High Strangeness: Fishin' for UFOs

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fishin' for UFOs

I've been putting some time into my J. Allen Hynek book project, and thought I would publish a sneak peek here on the blog for my lucky readers. For the book proposal I need to write two sample chapters, and the chapter I'm working on first, "Chapter X," deals with the year 1973. That's the year that Dr. Hynek finally founded his long-dreamed-of scientific research organization, the Center for UFO Studies, or CUFOS. Not coincidentally, 1973 was also the year that the U.S. saw one of the biggest UFO "flaps" in history.

Starting in the summer of that year, people all over the country were seeing and reporting strange objects in the sky, but there was more to it than that. Over and over again these objects were landing, and creatures were being sighted outside the objects. The police were going nuts. The Air Force was keeping quiet.

Enter Charlie Hickson and Calvin Parker, to shipbuilders from Pascagoula, Mississippi, who set one night to catch some fish and ended up being caught themselves. Within 48 hours of their experience they were interviewed by Dr. Hynek himself, who had been flown down to Pascagoula by NBC News to investigate the occurrence. This is their story, as told by me...


Chapter X



It was the door that did it. When the door opened, everything fell apart.

Up until that moment, Calvin and Charlie still thought they might be able to understand what was happening to them, might be able to keep their grip on reality. It was such an ordinary October night, after all. A few relaxing hours fishing on the pier, then home to bed for a solid night’s sleep before starting the day shift next morning at Walker Shipyard.

Charlie Hickson felt obligated to give Calvin some normalcy. Older by some 23 years than his fishing companion, Charlie had promised his old friend, Calvin’s dad, that he would help the boy adjust to his new job and new surroundings. Pascagoula wasn’t much bigger than Calvin Parker’s hometown of Gautier, just up the Mississippi Gulf coast a few miles, but it was big enough to make a 19 year-old feel lonely and unmoored.

So they went fishing. Charlie knew a spot on the west side of the Pascagoula River, behind the Schaupeter Shipyard, where the redfish and speckled trout were almost always biting. The two men sat on the rusty pier, a few yards apart, watching the dark water and occasionally wondering out loud where the fish had all gone to that night.

By 9 p.m., the night had settled in and the talk had gone quiet, and the only sound was the lapping of the river. But then there was another sound. At first the humming didn’t even register. But in a second or two it had grown loud enough – or close enough – for both men to hear it.

Two flashes of intense blue light startled them, and the men looked around to see what was approaching.



They may have expected to see a police car, or a helicopter, or a boat approaching from the water side or a hundred other things, but instead the men found themselves staring at an impossibility.

The glowing, humming object approached them from across the bayou, dropping from the sky and then hovering a few feet off the water. It was oval, like an egg, and featureless, perhaps 30 to 40 feet across and eight to 10 feet tall. It gave off a pulsating blue light, the same hue as the flashes that had announced its presence. And it floated there, fifty yards away from them, while something inside prepared to come out.

“I looked to each side. I wanted to run,” Calvin recalled years later in a video interview, but he and Charlie were penned in; an auto salvage yard blocked escape on one side and the river blocked the other. “I had nowhere to run! I couldn’t swim at the time, so I didn’t want to take the chance of jumping in the water and drowning.”[1]



Imagine three of these things coming at you...
When the door opened in the side of the egg, Charlie and Calvin knew they should have taken their chances in the river. Three things – three creatures – floated silently out of the door and came towards them over the water. In the blue glow the creatures seemed to be gray, and although they never touched the ground they had legs, and were humanoid. The “oid” part, of course, is key; they had torsos, heads, arms and legs but nothing else about them was right. Instead of hands they appeared to have claws. The feet were more like rounded stubs. Pointed cones took the place of ears and noses. The heads and necks were fused into solid units, and rested implacably between the shoulders. There were no eyes in the gray faces, and the mouths were small slits that never moved.

Nothing was said. One of the creatures made buzzing sounds, but they did not speak. They simply took both men by the arms – two of them holding Charlie and one supporting Calvin – and floated them back to that door.

“I was scared to death,” Charlie recounted hours later in testimony to the Jackson County Sheriff. “And me with a spinnin’ reel out there – it’s all I had. I couldn’t – well, I was so scared – well, you can’t imagine. Calvin done went hysterical on me.”[2]

Even in his terror, Charlie tried to protect the younger man. There was nothing he could do physically – like Calvin he was essentially paralyzed once the creatures had touched him – but he was older and had seen hardship and violence in his life. His days in Korea had taught him bravery and denial, and he tried to call on both as the creatures took him, so that Calvin would see his calm and take comfort in it.

But Calvin blacked out the instant he was lifted off the ground; it was the only way he could cope. He did not consciously know that he had entered the egg until much later, and that was for the best.

Like those of many UFO witnesses, Charlie’s thoughts flashed ahead to the outcome of the encounter and he feared the worst: Would the beings kill him? Would they take him away somewhere? Would he ever see his loved ones again? “I kept thinking, ‘They will dredge the river and with no bodies they will assume we have drowned and washed out to sea,’” Charlie recounted in his book “UFO Contact at Pascagoula.”[3]
Once through the door, Charlie was unaware of Calvin’s whereabouts. He was only conscious of where he had been taken: a bright room with a spherical floating “eye” that emerged from the wall. Still weightless, his body now rigid, as if prepared for burial, Charlie felt the creatures leaning him back. The eye approached and seemed to peer at him, inspecting him, making sense of him in a way that Charlie could not make sense of his captors.

“The ‘eye’ came closer and stopped about six inches from my face,”[4] he said. “The end focused on me was a different color or type of material than the rest of it. I tried again to close my eyes, but some force kept them open. The eye lingered there for a while then started to move down my body and returned to move over my entire body. No pain, no sensation.” 
As the examination went on Charlie lost sight of the creatures. The buzzing stopped and Charlie knew he was alone, and that was almost worse. Had the creatures gone to examine Calvin? Would they come back? They communicated nothing: no purpose, no intention, no concern… Later, the men would decide that they must have been robots – how else to explain their lack of expression and disregard for gravity?





[1] Calvin Parker video statement, undated

[2] Charles Hickson interview conducted by Jackson County Sheriff Fred Diamond and Captain Glen Ryder, October 11, 1973

[3] UFO Contact at Pascagoula, 1983, Charles Hickson and William Mendez, self-published


[4] Ibid.

Copyright 2012, Mark O'Connell

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