Friday, October 19, 2012

Bill Moore on the Cash-Landrum Case

UFO superstar researcher William 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.

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.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

If and Then

 If the Cash-Landrum incident was a training exercise related to the rescue of the American hostages held by Iran, then this is the memo that required it be kept secret.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The UFO "bigger than a water tower"

The witnesses used a water tower as a point of reference when trying to describe the UFO. What kind of water tower were they familiar with? Here's an old water tower they would have seen in the town of Liberty,  just a bit east of Dayton.

View from the street in Google maps:

View Larger Map

The Courier (Conroe Texas) story 
Two women share terror of mysterious encounter 
by Cathy Gordon Feb. 22, 1981

Vickie Landrum joined in the tale of the mysterious object:
It was if the whole sky was splitting ahead of us,” Landrum said, adding that “torch-like” fire shot from the middle-bottom of the object, appearing to ricochet off the tree tops. ”The part where the fire was coming out of the thing- it looked to be the size of a water tank,” she said.
"Landrum said neither she nor Cash could define a shape for the object because the 'blinding' light projected from it. However, she said, Colby, who was viewing the object through the car's windshield insisted that it was “diamond-shaped”.

“Someone knows where the helicopters came from,” Landrum said, adding that she feels certain they encountered some sort of military experiment.
“I’m not one to believe in flying saucers or nothing like that,” she said. “I think it’s more likely it’s something the military is up to- why else would all them planes be up there if they didn’t know what was going on?”

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

An Interesting Precedent

Jerry McAlister had a UFO sighting on September 11, 1980. It hit the tabloid press first in November in the Globe, and again in December 9, 1980 in the National Enquirer. The case was also covered by the national television program, "That's Incredible!", broadcast in prime time.

This case featured a huge, brilliant UFO that allegedly left the witnesses suffering eye damage and radiation burns.

Link to original newspaper story:
The Sumter Daily Item - Sep 11, 1980 Sumter, SC

A strange coincidence. In Dec. 1980, just before the Cash-Landrum sighting, Jerry Mcalister's story was being filmed for a tabloid TV program. From The Index-Journal, Greenwood, South Carolina, March 13, 1981:

Flying Saucer
ANDERSON (AP) The television program "That's Incredible" plans a segment April 6 on Jerry McAlister. the Anderson man who was the first to spot a flying saucer last fall. Deputy sheriffs who went to McAlister's house confirmed the sighting. A crew from the ABC program was in Anderson for two days in December filming the segment on the UFO.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Cash-Landrum Video Documentary Collection

The Cash-Landrum case has been covered several times on television over the years, and below is a collection of what is available online. Several key video documents of the Cash-Landrum UFO case are not available, chiefly:
  • "Good Morning America" (ABC TV) 1981 Featured Vickie Landrum and was the first televised national coverage of the case.
  • That's Incredible!'" ABC-TV/Alan Landsburg Productions, broadcast November, 16, 1981. Features Vickie Landrum hypnotized, also appearing: Colby Landrum, Betty Cash, Dr. Leo Sprinkle and John Schuessler. This episode also featured a recreation of the event which the witnesses felt was accurate.
If you know where to locate these or others, please contact me.

Cash-Landrum case video coverage:

"The UFO Experience" September 1982, an hour-long documentary created by San Francisco TV station KPIX, directed by Ron Lakis. Features interviews with Colby Landrum, Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum, Dr. V. B. Shenoy, John Schuessler and Major Dennis Haire of Ellington AFB. Also, of note is an on-scene recreation of the incident by the witnesses, with a small commercial helicopter playing the role of the UFO.

Segment begins at 13:50.
The UFO Experience

HBO documentary America Undercover episode: “UFOs: What's Going On?” August 1985
Robert Guenette, 1985, 56 minutes, HBO Cable TV/Robert Guenette Production, produced and directed by Fred Rosen
Betty Cash and Vickie Landrum interviewed, Colby shown, and includes comments on the case by Phil Klass and Stanton Friedman. Video of BC demonstrating how VL's handprints were left in the dashboard. The Cash-Landrum segment begins at 35:30.

UFOs: What's Going On?

