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'73 Pascagoula, Miss. UFO abduction case recounted in new book

Flying Disk Press
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BOOK REVIEW: Pascagoula – The Closest Encounter by Calvin Parker (Flying Disk Press) 2018

It was right around this time, 45 years ago, that UFOs and alien encounters seemed to be on the minds and lips of Americans, even as President Nixon descended into the Hell of Watergate and the country came to grips with the fact that the war in Vietnam was lost and society seemed confused and off the rails.

So, the flying saucers and reports of alien abductions certainly did not reassure folks that all is well in early 1970's America. 

Incredibly, at this time, America in the Fall of 1973 was deep in the grip of a serious UFO flap, a bizarre wave of otherworldly beings and disquieting encounters with the unknown that has been little matched since.

One of the most famous cases occurred on Oct. 11, 1973 along the Pascagoula River in Mississippi, when two men – Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker Jr. – were fishing along this body of water, also known as the “Singing River” – when a strange blue light caught their attention – and changed their lives forever.

Yes, Hickson and Parker were reportedly kidnapped by sinister, “wrinkly-looking” aliens (robots?) with crab-like “claws” that took them aboard an oval-shaped, brightly-lit “spaceship” for an undetermined amount of time – observed the two men while they were unable to move – and set them free, seemingly unharmed but clearly terrorized by the incident.

And while the older man, Hickson, died in 2011, Parker, who was 19 at the time, has finally relented, after doing his best to avoid the spotlight and put the experience behind him, and released a thick book about his story of alien abduction (Hickson did so in 1983 with his book UFO Contact at Pascagoula) titled Pascagoula – The Closest Encounter and subtitled My Story, published by Yorkshire, England-based Flying Disk Press and publisher Peter Mantle, the man who helped Parker edit and publish the book.

And Parker’s strange tale is certainly engaging. Having known Hickson, a Korean War veteran and avid fisherman, from his days growing up around Laurel, Mississippi, the fatherly friend would often fish with Parker, who joined Hickson on the Mississippi Gulf Coast to work in a shipyard. In fact, Parker was hoping to earn money in advance of his pending marriage to his sweetheart back in Laurel.

But the fates had other plans. In the early evening of Thursday, Oct. 11th, amidst a serious UFO wave that gripped the nation (albeit the duo seemed oblivious to it), Hickson and Parker found a spot at an old shipyard along the river and began casting for catfish and other fish known to be in the river.

It was not long before the strange, blue light appeared and was in the form of the oval-shaped UFO that hovered approximately two feet off the ground. Shocked and a little curious, the two men watched as a hatch opened and three hideous creatures exited and grabbed them both.

Terror-stricken, Hickson and Parker were taken aboard and examined. Parker recounts in great detail about the horror he felt.

But just as bad, perhaps even worse, was the aftermath of their experience. The incessant media requests, the prying into their lives. An interview at local Keesler Air Force Base reveals little, but frustration in not knowing anything. In fact, the government does little to help or reassure Parker and Hickson.

Shortly after the two men appeared as guests on The Mike Douglas Show to discuss their experience, Parker has a nervous breakdown. The pressure of it all was simply too much - and in his simple, matter-of-fact way, he gets that across to the reader. Clearly, this is not a guy who has made up some story to get attention. He wants no attention. He wants to be left alone. But all the while, it is Hickson who seems to crave the attention more than anything and Parker is tired of it all.

All the while the Mississippi Gulf Coast is awash in strange UFO sightings, from military personnel to business owners to families and kids. And all on October 11th! These craft were overhead or in the water, off the coast. It was like an invasion, with reports in other parts of Mississippi and across the American South. 

Parker and Hickson see little of each other in the subsequent years, although Parker admits that some 20 years after his initial abduction, he was fishing in the Gulf near Cat Island, when he experiences "missing time." When he tells a TV reporter friend about it, he has it arranged to where Parker is flown to Florida to have a regressive hypnosis session with renowned writer and investigator Budd Hopkins.

As Parker explains, during his session with Hopkins, he recounts what the being looked like and that he had seen her before. Also, members of his family, including his mother and father-in-law claimed to have had strange encounters with lights - one may have abducted a cow on his mother's property and another sucked the oxygen out of a farm pond, killing all of the fish.

Parker seems authentic and truthful in every way. A working-class Southerner - a "typical country boy" who loves his mother and prays to God - a man who simply wants to live a simple and humble life, and having read about the Pascagoula case many years ago, I always noted how Hickson did all the talking and Parker was quiet, as if he was being protected by this father figure in his life, a man who shared this crazy experience with him.

This man, still married to his sweetheart and living in the Pascagoula area to this day, offers advice to other abductees, telling them to share their story with those who work in that field of inquiry. Don't bottle it up inside. 

All in all, Pascagoula - The Closest Encounter, is a fascinating book, complete with photos, artistic renderings of the craft and alien beings, and photocopies of newspaper clippings and articles from that time period.

I suggest Flying Disk Press clean up the many editing mistakes I noticed, but even that does not take away from the information therein, which points to the fact that Calvin Parker and Charlie Hickson had an extraordinary encounter, one that we can all learn from.

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About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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