On the night of October 10, 1973, two men – Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker – were fishing on the banks of Mississippi’s Pascagoula River. All was going fine. That is, until approximately 9:00 p.m. rolled around. That’s when all hell broke loose. Yet, it all began relatively calmly. It didn’t stay that way, however. As they fished, Parker and Hickson suddenly noticed a light in the distance. Not only that, it was following the river and appeared to be coming in their direction. Which was not necessarily a good thing. As the light got closer, they could see it in its full glory: the light was actually a brightly lit, somewhat egg-shaped craft, from which came a deep, throbbing hum. Such was the intensity of the hum, it provoked intense nausea in both men. Confusion, and a sense of distinct unreality, quickly followed. The pair watched in horror and amazement as what was described as a “hatch” opened and a trio of very strange-looking creatures exited the hovering object: they had aerial-like protrusions coming out of their heads and “hands” that resembled the claws of a lobster. Even stranger, and much more unnerving, the three things floated from the craft, across the waters of the river, and towards Hickson and Parker.
The aliens were not of the famous large-headed, black-eyed, and dwarfish kind, however. They weren’t even of the benevolent-looking, so-called “Space Brothers” variety of the 1950s. Nope, this particular breed of E.T. was described later by the shocked and undeniably traumatized men as being humanoid, and with faces that appeared to be almost masked, and heads from which three carrot-style points protruded. On top of that, they had large crab-like or lobster-like claws. Then matters got even worse: when the things from another world were practically on top of terrified Parker and Hickson, both men were rendered into a state of paralysis. Whether due to some technology of the aliens, or provoked by overwhelming fear, remains unknown. Maybe it was a combination of both.
Suddenly, the entities seized the pair, who were manhandled onto the UFO. Like most abductees, Hickson and Parker were quickly reduced to the equivalents of lab rats. When the encounter was over, the pair was dumped back on the edge of the river. The story, hardly surprisingly, became a UFO classic, and in quick time too. The media was soon on the case. As was the military. While Parker chose to keep out of the limelight, Hickson went on to write a book about his experience (UFO Contact at Pascagoula, co-written with William Mendez), and spoke about it on the lecture circuit. So, why am I mentioning all of this now? Well, I’ll tell you.
Just recently I had the opportunity to meet the aforementioned Calvin Parker at the annual Out of This World gig in Edinburg, Texas. In fact, I was able to hang out with him quite a bit at the weekend-long conference. The Pascagoula affair was one that I got interested in as a kid. So, for that reason alone, it was good to meet Calvin and speak to him, face to face, about the now-legendary encounter of October 1973. Not only that, while I was at the conference I bought a copy of Calvin’s book on his experience. Its title: Pascagoula – The Closest Encounter: My Story. If you haven’t yet seen this 2018 publication, then you really should. It’s a fascinating book that not only tells the story of what went down on the night that changed Calvin’s life, but way more too.
What I particularly appreciated, while reading the book, was Calvin’s openness and willingness to share not just the details of that close encounter on the Mississippi River, but much of his life too – from a child to the present day. This skillfully sets the scene for what is to come and lets the reader really know who Calvin Parker was back then and who he is now. This is important because, by opening up to a significant degree, we learn a great deal about the lead-up to the incident and what came afterwards – both immediately and in the years ahead. The fear that followed the incident is detailed graphically. It’s pretty much impossible to come away from the book and not conclude that something seriously strange occurred.
Not only does the book contain Calvin’s very own words on the event; it also includes a mountain of newspaper and magazine clippings on his encounter with Charles Hickson back in 1973. It’s accurate to say that these otherwise-hard-to-find clippings provide not just a look back at how the media coverage the story. They also demonstrate the sheer, incredible scale of interest that the same media displayed. Most important of all, we see how Calvin has come to terms with the trauma-filled incident. Running to more than 400 pages, Pascagoula – The Closest Encounter: My Story, is an excellent story of how the UFO phenomenon – when encountered up close and personal – can provoke amazement, stress, terror, bewilderment, and life-changing experiences. Calvin Parker experienced all of those. He has done all of us a great favor in finally telling his firsthand story of what happened on that incredible night – and way beyond, too.