Back in the summer of 1971, I was 13 years old. My family lived in an old, ancient country home. I remember it having no indoor plumbing, a pump instead of a faucet adorned the kitchen sink, but it was home. I was just coming back home from a creek about a quarter mile from home. I had been doing my favorite thing; shooting at minnows in the creek with my BB gun. I never, ever hit one of those things, but it was fun to try.
Mom was sitting on the front porch and called me over. She pointed at a large thunderhead in the distance; off to the northwest. She told me to watch the top of the cloud. I watched for a moment, not knowing what I was watching for. A tiny orange light popped out from above the thunderhead and hovered there. It was too far away to really make out any details. Soon, it darted back above the thunderhead and out of sight. We watched it for about five minutes and the light repeated its movement eight or nine times. It was like it was playing hide and seek with us. So, in essence, I saw a UFO.
Even seeing one for myself, it did not really solidify my belief in UFO’s. Two years later an event happened that made big news. A reported alien abduction, widely publicized. It happened October 11, 1973 in Pascagoula, Mississippi. I remember watching it on the news, but my interests were elsewhere. I didn’t really pay any attention other than to watch the television account about it and listen to Dad scoff at the story. It wasn’t until my interest piqued that I actually read the account. I believed them.
On that night, Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker were fishing in the Pascagoula River. According to them, they heard a whizzing sound and blue flashing lights appeared as a football shaped craft they estimated to be a hundred feet long descended within a couple feet of the ground and hovered there. A door opened on the craft and three beings floated toward the paralyzed men. They were both grabbed by the beings, who paralyzed and levitated the men and then transported aboard the craft. Parker, the youngest of the two men at nineteen fainted from fright. Hickson was forty seven and remembered the details well.
His claim was that he was floating in the air in a prone position while a large “mechanical eye” examined him. The creatures around were human in form, but were described as having claws like lobsters, no mouth and a conical shaped protrusion for a nose. Their skin was wrinkled and gray, no mouth to speak of and the same conical protrusions for ears. Hickson also described two legs but he claims they were fused together and the creatures floated instead of walking. Calvin Parker didn’t remember many details, but he remembered enough to scare him into a nervous breakdown sometime later.
They again found themselves on the bank where they had been picked up. The craft was gone and of course, neither weren’t too crazy about finishing their fishing expedition. They packed it all in Hickson’s truck and after some thought and some whiskey consumption for Hickson to calm himself, decided to report the incident to nearby Keesler Air Force Base, only to be told that the Air Force did not handle UFO encounters. They then drove to Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and filed a report with Sheriff Fred Diamond. They even brought in the catfish they caught to somehow prove their story. Diamond was convinced that the men had been in a frightening ordeal, but he remained skeptical, considering Hickson’s admitted use of whiskey. Diamond took them to an interrogation room and took their statements. Hickson did most of the talking, but Parker backed his story. Calvin Parker was so upset, he couldn’t remember much.
Sheriff Diamond was still suspicious, so he excused himself and left the room. Inside, Hickson and Parker discussed the ordeal they had shared. In the room, Diamond had a tape recorder secreted, which he utilized to catch people in lies. There was no talk of getting their story straight, or anything that would suggest that these men were doing anything other than talking about their ordeal. The distress in Parker’s voice was obvious. Hickson told Parker that he had a tough time getting Parker to come around after they were released from the craft. Parker just wanted to go home, or to the hospital to get some “nerve pills.”
The men both left the office, first Hickson and after a prayer, Parker left. Diamond had agreed to keep their abduction story under wraps. Both men returned to their jobs as usual the next day, but fellow employees noticed that something was bothering Calvin Parker.
Later Hickson received a phone call from Sheriff Diamond. Diamond asked that both men return to the Sheriff’s office. Although Diamond denied it, someone had leaked the story and the press was all around the Sheriff’s Office wanting to glean more information. Hickson was irate. He blamed diamond for leaking the story and the last thing him and Parker wanted was publicity.
They fielded all the questions the press put to them. Both even requested a polygraph test to prove their honesty. Hickson was worried about radiation and after the impromptu press conference, the men were again taken to Keesler AFB. This time the people at Keesler took their story seriously. Everyone that could fit into the room did so. It appeared that everyone wanted to hear the story. They were carefully examined by hospital staff and no radiation was detected. In the end, only Hickson took a polygraph, which he passed.
For a time, investigators and skeptics; along with the press swarmed the small Delta town. Hickson remained stoic, but the younger Parker did not fare as well. Hickson reasoned that his experience in the Korean War had taught him how to deal with stressful situations. The stress took its toll on Calvin Parker.
Eventually, both men relocated, moving 150 miles north where they both had family. They both avoided the public spotlight for a time, but eventually, Charles Hickson did do some television interviews and eventually co-wrote a book about their experience.
It was this event that convinced me, more than any other that UFO’s indeed exist. I have listened to the tape made by Sheriff Diamond. It is a bit muddy and hard to understand, but one cannot fake the emotion in the two men’s voices. It was this tape, plus the polygraph that did more than anything to convince me that something else is out there. At one point in the tape, Charles Hickson summed it up quite nicely:
“They better wake up and start believin’… they better start believin’.”