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South Mississippi Has History of UFO Sightings
Hickson-Parker, 1973
Published: 1:52 PM 7/21/2013

Also see The 1973 Pascagoula, Mississippi Abduction.

By CHRISTINA STEUBE csteube@sunherald.com

Almost 40 years after two men said they were abducted by a UFO over the Pascagoula River, Coast residents still occasionally spot strange objects in the sky.

On Oct. 11, 1973, Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker, co-workers at a shipyard, said they were fishing on the Pascagoula River when a spacecraft came near them and four creatures took them aboard.

Biloxi police Sgt. Jackie Rhodes said he has received a few calls about UFO sightings since he has been with the department, but dispatchers have a process to follow if they get these calls.

"Every now and then we'll get a call about something suspicious in the sky," he said. "We respond any time someone calls for service."

Rhodes said the department treats the call as a suspicious circumstance and will dispatch officers to the area, talk to the person who called and file a report, if necessary.

Pascagoula police Sgt. Doug Adams said his department follows the same procedure and although it hasn't recently gotten any calls about UFO sightings, officials have investigated calls about suspicious loud sounds.

Adams said officers are sent to the area and contact local industries and military bases, but most of the time they are unable to determine the cause.

There have been some documented sightings of unusual objects along the Coast. A YouTube video shows a strange light dancing around the sky above the Pass Christian beach in February 2012.

Hickson and Parker's story made national news at the time, and created a buzz across the nation. It was one of the first claimed UFO abductions.

Hickson, who died at 80 in 2011, wrote a book about the experience. He told reporters 20 years ago the craft, about 9 feet wide, made a zipping noise behind them before landing.

Once aboard the craft, he said, the two men were paralyzed, examined and left on the edge of the river.

After the experience, they said they debated what to do, but told their story to the Jackson County sheriff, who secretly taped them talking to each other about the encounter. They were later interviewed by officials from Keesler Air Force Base and passed a polygraph test.

Hickson became a Coast celebrity -- he appeared on TV, spoke at UFO conferences, gave countless interviews and co-wrote his book.

"He believed that one day they would come back. He wanted them to come back," his daughter, Tisha Hurd, told the Sun Herald after his death.

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