UFO Cover Up? Live 10/14/1988
Notorious for its wild claims, this program had another credibility problem. The producer required guests to "perform" a pre-written script. The claims made by "Falcon" of the UFO's origin were outrageous, but Betty seemed to like the idea of the US Government's involvement.
Segment with Betty Cash and Vickie Landrum 
UFO Cover Up? Live

Unsolved Mysteries February 6, 1991
Interviews with Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum, John Schuessler, Dr. Bryan McClelland and L.L. Walker. This show was broadcast in prime time and reached millions of people. It lives on in reruns even today, and is the best-known media coverage of the case. Sadly, there are many inaccuracies in it, and the depiction of the UFO bears little resemblance to what he witnesses initially described.
Program no longer online. see partial transcript with photos at

Sightings (Fox television series) season one, episode 11 from July 31, 1992
Interviews with Vickie Landrum and John Schuessler. There are some sensational claims by Vickie Landrum, claims that disagree with the documented facts of the case.


"Encounters: The UFO Conspiracy," Feb. 22, 1994 on Fox, pilot episode of the 90s TV series. Hosts: John Marshall, Sandra Pinckney, Russell Rhodes, Natalie Brunt. Featuring: Stanton Friedman, George Knapp, Jim Dilettoso, Bob Oechsler, Bruce Maccabee, Larry Fawcett, Don Berliner, Betty Cash, Steven Schiff, Chuck DeCaro. The Betty Cash segment begins at 6:26.

The Unexplained episode "Close Encounters" from July 9, 1998.
Produced by Towers Production, Inc. for A&E Network ; writer/producer Kevin Barry. 
Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum, John Schuessler, Dr. Bryan McClelland, attorney William Shead, and Ken Storch are interviewed.

The Unexplained: "Close Encounters"

Mysterious Worlds episode, UFO Secrets. Originally aired in the USA in 2002, it was produced for TLC, originally shown on The Learning Channel. Written and directed by Kevin Barry. 

Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum, John Schuessler, and Dr. Bryan McClelland were featured, with new footage and re-enactments. (This French language version aired on France's Planete Choc)
It featured the last known filmed interviews of Betty Cash and Vickie Landrum.

Mysterious Worlds: UFO Secrets

Link to English version below. Segment starts at about 12 minutes.
Watch Mysterious Worlds Online - S01:E05 - UFO Secrets | Tubi TV

UFO Hunters Alien Fallout episode aired January 14, 2009.
Kevin Barry writer/producer. 
Colby Landrum, Mickey Geisinger (Betty Cash’s daughter), Dr. Bryan McClelland and Colonel George Sarran are interviewed. This show focuses on the US Government conspiracy theory and the legend of the road burned by the UFO. 

UFO Hunters: Alien Fallout

There were many stories on the case, especially local news stories from Texas, mainly from Houston CBS affiliate KHOU.

If anyone has more information on locating other programs, please post a comment.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Another Cash-Landrum video clip

Spanish-language program discussing the Cash-Landrum case with John Schuessler. Case begins at the 2 minute mark:

My best leads indicate this is the special 
OVNI from TelevisiĆ³n Nacional de Chile, from June 17 1999.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

1st Press on the Cash-Landrum case

The first news story to cover the Cash-Landrum incident,
Weekly World News Mar 24, 1981:

I'm guessing the interview and photos were taken in mid-February (speculating that the hearts on Colby's outfit were related to Valentine's Day).

How this story happened:
Vickie Landrum called Robert Gribble of NUFORC National UFO Reporting Center) on Feb. 2 to report the incident. Gribble reported it to APRO (Aerial Phenomenon Research Organization, where it was intercepted by rogue APRO member Bill English. English contacted the Weekly World News and sold them the story. (Not as heinous or unusual as it sounds, as UFO groups had close alliances with tabloid papers at the time.)

Following this, Cathy Gordon of the Conroe Courier wrote a 2-part series that beat the Weekly World News story into print, appearing Feb. 21 & 22.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cash-Landrum: The Second Testimony of Betty Cash

The second testimony:
Betty Cash’s handwritten account of the UFO incident 

Betty’s original account of the incident is very sketchy and lacks important details that surfaced later. This transcription was made of Betty’s handwritten notes as presented in John Schuessler's The Cash-Landrum UFO Incident on pages 253, 254.

