Showing posts with label Government UFO file. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Government UFO file. Show all posts

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The US Government’s Cash-Landrum UFO Investigations



The 2017 disclosure of the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP)  renewed interest in the US government’s post-Project Blue Book investigations of UFOs. The Cash-Landrum incident of December 29, 1980, occurred about ten years after the Air Force study of UFOs came to an official close. Documents prove that there was an official interest in the Cash-Landrum case, so it provides a perfect subject to use in a search for evidence of further UFO investigations by government agencies. 

There were several known official inquiries into the Cash-Landrum case, from the local level to the federal government. Some are well-known, while there are others that are virtually unheard of. We’ll look at them all, and provide sources for further information.


Local Police… NASA?

The Cash-Landrum case was not reported promptly, but when Vickie Landrum did notify the local law a month later, but they did not investigate; Chief Waring referred her to NUFORC, the National UFO Reporting Center. After Vickie called NUFORC, the case was passed on to UFO groups, which eventually led to its investigation almost three months after the incident. For those needing a recap of the Cash-Landrum encounter, see Vickie Landrum's Phone Call to Report a UFO Encounter: The Call that Started it All

The UFO investigation was led by John F. Schuessler, an employee of McDonnell Douglas, a contractor working on the Space Shuttle project at the NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Schuessler was deputy director of the Mutual UFO Network, and also ran Project VISIT, his own elite organization of UFO hobbyists. Some of the people they interviewed for the C-L case were under the impression that NASA was investigating the sighting, due to the way the group introduced themselves. Project VISIT’s UFO Hotline cards stated they were “composed of NASA Aerospace Engineers.” Many people heard “NASA,” but ignored the part about them being a civilian and unofficial organization.
See Project VISIT takes a case for further details on Schuessler’s organization. 


Bergstrom AFB Inquiry, Aug. 1981


Betty Cash wrote to Texas senators, Lloyd Bentsen and John Tower describing her sighting and asking for help. The replies she received suggested that she go to the nearest Air Force base to file a damage claims form for her complaint of injuries related to the UFO incident. As a result, on August 17, 1981, Betty Cash, Vickie and Colby Landrum traveled to Bergstrom Air Force Base near Austin, Texas. They were interviewed by Captain John Camp, Acting Staff Judge Advocate, Captain Terry Davis, Claims Officer, and Miss Pat Wolfe, Assistant Claims Officer. The interview provides the best publicly available testimony directly from the witnesses, the closest we have to them being interrogated as if in a courtroom. The meeting was taped, and later transcribed. For more details on Bergstrom interview, see From their own lips: Betty, Colby & Vickie tell their stor

Captain John Camp told them that since Project Blue Book was defunct, there wasn’t much they could do for them. He said:
"My intentions are to hear what you had to say this morning and to try to get it into an agency of the Air Force or portion of the Air Force that could help you. I must be frank with you and tell you that I know of no such part of the Air Force that today investigates these complaints, but on your behalf, I will forward it on... we're an agency that has not investigated UFO sightings in almost eleven years. And then we were, in effect, told by the Congress and the President that we would not be doing that anymore."
Capt. Camp gave the witnesses their damage claim forms and suggested they get legal counsel. There was a brief Air Force investigation, but it was conducted by Camp and Captain Davison themselves following up on the interview. Their associate, Captain James H. Marburger wrote a report dated Aug. 20, 1981, with negative findings: 
"The sighting occurred approximately 13 miles from (Houston Intercontinental) airport… surveillance radar from the airport  would most likely have ‘seen’ the helicopters operating in the UFO sighting  area… the area would be easily observed by pilots arriving or departing... pilots would have seen and reported the incident since it lasted 15 to 20 minutes, and since the 9PM time of the UFO sighting is a fairly heavy commercial airline traffic period."
There were no such reports; nothing on radar, no sighting from pilots, from personnel in the air traffic control tower, or anyone else. The investigation found nothing to confirm the UFO report by Cash and the Landrums, but gathered and filed the information for Air Force files, and later shared with the Army.


