High Strangeness: Singing Like a Canary

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Singing Like a Canary

I haven't been blogging much this week because I've been focusing on my J. Allen Hynek book. It's been a pretty fantastic week, actually, because I've been able to interview some people who play key roles in the UFO story, and I'm learning how to be a dirty, underhanded interviewer. This is great!

I'll talk about the second interview in a later blog, but first up was the layer fella from Mississippi, whom I have already immortalized in this blog. Lawyer Joe had been smack-dab in the middle of the media frenzy surrounding the famous Close Encounter of the Third Kind alien abduction that took place in Pascagoula, MS, in 1973. The first time I spoke with Joe, about a month ago, he was fresh out of the hospital and did not feel up to doing an interview. He asked me to call him back in a few weeks, and I was happy to oblige.

I gave it a few weeks and called him up the other night. As soon as I said my name he remembered me, and boy, was he ready for me.

"You know, Mark, I've been thinking about this interview, and I just don't think it's something I want to do," he said, to my dismay. "It was forty years ago and I really wasn't involved very much, and so there's nothing new I can tell you."

Of course, ace interviewer that I am, I was sort of expecting this from Joe. So I knew not to let him off the hook. First, I reminded him of something he had told me during our first talk that had never, in my knowledge, ever appeared in any account of the Pascagoula abduction: namely, that he had not been hired to represent Charlie and Calvin, the two men who were abducted, as is commonly reported, but rather was hired by their employer to scare away reporters. I told him that he did, in fact, have something new to tell me about the incident that people would want to know. Well, that got him all fired up, as expected.

For the next half hour, Mr. "I have nothing to add" added and added and added, until the batteries in my recorder started to run out of juice. He told me about the lie detector test he arranged, and how Charlie passed with flying colors. He told me about getting the local Air Force base -- which was officially out of the UFO business -- to test the two UFO abductees for radiation. He told me about accompanying Charlie to New York to appear on The Dick Cavett Show, and how Charlie barely said a word to him or to anyone until he was on camera in front of two million television viewers. It was fantastic. He's the experienced trial lawyer, and here I am getting him to sing like a canary. Amazing.
UFO abductees Charlie Hickson (left) and Calvin Parker. I am one handshake away from these two gents!
And Joe's a great guy. He never earned a penny from his involvement with Charlie and Calvin, but he remained a steadfast supporter and protector of the two men for weeks and months after the incident. "I never thought they were crazy," he told me, "but I think that a lot of people thought I was crazy for not thinking they were crazy."

1 comment:

Paua said...

Well, one thing's for sure. You're good at getting interviews out of people.