Below, I've preserved the format, matching each line to a line of the original handwritten line, and retained the unconventional spelling and capitalization. There were some crossed through words, which are indicated with [Xed], and some words were written over, which I've attempted to identify in the bracketed line below it.

(Written on Parkway Hospital lined stationary)

233 W. PARKER ROAD - 697-2831 - HOUSTON TEXAS 77022

I, Betty Cash, was feeling fine the 
Monday of Dec. 29th, my friend & her 
grandson was going to play Bingo & on
our return Back home we were between
[“Back” appears to have been written over the word “From”]
New Caney & 1960 on the Huffman Crosby
F.M. Road, there was this Bright object
that made the Sky just split up & it
looked like the world was coming to
and End it was a very Bright Red.
As we kept Driving along it seemed
to have gotten closer to the ground.
Vickie told me I had Better stop
or we were going to run into it so I did,
her grandson was so afraid he was
screaming & pulling on his grandmother
Asking her not to get out. , she opened
the door & I got out to. [Xed] But he
[“look” appears to have been crossed out]
pulled her Back into the Seat she looked
out the glass But she said the
light Was to Bright for her to see very
much of the figure Because it was
Burning her Eyes. [Xed]  she got out of the Car &
[Word crossed out, “she" written above it]
stood with one Arm on the car door & one
arm on the Car top, but the light was
so bright & the heat was to much so
she [Xed]  only stood there a short time, the
[“I” appears to have been crossed out, “she” written before it]
object started Back into the sky & again
it had the whole sky(?) lit up & the
[“lit” appears to have been written over another word]
object Moved Upward at this time, I started
Driving Again the Inside of the car 
 Over to Page 

(Stamped at the bottom of page one)
CASH BETTY J  365 75
01 25 81 51FDW PR 02 10 29
2404044 PKWY YS

233 W. PARKER ROAD - 697-2831 - HOUSTON TEXAS 77022

was so hot we had to turn on the
Air Conditioning, we got to the stop Sign
on 1960 & I counted 23 Helicopters’. As
I sat there looking at the object, I
Carried Vickie & Colby home let them out
it [Xed] took me almost 20 Minutes
[“Woud” appears to have been crossed out.]
to get home, By this time I had a
terrible headache. , lumps were all over
my neck & head, my face was Red
like it had been burned & my Eyes were
swollen Shut & later my Eye lids Bursted
After I was in the Hospital, My face
pilled off & most of my Hair is out &
it is Still Coming out I was Desperalty
sick within 30 minutes after looking
at the object, I stayed home trying to
get Better Until the 2nd Day of Jan. 1981
And I’m still here on Feb 6th 81
I Went home for 9 days But I was so
Sick Again with the Headaches & Lumps
on my head I had to return to the
Hospital and I’m still here, I know
I was not sick until this happed & I
know that is what is wrong with me.
[Ends here, photo of document cropped]

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

UFO Evolution: The Piney Woods UFO

  How I wonder what you are.     
Up above the world so high,     
Like a diamond in the sky.
-"The Star" by Ann and Jane Taylor

Initially, the two adult witnesses were unable to describe the object due to the bright light coming from it. The boy, Colby said it was "diamond-shaped".  As the coverage of the story progressed, the women began using the diamond description. Later, further details about the craft were revealed by investigators- completely new details.

Some of the key illustrations of the UFO most closely associated with the original witnesses:

Colby & Vickie Landrum March 1981
MUFON Journal April 1981

MUFON Symposium Proceedings 1982

Colby Landrum early 1981

APRO Bulletin Sept. 1981

Betty Cash Aug. 18, 1981 (Bergstrom AFB interview)

MUFON Journal Nov. 1981

The Unexplained 1982

The UFO Phenomenon Time-Life Books 1987

UFO Cover Up? Live  Oct. 1988

Unsolved Mysteries February 6, 1991

The Cash-Landrum UFO Incident 1998

UFO Hunters Alien Fallout episode aired January 14, 2009