On October 11th, 1973, two men were fishing in an overgrown, abandoned shipyard when they were surprised by an otherworldly incursion into their otherwise normal lives. Charles Hickson, 45, a shipyard foreman, and his coworker Calvin Parker Jr., 19, told the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department that they were fishing off of the remains of an iron pier on the west bank of the Pascagoula River, near Pascagoula, Mississippi, when they heard a “zipping noise.” The men turned to see an oval-shaped, bluish-gray craft with revolving blue lights hovering behind them. They watched in awe as the front of the craft opened, and three impossible beings drifted out towards them.
The creatures were about five feet tall and naked, with rough, pale, elephant-like skin. They had completely alien facial features; there were no discernible eyes, a thin slit for a mouth, and three cones jutted from their head where a human’s nose and ears would be. Their hands were mitten-shaped, and as they floated about a foot off of the ground towards the startled men, they held their legs together, in a column.
The bizarre beings raised their arms towards Hickson and Parker, and as they did so, the two men felt their own arms raise involuntarily in response. The lead alien made a murmuring sound, similar to a grunt or mumble, to which its companions made no visible or audible response, and the men were led aboard the craft, where they were held and examined for an indeterminate amount of time.
Hickson related to Jim Flynt, the yard manager of the shipyard where he and Parker worked, that while on board the beings’ ship he was suspended about a foot off of the floor and examined. He had lost all control over his body, and the creatures turned him repeatedly during their inspection. The examination room was unfurnished, and lit by a sourceless, ambient light; the only object present was a round, eyeball-shaped tool, suspended from the ceiling like an x-ray machine. Once the examination was complete, Hickson and Parker were floated back down to where they had originally been captured.
Immediately after the incident Hickson and Parker first went to the press, but when they found the Mississippi Press office in Pascagoula closed, they instead went to the police.
“Something happened out there. Something frightened them very much. They were very emotional,” chief deputy Barney Mathis of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department said. “This is the most unusual thing I’ve ever been in.”
Hickson and Parker returned to work the next day, where Flynt and the other men with whom they worked took their story seriously.
“Something happened to’em,” Flynt said. “Whatever happened was pretty bad. I know them. They weren’t lying.”
Although the area of their encounter was thoroughly searched, no evidence of anything unusual was found at the scene. Hickson and Parker did not initially seek publicity after their encounter, but they did draw the attention of noted ufologists Dr. James Harder and Dr. J. Allen Hynek. Harder and Hynek convinced the eyewitnesses to undergo hypnosis, and were impressed by the fear felt by the two men as they relived their ordeal. Hickson was reportedly unable to finish telling his story, after becoming overwhelmed with terror.
The subsequent press following Hickson and Parker’s harrowing ordeal led to law enforcement agencies and the news media in the area being flooded with UFO reports; some sincere, some skeptical, and some clearly hoaxes. And while the truth behind their encounter remains unknown, its affect on the two men and their community is inarguable–and not particularly pleasant.
Said chief deputy Mathis of the experience: “If they come back, I hope they don’t land in Jackson County.”