Journalist Billy Cox submitted a FOIA on the resulting Cash-Landrum records, and on Aug. 22, 1983 it produced a lengthy file on documents relating both to the Bergstrom AFB visit and investigation (and the Army’s DAIG report which will be discussed below). The contents of that file show a different picture of the military’s involvement with the case than is typically portrayed in UFO literature. Instead of a cover-up, there were numerous instances of government officials expressing interest in the case, and of military personnel cooperating and sharing information. The case documents are found in pages 46 - 81 in the linked PDF below:  


The Texas Department of Health, Sept. 1981


During the trip to Bergstrom AFB, Cash and the Landrums made another stop that led to a government investigation at the state level. The Texas Department of Health assigned their Radiation Control Board after Vickie Landrum visited the office of Representative Larry Browder. Browder ordered an investigation of the event and incident location, and Charles Russ Meyer headed the investigation. On Sept. 16, 1981 Meyer examined the roadway, took soil samples, and the subsequent laboratory analysis showed no residual traces of radiation. They did, however, extend an offer to have TDH doctors examine the witnesses and their medical records, an offer that was not accepted. The TDH files record no further contact, but they did continue to collect some subsequent news clippings about the case.

For further details and the The Texas Department of Health documents, see:


DAIG Investigation, March - May 1982


The Army’s inquiry has been previously discussed on BBL in John B. Alexander on the DAIG Investigation of the Cash-Landrum UFO Incident, but we’ll provide a brief recap.

As a result of the media attention given the case (the TV episode of That’s Incredible! in particular), Representative Ron Wyden from Oregon asked for an investigation into the US government’s alleged role in the C-L incident. Virginia Lampley was given the task at the Air Force, but after determining the helicopters in question were used primarily by another branch of military service, the job was passed on to the Department of the Army Inspector General (DAIG). Lt. Col. George Sarran was given the job, and his specific mission was to determine whether Army helicopters were involved in the incident, not investigate the UFO report. However, to prepare for his investigation, Sarran contacted several ufologists, John F. Schuessler, the primary investigator, his former colleague Capt. Richard C. Niemtzow, M.D., USAF, and Dr. Peter Rank, Radiologist.

John B. Alexander was not named in any of Sarran’s documents, but in his 2011 book, UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities, Alexander described how he and his friend Dr. Paul Tyler were part of the investigation:
"George visited all the units that had similar helicopters... even checked with the U.S. Marine Corps... Being thorough, George made connections with the helicopter fleets of the oil companies that fly crews to the offshore rigs. The bottom line is that no helicopters could be located that could have been involved that evening.
George carried the investigation a step further asking for consultation from me, and two military medical doctors, U.S. Navy Captain Paul Tyler and Air Force Major Richard Niemtzow, both of whom specialized in radiation. Paul and I had worked together for several years in my interagency projects at INSCOM while Richard had prior experience with French UFO cases. Based on the physical evidence available, our conclusion was that the victims were telling the truth and had been exposed to high levels of radiation. However, this case simply defied any conventional explanation."
When I asked Dr. Alexander about the case in a 2013 email, he explained the problems with ionizing radiation from earthly technology as the cause of Betty Cash’s reported injuries, saying that such an exposure would have been lethal:   
“As far as I know, we had nothing that would produce the kind of radiation illness that followed.  My view was that given speed of onset and severity of symptoms, they should have been at LD 100 (at least the two women) from any radiation source that we had.”
Lt. Col. George Sarran’s mission was to investigate the helicopters, not the UFO, but he had taken an interest in it. He found no answers, but of the witnesses, Sarran’s report stated:
 “Ms. Landrum and Ms. Cash were credible. The DAIG investigator felt...,” but the following three and a half lines of his statement were redacted in the copy released by FOIA. A year later, Sarran was interviewed by Billy Cox for the Florida newspaper, Today December 6, 1983, and gave a statement that was probably very close to those redacted lines:
“I have no reason to believe that Vickie or the young man (Colby) or the policeman or John Schuessler or anybody else was lying to me. I didn’t get that impression from anybody or that they were crazy or mentally off balance or something.” 
Lt. Col. Sarran conducted a thorough investigation, and his DAIG report concluded that there was no involvement in the incident by any helicopters; not from any US military branch, government agency, or anyone else.


