What is certain about the night of Oct. 11, 1973, is this: When Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker Jr. arrived at the sheriff’s department in Pascagoula, Miss., they were frantic. They told authorities they had just been abducted by aliens. Each had a puncture wound in one arm. Police tried to catch them in a lie, but it didn’t work. Both men later passed polygraph tests.
On Saturday, the riverbank where the men said the close encounter happened got a historical marker, calling it one of the “best documented” cases of alien abduction. After decades of avoiding media attention, Parker was there for the dedication. Hickson died in 2011.
n 1973, Hickson was Parker’s foreman at a shipyard. The two had gone fishing after work at an abandoned boat launch and were still there after the sun went down.
“I was just getting ready to get some more bait, when I heard a kind of zipping sound. I looked up and saw a blue flashing light. Calvin turned around too. We saw a 30-foot-long object with a little dome on top.”Charles Hickson, 1975
As it hovered just above the ground, three small creatures emerged, also hovering, he said. The men were suddenly paralyzed. The creatures grabbed them with pincer-type claws and pulled them toward the object, he said.
“I floated inside,” Parker told the Biloxi Sun Herald in 2018.
Hickson said they were subjected to a physical examination by something that looked like a “big eye,” a constant mechanical sound buzzing the whole time.
And then, they were dropped off, right back in the dark delta where they started. Hickson found Parker standing up, arms raised to the sky and screaming, he told The Post. They ran for help.
Handwritten notes of a secret interview conducted on them under hypnosis reveal how they both described strange creatures looking like robots with unusual eyes, grey skin and crab pincers for arms.
The interview was conducted in 1973 by case investigators Professor J Allen Hynek and Dr James Harder – and the terrified men’s account was enough to convince the pair that they were telling the truth.
Dr Harder’s files include notes from the interview and other information he gathered – and offer a unique insight into the infamous sighting almost 45 years ago.
On one handwritten page Dr Harder writes: “I asked what the ‘creatures’ looked like and got a description which included 1. No neck, no helmet 2. crab-like hands, two digits … 3. slit-like ‘mouth’.”
The beings did not communicate and had a “robot businesslike attitude”, the men recalled during the hypnosis session.
Charles, 42, and Calvin 19, were sat on the banks of the Pascagoula River, when they claim they heard a whizzing sound overhead.
They said that an oval shaped “craft”, some 8ft across, suddenly appeared near them and seemed to levitate about 2ft above the ground.
A door opened and three creatures – who were “humanoid” in shape and about 5ft tall – emerged and seized the men, “floating” them into the UFO, they later told police.
Both men reported being paralysed and numb – while Calvin claimed that he had fainted due to fright.
The men said the creatures had claws at the ends of their arms, “carrot-like” growths for their nose and ears, and only one leg.
One page of Dr Harder’s handwritten notes states: “Key novel features – 1. Cessation of sensation upon contact. 2. “floating” them along one foot from the ground. 3. Crab-like arm appendages. Two ‘pincers’ of equal size.”
There was a “possible suggestion” they were “robot” due to their “lack of usual eye structure, pincers on arms and “possible fused lower ‘limbs’” according to the notes.
“After they touched them they felt nothing but weightlessness,” the doctors’ notes read.
On the ship, Charles claimed that he was examined by what looked like a large football-shaped mechanical eye, about 6 to 8 inches in diameter, that seemed to scan his body.
Calvin claimed that he could not recall what had happened to him inside the craft.
The men said they were released after about 15-20 minutes and the creatures levitated them, with Charles’s feet dragging along the ground, back to their original positions on the river bank.
In another page of the notes, Dr Harder said attorney Joe Colingo described the men as looking “scared to death” and “as frightened as any two adult human beings as I’ve ever seen.”
Philip Mantle, a former director of investigations for the British UFO Research Association, managed to obtain the file containing the handwritten notes during his research.
However – in a bizarre twist – he says that many of Prof Hynek’s and Dr Harder’s other notes and tapes from the case are mysteriously missing.
Hynek was a consultant to top secret UFO studies by the US Air Force including Project Blue Book (1952–1969). He initially started as a skeptic but went on to found the Centre for UFO Studies in 1973.
The astronomer also coined the phrase ‘Close Enounters of the Third Kind’ which was used as the title of Steve Spielberg’s $20million blockbuster about UFOs in 1977.
His files were spread out between Northwestern University, the Centre for UFO Studies while Dr Harder’s were kept at private facilities.
But Philip claims that dozens of boxes related to the case have vanished.
Philip, who has published the book Pascagoula – The Closest Encounter written by Calvin Parker, said: “No one knows who took these files.
Overnight, it was national news. There were news conferences and cameras thrust in their still-stunned faces. A “UFO investigator” from Northwestern University flew down and said their story checked out. Skeptics called them liars, or said Hickson had an episode of sleep paralysis with hypnagogic hallucinations, while Parker was “highly suggestible.” Believers flooded into Pascagoula by the thousands, wrapped in aluminum foil and sitting all night on the hoods of their cars, waiting for visitors from another world.
Hickson was 42 at the time, and was well-known in the community, so perhaps he felt more able to handle the media crush. He recounted the experience to anyone who would listen. He went on Johnny Carson and Dick Cavett. He published a book in 1983.
Parker, on the other hand, was 18 or 19 when it happened. He had just arrived in Pascagoula from an even smaller town and had planned to earn some extra money before returning home to get married. He told the media he had passed out at the beginning of the whole affair and couldn’t remember what happened.
That was the only lie he told, he said to the Sun Herald in 2018. In fact, he did remember what happened, and was so afraid that aliens had infected him with something that when he got home from the sheriff’s department he took a bath in bleach. Within a few weeks, he skipped town. He got married and picked up work in oil fields. If someone at a job recognized him, he would quit.
If Hickson was trying to get rich from the story, it didn’t work. Parker told the Sun Herald that before Hickson’s death in 2011, he occasionally paid the older man’s electric bill.
Parker, now in his 60s, slowly came out of hiding in recent years, and in 2018, published a book of his own.
In March, as the city was discussing plans for the marker, new witnesses emerged, telling the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger that on the night in question, they saw an unidentified flying object with flashing blue lights going up and down the Pascagoula River. They said they kept it secret all these years because they were afraid of people’s reactions.
One of them, Maria Blair, told the Clarion-Ledger: “The story is very true. That’s what has bothered me for 45 years. It’s been on my mind for 45 years.”