Showing posts with label Memorial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Memorial. Show all posts

Monday, December 23, 2019

Remembering Donald Keyhoe and the Birth of Ufology

The end of December marks the anniversary of the Cash-Landrum case, which we traditionally remember this time each year. Betty Cash, Colby and Vickie Landrum reported a terrifying UFO encounter that they said changed their lives on Dec. 29, 1980. 

Without the field of Ufology, the Cash-Landrum sighting might have have been forgotten and the story never revealed or investigated. Without Donald Keyhoe, there might never have been Ufology. This year, we look at the 70th anniversary of the article that established the foundation for the civilian study of UFOs.

Beliefs about extraterrestrial visitors goes back much further than the flying saucer wave of 1947, but it was mostly a matter for the fringe, from spiritualists and Forteans to crackpot science fiction fans. That began to change in December of 1949, when the news was abuzz over an article, "The Flying Saucers Are Real" by Donald E. Keyhoe in True magazine, cover dated January 1950. The article prompted a negative reaction by the Air Force.

Associated Press story, The Carbondale Southern Illinoisan,  Dec. 27, 1949
Donald Keyhoe was a retired Marine Major who had been writing professionally since the 1920s, everything from nonfiction aviation to pulp fantasy and science fiction. True magazine had been working on an article on flying saucers, but was stumped. Editor Ken Purdy assigned the job to Keyhoe, knowing his aviation background and military contacts would allow him to dig deeper. It did. 

Keyhoe was able to get factual information on cases, and also to get opinion and speculation on flying saucers from military engineers. Despite lacking physical evidence, some of them were persuaded that saucers were aircraft of an unknown design, and the reported performance of this craft exceeded the technical capabilities of anything that could be made on earth. Ergo, flying saucers came from another planet.

Donald Keyhoe’s article helped coalesce several saucer beliefs into a plausible package. His position was: The flying saucers are real, and are interplanetary spaceships. His secondary principle was that the US government knew about UFOs and that they were keeping it secret, in other words, there was a government UFO cover-up.

The military’s policy of secrecy, coupled with their confusion over the UFO situation fed into the suspicion and even paranoia of saucer buffs. The newly-formed Air Force was able neither to explain or control the saucer problem, and they’d tried hard to avoid talking about. When they did, there were often contradictory statements and explanations that just made matters worse. It may have been more of a foul-up than a cover-up.

Some of Keyhoe's UFO books over the decades.
With the phenomenal success of the article, Keyhoe expanded it into a paperback book released in May of 1950. Much of the flying saucer sensation was fueled by hoaxes, rumors and speculation, but Keyhoe did what no one else could, and he tenaciously focused on real incidents and documentation instead of hearsay. It’s true that his pulp writing style added some drama to the way they were presented, and also some speculation. The Air Force’s Capt. Edward Ruppelt would later offer a left-handed compliment saying, “Keyhoe had based his conjecture on fact, and his facts were correct, even if the conjecture wasn't.”

Keyhoe’s book is more well known today than his article that launched it all. It’s worth remembering an rereading the True magazine piece, where it all the excitement started. 

As long as UFOs are discussed, Keyhoe's story will live on.

True magazine January, 1950, "The Flying Saucers Are Real" by Donald E. Keyhoe
(Hosted at the site, PROJECT 1947, founded by Jan L. Aldrich)


For more UFO history, join us at our companion site, The Saucers That Time Forgot

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Remembering Betty Cash and Vickie Landrum

Betty Cash

Betty J. Cash 1929 - 1998

Betty J. Cash, 69, of Fairfield, Alabama, died December 29, 1998, in Birmingham, Alabama. She was born on February 10, 1929, in Birmingham to Jack L. (Jesse) and Pauline (Lockhart) Collins.

Betty moved to Dayton, Texas where she operated a business with her husband James F. Cash, taking sole ownership after their divorce. After developing health problems, she moved back to Alabama to be cared for by her mother. 

Betty was survived by her son, Toby Howard, daughter Mickey Geisinger, sisters Lois Green, Midge Helms. Sister Shirley Ann McNair, and brothers, James H. Collins, Jesse W. Collins and Charles Wayne Collins have all since passed.

She was buried at Cahaba Heights Baptist Church Cemetery in Birmingham, Alabama.

Vickie Landrum

Vickie Landrum 1923 - 2007

Vicie “Vickie” Marzelia Landrum, 83, of Liberty, Texas passed away Wednesday, September 12, 2007.  She was born on September 19, 1923 in Laurel, Mississippi to Johnny and Emily Holifield.  Vickie liked to play bingo, computer games and sew, but above all she loved to play with and take care of her grandchildren. 
Vickie is preceded in death by her parents; loving husband, Ernest Wilson Landrum, Sr.; and 2 brothers. She is survived by her children, Ernest Landrum, Jr. (deceased), Gloria Jean Roper, David Landrum, Paul Landrum, and Jayne Landrum; fourteen grandchildren; twenty-four great-grandchildren; and nine great-great-grandchildren. 

She was buried at Ryan Cemetary in Tarkington Prairie, Texas.

(Note: Betty Cash's obituary is my creation based on the scant details available.
Vickie Landrum's obituary appeared in the East Texas News.)