Charles E. Hickson, Sr., better known as Charlie Hickson, passed away in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, last Friday September 9 at the age of 80. A foreman at the now closed Walker Shipyard in Pascagoula, which built U.S. Navy ships, Hickson is best remembered as the key protagonist of a famous UFO abduction incident in Pascagoula on the early night of October 11, 1973. He was then 42 years old and on that fateful night was fishing on the Pascagoula River with his buddy Calvin Parker, a 19-year old welder at the yard. Little they knew that what they were about to experience would make them world famous.
The Pascagoula case quickly became one of the three classic alien abductions (together the Betty and Barney Hill case of 1961 and the Travis Walton case of 1975) in the era before this subject gained a wider public exposure thanks to the works of Budd Hopkins, Whitley Strieber, David Jacobs, Dr. John Mack and others. Included below is a rare transcript from a lecture given by Charlie in Mississippi in 1991.
As Hickson and Parker went about the normal pastime of fishing off a pier at Shaupeter Shipyard, they heard a buzzing noise behind them. When they turned their heads they could see an egg-shaped craft hovering about 40 feet above the Pascagoula River and about 30 feet long and 8 feet high, with blue lights on its front. A door opened in the craft and three creatures emerged and floated towards them. Charlie was a decorated Korean War veteran who fought in five major battles, but this was something else. The beings didn’t look human at all! Nor did they look like the so-called gray humanoids which have become associated with so many alien abductions. If anything, they looked like a wrinkled Egyptian mummy.
In one of the first articles about the case published in The Mississippi Press, Hickson said “the beings had legs but did not use them. They were about 5-feet-tall, had bullet-shaped heads without necks, slits for mouths, and where their noses or ears would be, they had thin, conical objects sticking out, like carrots from a snowman’s head. They had no eyes, grey, wrinkled skin, round feet, and claw-like hands.” No wonder Charlie was paralyzed in fear and Parker just passed out.
Both shipyard workers were captured by the entities and taken inside the craft. Charlie remembers being alone in a room where he was examined by some kind of “mechanical eye.” They were otherwise not harmed and some 20 minutes later found themselves back in the pier. After deliberating for a while, they decided to report the incident to Jackson County Sheriff Fred Diamond. The sheriff listened to their story but was initially skeptical (there was very little exposure to alien abduction stories back in 1973), so he put them in a room with a hidden recording device. Parker and Hickson didn’t know they were being recorded and the sheriff thought he might catch them lying, but instead the transcript of the recording released later showed the two men were really bewildered and totally disoriented by the experience. Here are a couple of samples:
Parker: My damn arms, my arms, I remember they just froze up and I couldn’t move. Just like I stepped on a damn rattlesnake.
Hickson: They didn’t do me that way.
Parker: I passed out. I expect I never passed out in my whole life.
Hickson: I’ve never seen nothing like that before in my life. You can’t make people believe.
Parker: I don’t want to keep sitting here. I want to see a doctor.
Hickson: They better wake up and start believing. They better start believing.
It’s not totally clear how the story got out to the press, but by the next day a real media frenzy descended over Pascagoula. The Mississippi Press published so many articles in one week that they even put out a special booklet of all their coverage for $1. The shipyard hired a local attorney, Joe Colingo, to deal with the unending media requests. More importantly, two prominent researchers, Dr. James Harder of APRO and Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the former Project Blue Book consultant who had just established the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) in Chicago, showed up in Pascagoula to investigate the case when it was really fresh. Harder did hypnotic regression with both Hickson and Parker, and the scientists were quoted in the press saying “there was definitely something here that was not terrestrial.”
One of the more interesting documents about Pascagoula in my files is a 17-page transcript of the “Official Keesler [Air Force Base] Field UFO Interrogation of Hickson and Parker” of 12 October 1973, conducted by Lt. Colonel Derrington of the Security Police, Colonel Amdall, Chairman of the Department of Medicine, and several other health and security officers. Detective T. E. Huntley of the Sheriff’s Office and attorney Colingo were also present. This document—I received a signed copy from Charlie himself as you can see from the cover page—is of particular interest for at least two reasons: 1) It was done in late 1973, almost three years after Project Blue Book was closed and the USAF was officially out of the UFO business; and 2) It seems to be the only known government document showing an official investigation of a UFO abduction case. (There is an interesting 1967 FBI memo about an abduction in Chesapeake, Virginia, but it’s just one page without any indication that there was a subsequent investigation.) The Keesler Interrogation also establishes the fact that there were additional witnesses who saw a UFO on the night of October 11, 1973, including a Probation and Parole Officer called Raymond Broadus. Other witnesses emerged later on, including retired Navy chief petty officer Mike Cataldo. You can read a good interview with Cataldo made in 2001 by seasoned UFO investigator Kenny Young here.
