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



Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Cash-Landrum UFO Case Document Collection


The following is a list of important documents, reports, correspondence, news and magazine articles relating to the investigation of the December 29, 1980 UFO encounter reported by Betty Cash, Colby and Vickie Landrum.


When possible, links are included to the material hosted on the Internet.
As new items become available, this page will be updated.
The Cash-Landrum UFO Case Document Collection

Who's Who in the Cash-Landrum UFO Case

Vickie Landrum's initial UFO incident report to NUFORC (the National UFO Reporting Center), from 2/2/1981. The recording of the historic telephone call that launched the investigation.
Vickie Landrum's UFO report to NUFORC,  Feb. 2, 1981

Betty Cash & Vickie Landrum Tape Recording Made At Parkway Hospital in early February 1981 transcribed and published in The Cash-Landrum UFO Incident by John F. Schuessler

Betty Cash’s hand written statement for the records of Parkway Hospital, 2/7/81

The First Newspaper article
The Conroe Courier printed the first mainstream press on the case, 
Cathy Gordon's 2-part story: 
"Two women share terror of mysterious encounter" Feb. 22, 1981
"Investigators eye ‘close encounter’" Feb. 23, 1981
Photocopies of the articles are located within the PDF of the Texas Department of Health files:

Weekly World News March 24, 1981 
(published early to mid March) "3 SURVIVE UFO ATTACK"

Preliminary Cash-Landrum report by John Schuessler and Project VISIT, March 4, 1981 
John F. Schuessler’s report on interviewing the witnesses and visiting the sighting location.
Index to the Cash-Landrum Original Case Report 

(All by John F. Schuessler, unless noted otherwise.)
1 - 2 MUFON form: “UFO Sighting Questionnaire- General Cases (Form 1)” with location, sketches of UFO and event data. Name of Investigator, “John F. Schuessler,” “Witness: Vicky Landrum.” Dated March 3, 1981 (“4-3-81”). 2 pages.
3 - 13 Cash/Landrum Case “On-Site Investigation Report, Date: 28 Feb 1981,” Interview with Vickie and Colby Landrum. Handwritten, 11 pages. (Page one on VISIT letterhead.)
14 MUFON “UFO Sighting Questionnaire - Computer Input (Form 2)” “Vicky Landrum”(Basic information on location of sighting and witness data).
15 MUFON “UFO Sighting Questionnaire - Computer Input (Form 2)” “Betty Cash.”
16 -23  Report of meeting and interview with Betty Cash dated 22 Feb. 1981. Handwritten, 8 pages. (Page one on VISIT letterhead.)
24 - 27 Alan Holt, report of (2/28/81) interview with Vickie and Colby Landrum. Handwritten, 4 pages. (On VISIT letterhead.)
28 Al Holt memo: “Conversation with Bill English,” undated. (English of APRO was the first investigator to speak to Vickie Landrum.) Handwritten, 1 page. (On VISIT letterhead.)
29 - 30 Al Holt: “Helicopter Investigation,” 3/10/81. Handwritten, 2 pages. (On VISIT letterhead.)
31 - 33  21 Feb. 1981, 1 pm: “Betty Cash called collect from Dayton, TX” (Phone interview: first witness contact.) Typed, 3 pages. (Page one on VISIT letterhead.)
34 - 35 1st MUFON Cash-Landrum case contact: 20 February 1981,  by phone from reporter Cathy Gordon. “Caller: Kathy Gordon, Conroe Daily Courier...” Typed, 2 pages. (Page one on VISIT letterhead.)
Illustration from the 3/4/81 report.

A Preliminary Report on the Cash/Landrum New Caney CEII Case by Allan Hendry of CUFOS. (Undated, April 1981.) Pages 8-11 of PDF

MUFON Cash-Landrum Case Files (1981 - 1999)
Table of Contents and 9 files, documents totaling 708 pages scanned by MUFON.
Includes case reports, correspondence, legal documents and news clippings.
https://app.box.com/s/zubv3cz8ddfhmjpjg786bs0gvrsdwgtk

MUFON UFO Journal Number 158, April 1981
"Radiation Injuries from UFO"
Brief summary of the Project VISIT report written by Richard Hall

Analysis of Betty Cash's Medical Records, Peter Rank, M.D. letter to John Schuessler  
("complete summary report" of medical data) 4/29/1981 (5 pages). PDF pages 3-7

Injuries from chemical agents? VISIT memo: R. Niemetzow called J. Schuessler 7/5/1981 (1 page) PDF page 1

Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle: Cash-Landrum files and Correspondence
Dr. 
Sprinkle hypnotized Vickie Landrum in July 1981, then later for a TV program. Files also contain correspondence from Dr. Peter Rank discussing Betty Cash's medical records and condition.
File 1: (PDF 28 pages)  https://app.box.com/s/momf6fpbuq7on2rb6r8u
File 2: (PDF 21 pages)  https://app.box.com/s/rdan7wr5j8vz5stungbu

BERGSTROM Air  Force Base Interview Oof Betty Cash, Vickie & Colby Landrum, August 17, 1981 (unpublished until CUFON circa 1994) Lengthy statements by the witnesses discussing case details with Air force officers. First step in legal case.
Legal Counseling VISIT memo: Bill Shead & John Schuessler met with Betty Cash & Vickie Landrum 8/23/1981 (1page) PDF page 2

National Enquirer August 5, 1981 
"UFO Terrorizes and Burns Three in Car" PDF pages 19-20. This story documents Vickie Landrum's first hypnosis session and the surfacing of the detail of the UFOs' "little blue lights."
https://app.box.com/s/zvelar3gubgiee5zwgi3
or http://www.ignaciodarnaude.com/avistamientos_ovnis/UFO%20Sighting%201980,Texas,25%20helicopters-1.pdf

John F Schuessler's first C-L case presentation at the CUFOS Symposium


The Spectrum of UFO Research, J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, Mimi Hynek, ed. (1988)
John Schuessler's first lecture on the Cash-Landrum case from Sept. 1981 is presented, and it serves as as an excellent introduction to the case, telling the story of the events, and discussing the early months of the investigation. The narrative of the encounter is followed by speculation about the injuries and their source. Includes photographs, the Q & A session that followed Schuessler's lecture, and his 1988 update on the case.

(Reprinted in UFO Report Winter 1981)

Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Radiation investigation report by Russ Meyer. Investigated scene Sept 16, 1981. 
(Discloses sighting location unknown, medical help refused.)

APRO Bulletin Vo. 29 No. 8 Sept. 1981 Coral Lorenzen, editor

MUFON UFO Journal November 1981
"Cash-Landrum Radiation Case" by John F. Schuessler
MUFON UFO Symposium 1982 (July 2, 3, 4) Toronto, Canada
“Radiation Sickness Caused by UFOs" by John F. Schuessler, M.S.
MUFON UFO Journal January 1983 pg 14,15

APRO Bulletin Vol. 30 No. 6 August 1982 Coral Lorenzen, editor
"Rumors Permeate Cash-Landrum Case" by Coral Lorenzen
http://www.openminds.tv/apro-bulletins

APRO Bulletin Vo. 30 No. 9 September 1982 Coral Lorenzen, editor
"The Cash Landrum Case Analysis" by Coral E. Lorenzen
http://www.openminds.tv/apro-bulletins

The Unexplained Mysteries of Mind, Space and Time
(UK) Orbis Publishing Limited, Vol 9, Issue 107, 1982.
"Blind Terror in Texas" by John F. Schuessler

DAIG investigation, U.S. Army Inspector General's Office, Washington, D.C., Report by Lt. Col. George C. Sarran
Includes some handwritten case notes.

John F. Schuessler’s VISIT 5/9/1982 report on Sarran’s investigation 
(11 pages w/ cover): PDF pages 21-31 

Helicopter Witness appears: VISIT Investigator's Notes Summary: Interview with John Plaster, Huffman Helicopter witness  9/25/1982 (4 pages w/ cover.) PDF pages 32-35

MUFON UFO Journal October 1982 pg. 3
"Pentagon Investigates Cash-Landrum Case" by John F. Schuessler

APRO Bulletin Vo. 30 No. 10 October 1982 Coral  Lorenzen, editor
"More on Cash Landrum" by Coral E. Lorenzen
http://www.openminds.tv/apro-bulletins

MUFON UFO Journal December 1982 pg 8
"Technical Review of Radiation in  Cash-Landrum Case" by Paul Stowe (MUFON Research Specialist in Nuclear Technology)
Followed by comments from Dr. Peter Rank

MUFON UFO Journal September 1983 pg 3
"Cash-Landrum Case Investigation of Helicopter Activity" by John F. Schuessler

John F. Schuessler File: the Cash- Landrum Radiation Case
 The AFU (Archives for the Unexplained) in Sweden hosts an incredible collection of UFO documents, including this batch of newspaper clippings and case files.

