What could possibly be more mundane than a grandmother and her friend looking for a Bingo game? But sometime incredible event have such beginnings and so started the chain of events that would culminate I the controversial UFO encounter known as the Cash Landrum Incident.
Betty Landrum and Vickie Cash failed to find a Bingo game anywhere in the Piney Woods area of Texas on the evening of December 29,1980 due to all the games being closed for the Holidays. Realizing this they decided to stop for a meal at a local restaurant before returning home. After finishing their meal the trio entered Betty Landrum’s Oldsmobile Cutless and began their drive home.
At about 08:45 PM they were driving along FM 1485, a Farm to Market road used mainly by locals in the area. After driving for about 30 minutes Colby (Vickie Cash’s seven-year-old grandson) noticed a bright light above the tree tops some distance away. The two women initially gave the object little notice thinking it was only an inbound plane heading toward the near by Houston Intercontinental Airport. As they watched the object kept getting brighter and brighter while increasing in size.
Soon they realized the object was nearing them and would cross the road just a short distance ahead of them. With fear setting in Betty Landrum sped up hoping to get by and leave the object behind. Before this escape could be accomplished the object which could now be seen to be a diamond shaped craft had settled over the road blocking their way.
Vickie shouted at Betty to stop, fearing what may happen if they drove drove under the object. Vickie Cash being a devout Christian later describe the UFO as “A Diamond of Fire” and that she thought she was witnessing the end of the world.
Betty exited the car for a better look. The trees the object flew over were not burning but were turning very brown. The object itself appeared to be made from dull aluminum but glowed so brightly it lit up the surrounding forest. The four points of the upended diamond were blunt and intense violet beacons girdled it’s center line. The craft would occasionally sink toward the ground give a conical blast of fire out of its bottom point and rise again. As she stood transfixed watching this event, suddenly the sky was full of helicopters. Betty Landrum said, “They seemed to rush in from all directions…it seemed like they were trying to encircle the thing.” Soon after the helicopters arrived, numbering 23 at this point, the craft lifted into the air and headed southwest with the helicopters in pursuit.
Soon after the craft left Betty Landrum returned to the car and finding the handle too hot to touch used here coat sleeve to open the door and climbed in. After starting the engine the group continued down the darken road and after several miles left the Farm Market road to take the freeway. Looking toward the direction the craft had taken they could still see the bright object in the distance illuminating the helicopters trying to encircle it.
Thankful their ordeal was over Betty Landrum dropped Vickie Cash and Colby off at their home at approximately 09:50 PM. When Betty Landrum arrived home a friend and her children were waiting but Betty Landrum was beginning to feel ill and unknown to her at the time so was Vickie Cash and her grandson.
Through the night Betty, Vicky and Coby began to suffer from what many would call a stomach flu or diarrhea and nausea. Each also felt as though they'd suffered sunburns and each experienced a burning aching sensation in their eyes. Betty Landrum’s developed additional symptoms included blisters erupting on her face, scalp and loss of hair. All symptoms of intense radiation exposure.
Betty after four days of intense suffering was admitted to a local hospital for 12 days and released but was later readmitted for an additional 15 days.
Betty Landrum never fully recovered from her injuries and eventually Betty Landrum and Vickie Cash contacted their U. S. Senators who suggested they file a complaint with the Judge Advocate Claims office at Bergstrom Air Force Base. After a lengthy interview by Air Force personnel they were advised to hire a lawyer and seek compensation for their injuries.
Attorney Peter Gersten took on the case pro bono. Cash and Landrum sued the U.S government for $20 million. The case wound its way through the U.S. Courts for several years and on August 21, 1986, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed their case, noting that the plaintiffs had not proved that the helicopters were associated with the U.S. Government, and that military officials had testified that the United States Armed Forces did not have a large, diamond shaped aircraft in their possession.
Since the time of incident the focus remains mostly on the obvious radiation exposure received. Detractors often cite the lack of radiation at the event site. This shows an ignorance regarding the various types of radiation. While neutron radiation would have produced detectable activated by products, gamma would not. To illustrate this gamma is use to sterilize some food products without imparting any radiation to the consumer. Another quibble is the rapid onset of symptoms which skeptics contend would required levels of radiation exposure that would result in death. This is true for radiation exposure via ionizing radiation such as gamma, x-ray or neutron it neglects to note that there is another type of radiation that could cause the symptoms experience.
The other possibility is ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet radiation like x-rays and gamma rays is a form of electromagnetic radiation and though invisible is often accompanied by visible light that appears violet or blue as the name implies. It is commonly used in tanning beds, black lights and as a sterilization agent for decontamination. Intense and chronic exposure to ultra radiation can result in blistering burns, and inflammatory eye reactions leading to cataracts. Acute exposure can lead to immunological effects such as hair lost and mutagenic effects leading to cancer.
As mention earlier Betty's lost of hair, blistered skin, irritation to her eyes, and her description of an intense bright glow accompanied by blue lights fits well with exposure to ultraviolet radiation. It should be noted that though Betty's exposure was extreme similar effects of ultraviolet exposure have been reported in other near encounters with UFOs and to a lesser degree by anyone who has spent too much time in the sun without protection.
Sadly Betty never did get any answers for what happened to her nor any compensation for the injuries she received. Ironically she died of cancer at the age of 71 on December 29, 1998 exactly 18 years after her encounter with the flying blue lit diamond. One can only speculate if the cancer was caused by the exposure she received those many years ago.