Pascagoula, Mississippi Abductions

Pascagoula, Mississippi Abductions
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Date: October 13, 1973

Location: Pascagoula, MS

This abduction case has remained, after the Betty and Barney Hill case of 1961, the second most famous UFO abduction case in history, according to UFO historian Jerome Clark.

Charles Hickson, the chief claimant in the Pascagoula, MS, UFO abduction case, died of a heart attack on September 9, 2011, at the age of 80. Until his death he maintained the truth of his alien encounter part of the UFO flap of 1973.

There is some controversy over the case, it will be described after the main story.

Involving 2 men, 19 year old Calvin Parker and 42 year old Charles Hickson, both of Gautier, MS, who were fishing about 9:00 p.m. from the dock of an abandoned shipyard along the Pascagoula River, at the southeastern tip of Mississippi, when they heard a buzzing noise behind them.

Both turned and were terrified to see a 10' wide, 8' high, glowing egg shaped object with blue lights at its front hovering just above the ground about 40' from the river bank.

As the men, frozen with fear, watched, a door appeared in the object, and 3 strange beings floated just above the water towards them.

The head seemed to come directly to the shoulders, no neck, and something resembling a nose came out to a point about 2" long. On each side of the head, about where the ears would be, was something similar to the nose. Directly under the nose was a slit resembling a mouth. The arms were something like human arms, but long in proportion to the body; the hands resembled a mitten, and there was a thumb attached.

Hickson would later compare them to claws.

The legs remained together and the feet looked something like elephant's feet. The entire body was wrinkled and had a greyish color. There could have been eyes, but the area above the nose was so wrinkled I couldn't tell.

The beings were slightly over 5' tall.

2 positioned themselves on either side of Hickson and grabbed his arms.

Momentarily Hickson felt a stinging sensation on his left arm. Then he came paralyzed and numb.

The 3rd being held Parker, who had fainted.

Both men and the 3 entities entered the craft.

Something like an eye, the size and shape of a football, floated from the wall to within 6" of Hickson's face. Hickson lay suspended in the air in different positions, once at a 45° angle, as the eye moved around his body.

At this point, Hickson could no longer see the beings, who he thought might be behind him, because he was still paralyzed, he could not determine that for himself, nor could he get his mouth to function.

The entities entered Hickson's line of vision again. 2 of them took him outside in the same configuration as before. All 3 glided to the pier, with Hickson's feet dragging along the ground.

When they arrived at the spot from which they had abducted Hickson, they let him go. His legs gave way beneath him, and he fell.

He looked up to see Parker who was standing there motionless, with his arms outstretched, as if in deep shock.

Hickson started to crawl toward him but then found that he was able to stand.

He heard the zipping sound again, and he turned to see the blue flashing lights that had first caught his attention.

Just as they disappeared, a voice spoke inside his head:

We are peaceful. We meant you no harm.

For his part, Parker, who had lapsed in and out of consciousness, remembered being taken toward the ship, hearing a whistling noise and a click, then seeing the bright interior lights just before he was floated outside.

He was left standing, though unable to move, and looking out on the river. He saw the UFO shoot upwards and vanish at about 50'.

The entire episode had lasted probably 20 minutes.

Expecting only ridicule if they were to tell anyone what had happened, Hickson & Parker initially decided to keep quiet, but then, because the government might want, or ought, to know about it, they telephoned Kessler Air Force Base in Biloxi.

A sergeant there told them to contact the sheriff.

But uncertain about the reception their bizarre story might get from the local law, they drove to the local newspaper office to speak to a reporter. When they found the office closed, Hickson and Parker felt they had no alternative but to talk to the sheriff.

The sheriff, after listening to their story, put Hickson & Parker in a room wired for sound in the belief that if the men were left alone they would reveal their hoax, of course they did not.

The local press reported their tale, the wire services picked it up and within several days the Pascagoula Encounter was major news all over the country.

The Aerial Phenomena Research Organization, APRO , founded in 1952, sent University of California engineering professor James Harder to Mississippi to investigate, J. Allen Hynek, representing the Air Force, also arrived.

Together they interviewed the pair.

Harder hypnotized Hickson but had to terminate the session when Hickson became too frightened to continue.

The pairís veracity was accepted by both Dr. Hynek and James Harder, both of whom rushed to interview the abductees.

Harder tried unsuccessfully to hypnotize the men, but did conclude they had experienced an extraterrestrial phenomena.

Hynek believed the pair had at least had a very real, frightening experience.

The sheriffís department also felt the men were telling the truth, and Hickson requested and passed a lie detector test arranged by the agent with whom the men had signed a contract to promote their story.

Parker suffered a breakdown and was briefly hospitalized.

The menís fantastic report drew much skepticism.

Famed UFO skeptic Philip J. Klass noted discrepancies in Hicksonís account, for instance, once referring to the creatures as having a hole for a mouth but later calling it a slit. Klass also pointed out that the lie detector test was conducted by an inexperienced polygraph operator, and that Hickson refused to take another administered by an expert police examiner. Still, some of Hicksonís behavior is questionable.