Dr. Gary Posner: The Cash-Landrum UFO-Radiation Case
Dr. Gary Posner became interested in the medical aspects of the Cash-Landrum case in late 1981 and conducted his own research, and his site hosts a page presenting his correspondence with people involved, including the previously mentioned radiologist, Dr. Peter Rank. 
Gary P. Posner, M.D.: The 1980 Cash-Landrum UFO-Radiation Case

Radiation UFO Injuries by Richard C. Niemtzow, M.D.
also published in Flying Saucer Review vol 29, no. 3, 1984

MUFON UFO Journal November 1983 pg 12 
"UFOs and Hot Rings" by James McCampbell

MUFON UFO Journal January 1984 pg 3 
"Estimate of the Situation 1984 the (sad?) State of UFOlogy" by John F. Schuessler
discusses APRO’s criticism, claims of USG UFO

MUFON UFO Journal February 1984 pg 7 15 
"UFOS Seen Over East Texas" by John F. Schuessler
(Vickie Landrum provides a tip on another UFO case)

Legal Documents: From the Damage Claims Form to the Attempted Civil Lawsuit
Quest Publication: The Cash-Landrum File: Civil Action No. H84 348
CUFON (Computer UFO Network) also hosts a collection of documents connected to the legal case.
(Note: The Defense conducted an investigation about if the UFO was a US military device. No documents from this investigation have surfaced.)

MUFON UFO Symposium July 1984
"Cash-Landrum Case: Speculation About the Medical Effects" by John F. Schuessler. 

Pursuit: Science is the Pursuit of the Unexplained
First Quarter 1985, pg.18-21
"Diamond Fire- A Close Encounter of the Military Kind" by Harry Lebelson 

MUFON UFO Symposium Saint Louis, Missouri, June 28, 29 & 30 1985
"The Medical Evidence in UFO Cases" by John F. Schuessler.
"Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" by Peter A. Gersten (link to cover and table of contents only)
MUFON 1986 UFO Symposium
"Cash-Landrum UFO Case File: The Issue of Government Responsibility" by John F. Schuessler. 

MUFON UFO Journal June 1986 pg 16 
Letter from Steuart Campbell, Response from Betty Cash.

MUFON UFO Journal July 1986 pg 10
"Cash-Landrum Case Hampered" by John F. Schuessler

MUFON UFO Journal  October 1986 pg 12
"Cash-Landrum Case Closed?" by John F. Schuessler

CIA File: Remote Viewing Session, Jan. 26, 1988
An attempt by remote viewer Gabrielle Pettingell, and the interviewer Ed Dames to identify the object in the Cash -Landrum case. Link to complete 16-page session file:

UN Presentation 1992: UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS:
"The Medical and Scientific Evidence" by John F. Schuessler

(Sturrock Panel) Physical Evidence Related to UFO Reports:
The Proceedings of a Workshop Held at the Pocantico Conference Center, Tarrytown, New York, September 29 - October 4,1997

The Cash-Landrum UFO Incident 
Three Texans Are Injured During an Encounter with a UFO and Military Helicopters 
by John F. Schuessler (1998 LaPorte, Texas Geo Graphics Printing Co) out of print

Betty Cash Obituary: 
The Anniston Star, Wed. Dec. 30, 1998
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-jEXGivVTQ9I/WjagAhDemAI/AAAAAAAAItA/esQlqmFltaQil-nBcfzBTaj8PF2sCgfmwCLcBGAs/s1600/BC%2BObit.png


UFO Updates 1/3/1999
Peter Gersten's notice of Betty’s death, including an obituary written by John Schuessler. 

Vickie Landrum Obituary
Big Thicket Messenger, Sept. 23, 2007:

AATIP document: Clinical Medical Acute & Subacute Field Effects On Human Dermal & Neurological Tissues by Dr. Christopher (Kit) Green
The Cash-Landrum case is referenced in one of the 38 Defense Intelligence Reference Documents (DIRD), products of the Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program (AAWSAP), a 53 page paper, dated 2009, authored by Dr. Kit Green.

Television Coverage: See this article for a collection of television reports on the case:

If you know of major omissions, please report them to


C. 2013 Curtis L. Collins

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Ufology's Legacy from Loch Ness



Last year, my friend Claude Falkstrom gave a high recommendation for a book on the Loch Ness Monster. Although it sounded interesting, I took no action, mostly due to feeling that I knew the story already. Recently he virtually forced a copy on me, and I found I’d been wrong. There was more in it new to me than not, and I found the book to be brilliant. As Claude had told me, it also indirectly had much of value pertaining to the study of UFOs. 