In 1983, Charlie Hickson wrote with college professor William Mendez a complete account of the case, UFO contact at Pascagoula, published by Wendelle Stevens in Tucson. It contains tons of information, including many photos, transcripts of interviews and regressive hypnosis, and a description of far lesser known contacts experienced later by Charlie in a wooded area near his home in Gautier. Out of the many websites describing the Pascagoula case, we found the one published in the excellent French website ufology.net one of the best (don’t worry, the link here is to the English version); it contains too all the main newspaper stories at the time and a transcript of the third interrogation of the witnesses three hours after the event done by sheriff Diamond and Captain Ryder. The Keesler Interrogation transcript was published many years ago in the MUFON UFO Journal Number 195 (May-June 1984), which can be downloaded from The Black Vault Internet Archive here. Many excerpts of Charlie Hickson’s various TV interviews are also available on YouTube.
I got to know Charlie Hickson fairly well and interacted with him often particularly in the period between 1987 and 1992. I was even involved briefly (as a potential writer/researcher) in a movie project with Midge Soderbergh, the mother of the famous Hollywood movie director Steven Soderbergh, who had a strong interest in the paranormal. Unfortunately, the project never took off but it gave me at least the opportunity of seeing the sites in Mississippi and to spend some time with Charlie. I went twice to Mississippi, the first time to lecture at a conference in Biloxi on March 23, 1991, which was organized by Charlie himself. The other speakers (besides Charlie and me) were Stanton Friedman and Budd Hopkins, who also passed away recently and who thought highly of the Pascagoula case. We are publishing below as an exclusive for Open Minds an edited transcript of Charlie’s 1991 Biloxi lecture, which you won’t find anywhere else. It describes the original incident, his visit to Keesler AFB, how the experience affected his life, his Baptist upbringing, and some additional contacts he had as well as his “predictions” for some kind of “open contact” in 1992. True, events didn’t happen as he predicted, but I have no doubt that Charlie was totally sincere about this. Besides, there is a long history in ufology of failed predictions allegedly given by aliens to contactees which don’t come true or happen only partially or open to ambiguous interpretations. The best portrayal of this phenomenon was given by the late John Keel in his famous book—later turned into a movie with Richard Gere—The Mothman Prophecies.
Here, then, is the partial transcript of Charlie Hickson’s 1991 Biloxi lecture. Other than correcting a few spelling mistakes, I left the document just as it was transcribed and edited 20 years ago.
EXCERPTS OF LECTURE BY CHARLES HICKSON
Biloxi, Mississippi, March 23, 1991
(Transcription & Editing by Antonio Huneeus)
CHARLES HICKSON: (After describing his original incident in Pascagoula)… (we went) to the Sheriff’s Department and give a full report of what happened to us, so we did, we followed them back to the Sheriff’s Dept. and then they placed me in one room, they placed Calvin in another room, and they must have talked with us for a few hours–I am not sure how long it did go along–but we didn’t know at that time, he (Sheriff) promised me at that time that there wouldn’t be any publicity about it, that he would try to relay what we had told him to the proper authorities if he could find out who the proper authorities were; but I went home that morning, it was probably after midnight, I couldn’t sleep but I felt I had an obligation to the company that I worked for, I was a foreman there in the shipyard, so after having my coffee I went on to work and Calvin went on to work, but when I got my people to work out on the shipyard I went back to the office and my telephone was ringing and it was some newsman from Jackson, Mississippi, was asking me what had happened to Calvin and myself the night prior, then my phone started ringing again and it was the Sheriff’s Dept. and he asked me if we could go over there, that they had reporters all over the place around the Sheriff’s Dept., that they couldn’t function well… (The Sheriff) assured me he didn’t release the information, that somehow it leaked…
We talked to some reporters there, someone called Dr. James Harder and Dr. Allen Hynek from Chicago, they were coming in to determine what had happened, Dr. Harder placed us under hypnosis and they come to the conclusion that something happened to us there on the Pascagoula River… What dawned on me was that we could it possibly maybe caught some radiation from this object or from these things, and I mentioned this fact, and they decided to carry us to the Singer River Hospital to see if there were any traces of radiation, but after arriving at the Singer River Hospital, they told us that they didn’t have the facilities or what have you for checking us for radiation, that they should carry us to Keesler AFB in Biloxi, well one of the detectives on the Sheriff’s Dept. called Keesler AFB and they asked him to bring us. Well, when we arrived on Keesler, on the main gate that went on the airbase, they had MPs waiting on a jeep to escort us in, they had evacuated the entire area around there, they were quite concerned, we found out later, and they carried us down to an area where they had a tane (?) with protective clothing on where they come out and they checked us thoroughly for radiation, and they told us they thought they found some traces on Calvin but they told me they didn’t found any on me; but anyhow after that we went in to a meeting with several different officials there at Keesler and they were quite interested in what the story we had to tell them–it appeared to me that they had been through these things before–but they wouldn’t let us have a copy of the report of what the information that we had given them, but later on I obtained that information, 17 pages on the interrogation that they gave us…
But anyhow, after that happened our life was just a nightmare to me, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I was afraid even to go outside, I didn’t want to be alone outside, and Calvin was about the same shape I was… But later in February of next year (1974), I like to be outdoors, I like to fish, the manager was a friend of mine, a tree farm, so I went to a 750 acre tree farm, and I was probably in the middle part, I knew there were squirrels around, and I saw the craft, that same craft that picked me and Calvin up that night, it came down in an open area there and there was just a message that came to me, that they didn’t mean us any harm, that there would be another time and another place, that they were going to stay in contact with me. Well at first it frightened me, I went home (talks about support of his wife, children and some close friends to go through this whole ordeal) but anyway, from that day on, these beings, the beings that were controlling these robots, have been in contact with me, I have no way of communicating with them, they communicate with me. Now, the late Dr. Hynek told me there is a possibility, a very good possibility that I had an implant of some kind that they had placed in me, that they could contact me at will, and that was a terrible fright to be told that, I have been told that by other scientists throughout the country, and they don’t know what to look for and if they found it they wouldn’t know what it was. So I had to learn to live with that and all my fears left me about these things, and also I found out through deep hypnosis that into that craft (?) that that followed me through this object, came out from the wall there was a window there, I couldn’t recall it in my conscious mind, but in my subconscious mind I recall that I saw beings, living beings in that window in another compartment, and they looked almost like we do, if they were out there probably 50 or 60 yards away you couldn’t tell them from a human being, so they are very real. Now, there has to be many worlds out there and there could be many life forms, but the beings that are in contact with me are almost like human beings that walk this Earth.
