Hickson-Parker Abduction Revisited
- Hi All
I think we should be encouraged that at least some of the provincial press can report UFO incidents fairly.
This famous abduction is recalled - click on the website for the pictures too - by this Mississippi newspaper, point by point, without the usual mockery.
An email or two congratulating the newspaper and the reporter might not go amiss.
Source: The Clarion-Ledger - Jackson Mississippi
Photos at the website.
October 30, 2002
Strange lights in the Gulf Coast sky
An Abductee's Story
By Billy Watkins
GAUTIER - Charles Hickson has no proof.
No photograph he can pull from his wallet, no papers certifying
Just his word that 29 years ago this month he and a fishing
buddy were abducted by a UFO, examined by a machine resembling a
giant eyeball, then released physically unharmed.
He has told his story under hypnosis, told it to Johnny Carson
on national TV.
Recently, while sipping coffee in his modest home in Gautier, he
told the story to a Clarion-Ledger reporter.
His account of that night never changes. He has passed numerous
lie- detector tests.
What Hickson hasn't talked about publicly, until now, is that he
believes whatever - or whoever - was on that craft has kept
track of him.
"I think they know where I am at all times," he says. "Too many
strange things have happened."
Hickson, a retired shipyard foreman with five children and a no-
nonsense demeanor, is 71 and spends most of his time caring for
Blanche, his wife of 48 years who suffers from rheumatoid
arthritis. He is fighting health problems of his own, including
clogged arteries in his neck.
Hickson says he is a God-fearing man who "believes Jesus Christ
died for my sins."
Whether people believe his UFO story doesn't seem to be a big
deal to him. "If you were in my place right now, I'm not sure
I'd believe you or not," he said.
But others saw something that night, too.
Several people later reported strange lights in the Gulf Coast
sky just after sunset on Oct. 11, 1973 - about the time Hickson
and then 19-year- old Calvin Parker say they were abducted.
Mike Cataldo, a retired Navy chief petty officer now living in
Rotonda West, Fla., says he saw "a very strange object on the
horizon" late that afternoon while driving on U.S. 90, between
Pascagoula and Ocean Springs.
"Puddin' Broadus, a Pascagoula detective back then, told me he
saw something streak through the air," says Glenn Ryder, a
former captain with the Jackson County Sheriff's department who
was the first to interrogate Hickson and Parker. "Puddin's dead
now, but he was a fine man. He wouldn't make up something like
"A guard at Ingalls (Shipbuilding) saw it. Another guy was in
his back yard and said he saw something streak above his house.
"When we studied it, all those reportings were in a straight
line. And I'll tell you this: After talking with (Hickson and
Parker) that night, I'm convinced they had some kind of
experience. I don't know exactly what, but something happened to
them. They were both shook up, especially that boy."
Parker, now 48, has avoided the media in recent years.
"This thing really messed Calvin up," Hickson says. "He was so
young ... he just couldn't handle it."
In a 1993 interview with The Commercial Appeal in Memphis,
Parker said he was convinced it was demons, sent directly from
Satan, who visited them that night.
Beverly Parker, Calvin's stepmother who lives with his father in
Kiln, says they haven't heard from him "in a couple of months."
Last she knew, Calvin was working construction in North Carolina
and "doing pretty good."
The UFO incident is "something he won't talk about anymore," she
. . .
It is late on a Saturday night, and Blanche Hickson has gone to
bed. The house is quiet and dark, except for a single lamp
softly illuminating the den.
"I don't mind talking about it," Charles Hickson says, settling
his 5- foot-8, 172- pound body into an easy chair. "I don't seek
folks out to tell it, but it's something I feel like people
deserve to know if they ask."
Hickson begins his story:
"Calvin was working for me at Walker's Shipyard, and doing a
dadgum good job. Calvin and his brother had sorta grown up with
my oldest boy, Eddie. Some evenings after work, we'd go fishing.
"We got off about 4 o'clock that day and came by my house to get
the fishing tackle, then we went and got some shrimp for bait.
We tried several places and hadn't caught anything. I said,
'Calvin, there's one more place I want to try. If they don't
bite there, we'll give it up and go on home.'
