Showing posts with label Road. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Road. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

MUFON vs. APRO, Allegations, Accusations & Countercharges

The Cash-Landrum UFO Case Backstage Drama 

"I am concerned that Betty Cash and Vicki and Colby Landrum may be merely pawns in some kind of game." - Coral Lorenzen

This historical correspondence released here needs an accompanying UFO politics and history lesson longer than I can provide.  So, I’ll try to give it a basic and informal introduction instead. 

In the days when giants roamed the Earth, there was a feuding, territorial situation with rival groups trying to stake claims on UFO cases. Jim and Coral Lorenzen founded APRO (the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization) in 1952 and for years it endured while other UFO organizations came and went.  MUFON (the Mutual UFO Network) was formed in 1969 by some discontented members of APRO over a difference in policies. Jim and Coral Lorenzen saw Walt Andrus, John Schuessler and his upstart MUFON group as traitors who’d led a mutiny. Publicly, however, there was a stated shared goal that UFO groups would cooperate and share data. 

Jim and Coral Lorenzen of APRO

When the Travis Walton case hit in 1975, APRO tried to own it and there was some controversy over how they handled the case, and to strain their dysfunctional relationship further, MUFON labeled the Walton affair a hoax. In 1981 when the Cash-Landrum case surfaced, APRO couldn’t effectively investigate it due to the distance involved, so they passed it on to a small independent research group called Project VISIT (Vehicle Internal Systems Investigative Team) chiefly because they were based in the Houston Texas area and near the witnesses.  John F. Schuessler, while MUFON’s Deputy director, was also the leader of Project VISIT, but VISIT was not MUFON.

Initially, it was a VISIT case, but soon became soon a MUFON property, prominently featured in their journal and annual symposium lectures.  The reporting of the case almost came almost exclusively through Schuessler, but at first he shared case files with the other major UFO groups including APRO. When the Lorenzens had questions about the evidence, their inquiries went unanswered, causing them to seek answers elsewhere. The resulting APRO column ignited a feud between APRO and MUFON, or at least between Coral Lorenzen and John Schuessler. The feud had the Cash-Landrum investigation squarely in the center, and the battle was fought in scathing letters which were distributed to a circle of UFO insiders and associates.

John F. Schuessler of MUFON

The exchange is a fascinating look behind the scenes, an emotionally charged swap of allegations, counter-charges, mud slinging and rumors. Along the way, a few factual case matters were discussed, too.

APRO Bulletin article firing the first shot.

Some highlights:

APRO insinuated that Andrus, Schuessler and Hynek had ties to the US intelligence community.

A rogue member of APRO intercepted the story and sold it to the Weekly World News.

Schuessler was unaware of any road repairs to the UFO incident scene until 1982.

Bill Moore was circulating a story that the UFO was a secret USG nuclear-powered vehicle.

APRO made bold charges in print that the UFO was definitely a military test craft.

APRO stated that by Schuessler promoting the event as a UFO, he intentionally or not, was allowing the USG to disavow it as their project.

APRO accused Schuessler of withholding case details including medical records.

APRO charged that MUFON was desperate for a good UFO case and was milking it for publicity.

In response to APRO’s US secret project allegations, Schuessler told Lt. Col. Sarran to question them.

Schuessler rejects their charges and accusation, accusing APRO in return of being sensationalistic.

Schuessler denied allegations that the US is paying Betty Cash’s medical bills (but does not disclose  they are partially covered by Medicare). 

APRO charged that by presenting the UFO as ET,
Schuessler was aiding the USG in a cover-up.

John Schuessler's annotations, correcting and refuting APRO.

Many of the topics mentioned branch into other complex areas which will be discussed later. Grab your favorite beverage, a notepad and dig in. Previously only seen by the UFO elite!

Index of Documents (26 pages)

1 Cover letter from Coral Lorenzen  to Robert Barrow 7/19/1982
2-3 APRO Bulletin Vol. 30, # 6 Cash-Landrum Case by Coral Lorenzen
4-8 J. Schuessler to APRO 6/29/1982
9-14  C. Lorenzen to J. Schuessler, 7/6/1982
15 Attachment: Vickie Landrum letter to APRO, 10/31/1981
16 Attachment: APRO’s letter to VISIT (case transfer) 2/20/1981
17 C. Lorenzen  to Robert Barrow  status report, 7/27/1982
18 J. Schuessler to C. Lorenzen, 8/15/1982
19-20 C. Lorenzen to J. Schuessler, 8/24/1982
21-26 J. Schuessler annotated Cash-Landrum APRO Bulletin articles.

A note about the image quality: These scans were made from second-generation or later copies, sometimes of old carbons. In cases of the worst images, attempts were made to adjust for clarity.

PDF link to documents: 

APRO letter dated 2/20/1981 transferring the C-L case to Schuessler & VISIT.

A special thank you goes to Robert Barrow for furnishing the missing pieces of this documentation. 
Also check his blog about the classic film,  UFO: The True Story of Flying Saucers 

Additional document sources were the collections of Philip J. Klass, and Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle.

Friday, November 15, 2013

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

The Evolution of a Legend

The first road description in the Cash-Landrum case:

“Measurements taken during the post-sighting investigation showed their location to be about 130 feet from the strange craft.” CUFOS Symposium, Sept. 1981Schuessler, John F. 1988. Medical Injuries Resulting from a UFO Encounter. Mimi Hynek, ed. The Spectrum of UFO Research
A more thorough description: 
“Following the in-home interviews, Vickie took Holt and Schuessler to the scene of the sighting. It was at this time that she did the first timed walk-through of the event. Fairly accurate notes on the location of the incident, UFO and helicopters were taken. The route was retraced and  statements about the activity were recorded. A step-by-step account of the helicopter encounter was made, noting where they were first seen, where they were reengaged, counted, and last seen. 

