Showing posts with label Radiation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Radiation. Show all posts

Friday, March 18, 2016

The $20 Million Cash-Landrum UFO Story

The Cash-Landrum UFO case publicity made a splash in 1981, but had a second wave starting in 1983 after the filing of the lawsuit against the US Government for 20 million dollars in damages. The suit stuck to the details of original incident, avoiding later embellishments such as the legend of the scorched road being removed and replaced by men in unmarked trucks.

Despite the resolve of Betty Cash and Vickie Landrum, there was not sufficient evidence to take the case to trial, and as attorney Peter Gersten later revealed, it was a bluff: 

“The lawsuit was brought in hope that behind the scenes the government would say, `Let’s keep this quiet, we’ll take care of the medical expenses and make sure nothing else happens’." 
Houston Chronicle, Texas Magazine, Page 8, 2 Star Edition, 11/17/1996

 See this earlier article for more on the lawsuit: Cash-Landrum UFO Case: Legal Rumors

Tabloid News

The article below on the Cash-Landrum lawsuit was sent to me by Martin Kottmeyer from his clippings of UFO stories from the 1984 period. It's typical of the coverage at the time and likely came from the tabloid National Examiner. It’s a good summary of the story, but has a few notable variations from canon. Quotations in newspapers, especially tabloids can’t be trusted for fidelity, but it’s interesting that Vickie refers to helicopter searchlights, something absent from earlier accounts. Betty Cash had breast cancer, but said, “The doctors told me radiation definitely caused my cancer.” The tests run during her original hospitalization were negative for radiation exposure.

The other point of interest is Vickie’s reference to the “Pentagon man,” which eventually evolved into a veiled death threat: “He questioned me and I answered him, and then he told me that people had died for less than what I was trying to do.” Vickie Landrum from her appearence on “Sightings” TV episode, segment: “Physical Effects,” July 31, 1992.

The Cash-Landrum case occurred at the same time lore surrounding Roswell was being developed, and distrust of the Government and the belief in a “Cosmic Watergate” UFO cover-up was central to them both. Without a villain to explain the lack of evidence, about all that is left are stories.

Also pictured, UFO sketch by Betty Cash.
Click here for larger version.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cash-Landrum Case versus Nuclear Accident Response Methods

Radiation Accident: Field Exercise

If the Cash-Landrum UFO incident involved an accident producing a radiation leak, and  a military cover-up, they would have had to use standard equipment and techniques to deal with the aftermath. The video below is of a test showing the Government response to a nuclear weapons accident resulting in area contamination.

"The NUWAX-81 Nuclear Weapon Accident Exercise documents the Defense Nuclear Agency (now renamed the Defense Special Weapons Agency) directed response to a simulated nuclear weapon accident in the vicinity of a hypothetical California town. Other agencies involved included the Department of Energy (DOE), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and State of California emergency response teams.
The film summarizes the highlights of six days of field exercise play, involving over 600 accident response personnel at the DOE Nevada test site in April of 1981."

This film was made the spring after the Cash-Landrum encounter of Dec. 29, 1980, so it should provide an accurate picture of the response methods and materials available. It's not an exciting film, but worth a look for the historical connection to the case.

The NUWAX-81 Nuclear Weapon Accident Exercise
Defense Nuclear Agency Educational Documentary

The pieces don't fit very well in the puzzle. The film shows that a response to a radiation leak would have been so big, it would have disrupted the surrounding towns, an operation that would have been noticed. Also, the witnesses' injuries in this case were not consistent with "radiation burns" and hospital tests did not indicate exposure to radioactive materials. Trying to link the case to radioactive materials may have been a false trail.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cash-Landrum: John Schuessler's First Presentation, CUFOS, Sept. 1981

John F. Schuessler's First Lecture on the Cash-Landrum UFO Case:
Medical Injuries Resulting from a UFO Encounter

An important case, document, John Schuessler's first lecture on the Cash-Landrum case is now available in a PDF, but first some background information.

