Three people suffer radiation burns after a fire-spewing UFO hovers near their car.

Betty Cash encountered a UFO

Betty was treated for radiation


John Schuessler investigated the scene

On December 29, 1980, Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum, and Vickie’s 7-year-old grandson, Colby, were returning home after dinner on State Road 1485, near Dayton, Texas, on the outskirts of Houston. At around 9 P.M., according to Vickie Landrum, they noticed a bright light in the sky:

“You could see it through the trees. It started to get real close. Then I knew it wasn’t a plane.”

Betty Cash described what happened next:

“We didn’t know what it was, but we knew there was something that was lighting up the sky. We had begun to feel heat, and all of a sudden Vickie screamed for me to stop. And when I stopped, she went forward and her handprint was imbedded into the dash of the car.  And I thought, well, I’ve got to see what this is. So I got out, walked toward the front of the automobile, and I stood there looking up to try to figure out what this object was.  It was a diamond- shaped object. Then at the bottom, flames were shooting out. The heat was tremendous. It just felt like I was burning from the inside out. When I reached for the door handle, the door handle was so hot, I couldn’t even begin to hold on to it.  I was more than scared. The only thing I was thinking was, are we going to get out of here alive?

Vickie Landrum said that just moments later, a large squadron of helicopters descended on the area:

“They were the large helicopters that have the double rotaries on them. I counted 22 and I knew they had to belong to the army.”

The craft had left its mark

For years Betty, Vickie, and Colby have battled with the government, trying to get clear answers about what actually took place that night. They’ve also fought against mysterious illnesses whose symptoms appeared just hours after the encounter. According to Vickie Landrum, later that night, at around 1 A.M., Colby woke up crying:

“He was begging me for water. He had a fever and he had vomited all over the bed.”

The next morning, Vickie and Colby were still suffering from nausea and what appeared to be severe cases of sunburn. Betty was in even worse shape. Her temperature was dangerously high and large red welts had appeared on her face and hands.

Over the next four days, Betty’s condition grew more serious. Vickie finally convinced her to see a doctor in Houston. He immediately admitted Betty to the hospital. Three weeks later, she underwent treatment for acute radiation poisoning. Betty was in the hospital six weeks. She lost more than fifty percent of her hair and patches of skin on her face. She was treated by Dr. Brian McClelland:

“There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that Betty was exposed to high doses of radiation. As to what the source was, I can’t exactly say.”

After her release from the hospital, Betty asked for help from UFO investigator John Schuessler, a former NASA project manager:

“We had done several interviews with Betty and Vickie, and then we went out to the location where this happened. They were very clear on where it happened and how it happened. They told us exactly where along the road they stopped, because there were markers that identified the spot. They were able to point out exactly where they saw the object coming down out of the sky, over the road, and hovering there. They were able to point out a spot on the road that indicated that it had been heated to an extreme level of heating. It was burned, and it was very clear to the naked eye. Several weeks after we went to the spot and saw this burned area, someone dug up the road and hauled it away and replaced it with new asphalt. Some of the witnesses that watched this happen said people brought in unmarked trucks, dug up the road, put the material on the trucks, covered it with a tarpaulin, and drove away.”

Was the military involved with the UFO?

John Schuessler also questioned everyone living within a 5-mile radius of the area:

“At least 10 other people had seen the object, and seven or eight other people had seen the helicopters. And their descriptions were all very similar to what Betty and Vickie described.”

One eyewitness was police officer L.L. Walker, who was in the area on the night that Betty and Vickie encountered the object:

“My wife Marie and I were returning from her mother and dad’s. As we were coming out of some tree lines, I saw a helicopter. It was shining a spotlight at the ground. Then I heard the noise of other helicopters behind it. And I stopped the car, ’cause I didn’t know what was going on. The helicopters were military and they were all flying fairly low to the ground, and all of them had search beams on. I thought maybe there was an airplane down, but they didn’t hesitate.  They kept going in the same direction, which would probably intersect the area where Vickie said her encounter was.”

Convinced that the military was somehow involved, Betty and Vickie appealed to their senators. The Air Force agreed to a meeting at Bergstrom Air Force Base. As they entered the room, Vickie noticed a large map. The exact spot where the encounter had occurred was clearly marked.

According to Betty and Vickie, they were questioned for more than two hours. The interview was recorded by a military stenographer. In the end, the two men denied that any military or government operation had been conducted at that time and place. The women were told they were entitled to file a claim and the Air Force would review the case. Four weeks later, Betty and Vickie’s claims for medical damages were denied.

What did Betty Cash, and Vickie, and Colby Landrum see in the Texas sky on that winter night in 1980? John Schuessler offered two explanations:

“One is that it was an experimental craft of some kind, probably from our government. The other, it was an unidentified flying object, possibly extraterrestrial.”

Vickie Landrum:

“I don’t believe in little green men. And it had to be an object. It could have been a spacecraft that the government was carrying, but our government was carrying it.”

Betty, Vickie, and Colby continue to battle illnesses that doctors say could be the result of massive radiation exposure. Betty has been diagnosed with several types of cancer.  She, Vickie, and Colby all have white blood cell counts that are far below normal. Their immune systems now have difficulty fighting off even minor infections. Dr. Brian McClelland:

“Vickie’s having visual problems. And there are lots of suggestions that they may be related to radiation as well, but that depends on the kind of exposure. And someone needs to tell us what the exposure was so we can figure it out.”

Betty Cash said that all she wants is information that could help her medically:

“If it’s a top-secret object that’s protecting the United States, then I could say I could forgive them for that. But at least they owe us to tell us exactly why we were burned, and what type of radiation that we were exposed to and how much.”

After the UFO incident, Betty Cash was hospitalized for cancer treatments at least once every year.  She died 18 years later at the age of 69.  The Air Force declined to be interviewed for this story. Their official position is that no military or government operation occurred.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season three with Robert Stack and in season four with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.



  1. Bill Blaski

    What caused the radiation?


  2. Anonymous

    Just a possibility, could have been an experimental nuclear powered soviet craft violating U.S. airspace with the U.S. helicopters after it quietly (capture).


  3. Anonymous

    A military pilot did mention to cash that he was involved in a “military exercise” that night but when she tried to further question him he changed his story


  4. Tasha

    My self and parents seen the same thing on highway 36 which is a very isolated Road near platina California… I know aliens are real…


  5. Kelli Barron

    I was only two months old at the time.


  6. Ricky

    I was 11 years old when this happened i used to ride the school bus with colby and his sister. Betty cash use to own a small pet store in dayton.the day after this happened 2 of the helicopters landed where the post office is now


  7. Ray

    My mother and her father had the exact same experience on September 11th, 1980 or 1981 in a suburb of Anderson, South Carolina. Many in the town saw it and it made news. No one knows what it was


  8. Robert

    Vickie Landrum died on September 12, 2007 seven days before her 84th Birthday


  9. patrick lyle mccauley-curtin

    woah i would never wanna be burnt like that