Monday, December 1, 2008

The Extraordinary Witness

Second thoughts. We all have them. First impressions can be invaluable, but those gnawing doubts after the fact, well. . .

As recently as last week, I suggested that learning more about UFOs might conceivably provide us with a monumental insight into numerous areas of science. Truly, I do believe that. However, despite myself I could be wrong. Seriously wrong, deadly in error. What if? What if the new Congress did hold more hearings about the UFO issue? What if the old Congress had conducted multiple hearings in secrecy about the enigma?

And what if a careful examination of the facts forced leaders on the Hill to realize that, yes, the UFO phenomenon is real, there's intelligence involved and. . .and. . .no matter how frightening the implications, there's not a darned thing this or any other country can do about it? Would Congress or the military ever admit that "somebody" enters and leaves our existence at will, doing whatever it or they want? As we've painfully learned in recent weeks, we're often in no position to know what's on the minds in Congress, but I think anybody even casually familiar with UFO history realizes that, uh huh, UFOs actually do seem to come and go with prejudice.

Perhaps Congress could get away with publicly interviewing a few people who claim close encounters or even car trouble in the presence of strange lights swooping out of the sky. Congressional committee members could routinely say thank you for your testimony and have a nice day and we'll look into this, blah, blah, blah.

Yet -- there's another potential for Congress to deal with, something to make them sit up and listen and to be concerned about and maybe a little more than afraid: The extraordinary witness. The extraordinary witnesses.

First off, I don't know her, but shouldn't a Pulitzer be awarded to Natalie Chambers? After all, it was she who wrote an article for the Associated Press back in October of 2001 about one new witness -- and apparently more -- who quite possibly watched the descent and landing of the actual UFO involved in the alleged abduction and examination of fishermen Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker on the shores of the Pascagoula River in 1973. Frankly, I've encountered my share of news reporters over the years whose editors won't -- yes, won't -- let them mention UFOs for a variety of reasons (generally because of ignorance, not conspiracies), so this time around I was stunned.

Chambers' report is not new to this writer, for I've mentioned it on previous occasions. But I find this an opportune time for rehash because, yes, a new Congress will soon take its place in Washington, and, by George, Chambers' article might be just the place to start as we strive for a new UFO investigation. Make no mistake: At some level(s) the U.S. government couldn't possibly NOT be concerned about ufological intrusions into our lives -- and, that said, now we need to get Congress into the arena in order to get the public and scientific community involved. This is monumental stuff, and we want the truth.

When I joined the membership of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP-- see link) in 1964, the organization remained hot on the trail of every reliable UFO report it encountered, perfectly content that UFOs were probably vehicles from outer space under intelligent control in our atmosphere. However, in those early years there was absolutely no room for credible thought in those instances when witnesses reported somebody inside the things making an exit. UFOs, yes, maybe remotely controlled. But alien entities? Well, let's see the evidence for that...NICAP never denied the possibility, but the proof was essential.

That all changed, however, once the Barney and Betty Hill story went credibly public and Marjorie Fish unveiled the "Hill star map," showing, apparently with an uncomfortable degree of precision, where the Hill UFO occupants may have originated from-- based upon a star map Betty Hill recalled seeing, while under hypnosis later on. At last, the time had come when NICAP was forced to reconsider the occupant reports, and years later when an alarming artist's depiction of the 1961 Hill UFO "aliens" received top billing in the pages of NICAP's journal, The UFO Investigator, jaws dropped and history was made.

When impressive UFO activity began appearing in waves during the mid-sixties and into the early seventies, UFO occupant reports joined the mix. The integrity of some reports could easily be dismissed, but nobody was prepared for the Pascagoula, Mississippi incident of October 11, 1973.
Barney and Betty Hill's 1961 UFO experience didn't surface publicly for years because of a "missing time" aspect which only materialized after extensive hypnotic recall administered by psychiatrist Dr. Benjamin Simon. However, within hours after Hickson and Parker's alleged abduction the two were brought to the local sheriff's office, where, gripped by fear and apprehension, they told their story of a strange object that appeared while they were fishing. Bizarre, almost robot-like entities proceeded to take the men inside, where they were reportedly physically examined before being released.