Worth Waiting For

John F. Schuessler

Finding the MUFON Journal, June 1981 issue answered a question I'd long wondered about: 
Why did John Schuessler skip the summer MUFON conference and wait to present his Cash-Landrum lecture to another UFO group?

“John F. Schuessler, MUFON Deputy Director for Administration and President of VISIT, will be speaking at the CUFOS UFO Conference on September 25, 26, and 27 in a Chicago area hotel. John will relate the investigation into the serious medical effects incurred in the Cash/Landrum close encounter case of December 29, 1980, on the highway between New Caney and Dayton; Texas. His appearance at the CUFOS Conference is a reciprocating arrangement between MUFON and CUFOS, since Dr. J. Allen Hynek will be the keynote speaker at M.I.T. on July 25 at the MUFON UFO Symposium.”

The CUFOS Symposium Lecture

The presentation serves as as an excellent introduction to the case, it tells the story of the case, and discusses the early months of the investigation. The lecture was accompanied by a slide presentation, images of the witnesses that are still in circulation today. The narrative of the encounter is followed by speculation about the injuries and their source.

"The observable medical effects are many and varied. The pronounced problems are summarized in table 1. At first look, it would seem that no one type of exposure could cause such radical results. However, the Mutual UFO Network radiology consultant reviewed the medical records and the observable effects and concluded: “We have some strong evidence that these patients have suffered damage secondary To ionizing radiation. It is also possible that there was an infrared ultra-violet component as well.” This means that the symptoms listed in table 1 could have been caused by ionizing radiation plus ultraviolet and infrared radiation. 
Other mechanisms mechanisms could explain some of the effects. An acid atmosphere caused by a hot exhaust interacting with a polluted atmosphere could cause a variety of skin conditions; however, the weather on December 29 does not favor the solution. Local inflammatory changes and severe febrile reactions could cause some of the problems, but they too could occur in association with radio-dermatitis secondary to ionizing radiation.  Finally, some of the conditions could because by emotional distress. 
There are no existing tests that will identify the specific type of radiation that was inflicted upon these witnesses. 
The lecture gives information on how slowly secondary witnesses were located. Later it was claimed that there were about a dozen, but by Sept. 1981: 
“Project VISIT investigators... located one credible witness to the helicopter activity near Crosby They also located other people that saw the UFO for as long as one-and-a-half hours before it burned Betty, Vicky, and Colby. In addition a policeman and sheriff’s deputy also vowed they too had seen the helicopters” 
(Note: The Crosby witness later refused to give a statement to the Army investigator. The two law officers seems to be a confused reference to Dayton policeman L.L. Walker whom Schuessler would not meet until May 25, 1982.)

The first mention of Gray Field and 100 helicopters:
"One significant helicopter operation took place at Gray Air Force Base near Killeen, Texas, where more than 100 helicopters came in from the field “for effect.”

It is interesting to see the case in its early form. Some things mentioned are later dropped from case coverage, other things that should have been mentioned are not. 
The lecture makes no mention of:
  • Bill English and APRO, who first reached the witnesses
  • Vickie’s alleged left hand burn 
  • Helicopter emblems or insignias reported by Betty Cash
  • Texas Department of Health investigation of radiation
  • Television filming with witnesses for "That's Incredible!"
  • Hypnosis sessions of Vickie Landrum by Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle
  • Lighter fluid smell reported under hypnosis by Vickie

Also, there is no mention of one of the most dramatic elements of the case, the burned road that was secretly removed and repaved. Other things are glossed over, such as determining the precise location of the sighting. all that is said is:
“Measurements taken during the post-sighting investigation showed their location to be about 130 feet from the strange craft.”

The Schuessler presentation was later printed in The Spectrum of UFO ResearchChicago: J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, 1988, Mimi Hynek, ed., now online at the CUFOS site.

