Close Encounters Of 'The Second Kind'
There have been many interactions with extraterrestrial craft and their occupants throughout history. They come in many forms, with each one of them providing varying degrees of evidence with which to validate their provenance. Some of these cases has resulted in significant illness or severe injury to those involved with no definitive explanation as to how or why the witnesses came to develop such harmful symptoms. In this post, we examine two such instances of close encounters of the second kind.
In 1972, famed ufologist J Allen Hynek devised a system, which would group incidents of alleged extraterrestrial contact into distinct categories. In recent decades, this system has been expanded to include every possible type of scenario, but at the time of its inception, there were only three classifications. The lowest level of Hynek's system-encounters of the first kind- were defined as distant visual sightings of supposed alien craft. Conversely, the highest categories-encounters of the third kind-were determined by human interactions with the occupants of these vessels.
But in between these two extremes lay a wide middle ground, in which the craft and entities involved left some form of physical evidence of their passing, without directly interacting with any human being. These were classified as close encounters of the second kind. Examples of the evidence left behind at such incidents have included lasting damage being caused to vegetation and buildings, documented interference with electronics and other telecommunication systems and, in the most extreme cases, death or serious injury being inflicted upon humans or animals.
Thankfully, such occurrences are exceedingly rare, and we have already looked at some of the more tragic accounts during previous posts. These incidents have also provoked a disturbing debate amongst commentators on the subject, as to whether the harm caused to those involved is deliberate on the part of these visitors, or merely an unfortunate byproduct of their presence. What is clear is that close proximity to alleged extraterrestrial craft and their occupants has proven time and time again to be extremely dangerous, with unseen and powerful forces exerted during these incidents. Forces which can lead to long-term injuries, and Lasting health implications for those who are lucky enough-or perhaps unlucky enough- to have witnessed such an event.
The Cash- Landrum Encounter
It's approximately 9 p.m. on the evening of the 29th of December 1980, drivers traveling along the Texas State Road 1485 would likely have seen an Oldsmobile Cutlass, slowly laboring along the highway towards the city of Dayton. The car's owner, Betty Cash, had been returning home from a dinner with her longtime friend Vickie Landrum, along with Vickie's seven-year-old grandson, Colby. The two women were in good spirits and were happily chatting away as the car proceeded to enter a heavily wooded section of the road. A short time after this, Landrum commented to her friend that she could see a brightly lit object, crossing the woods ahead of them, high above the trees.
As Cash slowed the car down, she also caught sight of it and, after a brief conversation, the two women agreed that what they had seen was most likely an aircraft trying to locate Houston International Airport, which was nearby. A little further along the highway, Cash suddenly became aware of an intense light up ahead, which was Illuminating the carriageway. Thinking this must be an approaching truck with its headlights still on full beam, she instinctively slowed her own vehicle down, only to realize that the light up ahead did not appear to be altering in intensity.
As the car coasted to a halt around a blind bend, Cash now saw that the roadway ahead was somewhat obstructed by a large craft, which was hovering several feet above the ground. She would later go on to describe it as roughly the same size as the top of a water tower, being metallic in appearance and shaped like a diamond with the tips cut off at the top and bottom. The central portion of this vessel was surrounded by a ring of blue lights and every so often, a series of intense flames would issue forth from the base of the object. When they did so, the craft would immediately coast forwards a few feet towards the car and then come to a halt until the next burst would then propel it forwards again.
As she surveyed this mysterious floating object, Cash's first instinct was to turn the car around and drive back the way she came. But at the same time, she was conscious that it had been raining heavily that day, and the ground either side of the road was muddy, leading her to fret that she may become stuck. It was at this point during the incident that Landrum commented about how hot she was feeling. Cash suddenly realized that since the moment they had first encountered the objects, the temperature appear to have been steadily rising inside the car.
Landrum, a long-standing and devout Christian, told her friend that she believed what they were witnessing was some form of religious visitation, and stated that she wanted to get out of the vehicle. But as she went to do so, she stopped herself, as Colby was becoming visibly agitated and upset in the rear seats behind them.
Cash, however, did exit the vehicle and then slowly started to walk towards the mysterious floating craft. She was swiftly stopped in her tracks by the intense heat it was producing, forcing her to retreat to the car. When she did so, she found that the door handle was now too hot to touch. She would have to wrap her coat sleeve around her hand in order to open the car door. When she got back into her vehicle, Cash then watched on in amazement as Landrum proceeded to place her outstretched palm on the vinyl of the dashboard. By now, the material was so hot that her hands seemed to sink into it, leaving a lasting impression behind when she removed it.
As they continued to observe in complete bewilderment, the object gave off another Almighty burst of flame, and then slowly ascended into the air to a point above the treetops. The two women then became aware of another sound, as a series of large military helicopters swiftly hovered into view. The strange vessel then made off, with the army helicopters pursuing it across the forest. The two women watched on for a time as the lights receded into the distance, before carrying on with their journey, talking animatedly about what they had just witnessed.
Later that evening, after she had dropped Vickie and Colby back home, Betty Cash suddenly collapsed in her kitchen and began to vomit. Over the course of that evening, she continued to be violently sick, as well as succumbing to severe nausea and diarrhea. The following morning, she made a phone call to Landrum, who immediately admitted that she too was experiencing similar symptoms, as was Colby.
