|Charles Hickson of Gautier, Miss., famous for|
a claimed UFO abduction in 1973, has died
in Ocean Springs at the age of 80. In this
file photograph, Hickson is seen posing
with a drawing depicting a UFO.
(Pat Sullivan, file)
Hickson was 80 when he died Friday in Ocean Springs.
Hickson was known to occasionally sell his book, "UFO Contact at Pascagoula" outside local businesses. He reportedly told friends and family -- and sometimes total strangers -- the aliens communicate telepathically, and still spoke to him on occasion.
Hickson, of Gautier, was 42 years old when he and then-19-year-old Calvin Parker, also of Gautier, reported to then-Jackson County Sheriff Fred Diamond that they were fishing on Oct. 11, 1973 in the Pascagoula River near Ingalls Shipyard when they heard a buzzing noise behind them.
Both reportedly turned and were terrified to see a 10-foot-wide, 8-foot-high, glowing egg-shaped object with blue lights at its front hovering about 40 feet above the river bank.
Frozen with fright, the two men watched as a door opened and three creatures floated above the river towards them.
"The beings had legs but did not use them," Hickson told The Mississippi Press in 1973. "They were about 5-feet-tall, had bullet-shaped heads without necks, slits for mouths, and where their noses or ears would be, they had thin, conical objects sticking out, like carrots from a snowman's head. They had no eyes, grey, wrinkled skin, round feet, and claw-like hands."
According to Hickson's account, 2 of the creatures seized him and another grabbed Parker. "The teenager fainted with fright," Hickson said.
Hickson reported that when the creatures placed their hands under his arms, his body became numb, and he was floated into a brightly lighted room in the space craft.
According to Hickson, he was subjected to some sort of medical examination by what appeared to be a large football-shaped mechanical eye, about 6 to 8 inches in diameter, which seemed to scan his body.
Parker said that he could not recall what had happened to him inside the craft, although later, during sessions of hypnotic regression he offered some hazy details.
The men were released after about 20 minutes and the creatures levitated them, with Hickson's feet dragging along the ground, back to their original positions on the river bank.
Expecting only ridicule if they were to tell anyone what had happened, Hickson and Parker initially decided to keep quiet.
They then decided the government should be informed and they called Kessler Air Force Base in Biloxi.
A sergeant there told them to contact their local sheriff.
Uncertain about the reception their story might get from local law enforcement, the pair drove to the Mississippi Press on Delmas Avenue to speak to a reporter.
When they found the office closed, Hickson and Parker felt they had no alternative but to talk to Diamond.
After listening to their story, Diamond put Hickson and Parker in a room wired for sound in the belief that if the two men were left alone they would reveal their hoax.
Wikapedia has a partial transcript of their conversation:
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're 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."
Hickson: "Well, Calvin, when they brought you out, when they brought me out of that thing, damn it I like to never in hell got you straightened out."
His voice rising, Parker said, "My damn arms, my arms, I remember they just froze up and I couldn't move. Just like I stepped on a damn rattlesnake."
"They didn't do me that way", sighed Hickson.
Now both men were talking as if to themselves.
Parker: "I passed out. I expect I never passed out in my whole life."
Hickson: "I've never seen nothing like that before in my life. You can't make people believe.
Parker: I don't want to keep sitting here. I want to see a doctor."
Hickson: "They better wake up and start believing. They better start believing.
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-of-bitches, just like that they come out."
Hickson: "I know. You can't believe it. You can't make people believe it."
Parker: "I paralyzed right then. I couldn't move."
Hickson: "They won't believe it. They going to believe it one of these days. Might be too late. I knew all along they was people from other worlds up there. I knew all along. I never thought it would happen to me."
Parker: "You know yourself I don't drink."
Hickson: "I know that, son. When I get to the house I'm going to get me another drink, make me sleep. Look, what we sitting around for. I got to go tell Blanche. What we waiting for?"
Parker: "I got to go to the house. I'm getting sick. I got to get out of here."
Hickson left the room, and Parker was alone.
Parker: "It's hard to believe. Oh God, it's awful. I know there's a God up there.
Fearing police were skeptical of their story, Hickson and Parker insisted that they take lie detector tests to prove their honesty.
Hickson and Parker both passed lie detector tests.
Months later, Aviation journalist and UFO skeptic Philip J. Klass argued that there was reason to question the reliability of Hickson's exam.
The polygraph test was given to Hickson by a young operator, just out of school, who had not completed his formal training, and not certified by his own school or taken a state licensing examination.
Klass also stated in his account, the lawyer for Hickson and Parker -- who also was acting as their booking agent -- declined to have his clients tested by Capt. Charles Wimberly, chief polygraph operator from the Mobile Police Department.
Instead, according to Klass, the lawyer had had chosen the operator from New Orleans.
A subsequent investigation by Joe Esterhas of Rolling Stone uncovered some additional information, leading to much skepticism about the abduction claim.
The supposed UFO landing and abduction site was in view of two, 24-hour manned Ingalls Shipyard booths, and neither operator saw anything that night.
Also, the site was in range of the shipyard's security cameras, which showed nothing that night.