The scene was revisited a number of times with Vickie, Vickie and Colby, and with all three victims. Other investigators were involved also. Some were with newspapers, others with television productions. John Schuessler participated in most of these excursions. Each time data was recorded and photographs taken.” 
Schuessler, John F., MUFON UFO Journal September 1983, pg. 4.
A Bad Stretch of Road: FM 1485

First printed claim of a burned road:

“As it neared the ground a huge cone of flames belched downward searing the macadam surface of the road.” Schuessler, John F. 1986, "Cash-Landrum UFO Case File: The Issue of Government Responsibility," MUFON 1986 UFO Symposium.

In the newspaper:

Another quirk was the unexplained repair of a melted spot in the road where the incident occurred, Schuessler said." I have photographs of a 15- to 25-foot area where even the center stripe was wiggly," he said. A year later, he said, the spot had been resurfaced. Schuessler said county officials denied any knowledge of the repair. "Twice Burned, Not Shy: Stung By Radiation, Ridicule, Trio Stick To UFO Story," Houston Chronicle September 15, 1991, by Cindy Horswell.

As Seen on TV:

John Schuessler on Unsolved Mysteries, February 6, 1991.
“They were able to tell us exactly where along the road that they stopped, because there were certain markers that identified the spot. They were able to point out exactly what they saw-- the object coming down out of the sky, over the road, and hovering there. 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. Several weeks after we went to the spot and saw this burned area, someone came along, dug up the road and hauled it away and replaced it with new asphalt. Some of the witnesses that watched this happen said that people brought in unmarked trucks, dug up the road, put the material on the trucks, covered it with a tarpaulin, and drove away.” 
Dramatization of Schuessler's story by Unsolved Mysteries

No Marks on the Road

Allan Hendry's FUFOR report from April 1981 summarized Schuessler's original report and included information with independent interviews with the primary witnesses. Hendry wrote:

Flames intermittently “whooshed” down towards the road; later examination showed no marks on the pavement.


Television again, 2009:

Colby Landrum: My grandmother told me this is the section from about here about 135 feet in back, and they stripped the pavement from about this point to 135 foot back towards in on the road.”

 Where did this information come from?

“Well, I had heard from different sources. Somebody had told me it was black, unmarked trucks that come in here and actually stripped it. It should throw a red flag up to somebody.”
UFO Hunters, "Alien Fallout" episode aired January 14, 2009.

The road replacement episode sounds like a local legend that somehow crept into case records because the primary case witnesses believed the story and repeated them. The claims of the scorched road seem to appear only after the road was repaved.

I'm working on fully documenting the road story, but here's a rough timeline: 
12/29/1980 UFO Incident on a worn 2-lane country road
2/28/1981 General area of the road examined, photographed. No UFO damage to road in report.
7/11/1981 Recreation of the scene on original road for That's Incredible!
6/16/1982 Recreation of the scene on original road for The UFO Experience.
7/2/1982 MUFON Symposium: road repair 1st mentioned, with claim UFO scorched pavement
12/5/1983 Billy Cox, (Florida) Today visited the scene, “One lane wears a new coat of asphalt.”

APRO Bulletin Sept. 1982, with Schuessler notes. He first hears of repaving

Yes, the road was repaired, but not immediately, and due to ordinary maintenance. It seems to have happened about a year and a half later after the UFO incident, during a period of expansion and construction, when convenience stores and apartments started being built in the area.

The disclosure by Schuessler to the Texas Department of Health (during an investigation at the request of Vickie Landrum) that the witnesses could not identify the sighting location is very difficult to reconcile with his later claims. The legend of the road replacement comes so much later than the events, it would seem to have no legitimate bearing on the case.

More about the road from someone who should know:

Alan Holt participated in Schuessler's first visit to the scene, and is the only other VISIT member who wrote anything about the case. 

Holt lectured at the Second CUFOS Conference held September 25-27, 1981, on "UFO Maneuvers and Radiation." (Later printed in The Spectrum of UFO Research, 1988.) A portion described the Cash-Landrum case:
Vickie and Colby Landrum, Betty Cash traveling isolated road near Dayton, Tex, December 29, 1980 Diamond-shaped UFO emitting a plasma-like flame from the bottom blocked the road. Object rose (flame emission stopped) and was surrounded by 15 double  and single rotor helicopters which “escorted” the object as it moved toward the southwest. UFO and helicopters were observed two more times by the witnesses. UFO and helicopters were noted by additional witnesses
Maneuvers Observed
Hovering with emissions of plasma pulse moving up and down (propulsive-like effects), beeping sounds
Descended and ascended at a slow rate

Radiation Effects
Very intense white light covering or lighting up large area (while hovering)
Intensity substantially decreased while moving
Rose-colored, flame-like plumes emitted from bottom of diamond
Car door handles heated beyond touch temperature
Car’s interior atmosphere heated
Car dash heated sufficiently to leave permanent marks with pressure
Observers suffered effects similar to nuclear/microwave radiation
The above is from the same conference where Schuessler first presented the case. Alan Holt's description of  the UFO's physical behaviors and effects make no mention of burns to the scene. 

C. 2013, Curtis L. Collins