The book is A Monstrous Commotion: The Mysteries of Loch Ness by Gareth Williams, 2015. 

The press release for the book provides some biographical data on the author:
“Gareth Williams is Emeritus Professor and former Dean of Medicine at Bristol University. An internationally recognised authority in diabetes and obesity research, he has written 200 scientific papers and authored or edited over 20 medical books…”

With that background, one might fairly expect a scientific evaluation of the evidence, but this is something different, a detailed look at the history of Loch Ness sightings and of the people who pursued the study of the alleged Monster. The book is also heavily illustrated, with pictures of the key figures, maps, and photographs taken by the witnesses.

A Monstrous Commotion's central figure, naturalist Sir Peter Scott,
The Loch Ness Monster story really took off in 1933, getting over a decade’s head start on the flying saucer story, but they are close enough together in time and character to almost be twins when it comes to the matter of pursuing the respective mysteries. Williams shows how the story began in the press, but unlike Kenneth Arnold’s flying saucers, the Loch Ness Monster was slow at the start. Once it emerged, it seemed almost equally contagious, and many other sightings followed the first. Unlike saucers, which could be seen anywhere, the Monster could only be seen  at the Loch. In time, a flood of visitors came to try to catch a glimpse as the legend grew over the decades.

As UFO authors would later do, reporters and investigators dug through historical records for matching reports. Indeed, old reports of mysterious events in the Loch were found, from myths and legends to newspaper stories. Though many of them differed in substantial details, it formed a database of sorts, driven by witness testimony. Some of those witnesses had multiple sightings, “repeaters,” with too much of a good thing. In time, there were a few photographs of varying quality, and a famous one came to be known as “the Surgeon’s Photograph.” It showed the definite form of an animal, taken by a witness, a professional man of unquestionable reputation. 

There were hoaxes, however; phony tracks, monsters and photos, frequent frauds that confused the issue and poisoned the topic in the minds of scientists. The fakes damaged the efforts of those who were pushing for a scientific inquiry. That takes us to another familiar element from ufology we find in the book, the clash between proponents and skeptics. Williams says of the supporters:

“Hoaxers might have taken the Monster’s name in vain, but they had little impact on the rapidly increasing numbers of believers around the world. ”

Regarding the opponents, even in the face of credible witness testimony and quality photographs:

“The vast majority of mainstream zoologists… were still unpersuaded that the Monster was real. They were entrenched in their scepticism, just as the scientific establishment had been since the 1930s. To them, the Monster was not the greatest zoological coup of the century, but a preposterous insult to the intelligence of anyone who understood the basic rules of science.”

Williams’ book is not a dry history, and one of its greatest strengths is making the figures discussed come to life, particularly Sir Peter Scott, the painter and conservationist who was persuaded to become an advocate for the scientific study of the Loch Ness Monster. With Scott’s reputation supporting the effort over the decades, the topic was given an air of respectability.

Illustrations from the book, an alleged photograph and some of the many scientific endeavors.
It was a struggle to have the studies taken seriously, and the scientific establishment seemed fiercely opposed to any effort by the advocates to have the Monster classified as a real animal. As a result, some reputations were damaged. A Monstrous Commotion chronicles at least one scientist who lost his job due to his support of the animal’s reality.

Nessie’s supporters scored several victories in the 1970s, most notably when an underwater photo was taken of the creature’s flipper and placed on the cover of the prestigious Nature magazine. This was an enormous boost for the hypothesis that Nessie was a surviving aquatic dinosaur species, and it encouraged other scientific attempts to investigate.

The book’s finale wraps the story up nicely by revealing some of the parts of the story that were hidden in the early days, the identities of some of the players reporting the news, making sighting claims, and in one instance, taking photographs. In another nice touch, Williams includes a chapter, "The human factor," that tells what became of the key people involved in the story of the Monster. Over the years, not all evidence was presented honestly, and some of the players involved seemed to have covered up some inconvenient facts. In his final chapter, he notes, “Almost all of us want the Monster to exist, whether or not we believe in it.”

William's book provides a perfect case for ufologists to study; to step away from their saucers and to look at how belief and media promotion can give something a mythological life of its own, quite independently of whether or not the underlying subject matter is of substance or not.

A Monstrous Commotion: The Mysteries of Loch Ness by Gareth Williams can be previewed on Google Books, and you’ll find several options there for getting the book in print.