Friday, March 23, 2012

Freaky (Factual) Tale Friday: The Cash-Landrum Incident

(photo @

Dayton, Texas

On the evening of December 29, 1980, Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum, and Colby Landrum (Vickie's 7-year-old grandson) were driving home from a dinner out together.  At approximately 9:00 PM, the trio noticed a strange light through the trees that surrounded the small, two lane road on which they were traveling.  They figured it was just the lights from an airplane approaching the nearby Houston Intercontinental Airport, so they thought nothing of it.

Moments later, the light in the sky descended towards the road and stood directly in the path of their car, which had suddenly and inexplicably gone dead.  According to this interview with Betty Cash and Vickie Landrum by United States Air Force personnel, the women described the object as being "diamond shaped" and glowing bright red/orange, with fire spewing from the bottom onto the road.

The object was giving off such immense heat that when the car suddenly stopped, Vickie's hand left an indention in the car's dash.  Using the superb powers of self preservation that most U.F.O encounter claimees tend to exhibit, Betty decided to get out of the car and take a closer look at the object.

Pictured:  A young Betty Cash, checking to see if dinner was ready.

After Vickie screamed for her to get back in the car, Betty attempted to open the car door only to have her hand burned by the now scorching hot handle.  She used her jacket to cover her hand and got back in.  Moments later, the object was surrounded by approximately 23 military helicopters, which then seemingly escorted the object away.

At this point, it may be pretty easy to dismiss Ms. Cash and her companions as loonies...except that there were other witnesses.  Lamar Walker, a Dayton County police officer at the time of the incident, was driving with his wife when he saw the fleet of helicopters in the air.  He did not see the diamond shaped object, but was shocked at how many military aircraft were in the air at one time.

The confused and frightened trio made their way home, where they all began suffering from severe nausea and what felt like very intense sunburn.  Betty got the worst of it, developing blisters, her eyes being almost completely swollen shut, and much of her hair falling out.  She also had pieces of skin falling off of her face.

After four days of worsening symptoms, Betty was admitted to Parkway Hospital, where she began treatment for acute radiation poison.  Betty's physician, Dr. Brian McClellan, is certain that she somehow received an abnormally high radiation dosage, but he had no explanation for how it happened.

"Either this is an unexplained phenomenon, or Ms. Cash sleeps inside of a microwave."

The two women's condition improved somewhat, but they were still feeling incredibly sick since their encounter with the diamond shaped object.  Betty Cash had also been diagnosed with multiple forms of cancer.

The two women finally got a meeting with the Air Force, who denied any sort of aircraft operations (weird diamond shaped ones or massive helicopter fleets) like the types that the three victims had witnessed. Weeks later, the Air Force denied all wrong doing and stated that three had no grounds to ask for medical attention or compensation from the Air Force at all.

A year later, the Air Force finally launched a full investigation into the matter, led by Lieutenant Colonel George Sarran.  Despite deeming all of the witnesses to be credible (including the police officer and his wife), Sarran's investigation concluded that their claims of a diamond shaped object and/or a fleet of military helicopters in the area on that evening were completely false.

Cash and Landrum attempted to file a lawsuit, which was dismissed without trial in 1986.  Betty Cash passed away in 1998, exactly 18 years after the incident.  Vickie Landrum later passed away in 2007.  Both women suffered through the painful fallout of their encounter for the the rest of their lives.

Meanwhile, Colby Landrum exhibited far less severe symptoms.  Now an adult, Colby's main injuries were psychological.  No one wanted to give him answers.  As recently as 2009, many of Betty Cash's medical records from Parkway Hospital were inexplicably unable to be obtained by her former physician.

Fortunately, Colby finally decided that he was willing to speak on camera and received help in the form of The History Channel.

And no, it wasn't from this guy.

Despite the History Channel's recent problems with accuracy, they were able to pull off something that was pretty brilliant:  Getting an old school and high ranking government/military official (who doesn't realize that records can be released by a Freedom of Information Act) to speak on camera. 

In this case, the target was Lt. Colonel George Sarran, the man who claimed that credible eye witness reports of the diamond shaped object and the fleet of helicopters were completely inaccurate.  

The trap is set when the interviewer (expertly disguised as a lunatic by wearing over sized aviator sunglasses and a UFO baseball cap) asks Lt. Colonel Sarran if he is absolutely sure of his findings that 23 helicopters were not flying in the area that evening.

After answering confidently in the affirmative, Sarran is presented with a declassified memo that he wrote stating that it wasn't 23 helicopters in the air that was actually more like 100.  The confused blabbering and attempted back tracking of a person caught in a lie immediately and hilariously commences in full.

Below is a video of the conversation.  At 8:46, I'm pretty sure that Colby coughs the word "bulls#$%" while Sarran unsuccessfully tries to explain why he just contradicted himself.

This won't bring Colby Landrum justice or properly pay him back for the emotional, mental, and physical pain that he and his family have been through.  But at least it can't be debated that something strange did happen on that December night in Texas when their lives were completely turned upside down.

Now it's not Colby and his deceased love ones that can ever be called crazy; it's the lack of justice and fair treatment that he and his family received for doing nothing more than driving home from dinner.

Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum, and Colby Landrum