But before that, John Schuessler sold it as an article to UFO Report magazine. The Winter 1981 
UFO Report  is an exact reprint of Schuessler's CUFOS material except for the addition of a closing paragraph promising to update magazine readers of further developments. Their title, however was a bit more lurid than Schuessler's original. Their cover stated:
Close Encounter Terror
Texas Family Suffers Near-Fatal Radiation Burns From 'Dazzling Saucer'

Inside the magazine they used the title: The Texas UFO Trauma

UFO Report, Winter 1981

Whatever you think about the case and its investigation, this is an important UFO historical document, one that all should read.

Link to UFO Report, Winter 1981 article in PDF, 5 pages, with photographs:
Medical Injuries Resulting from a UFO Encounter/The Texas UFO Trauma by John Schuessler

The PDF should be easier to read, but here's a look at the pages:


For collectors, the report was also later reprinted in the 1983 UFO Report Annual:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Was the Cash-Landrum UFO a Damaged Nuclear Warhead?

Among the theories for the Cash-Landrum UFO event, there was speculation that it was an accident involving a damaged nuclear weapon carried across Texas. There was such an event just a few months earlier, a deadly accident at a Titan II missile complex in Damascus, Arkansas in September 1980. An accident led to a fuel tank leak which caused an explosion that sent the nuclear warhead flying. The warhead was recovered a sent to the Pantex weapons assembly plant in Amarillo, Texas.

The secrecy of the recovery led to contradictory news coverage, as to whether the damaged warhead was sent by truck or a shielded C-141 plane.

Lewiston Morning Tribune Sept 24, 1980

The Damascus incident was the subject of the 2017 documentary Command and Control.

Official Theatrical Trailer - Command and Control

The similarities in time and place are most interesting, but the Damascus incident was resolved by the time of the Cash-Landrum encounter, and there's no evidence that another weapons accident occurred.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dayton Woman Sues Over ‘UFO Injuries’

The Baytown Sun,  Sunday, January 22, 1984, Baytown, TX
Dayton Woman Sues Over ‘UFO Injuries’ 
(NOTE: Gersten misspelled as Gerston throughout article as originally printed.) 
DAYTON- Vicki Landrum, 60, can’t go outside without “breaking out in big blisters.” 

Chronic illnesses have plagued Mrs. Landrum, her 10-year old grandson Colby Landrum and Betty Cash, 54, after their supposed December 1980 encounter with an unidentified flying object.

The women and the boy have sued the US Government seeking $20 million in damages for injuries they claim were caused by radiation emitted from the UFO that hovered above them, outside of New Caney.

They say the federal government is somehow involved and should pay for their medical care. 

“She gets very upset when she has to talk to anyone about this,” a daughter-in-law of Mrs. Landrum said Saturday. “She hasn’t even been able to go outside because she breaks out in big blisters.”

She added that Mrs. Landrum has lost her hair as a result of the encounter. 

The Sun was unable to talk directly with the plaintiffs Saturday.

A New York lawyer representing Mrs. Cash, Mrs. Landrum and Colby Landrum said they suffered severe headaches, nausea, swollen earlobes and eyelids, diarrhea, and facial blisters for a few days after the the incident.

The health of Mrs. Cash, who received the most exposure, deteriorated substantially, attorney Peter Gersten said.

She was admitted to Parkway Hospital for one week and later two weeks. She was in and out of the hospital October through December 1981 with chronic illness.

The attorney said the victims still experience nausea, loss of appetite, skin blotches and blisters.

Gersten has represented several organizations in lawsuits related to UFOs. 

On December 29, 1980, the three were returning home from a bingo game. about seven miles outside of New Caney, when they noticed a bright object glowing in the sky.

“The object hovered above the road and was so bright they couldn’t make out its shape,” Gersten said. 

The object was flaming and gave off so much heat and light that Mrs. Cash and her friends could drive no farther,  Gersten added.

They got out of the car for awhile and Mrs. Cash rested her hand on the vehicle. When she removed her hand, he said, she found it had left a permanent imprint on the car. 

