Are you sure there’s intelligent life out there?

Charles Hickson, left, and Calvin Parker claimed to be abducted by creatures from outer space.
Charles Hickson, left, and Calvin Parker on the night they claimed to have been abducted by creatures from outer space.

THEY WERE JUST SOME GOOD OLD BOYS, never meaning no harm, but harm went out of his way to find them.

It was a cool night.

October cool.

They were sitting on the dock of the bay and fishing off the west bank of the Pascagoula River.

Catfish is what they were catching. Catfish were always biting.

It was a calm night.

October calm.

Darkness had crept across the river. Stars seemed a long way away.

And that’s when they saw it – a cigar-shaped craft hovering about two feet off the Mississippi mud, surrounded by flashing blue lights.

They heard the noise first. It was a whizzing sound.

The sound startled them.

The blue lights unnerved them.

When the creatures walked out of the craft and dragged them aboard, the good old boys were downright scared to death.

The book Charles Hickson later wrote about the UFO incident.
The book Charles Hickson later wrote about the UFO incident.

Charles Hickson felt paralyzed.

He was forty-two.

Calvin Parker felt numb.

He was nineteen.

And they were lying inside the craft, looking up into faces that were pale and wrinkled, had slits for mouths and absolutely no discernible eyes at all.

That’s what the two men told officials at Keesler Air Force Base. “It was one of them UFOs,” they said.

“We have no affiliation with UFOs,” the officer said.

“We read about this Project Blue Book you got,” the men said.

“It doesn’t exist anymore,” the officer said.

He rolled his eyes. Crazy as hell, he thought.

Charles and Calvin drove to the office of Sheriff Fred Diamond and spilled their guts. “These creatures had one leg,” the men said. “They had something that looked like lobster claws at the ends of their arms.”

The sheriff smiled and walked out of the room. He had his doubts. Crazy as hell, he thought. But the sheriff was nobody’s fool. He had switched on a secret microphone in the room, and he would let the men talk among themselves. If they were lying or pulling some kind of prank, he would find out about it. The men would condemn themselves with their own words.

According to the secret tape, here is what the men said.

You can’t make this stuff up.

“I tell you,” Charlie said, “when we’re through, I’ll get you something to settle you down so you can get some damn sleep.”

“I can’t sleep yet like it is,” Calvin said. “I’m damn near crazy.”

“Well, Calvin, when they brought you out – when they brought me out of that thing – goddam it, I like to never in hell got you straightened out.”

“My damn arms, my arms. I remember they just froze up, and I couldn’t move,” Calvin said. “Just like I stepped on a damn rattlesnake.”

“They didn’t do me that way,” Charles said.

He sighed.

“I passed out,” Calvin said. “I expect I never passed out in my whole life.” Calvin’s voice was frantic now. “I don’t want to keep sittin’ here. I want to see the doctor.”

“They better wake up and start believin’,” Charles said. “They better start believin’.”

“You see how that damn door came right up?” Calvin asked.

“I don’t know how it opened, son. I don’t know.”

“It just laid up and – just like that – those son’ bitches – just like that – come out.”

“I know,” said Charles, “You can’t believe it. You can’t make people believe it.”

“I paralyzed right then. I couldn’t move.”

“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.”

Calvin shook his head. “It’s hard to believe,” he said. “Oh, God, it’s awful. I know there’s a God up there.”

The sheriff had expected the boys to start lying about their so called abduction by a bunch of lobster-clawed aliens from some place way up on the top side of Pascagoula.

Maybe a snicker. Maybe a laugh or two.

But the good old boys, never meaning no harm, were as frightened when they walked out as they had been when they walked into his office.

They were ridiculed. They were humiliated. They heard the laughter behind their backs. They couldn’t run. They had no place to go. They stayed and suffered.

Calvin, years later, was admitted to the hospital after an emotional breakdown.

Charles stuck by his story until the day he died.

The boys knew what they saw. They knew what had been done to them.

Calvin had been especially traumatized. He said he had been fondled by the one of the creatures, and he thought she was feminine, but he wasn’t for sure, and, Lord God Almighty, he wished he knew for certain.

She was. She came back nineteen years later, he said.

Same craft.

Same girl.

Same pale skin.

Same wrinkles.

She spoke English this time.

And she told him that they shared the same God, that the Bible was an authentic text, and that her species wanted to live on earth, but they couldn’t. The earth had too many wars going on.”

That’s what he said she said, and his story never wavered or changed.

I talked to the sheriff years later. He sorta believed the boys, and he sorta didn’t. “There’s probably life up there,” he said. “But it ain’t intelligent life.”

“What makes you say that?” I asked.

“They could have gone to anyplace in the world they wanted to go,” he said.

I nodded.

“They came to Pascagoula, Mississippi.” The sheriff shrugged. “You figure it out,” he said.

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  • They experienced SOMETHING. Food poisoning from eating at the same diner? And they shared the experience with each other until they had persuaded themselves that the paralysis meant something had happened, and refined it based on the stories they’d heard all their lives?

    Who knows?

    But I agree with the sheriff. They aren’t very bright. They should know that their mere presence would have straightened a lot of people out about those wars. And that the technology that had brought them to Earth would be overwhelming and definitive to Earthlings – haven’t they read our science fiction? They must have, if they speak English now.

    So my guess is that they were not real. That’s my story, and I’M sticking to it.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Alicia: We’re all looking for plausible deniability when strange things happen to us. Personally, I hope there is life out there? I’d hate for us all to be alone in the universe.

  • Sara Marie Hogg

    I have always loved this “experience” from Pascagoula, Caleb. It went right into my UFO files when I first learned of it and I did a report on them in Speech class back in the dark ages. I tried to keep up with the lives of the men over the years. I felt sorry for them, in a way. Thanks for putting your spin on it. Something did happen, as something did happen to Barney and Betty Hill.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      No one really knows what it was, Sara, but something did happen to Charles and Calvin. No one can carry hoax that long. Whatever happened changed and probably destroyed their lives.

  • Don Newbury

    I think the aliens’ target missed by a few miles. Their intent was to land the aircraft at the First Self-Righteous Church of Pascagoula, the one they scared the squirrel into….

    • Caleb Pirtle

      I believe those bible-thumping souls in Ray Stevens’s song would be worth any alien investigation.

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