You can read all about the Pascagoula (otherwise known as the Hickson-Parker) incident at, via the on-site search engine, so there's no need for me to recount the whole affair when others have done so in far more detail. For me, the Pascagoula case was just one more incredible event possibly related to the UFO phenomenon, but years later something happened that impressed me even more -- and it was all due to Natalie Chambers' article. It could have been 50 words or 150,000 words, as far as I'm concerned, but if the information is true, it's one of the most important newspaper articles ever written.

Charles Hickson, Calvin Parker, the UFO and its strange occupants were not alone on that October, 1973 evening, Chambers wrote 28 years later. There were witnesses, and not only the witnesses we're already familiar with who claimed to have seen lights in the sky that night. Add to the credibility mix a U.S. Navy chief petty officer, long retired by 2001, and two of his crew mates. Mike Cataldo of Florida not only told his story to Chambers, but openly offered the names of his crew mates, both of whom he had lost track of by then: Ted Peralta and Mack Hanna.

While on active duty, Cataldo and his friends were driving on U.S. 90, on their way to Ocean Springs. Peralta was driving, Hanna sat in front and Cataldo sat in back. Quoting from Chamber's AP article:

"We saw a very strange object in the horizon going from northwest across Highway 90. It was going pretty fast. It went down into a wood area and into the marsh. It hovered over the treeline, I guess, maybe a minute. We actually pulled off the road and watched it. We said, 'My God, what is that,' Cataldo said."

According to Cataldo, the thing looked like a large tambourine with lights flashing on it, the size of an airliner. They soon had a second sighting before reaching their destination.
The next day, Cataldo made an official report to the executive officer on his submarine and also notified Keesler Air Force Base. Keesler never called back and Cataldo's executive officer and other crew members "thought we were just lunatics, just whacked out."

Hickson and Parker were deeply affected by their experience and, as Charles Hickson told Chambers about his younger fishing companion, "He's not the same man as before. It just ruined him."

Cataldo states he tried years later to locate his two former shipmates, but was unsuccessful.

Well, I know who can find them: Congress. Faced with the enormous implications of the Pascagoula incident -- that our airspace and ground space have been invaded at will by a source unknown, a source that abducted and had its way with two U.S. citizens -- Congress has every reason to act, to demand the truth. Congress must do now what it failed to do previously: Call Cataldo in for his expert testimony as a former Naval officer, and locate Hanna and Peralta for theirs, each of the three apparently a man of integrity during his affiliation with the U.S. Navy -- each, every one, an extraordinary witness.

The fly in the ointment is Congress itself. What can ultimately be said if you bring these men in and they collectively tell a story pointing to our hopelessness in handling the UFO issue? Congress would be far more at ease bringing in witnesses who attest to "The Miracle at Fatima" because they could ascribe that to a religious experience and leave that subject hanging in the air for interpretation by a variety of sources. But the Pascagoula case? It wasn't a miracle and there were no religious overtones. Clearly, it was horrible, spectacular and potentially well-witnessed from the adjoining highway.

And let's not forget the audio tape. When Hickson and Parker were questioned at the sheriff's office just hours after their encounter, a hidden tape recorder caught the men's conversation while the sheriff left them alone for a few minutes. The recording, since released publicly, wasn't in very good shape, but thanks to the technological efforts of researcher Wendy Connors who achieved remarkable clarity over the original audio, the two frightened men are heard to be clearly upset, with Parker almost in a panic. Sheriff Glenn Ryder, who questioned the men that night, even admitted (again quoting from Chambers' article), "Calvin Parker was just hysterical. He was having fits. I took them in a patrol car to the sheriff's office."

Reasons why the UFO issue craves sobriety and congressional exploration are reflected adequately enough by the Pascagoula incident, in my opinion. Can we learn a great deal by unleashing our best scientists on the UFO mystery? I continue to believe so.

In any case, to keep the implications of this profound enigma from the public or to ignore its very existence, as Congress as a whole seems more than willing to do, is just wrong, dangerously wrong. This government must take UFO incidents seriously, and Congress, publicly, must respect and listen intently to the extraordinary witness. There are so many of them out there.