that "the Journalistic Model of reporting" is the one which demands the most credence. Information published in the media demand that such stories reveal the who, what, where, when, and why of the incident reported. It is assumed that such complete disclosure lends authenticity to the story involved and indeed is a requirement for believability. Most UFOlogists have adhered to this principle whenever possible. Such full disclosure according to the Journalistic Model has been counter-productive. In many cases, foreknowledge that their names would be published in the popular media has driven away UFO witnesses and certainly has driven away any informants who cared to comment anonymously about the Crash/Retrieval-Syndrome. 

It should now be clear to all dedicated UFOlogists more than a generation after Kenneth Arnold’s sighting, that a different manner of reporting UFO information than the Journalistic-Model is required. Perhaps another alternative should be adopted, Specifically the Medical Model of reporting scientific information, and do so in, accordance with case history technique. Medical literature frequently has need of describing objective and very personal information about patients. The literature is replete with such case histories. In all cases the patients’ anonymity is respected and the patient identified only by initials. These case histories are never challenged on the grounds that the patients full name is not disclosed, and the underlying integrity of reporting is assumed as a matter of fact. 

Might it not be useful for us to adopt a similar approach? Both witnesses and informants would thereby be protected. Witnesses could then report all their data to serious researchers with the clear knowledge that they and their families would never be identified in any publication which might provoke the popular media to descend upon them like locusts at a feast. Informants, many of whom are discussing information that is highly classified, perhaps several levels above the well known Top Secret category, may then feel free to "go public" with their information" without fear of retribution. This would encourage others to come out of the closet, and allow considerably more information to develop about the Crash/Retrieval Syndrome.  

There is obvious journalistic precedent for this practice. Journalists are, and always have been, very protective of their sources and have insisted in courts of law that their sources remain anonymous. Legal attempts to force journalists to reveal sources of their information have failed. This guaranteed anonymity has served as a mighty bulwark of a free journalism. It could also serve as a mighty bulwark for a more liberated investigative UFOlogy. 

…I have personally talked to a UFO witness, a CE-III subject, and several military types, and most seek to guard their privacy. It is quite clear that our first responsibility is to consider these people as "patients" who first of all need our assistance and support, and who need our guarantee that their privacy and good faith will not be abused.

Stigma and Unwanted Attention

Dr. Rank had those privacy concerns for himself. In 1983, Florida journalist Billy Cox interviewed him his analysis of the Cash-Landrum case for the Dec. 4, 1983, edition of Today.: “The doctor’s credentials are impressive: head of the radiology department at a major Midwestern university, a former medical school teacher and a former Army flight surgeon.” Rank didn't want his name published, and said: 

“I'm not afraid for my reputation that is not the issue. The issue is, this whole UFO business attracts all sorts of psychiatrically marginal people. And then they get on the phone and they wanna waste your time and they call you during practice hours and all that garbage and I don't have time for that.”

The use of pseudonyms by legitimate researchers is not that an unusual practice in academic work. Their identity is generally shared with a few trusted colleagues, but not publicly shared, due to security or privacy concerns. As for government of industry whistleblowers, leakers etc., could be handled with the journalistic model for anonymity, where the source’s identity is known only by the author and at least one editor. The emphasis should not be on the name of the source, but on the veracity of the data.

From Col. Sarran's notes talking to Dr. Rank:
"no public attention"

The Missing Ingredient

Science, medicine, and journalism have professional standards. Ufology is mostly populated by amateurs with little or no oversight. As it is, no more trust can be put in anonymous sources than in the testimony of imaginary friends. Ufology must abandon its entertainment-based model and grow up and adopt an ethical code of professional conduct. 

There is a place for anonymity in ufology exactly as Dr. Rank suggested decades ago. The identities of witnesses should be handled like those of patients in a scientific or medical study, where the data is shared, but not their identity and personal details. That would deny any charlatans and hoaxers the fame they seek. More importantly, it’d protect witnesses and encourage more people to speak openly their UFO sightings without the fear of exploitation or ridicule.

. . . 

