High Strangeness: Hypno-UFO

Friday, July 11, 2014


When I recently visited UFO historian and blogger Michael Swords in Michigan, he lent me a big box of cassette tapes related to my work on the career of Dr. J. Allen Hynek; the deal is, I convert the tapes to mp3s then burn them to a cd and send the cd and original cassettes back to Michael. It's great for both of us, as I get access to priceless, and sometimes truly obscure, material for my book, and I'm able to help Michael in his efforts to digitize his huge collection.

The material on the tapes dates from 1952 up into the mid-1980s, and runs the gamut from radio shows to public speeches to interviews with UFO witnesses to loud, sometimes rowdy conversations with Hynek's "Invisible College" colleagues. The recordings are immensely valuable to me and to UFOlogy in general, and I feel very fortunate to have been granted access to them by their custodian.

One tape in particular really surprised me. The label reads "Charlie Hickson Hypnosis Session, Sprinkle & Harder." When I saw that title my pulse raced; I was holding in my hand an actual recording of a hypnosis session with one of the two men allegedly captured by floating robot-like beings and taken into a spaceship where Hickson was examined by a floating eye! Holy fucking shit! How did I get so lucky??
The Pascagoula "robot"

I have written extensively about the 1973 Pascagoula, Miss., abduction involving Hickson and his friend Calvin Parker, so there's no need to go over the story again in detail, but it was a really big deal when it happened. Dr. Hynek stated, after he had met and interviewed the two men and witnessed a first, unsuccessful attempt to hypnotize them, that he believed they had experienced something very real. When he made his statement at a press conference he told the reporters that these two men must not be made fun of... They didn't listen to him, of course.

So, to the tape. Hynek is not heard on the tape; only UFO researchers Dr. James Harder and Dr. Leo Sprinkle, and, of course, Hickson. It takes forever for Harder to get Hickson under, but when he does it doesn't take long for things to get freaky... Here is Dr. Sprinkle asking Charlie about the "eye" that came out of the wall and seemed to examine him as he was paralyzed on board the ship:

Sprinkle: What's happening now?
Hickson: They got Calvin, too. They got Calvin, too.
Sprinkle: Yea? (pause) What's happening now?
Hickson: They've taken me; they've taken me inside.
Sprinkle: Okay, they've taken you inside...
Hickson: (inaudible)
(Interruption as cassette is flipped over to side 2)
Hickson: (terrified) There's something in front of me.
Sprinkle: Can you describe what it is, what it looks like?
Hickson: (terrified) It's coming out of the wall! It's coming out of the wall! Oh, what are they going to do?
Sprinkle: What does it look like?
Hickson: (whimpering) It's getting close. It's getting closer.
Sprinkle: It's getting closer...
Hickson: (terrified) Closer... closer... closer... (pause) I can't close my eyes, I can't close my eyes...
Sprinkle: So you had trouble closing your eyes? (long pause) You'll be okay. Let your body relax. Just see those reflections as though they were from a distance... What's happening now?
Hickson: (calmer) It's going; it's going down under me.
Sprinkle: (inaudible)
Hickson: They's something; they's something in the wall in front of me.
Sprinkle: Something else, in front of the wall?
Hickson: (shaky) Yes, they's something else in the wall in front of me.
Sprinkle: Uh-huh. Can you describe it? How does it look?
Hickson: I can't see it clear. The light's too bright. Too bright, too bright... my eyes...
Sprinkle: Your eyes really, really feel it... (pause) That thing on the wall; does it look like it's a big thing or a small thing? Does it look...
Hickson: I can't see it. I don't know.
Sprinkle: But you know it's there.
Hickson. It's there. Yeah, it's there.
Sprinkle: Any sound, or...
Hickson: No sound.
Sprinkle: Does it look like it's moving? (pause) Does it look like it's moving? Is anything happening with it?
Hickson: There's something there.
Sprinkle: There's something there, okay.
Hickson: There's something inside the wall.
Sprinkle: Something inside the wall. Do you go over to it? Do you get closer to the something over there?
Hickson: I'm above it...
Sprinkle: So you stay where you are, but you see something over in the wall. Is anything happening with it?
Hickson: It's coming under me. It's coming under me but (inaudible).
Sprinkle: Okay.

At this point Harder takes over from Sprinkle and starts to ask Charlie about the robot creatures that kidnapped them; I'll cover that in a future installment, because, really, this is to be savored...

The recording is really quite awesome, and it gives me honest to God goosebumps every time I listen to it. Charlie is scared. The strong visual sense that he displays in describing the events -- being able to see to just enough to scare him out of his mind but not able to see everything that's going on -- because he was allegedly paralyzed right down to not being able to close his eyes -- makes it all very real and very terrifying to me. What an amazing tape.

Stay tuned for a vivid description of the robot creatures...

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