On the night of October 10, 1973, there was a UFO sighting by fifteen different witnesses who saw a strange, unknown object fly over a housing project in St. Tammany Parish, New Orleans, Louisiana. Two of the witnesses were policeman. This sighting would only be the beginning of what was to occur the next night on the nearby Pascagoula River. Two fishermen, nineteen-year-old Calvin Parker, and forty-two-year-old Charles Hickson were about to have an experience that would forever change their lives.

Glowing, Egg-Shaped Object:
Parker and Hickson were good friends, and often fished together. They were both living in the town of Gautier, Mississippi. On one particular night, they were fishing the waters of the Pascagoula River, when they heard a strange sound… a type of buzzing. The two men immediately turned to see what the source of the strange noise was. They were shocked to see an egg-shaped object with bluish front lighting. The object was only a few feet above the water, and about ten yards from the two frightened fishermen.

Three Strange Beings:
While they sat stunned, looking at the weird flying machine, a door opened in the UFO, and to their utter amazement, three beings of unknown origin began to float toward the two. The beings did have legs, but did not use them-they literally floated across the water toward Hickson and Parker. The two fishermen would later attempt to describe what the beings looked like “… about five 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.”

Floated into a UFO:
Hickson sat frozen on the river bank. Suddenly, two of the odd-looking beings grabbed him, while the third being snatched Parker, who immediately fainted from fear. The beings supported Hickson by literally holding up his body. As they did, he felt numbness over his entire body. By some power he could not see, he was floated into the bowels of the waiting object to a brightly-lit room. The room had no gravity. He floated with a strange eye-like device. This device would go over his entire body as if it was scanning him.

20 Minutes of Examination:
After the eye-like device was finished with Hickson, he was left floating in the room alone. The beings had probably left to examine Parker. Approximately 20 minutes after the ordeal had begun, it was over. Hickson was now floated back out of the craft. Back on the river bank, he could see Parker, who was crying and praying on the ground. Shortly, the strange flying object rose straight into the night sky, and flew away.

Regaining Their Composure:
After some time to regain their senses and strength, they began to talk about what action they should take. At first they were afraid to report their experience, but they felt obligated to tell someone. What if these beings were taking other people in the area? Fighting fears of public ridicule, they called Kessler Air Force Base in Biloxi. They were instructed to report their incident to the local sheriff’s department.

Report to Sheriff’s Office:
Not wanting to deal with local law enforcement, they decided instead to go to their local newspaper office. The office was closed, which left the men only one recourse-the sheriff office. As would be expected, the local sheriff thought their story was a hoax or trick. Trying to get to the bottom of their story, the two fishermen were placed in a room wired for sound. It was thought that they would discuss the joke between themselves, and their story would be found out. This was not to be. Soon law enforcement personnel knew that something had certainly frightened Hickson and Parker, and that this was no joke.

Major News Across United States:
It would be no time until details of the alleged abduction began to leak out to the public. First, the account of the incident was published in local newspapers, soon followed by the wire services. In a matter of a couple of days, the Pascagoula, Mississippi, abduction was a big news item over the entire United States. Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) sent University of California professor James Harder to investigate the story. Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who represented the U.S. Air Force also would research the case.

Harder & Hynek Investigate:
Harder and Hynek did a lot of the investigative work together. The two well-known researchers first interviewed the two fishermen together. Harder tried to do regressive hypnosis on Hickson, but the abductee was so frightened, that the hypnosis was stopped. To get things off on solid ground, both of the witnesses took polygraph tests, and both passed without a problem. Harder and Hynek both believed that the two tormented men were telling the truth.

Esteemed UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek would proclaim that “… there was definitely something here that was not terrestrial.”

Most Unusual Account:
Even after thirty-plus years, both Calvin Parker and Charles Hickson still testify to the same story, and have never wavered in their account of what happened that October night on the Pascagoula River.

There have been many articles, magazine reports, and television documentaries done on the case, and the two men have given numerous interviews about their experience. Their account, although bizarre, is one of the best researched and documented alien abduction cases in UFO history.