The Lawsuit Investigations, 1983 - 1984


The original legal move in the Cash-Landrum case was for a damage complaint filed in Dec. 1982 against the Air Force. They were seeking $10,000,000 for Betty Cash, $5,000,000 each for Colby and Vickie Landrum. As a result, there was some kind of investigation by the US government by the Air Force in its defense, but we don’t have the records to indicate the scope of their inquiry. 

The case was rejected, but the attorney Peter Gersten file an appeal. The response come on September 2, 1983, from Charles M. Stewart, Colonel, USAF, Director of Civil Law, Office of the Advocate General in Washington D.C.  The claim for damages was again rejected, and 
Col. Stewart stated, "Our investigation has revealed no evidence of involvement by any military personnel, equipment or aircraft in this alleged incident."

When a civil suit was attempted instead, there was apparently another the inquiry or investigation by the government. All we know is that in 1984 it produced statements from the Air Force, Army, Navy, and also the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The legal documents contain signed statements from each of these officials:
  • Colonel William E. Krebbs, USAF, Chief, Tactical Aeronautical Systems Division, DSC Systems, Air Force Systems Command.
  • Richard L. Ballard, Acting Chief, Aviation Systems Division, ODCSRDA (Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development and Acquisition), United States Army.
  • Vice Admiral Robert F. Schoultz, United States Navy.
  • Robert W. Sommer, Deputy Director Aircraft Management Office, NASA.

The statements indicated that each agency had no aircraft that resembled the description of the UFO. Maybe there’s some undiscovered documentation on the investigation. Each of these agencies may have some scrap of paper in relation to the C-L case, probably a request for the statements, but little else. The legal battle ended when the court case was dismissed for the final time in 1986.

We now know that members of some of the agencies denying knowledge of the Cash-Landrum event had members in a secret organization that was unofficially studying it and other UFO cases.

In part two, we conclude with the Cash-Landrum investigations by the Advanced Theoretical Physics Working Group, and how it relates to other UFO organizations and to the Pentagon’s AATIP.

Continue reading at:

The US Government’s Cash-Landrum UFO Investigations, Part Two


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Cash-Landrum Incident: The Suppressed Case Files


C. 2013 by Curtis L. Collins

     The physical evidence in the Cash-Landrum UFO incident is much of what makes it such a compelling and enduring case. Another key factor is the reputation and expertise of the case’s chief investigator John F. Schuessler who had the difficult jobs of seeking evidence, promoting the case and protecting the witnesses. The medical records have been long protected by Schuessler, citing the privacy of the witnesses as reason for withholding them. What is less widely known, is that there was other case evidence that Schuessler chose not to share. Part of that evidence, a previously unknown government UFO file will be made publicly available here for the first time.

Complaint C-12, Cash-Landrum file from the Texas Dept. of Health



     In the summer of 1981, Schuessler was busy preparing a presentation on the case for the September Center for UFO Studies symposium. Meanwhile, Vickie Landrum and Betty Cash were working on the case themselves. In late July 1981, it seemed their efforts were beginning to show results. Senator Lloyd Bentsen replied by letter to Betty, advising her to contact Bergstrom Air Force Base to file a report and claim for damages, stating that “...they will be most willing to assist you in any way possible.” Betty took a flight to Texas, and together with Vickie and Colby, made the long drive to Austin to visit the base. On August 17, 1981 they finally came face to face with Government officers. Their hopes and expectations were high, perhaps unrealistically so, due to the effusive tone of the letter. Base officials merely questioned them about the events, then explained that the Air Force no longer investigated UFO cases. The witnesses were told there was nothing the Air Force could do beyond providing them with damage claim forms. They were profoundly disappointed, and it proved to be just one event in a long series of false hopes.

