A landmark case in the history of UFOs is the 1980 Cash-Landrum incident which occurred in the Piney Woods of Texas. This case marked the only time that any American citizen has sued the United States of America for damages received from a UFO. This extraordinary case is only rivaled in Texas by the 1957 UFO landings at Levelland
. The events of Piney Woods began on the night of December 29, 1980, as Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum, and Colby Landrum were driving through the woods trying to find an open Bingo game.
A Frightening UFO:
They soon encountered a diamond-shaped UFO hanging over the road ahead. The two adults, Betty and Vickie, first thought that they were seeing a helicopter or airplane. There were several airfields not too far from them. But this object was not like a helicopter, plane, or anything else they had seen before. The large, menacing UFO would from time to time shoot reddish-orange flames toward the asphalt road below.
A Sky Full of Helicopters:
Betty, though frightened, was somewhat fascinated by the other-worldly looking object. She was now out of her car, and watching the UFO as it hovered above and ahead of them. Suddenly, the skies were full of helicopters. Betty remarked:
"They seemed to rush in from all directions... it seemed like they were trying to encircle the thing."
The ladies felt that the helicopters must be from a nearby air base. Betty returned to her car, and found the door handle was hot enough to burn her hand as she got inside.
The Effects of the Encounter:
Becky and Vickie sat and counted the number of helicopters filling the skies around the UFO. They found 23, some of them were the double rotor CH-47 Chinook, and the others they believed to be Bell-Huey. Finally, the three made their way home for the night, still wondering exactly what they had seen. But after they arrived, all three of them became ill within a couple of hours. Betty, who was out on the pavement of the road, was the worst of the three. Her neck and head were blistered. Her eyes swelled shut, and she was nauseated.
Skin Cancer Diagnosed:
Betty was forced to go to the hospital. She was admitted, and treated as a burn patient. She stayed for fifteen days. She lost her hair, and her eyes were so badly swollen that she was unable to see for a week. Seven-year old Colby had problems with his eyes also, and Vickie's hair began to fall out. The three witnesses to the large UFO were treated for radiation poisoning. Their condition was listed as life-threatening. Betty began to lose weight, and develop sores over her body. She was diagnosed as having skin cancer.
The Helicopter's Origin:
As an investigation began, the first order of business was to try to locate the origin of the helicopters. There were a number of air bases in the area, but none of them admitted having anything flying in the Piney Woods on the night in question. There would be one statement made by the military. Fort Hood press officer Major Tony Geishauser was interviewed by the Corpus Christi Caller newspaper, and stated that no helicopters from Fort, Hood, Texas were in the area during the Cash-Landrum encounter.
Major Geishauser's Official Statement:
"I don't know any other place around here that would have that number of helicopters," he said. "I don't know what it could be... unless there's a super secret thing going on and I wouldn't necessarily know about it."
An examination of the black top road showed that it was badly damaged by the fiery down bursts from the UFO. The damage was quickly repaired by road crews, however. Without a source for the helicopters, a military exercise could not account for the strange sight that night. Was this a military cover-up? Was the military confronting a UFO, and keeping it from the public? All that could be said for certain is that Betty, Vickie, and Colby encountered an object of unknown origin.
Death from Injuries:
Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum, and Colby Landrum sued the U.S. Government for medical damages resulting from the unknown object encountered on the road in Piney Woods. During a congressional hearing, the Department of the Army Inspector General denied that the military was in any way involved in the incident. No compensation would be given to the three witnesses. Ironically, Betty Cash died on the 18th anniversary of the event, in Birmingham, Alabama. She had been in bad health ever since the encounter.