For example, he kept adding to his story.

He claimed on a television show a month later that the interior lights of the UFO had been so intense as to cause eye injury lasting for 3 days, although an extensive hospital examination the day after the incident had shown no such eye damage.

Based on other evidence, including the fact that Hickson had once been fired for improperly obtaining money from employees under his supervision, Klass concluded the case was a hoax.

When all the facts are weighed, the preponderance of evidence appears not only to favor the hypothesis involving the surreal state but to provide corroboration as well.

The sheriff of Pascagoula County added:

My name is Fred Diamond and I am sheriff of Pascagoula, MS.

On October 11th, 1973, 2 local men, well known to me, Charles Hickson, 45, and Calvin Parker, 19, staggered into my office at 6:00 p.m. in a distressed condition.

They reported to me and Detective Tom Huntley that they had been fishing along the Pasagoula River when they sighted a strange silvery craft, about 100' long, which descended from above to within 30' of them, where it hovered while emitting a blue light.

They stated that a hatch in the craft then opened and 3 gray looking aliens floated out. The aliens appeared to Hickson and Parker to have wrinkled skin, claw like hands, and a single slit for an eye.

Parker said he then fainted, but Hickson stated he was immobilized before being floated aboard the craft, where he was laid face up on a table. A huge electronic eye then examined him from head to toe at close range.

Both men stated that about 20 minutes later they found themselves outside the craft once again.

At first we did not believe this statement by Parker & Hickson, for obvious reasons.

We continued to interrogate them to try to break down their unlikely story, but they insisted on what they had seen.

Charlie appeared badly shaken. You donít see a 45 year old man cry unless something terrible has happened. Also, I heard Calvin praying to himself when he thought nobody could hear.

2 hours of intense grilling followed, but Hickson & Parker stuck to their stories, saying early on that they wanted to take a polygraph test. They also insisted that they wanted no publicity.

Both men talked between themselves as follows:

Parker: I got to get home and get to bed or get some nerve pills or see the doctor or something. I can't stand it. I'm about to go half crazy.

Hickson: I tell you, when we get through, I'll get you something to settle you down so you can get some damn sleep.

Hickson: Iíve never seen nothiní like it. I canít believe it, you canít make people believe it.

Parker: My arms just froze up and I couldnít move. Just like Iíd stepped on a goddamn rattlesnake.

Hickson: I know son, I know.

Parker: Itís hard to believe. Oh God, itís awful, I know thereís a God up there.

Parker: I can't sleep yet like it is. I'm just damn near crazy, I passed out. I expect I never passed out in my whole life.

Parker: I don't want to keep sittin' here. I want to see a doctor.

Hickson: They better wake up and start believin', they better start believin'.

Parker: You see how that damn door come right up?

Hickson: I don't know how it opened, son. I don't know.

Parker: It just laid up and just like that those son' bitches, just like they came out.

Hickson: I know. You can't believe it. You can't make people believe it.

Parker: I was paralyzed right then. I couldn't move.

Hickson: They won't believe it. They are gonna believe it one of these days. Might be too late. I knew all along there were people from other worlds up there. I knew all along. I never thought it would happen to me.

Both men appeared to be ill and were taken to the local hospital. It was suspected they suffered from radiation poisoning.

On examination they were found to be free of radiation and well enough to return to their jobs at the local shipyard.

I reported the incident to Federal Authorities, for further investigation.

In my opinion, for what itís worth, Parker & Hickson are just 2 country boys, and neither of them has enough imagination to concoct such a tale, or enough guile to carry it off.

At 9:00 p.m., at the conclusion of a television show he had been watching, Larry Booth of Pascagoula got up to check the front door prior to retiring for the night. He noticed a huge object of some sort hovering 5' to 8' above a nearby streetlight.

As he recalled in an interview in August 1974:

The object was standin' still, it wasn't movin' at all when I seen it.

But all the lights around the outside of it were turnin', clockwise motion. And they were all red, I would say it was larger than the props on a helicopter, you know how the big helicopters are with the large props? I would say that it was bigger around than that.

The lights all the way around it, a lot of them, were close together, circling, slower than an ambulance light turns, about half that fast, I couldn't hear a sound.

A helicopter would've jarred everybody in here out of the house.

The object began to move slowly away in the darkness. Booth thought he detected a dome atop it. Booth could see that the object was round. At the time he thought he was viewing some kind of experiment run out of a local military base.

Hickson & Parker sat in a car for the next 45 minutes trying to calm their shattered nerves and decide what to do next. Hickson drank whiskey out of a bottle.

In due course, Parker suggested that they contact the military. Hickson located a payphone and called Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, 30 miles west of Pascagoula.

A sergeant there told him that the Air Force did not handle UFO reports; he should tell his story to the police.

Instead, they drove to the office of the Mississippi Press Register, just a few blocks away.