Some news clippings set the stage for the report:
Before leaving Austin that day, the three paid an unscheduled visit to their state representative - Larry Browder, D-Coldspring. Browder was out, but an aide was alarmed enough to take notes. She promised to do what she could. Trace Effects: The Cash-Landrum Incident by Billy Cox Florida Today 12/6/83
At the request of state Rep. Larry Browder, D-Coldspring, the Texas Department of Health’s Bureau of Radiation Control is investigating the Dayton incident.
“We came into this thing fairly late in the game,” said Russ Meyer, manager of the state’s public health department in Houston.
On Sept 16, he drove the stretch of road where the sighting is supposed to have occurred. His radiation detection equipment did not find any traces of remnant radiation in the area. He also took soil samples, but their testing of them is not complete yet.
“If there had been radioactive contamination in large amounts, some would still be left there,” he said. However, he said certain types of radiation - such as ultraviolet light, infrared light and low-energy X-rays - might not leave any residual traces.
Meyer has recommended that the trio’s medical records be reviewed by the state health  department’s medical advisory board. Specialists he said, could differentiate between radiation and symptoms that could be attributed to such things as chemical toxins. 
-The Houston Chronicle, TX, Sept 25, 1981 State, private agencies probing claims of UFO encounter by Cindy Horswell
Reporter Billy Cox later questioned Meyer about the investigation: 
Department chief Russ Meyer, spent a whole day - Sept 16- scouring a 10-mile stretch of open highway between Huffman and New Caney. “Our major purpose was to verify the presence of radioactive trace effects, but we found no evidence of that. The only conclusion we could draw was that there was no residual radioactive material in the area at the time. If those people suffered radiation contamination in that area, it must have had a short half-life.”-Trace Effects: The Cash-Landrum Incident by Billy Cox Florida Today  12/6/83
Meyer apparently felt the witnesses were credible:
“I have no doubt those women saw something,” he said. “But as to whether they were zapped with radiation, I don’t know. They could have been exposed without there being any residual trace long the road.”-The Courier Conroe TX, Oct. 30, 1983 6A UFO victims plan to file $20 million suit by Cathy Gordon
     The events springing from August 17, 1981 trip to Austin and the information that came from it were apparently not pleasing to John Schuessler, who downplayed their significance and  concealed the information and reports produced. Schuessler said of the the Bergstrom interview “It revealed revealed nothing new” (MUFON Journal Oct. 1982), but examination of it reveals some witness statements that contradict Schuessler’s version of the story. Instead he claims that the meeting was a failure, another act of US Government refusing to help the victims. In reality, the advice and damage claims forms obtained at that meeting led to the filing of legal case, and the publicity given to the witnesses allowed their story to be heard by the public.

     The other witness meeting with Government representatives on August. 17 led to an investigation by the Texas Department of Health’s Bureau of Radiation Control. The TDH report revealed that there was no residual radiation found along the road, but they were not dismissing the case. They made an important offer: they were interested in continuing the investigation, starting with their doctors examining the medical records. There is no documentation of it in the TDH files, but Schuessler refused or ignored the State’s offer to help the witnesses.


Internal TDH memo repeating report desire of examining witnesses' medical files. Denied.


     There is another piece of information in the TDH report that was incidental in their investigation, but has immense significance to the UFO case history. Charles Russ Meyer began his TDH investigation by contacting Vickie Landrum on September 2, 1981. She gave him a brief description of events and suggested he contact John F. Schuessler, for further details. Meyer and two TDH associates met with Schuessler September 10th. Schuessler provided them with a detailed account of the events and the medical treatment given to Betty Cash. Meyer needed to start his investigation with examining the scene for traces of radioactivity. he asked Schuessler about the location. From the report:

“I then asked Mr. Schuessler if he had pin-pointed the location of the siting. Mr. Schuessler stated that due to the late hour and the ladies’ emotional state they could only state that they believed they saw the object on the straight portion of FR 1485 between a beer joint and some kind of highway warning sign.”




     The discrepancy between what Schuessler reported to the TDH team and what Schuessler said about the location in his UFO reports is troubling. When discussing the case, Schuessler told how the witnesses were able to return to the precise location, and that the scene contained some identifiable, distinct features:
It is interesting to note, that although neither Vickie or Betty had been back to the site since the incident, they both were able to take us to nearly the exact same location. The separate site visits verify the location of the incident for us.”  -The Cash-Landrum UFO Incident, page 54
“They were able to point out a spot on the road that indicated that it had been heated to an extreme level of heating. It was burned, and it was very clear to the naked eye.”-Unsolved Mysteries (NBC) February 6, 1991
“We had a very large flying machine that that came over the road that actually left marks on the road, so you know where it was exactly.”   -Sightings (Sci-Fi Channel TV Series): “Physical Effects” July 31, 1992
     Betty Cash was interviewed by telephone by UFO researcher Chris Lambright on July 12, 1985 while the legal case was still brewing. Lambright asked her about the sighting location, and she replied, “I have only been back on that road twice. And I have no desire to ever go back on it again.”