But anyway, it went on till May of the same year (1974), we had visited my family, we were returning late home that night after midnight and there was a craft that followed our car for a long ways and finally it came around in front of the car, it was trying to land in front of the car, one of my sons-in-law who was driving, I got him to stop, my wife got hysterical, my baby girl was awaken and was screaming, I was trying to get out of the car because I had my chance to meet these beings out of the craft, it had come around to the side and come down almost to the ground in an old field, and it had a row of windows all the way around it, I could see the silhouettes in the window on the board of that craft, and my wife wouldn’t let me out and was screaming for my son-in-law to start the car and leave, which he did, and he wanted to call the authorities, and I told him there was no need… but most of my family saw that and if there was any doubt in their mind in about what happened to me they began to realize that these things were real…
(Talks about the terrible threat of nuclear energy and the threat of war with Russia that could have destroyed the world until not long ago; talks also about the free energy that moves the planets)… and they couldn’t sit there in their world and allow us to blow this world up which could cause a chain reaction and could affect their lives on their world, that’s why they were coming down to do something about it. (Talks about how past civilizations have done that, civilizations have been destroyed before and we were on the verge of doing it again). I told people a while ago that communism would be no more, that the nuclear threat would disappear, so most of those threats are gone and we are heading in the right direction… and we’re going to have contact in 1992, there is 30 people that’s gone have open contact with alien beings, and after 1992 there is not going to be any question in anybody’s mind, there is going to be physical evidence, but they are not going to interfere with our problems, we got to solve it our own way, they are not going to meddle in what we’re doing, we have to always remind ourselves that we can’t do anything that’s going to harm their world, they are not going to allow that. Now, they are still in contact with me, a lot of people don’t believe this, but there is something that I have to live with and I will until the day I die, but there is a world out there somewhere with living beings on it that look almost like we do that can contact me at their will, they told me many things that has come to pass, I don’t claim to be a psychic but I do know that I am in contact with something that is not from this world…
(Talks about living with it, how many people don’t believe that there are other worlds, how we all have free will) but after 1992 there won’t be any doubt in anyone’s mind on this Earth that there is other worlds out there with intelligent life that have visited our world; I might add also–you may believe this or you may not–this world out there has been in contact with the leaders of this country, they have been in contact with the leaders in Russia, that’s the only way it could have happened, we hear our president now talk about the New World Order, it has to be that way, we have to have a New World Order, we have to stop the wars, we have to take care of our polluted streams, (talks about storing nuclear waste and how its going to last for thousands of years), and I have been told this by alien beings out there from another world, and I am getting messages pretty often from them now, and its hard to live… (Talks about making a living and not making money with this, of traveling to talk to different audiences for expenses only but not) making my livelihood and suffering many hardships but its something I am destined to do and I can’t change it and I am going to have to keep bringing these messages, I have no other choice… (talks about his upbringing and growing in Jones County as a devout Baptist, going to church, prayer meetings, etc.) We simply believed in a Heaven and a Hell and we didn’t think about life out there, it wasn’t taught to us… Its hard to tell you these things but its real, I believe in God, I believe in a supreme being but I also believe that in all its greatness he not only created this world but he created also all those other worlds out there in this universe in even the ones beyond this universe, and I believe a supreme being whom I call God created all this… but you’ll find out that in 1992 that we are going to be visited by alien beings from another world, they don’t mean us any harm, they are not going to interfere, they live in a world where are no diseases, there are no wars… (ends by talking about expenditures in building the military for wars while people are starving and how there could be peace on this Earth and eventually it will be that way).