Driving away, they counted 23 helicopters near the object, but  Gersten said they were unable to determine whether the choppers were escorting the object or pursuing it.

The three have twice filed administrative claims for medical treatment with the Air Force, but were refused help each time.  Gersten quoted one Air Force statement as saying “our investigation has revealed no evidence of involvement by any military personnel, equipment or aircraft in this alleged incident.”

 Gersten said finding “no evidence” means Air Force investigators merely did not have access to classified information.

The incident has been independently investigated, said Gersten, by John Schuessler, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration engineer who has specialized in a study of UFOs.

 Gersten said the incident also was witnessed by a deputy sheriff. 

Mrs. Cash, Mrs. Landrum and Colby Landrum asked in their suit for damages totaling $20 million.

 Gersten said his clients want also to determine what type of radiation they had been exposed to so they could seek appropriate medical treatment.

“The government has all along denied any responsibility for the incident,” he said. “They are not willing to come forward and reveal the type of object to help three people.” 

 Gersten said he is optimistic about his clients’ chances of winning the suit. “If we can show the incident happened -- and we can -- then they (the government) have to show they’re not responsible.” 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bill Moore on the Cash-Landrum Case

UFO superstar researcher William L. Moore, co-author of The Roswell Incident, appeared on Bill Jenkins' The Open Mind radio program in early 1984 and discussed the Cash-Landrum case. Moore had an excellent knowledge of the case, and some direct familiarity with it. Moore was a member of APRO, and supposedly, Moore was responsible for John Schuessler becoming involved in the case. Bill Moore (along with Richard Doty) also circulated rumors of a secret flight of a test vehicle originating from Kirtland AFB, which fed into the development the myth of the nuclear-powered WASP 2.

Bill Moore

Here's a transcript of the portion of the show discussing the Cash-Landrum case:

Listener “Mike” calls in a with a question about the Cash-Landrum incident, asking if Moore is familiar with it and the witnesses’ legal case against the U.S. Government.

Yes, very familiar with all aspects of that case. In fact I was the first investigator called on the case. I put it in the hands of the people dealing with it now. 

Mike: I, see so it’s probably a pretty good case, then?

It appears to be on the surface.  (Commercial break)
The case in question was the Cash-Landrum case. Betty Cash and Vickie Landrum and a young boy - I think he was seven years old at the time, Colby Landrum. In December of 1980, driving home at night, after dark, encounter an unusual object above the highway, stop the car, get out to look at it. It’s bright, it’s essentially obstructing the road ahead of them. It appears to be in trouble, there’s a loud roaring noise, flame comes out the bottom, suddenly a bunch of helicopters appear around it and it seems to get control of itself and takes off across the tree line. They don’t know what it was, they’re terrified. They think- one of them thinks it is the Second Coming, they just don’t know what to make of it. They get home they experience physical symptoms which are quite similar in many respects to radiation poisoning. And they continue to experience physical effects now, three years later after the fact- quite serious physical effects as a matter of fact. 

The question at issue of course, is just what is it they saw, where did the helicopters come from. There were a number of independent reports verifying helicopters were in the area at the time. The road surface was damaged, there was damage to some of the vegetation in the area and all of this of course makes for a “what’s going on here” type case. Certainly they saw something, the medical effects were caused by something. And the case was investigated largely by John Schuessler in Houston Texas, who was the deputy director of MUFON, The Mutual UFO Network, one of the three major national organizations that deal with UFOs. MUFON has a oh- about 900 members worldwide, I guess, publishes a journal (has a local chapter here in Los Angeles, as a matter of fact, that is sponsoring this get-together next weekend at the Culver City Civic auditorium Saturday afternoon 1:00 to 5:00 and we’ll talk some more about that later). 