For Further Reading

Neuroskeptic. “Anonymity in Science.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences vol. 17,5, 2013: 195-6. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2013.03.004 

Keerie, Catriona et al. “Data Sharing in Clinical Trials - Practical Guidance on Anonymising Trial Datasets.” Trials vol. 19,1 25. 10 Jan. 2018, doi:10.1186/s13063-017-2382-9

The New York Times:  How The Times Uses Anonymous Sources, June 14, 2018

Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Cash-Landrum UFO Case Document Collection

The following is a list of important documents, reports, correspondence, news and magazine articles relating to the investigation of the December 29, 1980 UFO encounter reported by Betty Cash, Colby and Vickie Landrum.

When possible, links are included to the material hosted on the Internet.
As new items become available, this page will be updated.

Who's Who in the Cash-Landrum UFO Case

Vickie Landrum's initial UFO incident report to NUFORC (the National UFO Reporting Center), from 2/2/1981. The recording of the historic telephone call that launched the investigation.
Vickie Landrum's UFO report to NUFORC,  Feb. 2, 1981

Betty Cash & Vickie Landrum Tape Recording Made At Parkway Hospital in early February 1981 transcribed and published in The Cash-Landrum UFO Incident by John F. Schuessler

Betty Cash’s hand written statement for the records of Parkway Hospital, 2/7/81

The First Newspaper article
The Conroe Courier printed the first mainstream press on the case, 
Cathy Gordon's 2-part story: 
"Two women share terror of mysterious encounter" Feb. 22, 1981
"Investigators eye ‘close encounter’" Feb. 23, 1981
Photocopies of the articles are located within the PDF of the Texas Department of Health files:

Weekly World News March 24, 1981 
(published early to mid March) "3 SURVIVE UFO ATTACK"

Preliminary Cash-Landrum report by John Schuessler and Project VISIT, March 4, 1981 
John F. Schuessler’s report on interviewing the witnesses and visiting the sighting location.
Index to the Cash-Landrum Original Case Report 
(All by John F. Schuessler, unless noted otherwise.)
1 - 2 MUFON form: “UFO Sighting Questionnaire- General Cases (Form 1)” with location, sketches of UFO and event data. Name of Investigator, “John F. Schuessler,” “Witness: Vicky Landrum.” Dated March 3, 1981 (“4-3-81”). 2 pages.
3 - 13 Cash/Landrum Case “On-Site Investigation Report, Date: 28 Feb 1981,” Interview with Vickie and Colby Landrum. Handwritten, 11 pages. (Page one on VISIT letterhead.)
14 MUFON “UFO Sighting Questionnaire - Computer Input (Form 2)” “Vicky Landrum”(Basic information on location of sighting and witness data).
15 MUFON “UFO Sighting Questionnaire - Computer Input (Form 2)” “Betty Cash.”
16 -23  Report of meeting and interview with Betty Cash dated 22 Feb. 1981. Handwritten, 8 pages. (Page one on VISIT letterhead.)
24 - 27 Alan Holt, report of (2/28/81) interview with Vickie and Colby Landrum. Handwritten, 4 pages. (On VISIT letterhead.)
28 Al Holt memo: “Conversation with Bill English,” undated. (English of APRO was the first investigator to speak to Vickie Landrum.) Handwritten, 1 page. (On VISIT letterhead.)
29 - 30 Al Holt: “Helicopter Investigation,” 3/10/81. Handwritten, 2 pages. (On VISIT letterhead.)
31 - 33  21 Feb. 1981, 1 pm: “Betty Cash called collect from Dayton, TX” (Phone interview: first witness contact.) Typed, 3 pages. (Page one on VISIT letterhead.)
34 - 35 1st MUFON Cash-Landrum case contact: 20 February 1981,  by phone from reporter Cathy Gordon. “Caller: Kathy Gordon, Conroe Daily Courier...” Typed, 2 pages. (Page one on VISIT letterhead.)
Illustration from the 3/4/81 report.

A Preliminary Report on the Cash/Landrum New Caney CEII Case by Allan Hendry of CUFOS. (Undated, April 1981.) Pages 8-11 of PDF

MUFON Cash-Landrum Case Files (1981 - 1999)
Table of Contents and 9 files, documents totaling 708 pages scanned by MUFON.
Includes case reports, correspondence, legal documents and news clippings.

