A bizarre incident occurred in the United States, one day following the Rendlesham series of UFO incidents in the United Kingdom, in 1980. It involved two women and a child returning from an evening dining out in Texas.
The evening of December 29, 1980 started out normally for Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum and Landrum’s seven-year-old grandson, Colby. While driving home to Dayton, TX, on an isolated two-lane road in the dense woods, the three noticed a light above some trees around 9:00 pm. Within minutes the light became brighter, revealing a diamond-shaped object.
The trio noted an intense heat emanating from the object, which caused Vickie Landrum to tell Cash to stop the car, fearing that they would be burned. Cash considered turning the car around but the narrow road prevented such a maneuver. The women got out of the car, but Landrum quickly returned to it to comfort her grandson. She was not scared as she thought that it was the second coming of Christ, she would later say.
Betty Cash remained outside the car, which became too hot to touch due do the extreme heat, both on the metal body of the car and the vinyl inside. It was said that Landrum pressed the vinyl of the dashboard with her hand, leaving an imprint that remained for weeks.
Soon, at least 23 helicopters approached the object and surrounded it. Cash returned to the car and the three returned home.
That night, all three experienced nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, burning eyes and a feeling of sunburned skin. Cash’s symptoms became worse. By January 3, 1981, Cash was admitted to the hospital. Large, painful blisters formed on her skin. She lost large patches of skin and clumps of hair. Landrum experienced similar symptoms, though not as severe.
Landrum telephoned a number of U.S. government agencies and officials about the encounter, eventually finding NASA aerospace engineer John Schuessler. Schuessler had an interest in UFOs, and together with associates with MUFON, research began on the case. Although Cash and Landrum were found to be credible witnesses, and a policeman and his wife had also come forward about seeing the helicopters on December 29th, there were no answers.
Cash and Landrum eventually sued the U.S. government for $20 million, but a judge dismissed the case. The judge said that there was no proof that the helicopters belonged to the government and there was no diamond-shaped craft in their possession.
The case continues to fascinate, 30 years after the incident, profiled over the years in books, magazines and television shows. Colby Landrum appeared on the television show UFO Hunters last year. His grandmother Vickie Landrum passed away two years ago in 2007.
Betty Cash passed away 12 years ago, in 1998. She died on December 29th, exactly 18 years after the incident.
Copyright 2010, Cherlyn Gardner Strong
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