Parker, who was driving, got out, explaining to Hickson that there was a clock in the building and he wanted to know what time it was. But the building was locked.

So they called the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, where the deputy who took the call urged them to come over and talk in person.

At 10:30 p.m. both witnesses showed up.

They brought with them 2 catfish, apparently to prove as much of the story as they could, which was that they had been fishing earlier in the evening.

Sensing that one of the men had liquor on his breath, Sheriff Fred Diamond ordered his deputies to administer breath analysis.

2 hours of intense grilling followed, but Hickson & Parker stuck to their stories.

Parker, who was barely coherent, seemed particularly shaken.

Sheriff Diamond assumed that if they were lying, that fact would become immediately apparent when they spoke privately.

Instead, the men's demeanor changed not at all. They continued to talk in the voices of the terribly distressed.

Afterwards, Hickson left the room. All alone, Parker began to pray:

It's hard to believe. Oh God, it's awful. I know there's a God up there.

When Hickson & Parker went to work the next day, at the Walker shipyard, they did not discuss their experience at first, but their coworkers could see that Parker was disturbed about something.

Then the sheriff called.

He wanted the pair to come right over, his office was full of reporters.

Surprised and annoyed, Hickson reminded him of his promise not to leak the story.

The sheriff protested his innocence but noted that it probably would be impossible to keep a story like this quiet.

Hickson's foreman overheard the conversation and asked Hickson what had happened.

In short order, Hickson was repeating the story to the shipyard owner, Johnny Walker, who urged him to get an attorney. Walker notified prominent local attorney, Joe Colingo, who was both the company lawyer and Walker's brother in law.

Reportedly Walker told him the UFO story might be worth only about a million dollars.

Colingo arrived shortly and accompanied his new clients to the sheriff's office. Diamond said his office did not have the facilities for the polygraph test Colingo and the witnesses wanted.

Meanwhile, Hickson expressed concern that he and Parker possibly had been exposed to radiation; would it be possible to have them tested?

Colingo & Detective Tom Huntley took them to a local hospital, which said it lacked the equipment to conduct radiation tests.

Huntley then spoke with Keesler, and the group headed off to the airbase.

There, under heavy guard, Hickson & Parker were led to a building where a team of doctors conducted an extensive examination.

Afterwards, the whole base command, in Huntley's words, sat in as the Keesler intelligence chief interrogated Hickson & Parker. The officer, Huntley remembered, acted cool as if he'd heard it all before. Huntley noticed that when Hickson mentioned the beings' clawlike hands, 2 Colonels exchanged glances.

Late that afternoon Colingo met Hickson, Parker & Parker's father in his office and drew up a contract. By now Hickson & Parker were feeling overwhelmed, and they were relieved that so important a man, as they saw Colingo, was interested in them.

Subsequently, debunkers would speculate that Hickson & Parker had invented the UFO story to make money. No evidence of a hoax would ever emerge, however.

To all appearances, the idea that the story could be exploited for financial gain was Colingo's alone, and Hickson & Parker would never see any significant amount of money from it.

Hickson later dismissed the attorney because, he said, Colingo just wanted to make a buck.

That day Hickson's left arm bled from what looked like a small puncture wound, at the precise spot where the beings had grabbed him.

By the next day, Pascagoula was crawling with journalists.

2 scientists had also flown in, separately. One was James A. Harder, a professor of engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. Harder was also a consultant to the Tucson based Aerial Phenomena Research Organization, APRO.

The other was J. Allen Hynek, Northwestern University astronomer and for 20 years, until 1969, the principal scientific consultant to the Air Force's Project Blue Book.

Harder would try without success to hypnotize the 2, who were too shaken and distracted for the procedure to work.

All who dealt with Hickson & Parker in the aftermath of their alleged encounter, whether they were police officers, investigators, friends, or acquaintances, shared the view that they were telling the truth as they saw it.

The sincerity of them seemed palpable.

Those who could not believe in the existence of aliens sought alternative explanations, such as vivid hallucination, that acknowledged Hickson & Parker's genuine distress without forcing the theorists to adopt an unacceptable extraordinary interpretation.

The excitement continued for weeks afterwards.

Unable to come down from the experience, Parker returned to Jones County, MS, his and Hickson's home 130 miles North of Pascagoula. There he suffered an emotional breakdown and was placed in Laurel's Community Hospital for a time.

Meanwhile, reporters and curiosity seekers kept bothering Hickson.

On October 30, Hickson took a polygraph test administered by Scott Glasgow of the New Orleans based Pendleton Detective Agency.

I am convinced that he believes he saw a spaceship and that he believes he was taken into the spaceship by 3 creatures, Glasgow told the press.

In January 1974, Hickson appeared on a late night television show. Interview With Charles Hickson & Other Eye Witnesses.

It took Parker years to recover from the incident. He moved from Pascagoula to Lousiana and stayed away from reporters and investigators.

Hickson occasionally showed up at UFO conferences but otherwise maintained a low profile, Hickson died of a heart attack on September 9, 2011, at the age of 80.

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