MUFON UFO Journal Number 158, April 1981
"Radiation Injuries from UFO"
Brief summary of the Project VISIT report written by Richard Hall

Analysis of Betty Cash's Medical Records, Peter Rank, M.D. letter to John Schuessler  
("complete summary report" of medical data) 4/29/1981 (5 pages). PDF pages 3-7

Injuries from chemical agents? VISIT memo: R. Niemetzow called J. Schuessler 7/5/1981 (1 page) PDF page 1

Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle: Cash-Landrum files and Correspondence
Sprinkle hypnotized Vickie Landrum in July 1981, then later for a TV program. Files also contain correspondence from Dr. Peter Rank discussing Betty Cash's medical records and condition.
File 1: (PDF 28 pages)
File 2: (PDF 21 pages)

BERGSTROM Air  Force Base Interview Oof Betty Cash, Vickie & Colby Landrum, August 17, 1981 (unpublished until CUFON circa 1994) Lengthy statements by the witnesses discussing case details with Air force officers. First step in legal case.
Legal Counseling VISIT memo: Bill Shead & John Schuessler met with Betty Cash & Vickie Landrum 8/23/1981 (1page) PDF page 2

National Enquirer August 5, 1981 
"UFO Terrorizes and Burns Three in Car" PDF pages 19-20. This story documents Vickie Landrum's first hypnosis session and the surfacing of the detail of the UFOs' "little blue lights."

John F Schuessler's first C-L case presentation at the CUFOS Symposium

The Spectrum of UFO Research, J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, Mimi Hynek, ed. (1988)
John Schuessler's first lecture on the Cash-Landrum case from Sept. 1981 is presented, and it serves as as an excellent introduction to the case, telling the story of the events, and discussing the early months of the investigation. The narrative of the encounter is followed by speculation about the injuries and their source. Includes photographs, the Q & A session that followed Schuessler's lecture, and his 1988 update on the case.

(Reprinted in UFO Report Winter 1981)

Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Radiation investigation report by Russ Meyer. Investigated scene Sept 16, 1981. 
(Discloses sighting location unknown, medical help refused.)

APRO Bulletin Vo. 29 No. 8 Sept. 1981 Coral Lorenzen, editor

MUFON UFO Journal November 1981
"Cash-Landrum Radiation Case" by John F. Schuessler
MUFON UFO Symposium 1982 (July 2, 3, 4) Toronto, Canada
“Radiation Sickness Caused by UFOs" by John F. Schuessler, M.S.
MUFON UFO Journal January 1983 pg 14,15

APRO Bulletin Vol. 30 No. 6 August 1982 Coral Lorenzen, editor
"Rumors Permeate Cash-Landrum Case" by Coral Lorenzen

APRO Bulletin Vo. 30 No. 9 September 1982 Coral Lorenzen, editor
"The Cash Landrum Case Analysis" by Coral E. Lorenzen

The Unexplained Mysteries of Mind, Space and Time
(UK) Orbis Publishing Limited, Vol 9, Issue 107, 1982.
"Blind Terror in Texas" by John F. Schuessler

DAIG investigation, U.S. Army Inspector General's Office, Washington, D.C., Report by Lt. Col. George C. Sarran
Includes some handwritten case notes.

John F. Schuessler’s VISIT 5/9/1982 report on Sarran’s investigation 
(11 pages w/ cover): PDF pages 21-31 

Helicopter Witness appears: VISIT Investigator's Notes Summary: Interview with John Plaster, Huffman Helicopter witness  9/25/1982 (4 pages w/ cover.) PDF pages 32-35

MUFON UFO Journal October 1982 pg. 3
"Pentagon Investigates Cash-Landrum Case" by John F. Schuessler

APRO Bulletin Vo. 30 No. 10 October 1982 Coral  Lorenzen, editor
"More on Cash Landrum" by Coral E. Lorenzen

MUFON UFO Journal December 1982 pg 8
"Technical Review of Radiation in  Cash-Landrum Case" by Paul Stowe (MUFON Research Specialist in Nuclear Technology)
Followed by comments from Dr. Peter Rank

MUFON UFO Journal September 1983 pg 3
"Cash-Landrum Case Investigation of Helicopter Activity" by John F. Schuessler

John F. Schuessler File: the Cash- Landrum Radiation Case
 The AFU (Archives for the Unexplained) in Sweden hosts an incredible collection of UFO documents, including this batch of newspaper clippings and case files.

