One of the strange things about writing a book is that sometimes the comments or criticisms come in a short period of time.
What do I mean?
My book, Crash: When UFOs Fall from the Sky was published in May and in the last week or ten days I have heard from several people who wished I had included the Cash-Landrum case in the book. That is an interesting case and I believe John Schuessler did a very comprehensive study of it which has been published.
The problem for me is that I don’t view the case as a crash/retrieval. I see it as something that might have been an emergency close approach, or just a close approach without the emergency, or some kind of terrestrially-based test, but not a crash of an extraterrestrial vehicle. For that reason, I left it out.
What I know about the case is what everyone else knows and is based on the research of those who studied it in person. I have never spoken to any of those who were originally involved, though I do know John Schuessler. He is one of those who has devoted a great deal of time to the study of UFOs and this case took place almost in his backyard.
It was December 29, 1980, when Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum and Landrum’s seven-year-old grandson, Colby saw the strange object as they returned from dinner. Thinking that it was an airplane heading to a nearby airport, they thought nothing of it. But as they rounded a curve on the rural road, they saw the light approaching them at treetop level.
Fearing that they would be burned alive, Landrum screamed for Cash to stop. The road was narrow and Cash was unable to turn to car so that they could escape. But there was no other traffic, so Cash got out, walking to the front of the vehicle. Landrum also got out but her grandson so upset she got back in.
They could feel heat from the diamond-shaped object that was about 100 feet away. The car became too hot to touch and Landrum put her hand on the dashboard and left an imprint. Cash needed to use part of her leather jacket to protect her hand so that she could open the door.
There was a final blast of heat and the object ascended slowly. As it cleared the treetops, helicopters appeared from all directions. The object and the helicopters then disappeared from sight.
When her eyes adjusted to the darkness, Cash started the car and they began to head home. As they rounded another curve on that same road, they saw the object again, and Cash counted 23 helicopters near it. Landrum thought there were 25 or 26 of them. Cash was able to pull off the road. When the object and the helicopters were again out of sight, Cash then drove home.
Later that evening Cash became sick, the symptoms like that of radiation poisoning, at least according to some. She was hospitalized twice for treatment. The Landrums were also sick, but not to the same degree as Cash, which might be as simple as Cash being outside the car longer and her exposure greater.
The case was, of course, investigated. Cash eventually sued the government for 20 million dollars alleging that her illnesses were caused by the close approach of the craft. She was eventually treated for various cancers 25 times and had undergone two operations. The helicopters were obviously US government and they should have been protecting her. The case was dismissed in 1986. Cash died some twenty yeas later.
The suit was dismissed, according to the ruling, because there was no evidence that the diamond-shaped craft was any type of government test vehicle and they were hard pressed to find witnesses to the formation of helicopters. A few witnesses were found who said they had seen the fleet, but no physical evidence or documentation was ever located.
I will point out here, based on my experience as a helicopter pilot, that I find it difficult to believe they could hide an air operation of this magnitude. The helicopters would have had a crew of three and maybe four meaning almost 100 men (and given the date of this, I wouldn’t expect any women in the flight crews), not to mention the logistical support necessary. You’d have to supply a refueling point, as well as other considerations but no trace of any of that was ever found or documented. Something like that, on that scale, would be impossible to hide.
Nearly everyone, skeptics and believers alike, suggest that the illnesses sounded like radiation sickness. One of those who doesn’t is Brad Sparks. He presented a number of reasons including the rapid onset of the symptoms and the lingering nature of them as reason to suspect another cause. Philip Klass was interested in the health of the three victims prior to the encounter.
The bottom line for me, and my book on UFO crashes, is that there is no hint of a crash here. A close encounter of the second kind, meaning a close approach of a UFO, but not a crash. For that reason, I didn’t even consider this case for my book.