"So we went down toward Ingalls and started fishing off a pier.
We sat there for a while, and I finally got a bite. I was
reeling in and started hearing this hissing sound. Like steam
coming out of a pipe.
"I looked around, and it just startled me. Something was
hovering two or three feet above the ground, probably no more
than 10 or 15 yards from us. There were two blue flashing lights
on the top part of the end that was toward us. I couldn't tell
if it was round or oblong. I could see a little dome on top, but
I couldn't see all the way around the thing so I couldn't tell
for sure how big it was.
"I jumped to my feet, looked over at Calvin, and he looked plumb
strange. Then a door opened and this brilliant light came out of
it. I couldn't figure what in the world was happening. I've
known fear. I fought 20 months in hand-to-hand combat in Korea.
The only thing I'm scared of is a snake. I'll run from a snake.
But this wasn't normal.
"All of a sudden, these three things began coming out of that
door. They looked like they had elephant skin. Wrinkled. Real
wrinkled. And triangle shaped ears that had to be some sort of
"These things were robots. They seemed to come right out of that
beam of light. They never touched the ground. They moved right
out there beside me and Calvin. I couldn't move, and neither
could he. Two of 'em came around behind me, took me under each
arm. When they grabbed me, I seemed to rise to their height.
They weren't as tall as me, but they sorta had me in a leaning
"One took hold of Calvin, and I saw him go limp. He told me
later that he fainted. They took us through that doorway, in the
middle of a room, and I couldn't see Calvin anymore. There was
nothing in there ... just a real bright glow. I couldn't move
anything but my eyes.
"They let go of me. I still wasn't touching nothing, just kinda
floating. All I could think was, 'What are they gonna do with
us?' I figured they'd take us off, and we'd never see our
"I didn't see (the robots) for a while. Then an eyeball, about
the size of a football, came out of the wall. It moved right in
front of my face. I saw dials and gadgets moving around. It went
behind me, then came back over me. Then it disappeared back into
"I was just about out of my mind. I thought they were gonna kill
me. Folks would think we fell off in the river and drowned, and
nobody would ever know about this.
"It seemed like a long time, but it couldn't have been more than
a few minutes. (The robots) came and carried me back outside.
They didn't throw me down, they eased me down. And when they
did, I fell to the ground. My legs were real weak.
"I saw Calvin standing there, staring out at the water. He was
in shock. I've seen men in shock, and if you don't do something
pretty quick, they'll die. I started going over to where he was,
and I saw the craft leave. The blue lights were on again, I
"When I got to Calvin, I had to slap him a time or two. I
finally got him to where he could say something. He said,
'Charlie, what in the world was that?' I said 'Son, I don't
know. But they didn't kill us.' "
. . .
As they drove away in Parker's Plymouth, Hickson and Parker
agreed not to tell anyone about the incident.
"I knew people would call us crazy and everything else," Hickson
says. "But I thought about it some more and said, 'What if it's
a threat to our country?' That's when I decided to call Keesler
(Air Force Base in Biloxi)."
The person who answered the phone at Keesler said they didn't
investigate UFOs and suggested Hickson call the sheriff's
That's when Hickson spoke with Glenn Ryder from a convenience
store pay phone.
"He said, 'I want to tell you something, but you've got to
promise not to laugh,' " recalls Ryder, now 63 and retired. "I
was about to get off work, so it kinda aggravated me. I said,
'If you want to tell me something, then tell me.' He asked me
again to promise not to laugh, so I promised.
"He said, 'I just got picked up by a UFO.' And, of course, I
busted out laughing. He got real upset, so I apologized and told
him to go ahead with his story. I could tell he was serious."
Ryder convinced Hickson and Parker to drive to the sheriff's
office. He called Jackson County sheriff Fred Diamond, now
deceased, to join him for the questioning.
Ryder remembers: "When they walked in, Charlie said, 'I just
want to tell you up front, I've had a drink. I had to do
something to try and settle my nerves.'
"The young boy was real fidgety. He was about to crawl the
Hickson and Parker told the officers what had happened. Ryder
says it was a struggle to keep a straight face.