But back to Cash-Landrum, Schuessler did what I would consider to be a “credible” investigation in may respects, in that he covered a lot of territory in a short amount of time, but he, being only one individual, seemed to have skipped a few points, I guess understandably. But the result was that the Air Force instituted an investigation of their own, or at least they claim it was an official investigation through the Judge Advocate general’s office, and the Inspector General’s office, trying to in essence get themselves off the hook. And they concluded that they [Gersten’s clients] could not show Government involvement in the case. They [Gersten’s clients] could not produce any evidence that would indicate whose helicopters were there. That’s point one. 

At that point, Peter Gersten, a New York attorney, got involved with it and filed a complaint against the Department of the Air Force on behalf of these people, claiming that the Government was responsible at least for the injuries and the medical treatment of these people because they were citizens, because the Government had an obligation to protect its citizens against whatever this thing was since it had caused damage. That claim was rejected on the grounds that Gersten had totally failed to connect the injuries, which they didn’t deny, with anything which was sponsored by the Government. They didn’t deny the incident occurred, or the injuries occurred, they simply said, “We're not responsible because you haven’t produced any evidence indicating that we are responsible,” they threw the burden in his lap, you see. He appealed that, and in September, a ruling was issued by the Judge Advocate of the Air Force upholding the initial denial on the same grounds, that Gersten failed to prove in any way to implicate the Government in the occurrence. And until he could show that they in fact were responsible through some action on their part, they claimed that he had no cause of action, and I know that his intention was then to appeal that in a Federal Court in a civil matter against them, to gain judgement against them, against the Air Force. 

And I assume he has done that, but I don’t really know for certain if he has. And I really have some problems in wondering if he’s going to get anywhere with it simply because if in fact the Government was involved in any way, he’s going to have one whale of a time in trying to prove it. If they’re going to cover it, they’re certainly not going to produce information and there’s certainly provisions within the security and classification procedures which allow members of military intelligence or military projects to deny the very existence of these things if disclosure would effect the National security.

Just takes a short session with the judge.

That’s right, it’s happened in the past. So I’m very sympathetic to the problems that these people are having, and I really wish I could do something to alleviate them but at this point, I don’t see a lot of hope unless somebody comes out of the wood work and says “hey the Government was involved in this thing in some way,and here’s the proof, here’s the connection, here’s the evidence,” and willing to testify on that behalf that the evidence is authentic. So we’re left with a question: Did they see a legitimate UFO, and was some unit of the military aware of its presence, and did they send out what amounted to 20-some odd helicopters to try to intercept it, and is that what the helicopters were doing there,

Or, were they trying to help it?

Or, were they trying to help it?, which is another question. Or, and I tend to lean more in the direction of a second alternative, and that is that what we have in fact run into here is the test of some secret project-type vehicle, which may be nuclear propulsion, and which went out of control and threatened to crash and they said, “hey guys, we're going down,” and the helicopters were sent out to cordon the area off and try to recover the object and keep the public away from it. 

Now we know that there has been considerable interest on and off in the area of nuclear propulsion for use within the atmosphere since 1946, going back to the old NEPA project, the Nuclear Energy for Propulsion of Aircraft,  NEPA, and you know, that’s almost forty years ago, that considerable research was done and that it slowed up in the 60s, the late 60s, but it’s possible somebody made a breakthrough and we have in fact developed a nuclear propelled craft and that it was on a test mission, went out of control and that’s what happened. I tend to believe that that’s more realistic in this case than the fact that they encountered a legitimate UFO - simply because of the circumstances. I think that tends to be more credible. You don’t send off 26 or 25 CH-46 helicopters, Chinook helicopters, CH-47 (I guess they are) after a UFO. You send a fighter-interceptor.

They’re not going to be very effective against (inaudible)...

Yeah, you don’t send out Chinooks loaded to the gills with personnel. You do that if you’re going to cordon off an area. If you’re going to secure an area and try to protect the public from going in there and to protect the security of the project involved, then you send out helicopters full of people. But if you’re after a UFO, in every case you send out a fighter-interceptor.

(Interview turns to other topics.)