From Wikipedia:

Hickson and Parker contact police
Both men said they were terrified by what had happened. They claimed to have sat in a car for about 45 minutes, trying to calm themselves. Hickson drank some whiskey. After some discussion, they tried to report their story to officials at Keesler Air Force Base, but personnel told them the United States Air Force had nothing to do with UFO reports (Project Blue Book had been discontinued about four years before), and suggested the men notify police.

At about 10:30 p.m., Hickson and Parker arrived at the Jackson County, Mississippi Sheriff’s office. They brought the catfish they’d caught while fishing; it was the only proof they had to back up their story. Sheriff Fred Diamond thought the men seemed sincere and genuinely frightened and he thought Parker was especially disturbed. Diamond harbored some doubt about the fantastic story, however, due in part to Hickson’s admitted whiskey consumption.

The “Secret Tape”
Diamond interviewed the men, who related their story. After repeated questioning, Diamond left the two men alone in a room that was, unknown to Hickson or Parker, rigged with a hidden microphone.

As Jerome Clark, writes, “Sheriff Diamond assumed that if they were lying, that fact would become immediately apparent when the two spoke privately. Instead, they continued to talk in the voices of the terribly distressed.” (Clark, 447) This so-called “secret tape” was held on file at the Jackson County Sheriff’s department, and has since earned wider circulation amongst UFO researchers and enthusiasts. Parker, who seemed particularly shaken, spoke repeatedly of his wish to see a doctor. A partial transcript of their interrogation and of the “secret tape” is available; immediately below is part of the conversation on the “secret tape”, as transcribed by NICAP:

CALVIN: I got to get home and get to bed or get some nerve pills or see the doctor or something. I can’t stand it. I’m about to go half crazy.
CHARLIE: I tell you, when we through, I’ll get you something to settle you down so you can get some damn sleep.
CALVIN: I can’t sleep yet like it is. I’m just damn near crazy.
CHARLIE: Well, Calvin, when they brought you out-when they brought me out of that thing, goddamn it I like to never in hell got you straightened out.
His voice rising, Calvin said, “My damn arms, my arms, I remember they just froze up and I couldn’t move. Just like I stepped on a damn rattlesnake.” [sic]
“They didn’t do me that way”, sighed Charlie.
Now both men were talking as if to themselves.
CALVIN: I passed out. I expect I never passed out in my whole life.
CHARLIE: I’ve never seen nothin’ like that before in my life. You can’t make people believe-
CALVIN: I don’t want to keep sittin’ here. I want to see a doctor-
CHARLIE: They better wake up and start believin’… they better start believin’.
CALVIN: You see how that damn door come right up?
CHARLIE: I don’t know how it opened, son. I don’t know.
CALVIN: It just laid up and just like that those son’ bitches-just like that they come out.
CHARLIE: I know. You can’t believe it. You can’t make people believe it-
CALVIN: I paralyzed right then. I couldn’t move-
CHARLIE: 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: You know yourself I don’t drink
CHARLIE: I know that, son. When I get to the house I’m gonna get me another drink, make me sleep. Look, what we sittin’ around for. I gotta go tell Blanche… what we waitin’ for?
CALVIN (panicky): I gotta go to the house. I’m gettin’ sick. I gotta get out of here.
Then Charlie got up and left the room, and Calvin was alone.
CALVIN: It’s hard to believe . . . Oh God, it’s awful… I know there’s a God up there…

Seeing that the police were skeptical of their story, Hickson and Parker insisted that they take lie detector tests to prove their honesty.

Hickson and Parker returned to work the day after the encounter (Friday, October 12). They did not initially discuss their purported UFO encounter, but coworkers noted that Parker seemed very anxious and preoccupied. Within hours, Sheriff Diamond telephoned the men at work, stating that news reporters were swarming in his office, seeking more information about the UFO story. An angry Hickson accused Diamond of breaking his confidentiality pledge, but Diamond insisted he had not done so, and that the case was too sensational to keep quiet.

Hickson’s foreman overheard the Hickson’s side of the conversation, and asked what had occurred. Hickson related his story to the foreman and to shipyard owner Johnny Walker. After hearing the tale, Walker suggested that Hickson and Parker contact Joe Colingo, a locally prominent attorney (who was Walker’s brother-in-law and also represented the shipyard).