Then he and Diamond plotted to find out the truth. "We kept a
tape recorder in the top drawer of the desk," Ryder says. "It
was a small office, so it would pick up everything said in
there. We let them go to the bathroom and decided to turn the
recorder on, then leave them alone for a while.
"We did that, and when we listened to the tape later, we
expected to hear them saying, 'Boy, we sure fooled them' or
something like that."
But they didn't. Here is the transcript from the hidden
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
Hickson: "Calvin, when they brought you out - when they brought
me out of that thing - (expletive) I like to never in hell got
you straightened out."
Parker: "My damn arms, my arms. I remember they just froze up
and I couldn't move. Just like I stepped on a damn rattlesnake."
Hickson: "They didn't do me that way."
Parker: "I passed out. I expect I never passed out in my whole
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
Hickson: "They better wake up and 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: "I just laid up, and just like that, those (expletive)
Hickson: "I know. You can't believe it. You can't make people
Parker: "I paralyzed right then. I couldn't move."
Hickson: "They won't believe it. They gonna 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 gonna
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 gotta go to the house. I'm getting sick. I gotta get
out of here."
Hickson leaves the room, and Parker is left alone.
Parker: "It's hard to believe ... Oh, God, it's awful. I know
there's a God up there."
Parker begins to pray. His words become inaudible.
. . .
Hickson and Diamond agreed to keep the story quiet.
When he got home, Hickson told his wife what had happened and
where he had been.
"I was like everybody else ... I had a hard time believing it,"
Blanche Hickson says. "But three or four hours later, I knew
something was wrong. I was up all night, wiping sweat off of
him. He'd jump straight up in the bed. He was scared to death."
Hickson went to work the next morning. "I had to get my men
going," he says. "But as soon as I got back to my office, the
phone rang. It was a reporter from Jackson, asking what had
happened the night before. I just slung the phone down."
Diamond called minutes later. He said word had leaked out and
that his office was flooded with reporters.
"He asked me to come over and talk to them, and I told him I
wasn't going no damn where," Hickson says.
Hickson took off work for two weeks, hoping things would die
down. They didn't.
Officials at Keesler interviewed him and Parker. Reporters and
astronomers were coming to Hickson's house, begging for details.
"It got to the point where I was like, 'They know about it. I
might as well tell them what happened.' And I told Calvin that,"
Hickson and Parker were all over the national news and made the
talk-show circuit: The Dick Cavett Show, The Mike Douglas Show,
The Tonight Show.
Something surprised Hickson: "Nobody was laughing at us, at
least not to our face. I never took any ridicule. My children at
school never took any ridicule. It surprised me."
Hickson became friends with Allen Hynek, an astronomer at
Northwestern University and one of the world's leading UFO
investigators at the time. Hynek is now deceased.
"He convinced me to undergo hypnosis," Hickson says. "I wasn't
sure about it at first, but I did it several times."
His story was basically the same during each session.
"But under deep hypnosis once, I discovered something that still
gives me chills," Hickson says. "There were people on that
spaceship - living beings in another compartment. They never
came in there where we were. And I'm telling you, they looked
almost like us.
"Only thing I can figure is that they couldn't live in our
atmosphere, so they let the robots come out there and carry us
. . .
The Pascagoula incident was not the first - nor the last -
reported abduction. The first documented case involved Barney
and Betty Hill, who said they were taken aboard an alien craft
in 1961 while driving in New Hampshire.
Hickson visited Betty Hill in Boston a few months after his
encounter. "Her husband had died, but she wanted to try and find
out if it could've been the same craft," he says. "From what she
described to me, I told her I didn't think so."
Peter Davenport, director of the National UFO Reporting Center
in Seattle, has studied both cases extensively.
"It was the Pascagoula case that played a crucial role in
convincing my predecessor (Robert J. Gribble) to set up this
center," says Davenport, a graduate of Stanford University with
degrees in Russian and biology.
"He said cases like Mr. Hickson's and Mr. Parker's made him
realize the need for a centralized place where people could call
and report things they had seen."
