Updated: Aug 3
While out fishing in 1973 on Pascagoula Lake, Calvin Parker and Charles Hickson claimed to have been abducted by visitors from another planet. Here is an in-depth look into their claims and the investigation that followed.
One of the most famous UFO-abduction cases in history (the first being the Hill Abduction Case) took place on Thursday, October 11, 1973, at the southeastern tip of Mississippi. It received enormous publicity, owing perhaps in good part to its having been reported at the onset of the great American UFO wave that erupted that month.
Around nine in the evening Charles Hickson, 42, and Calvin Parker, 19, were fishing from the dock of an abandoned shipyard along the Pascagoula River when a "zipping sound" alerted Hickson to the approach of a domed, football-shaped object. Thirty feet long, eight to 10 feet high, it had two windows and two blue lights. It descended until it was about two feet above a clearing some 30 to 40 yards behind them. A door opened on the nearer end, and a brilliant light glowed from the interior. Moments later three figures floated out of the opening, heading in their direction. Hickson would describe them as follows: "The head seemed to come directly to the shoulders, no neck, and something resembling a nose came out to a point about two inches 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 colour. There could have been eyes, but the area above the nose was so wrinkled I couldn't tell."
The beings were slightly over five feet tall. Two 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 third being held Parker, who had fainted.
The two men and the three entities entered the craft. Something like an "eye," the size and shape of a football, floated from the wall to within six inches of Hickson's face. Hickson lay suspended in the air in different positions (once at a 45-degree 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. Two of them took him outside in the same configuration as before. The three 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 feet.
The entire episode had lasted probably 20 minutes.
Independent Confirmation Of The UFO?
At 9 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 five to eight feet 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.
The UFO Investigation That Followed
Hickson and 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 his companion that there was a clock in the building and he wanted to know what time it was. But the building was locked. So Hickson and Parker 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. the two witnesses showed up. They brought with them two catfish, apparently to prove as much of the story as they could, which was that they had been fishing earlier in the evening. Hearing that one of the men had liquor on his breath, Sheriff Fred Diamond ordered his deputies to administer breath analysis. Two hours of intense grilling followed, but Hickson and Parker stuck to their stories, saying early on that they wanted to take lie-detector tests. They also insisted that they wanted no publicity. Parker, who was barely coherent, seemed particularly shaken.
At one point Hickson and Parker were left alone in a room where, though they did not know it, they were being taped. Sheriff Diamond assumed that if they were lying, that fact would become immediately apparent when the two spoke privately. Instead, the men's demeanor changed not at all. They continued to talk in the voices of the terribly distressed:
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."
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. Hickson: "I've never seen nothin' like that before in my life. You can't make people believe."
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..."
Soon 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 and Parker went to work the next day (at the Walker shipyard), they did not discuss their experience at first, but their co-workers could see that Parker was disturbed about something. Then the sheriff called. He wanted the two 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 and Detective Tom Huntley took the two 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 and 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 and 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, two colonels exchanged glances.
Late that afternoon Colingo met Hickson, Parker, and Parker's father in his office and drew up a contract. By now the witnesses were feeling overwhelmed, and they were relieved that so important a man - as they saw Colingo - was interested in them. Subsequently, debunkers would intimate that Hickson and 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 and 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. Two 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 two, who were too shaken and distracted for the procedure to work.
All who dealt with the two 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 the two seemed palpable. Those who could not believe in the existence of aliens sought alternative explanations (such as vivid hallucination) that acknowledged Hickson and Parker's genuine distress without forcing the theorists to adopt an unacceptable extraordinary interpretation.
The excitement continued for weeks afterward. Unable to come down from the experience, Parker returned to Jones County, Mississippi, 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 three creatures," Glasgow told the press. In January 1974, Hickson appeared on Dick Cavett's 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.
Let us know your opinions on the Pascagoula alien abduction case in the comments section below. Now you have read this article, make sure you take a look at The 1976 Alien Abduction Case In Kentucky: Three Women Reported Being Abducted By Extraterrestrials.