Over the next few days, the condition of the two women would continue to steadily deteriorate. They both became weak and found themselves struggling to focus on anything. Cash's skin went on to develop painful blistering akin to a severe bout of sunburn, and when she finally got checked out at the nearest hospital, it was also discovered by the clinicians there that small portions of her hair were beginning to fall out. A radiologist who examined the patients stated that their symptoms were similar in nature to people who had been exposed to high levels of ionizing radiation. But in the majority of such incidents, the patients involved had suddenly passed away shortly afterwards.
Instead, both women would go on to recover, though not without sustaining long-term health issues. For the next 18 years until her death, Betty Cash would be admitted to hospital on an annual basis before she finally succumbed to her long battle with breast cancer, which had first been diagnosed in the immediate aftermath of the alleged UFO encounter. For her part, Vickie Landrum developed severe cataracts in both eyes, a condition that would impair her vision until her eventual death in 2007.
Much like his grandmother, Colby was significantly less affected than Betty cash, and he managed to escape the incident without developing any long-term health implications. In the years which have passed since the Cash-Landrum sighting, there has been great speculation as to what could have caused the illnesses sustained by both witnesses. Some believe that in addition to low-level radiation, the women may have been exposed to something with an infrared property and potentially even an aerosol or gas. The prevailing theory is that Cash was more heavily affected than her passengers as she had abandoned what little protection her vehicle had afforded.
Thirty years prior to the incident involving Betty Cash and Vickie Landrum, an even more unnerving encounter would allegedly take place in a remote area of countryside situated not far from the outskirts of Buenos Aires. The primary witness of this incident would be a Venezuelan physician by the name of Enrique Botta who, before qualifying as a doctor, had originally mastered a degree in engineering. It was his credentials in this field
which had resulted him being invited to Argentina during the summer of 1950, in order to work on a rural engineering project.
One morning, he was driving the rental car from his hotel along a remote highway, towards the isolated rural area of Bahia Blanca, where he'd been working. Due to the early hour, there was no other traffic on the road, and so he had easily spotted what, on approach, appeared to be a car overturned in a field. But the closer Botta came to the crashed vehicle, he realized that it had no obvious windows or doors, and instead resembled a featureless metal disc of some kind. Pulling up a short distance away, he continued to observe for several minutes, before deciding to exit his car and go in for a closer look.
After circling around the strange vehicle, he noticed an aperture in its side, which he then used to gain entry. Inside, it was difficult for him to see anything, as there was only one blinking red light attached to the roof of the hull. But slowly, as Botta's eyes adjusted to the dim interior, he realized that he was not alone. Over to one side, was a large control panel of some kind, filled with various gauges and meters, the likes of which the engineer had never seen before. Situated around this strange console were three metallic seats, all of which had small figures belted into them.
The doctor described the craft's occupants as roughly four foot tall and wearing tight-fitting great coveralls of some kind. He called out to the figures, but having received no response, he then moved closer to see if he could rouse them.
Botta would later recall that, as he shuffled around towards the chairs, he ran his hand along the interior of the disc and was amazed to find that it had the texture of rubber despite being apparently metallic in appearance. When he then shook the shoulder of one of the seated beings, the skin beneath his fingers felt solid and almost charred in texture. At this stage, believing the craft's occupants had perished in the apparent crash, Botta ran from the object and drove directly back to the hotel, where he told his two colleagues, Horatio and Leo what he had seen.
The three men duly armed themselves with pistols and then drove back to the location, only to find a mysterious pile of dark ash where the machine had once stood. When one of the men scooped up some of this particulate in his palm, the skin on his hand gradually transitioned into a livid shade of purple and stayed that way for the next three days. As the men began to spread out and walk around the vicinity of the ash pile, they suddenly caught sight of a series of strange red lights approaching in the distant sky.
Losing their nerve, the men ran back to their car and made off as fast as they could, taking a couple of blurry photos of the flying lights as they did so. Just as with the Cash-Landrum sighting, in the days following the event, Enrique Botta's skin began to severely blister. On his face, the imprint of where he had been wearing his sunglasses on the day of the incident remained seared into the skin and did not fade away for many weeks.
When he was subsequently bedridden with severe fever like symptoms which had gone to overwhelm him, Botta was finally rushed to hospital. Doctors carried out a battery of tests on him, concerned that he had succumbed to a form of radiation poisoning, and yet no trace of this could be found at all during the testing. For several years, neither of the three men allowed themselves to speak about the incident until Botta was finally persuaded to attend a UFO conference, where he opened up about the experience there to fellow delegates. This would lead him to commit his memories of what had happened to paper in a book he titled "Situation Red".
The similarities between these two incidents and the life-threatening symptoms which manifested in those involved are concerning, particularly as they are also found in many of the stories from countless other witnesses who claim to have been visited by extraterrestrials. It could be that this radiation-like poisoning is some sort of side effect from a scanning device being employed by the alien craft, or perhaps even a byproduct of the vessel's propulsion system or fuel source.
Another theory is that the atmosphere in which the entities usually reside is somehow toxic to humans. And as a result of them having to replicate it within their craft and also their immediate surroundings, it then proves dangerous to the witnesses who they come into contact with. Thankfully, the overwhelming majority of alleged UFO Sightings remain close encounters of the first kind. Although, with the amount of UFO stories currently appearing in various news sources, the prospect that these visitors may one day choose to make direct contact with humanity is ever-present. Perhaps such cases should be taken as cautionary tales.