     Betty moved to Alabama shortly after her initial meeting with Schuessler and she was not available for field investigations. There were two filmed on-site recreations of the event that Betty Cash participated in, one for “That’s Incredible!” in July 1981, and another for “The UFO Experience” in 1983. Schuessler participated in these productions, so it is possible that his later claims of her identifying the location stem from these media events. It was Vickie Landrum and her grandson Colby that accompanied Schuessler on the attempt to find the sighting location.  Photos were taken at the general area, later to be said to be the precise location.

Schuessler photograph showing alleged UFO sighting location.

     The Meyer report documenting that Schuessler and the witnesses not knowing the precise sighting location does answer some troubling questions. Now we can understand why there are no photographs of a scorched road or trees, and why soil/pavement samples were never presented as evidence. The claim that the sighting location was found and investigated was the foundation of his case. If this claim was false or inaccurate, the entire case is tainted. It raises other questions about how evidence was presented and just how much of it can be verified.

 The Texas Department of Health (TDH) Bureau of Radiation Control file can be viewed in full as a PDF at the link below.

 Texas Department of Health file: Complaint C-12
Table of Contents
(Note: Files not in order, presented as scanned by the TDH. 
Pages 1-8 are inferior duplications. Better copies presented later in the file.)

1-3 Russ Meyer report 9/17/1981 (inferior copy- see better one on page 17)

4-8 Newspaper clipping 9/29/1985 Austin American Statesman ‘U.S. test gone wild’ brings suit by John Kelso (Note better copy on page 33)

9-10 TDH Memo: “contact with News Media” 9/12/1985

11-15 Soil sample reports (Note: some apparently included in error from unrelated cases.) 

16 “Complaint C-12” file cover? photo of FM-1485

17-19 Russ Meyer report 9/17/1981: “Citizen request about possible exposure to radiation”

20 Memo 10/1/1981 “access to the medical records” “DMC” - David M, Cochran

21 Memo 10/9/1981 from George R. Anderson M.D. seeking medical records

22-23 Report from David K. Lacker “Legislative Contact, Bureau of Radiation Control”

24 Notes from Randy Cosson, aide to Rep. Browder on meeting Vickie Landrum

25-32 Newspaper clippings The Conroe Courier 2/22/1981, 2/23/1981

33-36 Newspaper clipping 9/29/1985 Austin American Statesman 

UPDATE: Schuessler's Memo of the TDH Meeting

    In the appendix of John F. Schuessler's The Cash Landrum UFO Incident, he reproduces a VISIT  memo documenting his meeting with TDH officials. This doesn't answer the questions about the location controversy, but it may provides some insight into why the State's offer of medical help was refused.


Subject/Purpose Cash/Landrum Case 9/10/81J. Schuessler met with Russ Meyer, G. Freeland, M. Vredenburg of the Radiation Control Branch of the Texas Dept. of Health per V. Landrum request
Discussions/Comments (Info. Obtained, Conclusions)1. State Representative Browder requested the above noted group to look into the case , as the result of Betty Cash & Vickie Landrum visiting his office in August.  Russ Meyer is a Regional Inspector and acted as spokesman for the group. 
2. I gave them any an overview of the incident and the injuries. They were quite interested, but said they couldn't prove whether or not radiation had been present. This type of case is not their normal job. They would like to have a doctor tell them whether or not his opinion is radiation this case. They would report that opinion back to the representative in Austin. It would then be up to him to pursue the source, type, responsibility, etc.    They could send a report to the state Medical Advisory board or but it only meets once a year. They felt they would live, since they are now alive. 
Action Required  They will look at Betty's hospital records if she wants to give permission. They suggested going to Dr. Vince Collins,  Rosewood Hospital, for his opinion on the case.

(Dr. Vincent Collins was a prominent radiologist in Houston.)  

C. 2013 Curtis L. Collins