Tuesday, April 24, 2007

As Weird as it Gets - Part 3

Part 3

Serious UFO-related journalism has often been hard to come by via the conventional media, especially in the U.S., but recent events may encourage more credible reporting of the seemingly incredible

Robert Barrow

"I can tell you here and now, and God is my witness and I believe in God, that when I die I'll tell everybody what I saw. And it'll be the same story." -- Charles Hickson, quoted by authors Ralph & Judy Blum

If there exists a "bigger picture" in this anomalous concoction of mysteries that only the most science-minded of scientists prefer to tackle, that picture still lacks identification. The casual mind, familiar with UFO sightings in the U.S., sometimes notes a pattern, albeit a general one - essentially, that UFOs were reported as balls of light or disc-like objects in the sky in the forties and fifties, observed landing and hovering at close range in the fifties and sixties, also causing a fair share of electromagnetic effects (stalling cars and affecting power supplies, for example), and in the sixties and seventies heralding the introduction of alleged abductions and examinations by entities. From the seventies and eighties have emerged credible reports of UFOs approaching high-security military areas and even causing entire missile defense systems to become inoperable during their presence (a treasure trove of solid military and well-documented UFO cases are on file at http://nicap.org ). That's right here in the good old USA, mind you.

What you are about to read should have been a major story at every news outlet in the country last year, but it was largely ignored. To be properly updated and launched on the track of terror to a world that lurks beyond our supposed wisdom, we must first journey back in time three decades to an incident that actually did make headlines all over the world.

On October 11, 1973, Charles Hickson (42) and Calvin Parker (19) enjoyed a leisurely early evening of fishing from a river pier at the abandoned Shaupeter Shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Suddenly, as documented in their separate accounts, they were distracted by something behind them and turned to get the shock of their lives. A short distance away, a strange, domed oval object making a buzzing sound hovered just above the ground, and bizarre-looking beings had exited the craft, floating through the air, moving right toward the fishermen. One grabbed Hickson's arms with claw-like hands, creating pain in his left shoulder, and he immediately became immobile. Another entity grabbed Parker by the arm and he lost consciousness.

Hickson and Parker were floated off the ground and taken inside the craft, its interior a place of intense light with only a viewing screen on a wall. The entities totaled three, all robot-like, around five feet in height. They had no discernible necks, had slits for mouths and pointed noses and ears. Where eyes might have been there were either little slits, or perhaps nothing. They were covered with grayish, elephant-like skin and feet, and functioned with claw-like hands at the ends of long arms.

A device appearing like a large eye emerged from a wall and Hickson recalled that it moved up, down and all around him, as if scanning his entire body. The beings were observed to perform their work stiffly, mechanically and quickly. One emitted a buzzing noise. After examining the two men, the three disappeared briefly before returning and floated Hickson and Parker back outside. Hickson fell as soon as his feet touched the ground, while Parker was apparently in shock and just stood where he was put. The next thing the men knew, the craft was speeding skyward and out of sight.

A very shaken Charlie Hickson contacted the sheriff and by midnight he and Parker were seated in a room at the sheriff's office, answering questions posed by a no-nonsense officer. One maneuver that lent immense credence to their claims occurred when the sheriff left the room briefly on the pretense of something he had to take care of. Unknown to the two men, a tape recorder was secretly recording their words in his absence to try to catch them in a fantastic lie. On the contrary, however, they continued speaking to one another about their experience, trying to make sense of it, and Calvin Parker's recurrent concern in the conversation was that if they tell people about the experience, the creatures will return in and do something to them. The sincerity in their voices is overwhelming (the tape, of very poor quality by this time and in need of a digital cleanup, was recently put up on the Internet for listening, free of charge, at http://www.konsulting.com/audio_clips.htm ).

By the following morning, Hickson and his wife noticed his left arm bleeding at the spot where the being had grabbed him, and he was destined for a wealth of nightmares as time progressed.

Both men passed polygraph tests and hypnosis sessions were invoked to get the full story. The late astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek, former Air Force chief UFO consultant (who started out highly skeptical but eventually viewed UFOs as a real and important subject of scientific study) walked away highly impressed after speaking with them, convinced by that time that UFO abductions were a legitimate phenomenon. In fact, a succession of scientists and investigators found Hickson and Parker honest and deeply concerned about their experience. Hickson, older and more laid back, handled the encounter far better than Calvin Parker, who suffered a breakdown and remained devastated. Hickson commented to the Associated Press of his close friend, "He's not the same man as before. It just ruined him." Even Sheriff Glenn Ryder, who remembered getting a phone call from Hickson at a pay phone around 11:00 p.m. on that fateful night, was impressed with the situation, whatever its meaning: "Calvin Parker was just hysterical. He was having fits. I took them in the patrol car to the sheriff's office."

Other people had reported a possible UFO that night, but statements were generally vague, some making reference to a streak of light in the sky. And so went the Pascagoula case for almost 30 years, another bizarre little UFO story consigned to history, believed by some and dismissed by others. But then the unexpected happened: A new witness stepped forward.