More than 2,400 sightings have been reported to the center this
year - the latest by a TV news photographer in Albany, N.Y.,
Davenport realizes many people believe UFOs are about as real as
the Tooth Fairy.
He is not one of them. When he was 6, Davenport witnessed a
bright red object, the size of a full moon, hovering like a
traffic signal in the night sky above a drive-in theater in St.
Louis. "People were getting out of their cars and pointing and
actually running toward it," he says. "In a matter of seconds,
it accelerated and was gone over the horizon.
"My father had seen it with binoculars from the airport tower
where he worked. I always thought it was strange he didn't care
to talk about it."
Davenport can cite numerous inexplicable cases, including the
Phoenix Lights of 1997. "Tens of thousands of people witnessed
objects acting in an utterly bizarre fashion over Arizona," he
says. "The objects hovered, then flew at supersonic speed
through the air space of at least three major airports."
He says five years ago, "prestigious people" with the U.S.
government requested a meeting with him in Washington.
"They asked not to be identified," Davenport says, "and they
were 32 minutes late to the meeting. But when they got there,
they said, 'As a courtesy to you, we'd first like to tell you
our position on UFOs. One, we know they're real. Two, they
appear to be sophisticated crafts under intelligent control.
And, three, we're worried about them.'
"That confirmed everything I had suspected up to that time. I
don't think I'm crazy. I don't think I'm dumb. And I believe the
UFO phenomenon is real."
So does John Podesta, President Clinton's former White House
chief of staff. Just last week, Podesta said he will be leading
a group to gain access to secret governmental records about
"It's time to provide scientists with data that will assist in
determining the real nature of this phenomenon," he said.
. . .
On Mother's Day, May 1974, Hickson was riding back from a family
get- together in Jones County with his wife, their youngest son
(Curtis), their daughter (Sheila) and the man she was married to
at the time.
"It was almost midnight," Hickson says, "and I kept noticing a
light back behind us. I nudged Sheila, who was sitting on the
front seat beside me, and said, 'Look out that window and see if
that light ain't following us.'
"She looked out the window and just froze. Blanche saw it and
Seconds later, a saucershaped craft was hovering 150 feet above,
and to the right, of their car.
"I saw it with my own eyes," says Sheila Hynum of Vicksburg, who
was 18 at the time. "Mama was so scared, she was screaming."
"It was a terrifying thing to see," Blanche Hickson says. "It
affected me bad. Tore me up. We stopped the car and Charles
wanted to get out, but I wouldn't let him. We were all grabbing
him and holding him.
"It hovered there a while, then just disappeared."
Charles Hickson, whose 1983 book UFO: Contact at Pascagoula will
be re- issued in November, says that wasn't the first sighting
he'd had since the initial encounter.
While squirrel hunting in February 1974, he knelt down beside a
tree to eat a sandwich. Through the brush, he says, part of a
craft was visible. Suddenly, he heard a voice.
"It was like a radio signal or something inside my head," he
says. "They said, 'Tell people we mean you no harm. You have
endured. You have been chosen. There is no need for fear. Your
world needs help. We will help before it is too late. You are
not prepared to understand. We will return again soon.'
"I picked up my gun and came straight home."
The same voice, with the same message, came to him again a month
later in his back yard. Since then, he says, all the fear has
"I want to go to that world - wherever it is they came from," he
says. "I don't think they'd carry me if they couldn't bring me
back. And if they ever decide to destroy this world, they might
save a few of the people. I'd like to think I'd be one of
Well past midnight now, Hickson gets up from his chair, leaves
the den, and returns with a large brown envelope. He pulls out
several X-rays and shows them to the visiting reporter.
"See that little mole-looking thing behind my (right) eye?" he
says, holding the image over the lamp. "I think they implanted
something in there. I've been to the VA hospital in New Orleans
twice. Been to a cancer doctor at Tulane University. Nobody can
figure out what it is.
"Me, I think it's maybe how they keep track of me. It doesn't
hurt. Doesn't affect my vision. It just showed up when they were
taking pictures of the arteries in my neck.
"Strange, ain't it?"
Copyright © 2001, The Clarion-Ledger.
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