The passing of Charles Hickson gave me the opportunity to reflect on his extraordinary story. On the evening of October 11, 1973, Hickson was fishing off a pier at the Pascagoula River in Mississippi, with his younger friend and co-worker Calvin Parker. Later that night, he and Parker told police that an elongated domed craft had appeared, and three creatures emerged from it, grabbing them and somehow floating them to the ship.
The creatures surely were among the strangest ever reported in UFO abduction literature. They were roughly humanoid, with pale and wrinkly skin, and about 5 feet tall. But they did not seem to have eyes, and instead of ears and a nose had long “carrot-like” growths. Instead of a mouth, the beings had only a slit. Instead of hands, they had claws. And instead of two legs, a single leg that looked as though two legs might have been fused into one, ending in an elephant-like foot. Hickson added they moved in robotical fashion -- I would wonder how they moved at all.
Details of the abduction itself were hazy. Hickson claimed he was levitated inside the craft and examined by a mechanical eye shaped like a football, which seemed to scan his body. Parker remembered even less of the specifics. After about twenty minutes, the men were released, levitated back, and left on the river bank.
They sat in their car for nearly an hour afterward, trying to compose themselves. Hickson had some whiskey with him and drank some. Soon, they drove to the sheriff’s office where, not surprisingly, they were met with considerable skepticism. Yet, both men were adamant about what had happened to them. The sheriff did think the men seemed honest. But still.....
So he did something interesting. He left them alone in the interrogation room for a while, not letting them know that he was recording their conversation the whole time. After all, if they were making a story up, they would be more likely to talk freely if they thought they were alone.
Instead, their recorded conversation made it clear that these men were for real. As did all of their subsequent interviews. The men were never publicity seekers, and indeed Hickson was angry at the sheriff when the story became headlines: he had never given permission to tell the media. Calvin Parker became rather reclusive after the ordeal, but Charles Hickson made occasional appearances and statements in which he discussed his experience. The man never wavered, never gave a bad impression, never seemed anything other than what he was: a hard-working, honest man who had an extraordinary experience. Hickson even took a polygraph test to prove his truthfulness. He passed.
But what of the experience itself? How do we explain the bizarre alien he and Parker claimed to see? Such a creature as what they described makes no sense to me. No eyes? One leg? Claws?
Well, perhaps it was some fantasy, but if so, it’s a hard one to diagnose. If it really happened, and I have no reason to doubt their sincerity, my suspicion is that they either their memories were tampered with (and they received a ridiculous impression so that no one would believe them), or they dealt with artificial creatures with some sort of genetic and technological modifications. Why a single leg would be considered an advantage is something that I honestly cannot answer, but perhaps it wasn’t necessary in view of the ability to levitate. The case is bizarre, to say the least.
One thing to remember about their abduction, though. It occurred amid a significant wave of UFO and creature sightings in the American southeast at that time. Hickson and Parker were not the only two witnesses claiming to have had an extraordinary experience. There were many others. Just what they experienced will continue to be debated. In time, I think the answer will come out, as it will regarding everything related to UFOs and the presence of “others” here on Planet Earth.