Dr. Gary Posner: The Cash-Landrum UFO-Radiation Case
Dr. Gary Posner became interested in the medical aspects of the Cash-Landrum case in late 1981 and conducted his own research, and his site hosts a page presenting his correspondence with people involved, including the previously mentioned radiologist, Dr. Peter Rank. 
Gary P. Posner, M.D.: The 1980 Cash-Landrum UFO-Radiation Case

Radiation UFO Injuries by Richard C. Niemtzow, M.D.
also published in Flying Saucer Review vol 29, no. 3, 1984

MUFON UFO Journal November 1983 pg 12 
"UFOs and Hot Rings" by James McCampbell

MUFON UFO Journal January 1984 pg 3 
"Estimate of the Situation 1984 the (sad?) State of UFOlogy" by John F. Schuessler
discusses APRO’s criticism, claims of USG UFO

MUFON UFO Journal February 1984 pg 7 15 
"UFOS Seen Over East Texas" by John F. Schuessler
(Vickie Landrum provides a tip on another UFO case)

Legal Documents: From the Damage Claims Form to the Attempted Civil Lawsuit
Quest Publication: The Cash-Landrum File: Civil Action No. H84 348
CUFON (Computer UFO Network) also hosts a collection of documents connected to the legal case.
(Note: The Defense conducted an investigation about if the UFO was a US military device. No documents from this investigation have surfaced.)

MUFON UFO Symposium July 1984
"Cash-Landrum Case: Speculation About the Medical Effects" by John F. Schuessler. 

Pursuit: Science is the Pursuit of the Unexplained
First Quarter 1985, pg.18-21
"Diamond Fire- A Close Encounter of the Military Kind" by Harry Lebelson 

MUFON UFO Symposium Saint Louis, Missouri, June 28, 29 & 30 1985
"The Medical Evidence in UFO Cases" by John F. Schuessler.
"Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" by Peter A. Gersten (link to cover and table of contents only)
MUFON 1986 UFO Symposium
"Cash-Landrum UFO Case File: The Issue of Government Responsibility" by John F. Schuessler. 

MUFON UFO Journal June 1986 pg 16 
Letter from Steuart Campbell, Response from Betty Cash.

MUFON UFO Journal July 1986 pg 10
"Cash-Landrum Case Hampered" by John F. Schuessler

MUFON UFO Journal  October 1986 pg 12
"Cash-Landrum Case Closed?" by John F. Schuessler

CIA File: Remote Viewing Session, Jan. 26, 1988
An attempt by remote viewer Gabrielle Pettingell, and the interviewer Ed Dames to identify the object in the Cash -Landrum case. Link to complete 16-page session file:

"The Medical and Scientific Evidence" by John F. Schuessler

(Sturrock Panel) Physical Evidence Related to UFO Reports:
The Proceedings of a Workshop Held at the Pocantico Conference Center, Tarrytown, New York, September 29 - October 4,1997

The Cash-Landrum UFO Incident 
Three Texans Are Injured During an Encounter with a UFO and Military Helicopters 
by John F. Schuessler (1998 LaPorte, Texas Geo Graphics Printing Co) out of print

Peter Gersten's notice of Betty’s death, including an obituary written by John Schuessler. 

Vickie Landrum Obituary
Big Thicket Messenger, Sept. 23, 2007:

AATIP document: Clinical Medical Acute & Subacute Field Effects On Human Dermal & Neurological Tissues by Dr. Christopher (Kit) Green
The Cash-Landrum case is referenced in one of the 38 Defense Intelligence Reference Documents (DIRD), products of the Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program (AAWSAP), a 53 page paper, dated 2009, authored by Dr. Kit Green.

Television Coverage: See this article for a collection of television reports on the case:

If you know of major omissions, please report them to

C. 2013 Curtis L. Collins