Colingo met the men, and, during their conversation, Hickson expressed fears about having been exposed to radiation. Colingo and detective Tom Huntley then took Parker and Hickson to a local hospital, which lacked the facilities for a radiation test. (Clark’s book does not make clear if Huntley is a police detective or a private detective.)

From the hospital, the men went to Keesler Air Force Base, where they were examined extensively by several doctors. Afterward, reported Huntley, Parker and Hickson were interviewed by the military intelligence chief of the base, with the “whole base command” observing the proceedings. (Clark, 448)

Colingo drew up a contract to represent Hickson and Parker. However, nothing came of this, and Hickson would later have nothing to do with Colingo, charging the lawyer with base financial motivations: Colingo, said Hickson, “just wanted to make a buck.” (Clark, 449)

Within days, Pascagoula was the center of an international news story, with reporters swarming the town. Professor James A. Harder (a U.C. Berkeley engineering professor and APRO member) and Dr. J. Allen Hynek (an astronomer formerly with Project Blue Book) both arrived and interviewed Parker and Hickson. Harder tried to hypnotize the men, but they were too anxious and distracted for the procedure to work–Parker especially so. Hynek withheld ultimate judgment on the case, but did announce that, in his judgment, Hickson and Parker were honest men who seemed genuinely distressed about what had occurred.

Tiring of the publicity, Hickson and Parker went to Jones County, Mississippi (about 150 miles north of Pascagoula), where both men hoped to find relief with family members. Parker was eventually hospitalized for what Clark describes as “an emotional breakdown.” (Clark, 449)

In an interview several years after the claimed UFO event, Hickson speculated that Parker fared worse after the encounter because he had never previously experienced a profoundly frightening ordeal. While Hickson described the UFO encounter as the most terrifying event in his life, he also noted that he had seen combat in the Korean War, and that he thus had some familiarity with a terrifying experience. The younger Parker, on the other hand, had never suffered through a terrifying encounter, let alone a bizarre confrontation with something that was not even supposed to exist.

As noted above, both Parker and Hickson volunteered to take polygraph exams to prove their stories. In the end, only Hickson did so, and the examiner determined that Hickson believed the story about the UFO abduction.

Aviation journalist and UFO skeptic Philip J. Klass argued that there was reason to question the reliability of Hickson’s lie detector exam, writing,

The polygraph test was given to Hickson by a young operator, just out of school, who had not completed his formal training, who had not been certified by his own school and who had not taken a state licensing examination. Furthermore, that the lawyer for Hickson and Parker – who also was acting as their “booking agent” – had turned down the chance to have his clients tested WITHOUT CHARGE by the very experienced Capt. Charles Wimberly, chief polygraph operator from the nearby Mobile Police Dept. Also, that the lawyer did not contact other experienced polygraph operators close to Pascagoula. Instead, the lawyer had imported from New Orleans – more than 100 miles away – the young, inexperienced, uncertified, unlicensed operator who, by a curious coincidence, worked for a friend of the lawyer! (emphasis in original)

Subsequent investigation by Joe Esterhas of Rolling Stone uncovered some additional information, leading to much skepticism about the abduction claim. The supposed UFO landing and abduction site was in full view of two twenty-four hour toll booths, and neither operator saw anything that night. Also, the site was in range of security cameras from nearby Ingalls Shipyard, and the cameras additionally showed nothing that night.

Parker has avoided most public attention since the event. Hickson appeared on Dick Cavett’s talk show in January 1974, and speaks at occasional UFO conferences; he has co-written a book about the event with William Mendez titled UFO Contact at Pascagoula (1983, reprinted 1987).

In 2001, retired navy chief petty officer Mike Cataldo revealed that he observed an unusual craft at dusk on the same date. While travelling with crew mates Ted Peralta and Mack Hanna on U.S. Route 90 from Pascagoula to Ocean Springs, an object like a large tambourine with small flashing lights approached from the northwest and crossed the freeway, before hovering over the treeline and disappearing. As he approached his home in St Andrews, Ocean Springs, the craft made a second appearance at lower altitude.

[Source: http://ufos.about.com/od/aliensalienabduction/p/pascagoula.htm]