PASCAGOULA, MS (WALA-TV)- Are we alone? Is Earth really the only planet with life? Or, is something else out there? It's been a debate for decades. Are aliens out there and have they ever made contact with us?
After 45 years of keeping it a secret from his own family, a Gulf Coast man's declining health has given him a reason to write a book and leave his legacy. Calvin Parker is now ready to tell the story of the event that would change his life forever.
In 1973, Calvin Parker was 19. He was a hard worker who just wanted to build a home and raise a family. Those plans would be derailed during a fishing trip in Pascagoula.
Parker said, "A real bright beam appeared all over us and it kind of blinded us for a second and when i got my vision back, I seen three bulky looking creatures coming toward us."
Parker will tell you, because of this night, he's spent the last 45 years in hiding, scared to face the curious and unrelenting public eye. But, after suffering a stroke and having two open heart surgeries, in a rare interview, Parker is recounting to me the night that changed his life.
Parker said, "We pulled up and I noticed there was posted signs there..I noticed some blue hazy lights reflecting coming across from my back, out across the water and they was reflecting off the water..so I stood up thinking I was going to go to jail for trespassing. I turned around and about that time Charlie stood up and turned around we noticed then the blue lights was coming from something different than what I thought it was. I knew it wasn't a patrol car and I still couldn't quite make it out."
Just north of where Ingalls Shipyard now sits, Parker and his fishing buddy, 42-year-old Charles Hickson would do anything but fish that night.
"I seen three bulky looking creatures coming toward us. They was probably 4, 41/5, 5 foot tall...built like football players. I noticed they kind of moved mechanical wise and they were floating off the ground. By the time we stood up and turned around, they was there on us all at one time. Two of them got a hold of Charlie, one of them got a hold of myself and instantly I felt like, I just got relaxed," Parker said.
Parker claimed he and Hickson were levitated into the space craft.
Parker said, "There was what I call an examination room and the ole big ugly creature that brought me in, he took me and laid me on the examination table and he just backed up out of the way and I couldn't move or anything. All i could do was look. there was something about the size of a deck of cards that came out of the ceiling and it hovered about a foot in front of my eyes and then it went ot the right side of my head and it clicked, went behind my head and clicked went to the left side of my head and clicked and then straight to the front and then it shot back into the ceiling. and that's when i heard some ruffling noise and this more feminine looking creature came out. She looked completely different from what I call the robot. The other one was kind of feminine. She had regular fingers and came over and pinched me on the cheek and then she took her finger and ran it down my throat and got it behind that thing that hangs down back there and tried to come up in my nasal cavity and that's when it started hurting and I started choking and I got scared and she just kind of telepathically told me "Don't be afraid we aren't going to hurt you."
With those words, Parker said the aliens dropped he and Hickson back off on the bank. Frozen in fear, Parker didn't want to let anyone know what had happened. Hickson, however, said they had to tell somebody and they called the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.
Former Jackson County Captain Glenn Ryder was handed the phone, "And I said 'Can I help you?'. He said 'Yeah, we had something happen. You're going to laugh when we tell you what it is and I said well go ahead and tell me I'm busy. What happened?'. And he said "We got picked up by a UFO!" and I laughed. He said 'I told you you was going to laugh'."
Still, Ryder told the men to come in to the station.
Jackson County Sheriff's deputies had two choices that night. They could believe Parker and Hickson had really been taken by aliens or prove the two were telling some big story. So to get to the truth, they secretly placed a tape recorder into an interrogation room at the station and left the two alone. What they heard next was proof enough for them, the two might not be lying.
Ryder said, "They was upset. I figured they'd say "we got these guys fooled but, that boy was especially upset. You can't make up that kind of fear."
The men would take lie detector tests and pass. Ufologists and researchers flew in right away to interview and hypnotize the two, concluding they did experience something traumatic.
The two were even sent to Keesler Air Force base in Biloxi to make sure they weren't radioactive.
"It was a circus, a media circus," former WALA-TV reporter Rennie Brabner said.
Within days, the story went global. After the two were checked out, Brabner caught up with them.
"At the emergency room door there was a line of sheriffs cars out there. We went in with our cameras going and for the first time saw the two guys," Brabner said.
Brabner said to this day it's still something viewers never seem to forget.
"There’s a reasonable chance that they will say 'Wait a minute. Didn’t you cover the two guys getting on the UFO, what do you think?' Most of the stories you do they’re gone tomorrow or the next day and it’s always intrigued me a little bit that had some legs, some interest, particular years and years and years later," said Brabner.
Like Capt. Ryder, Brabner too believes something happened that night but he isn't sure what!
Brabner said, "I do not think they made it up in the sense that they created it out of cloth. I have been told that Hickson was known to take a drink. Was it in the bottom of a bottle of a John barley corn bottle? I don’t know."
Charles Hickson wrote a book on his encounter and spoke numerous times about it. He passed away in 2011.
Parker said he's a religious man and believes there is an explanation why he went through what he did, for now, he still ponders why it happened to him.
"You can't really pin everything down. you don't really know and that's the point i'm holding out.I don't know what happened, I know something happened," Parker said.
Parker said the city of Pascagoula now plans to place a marker on the banks of the river this summer.
Parker said after a year of promoting his new book and speaking, he'll retreat from the spotlight again. He plans to buy a houseboat and live on it with his wife.
You can get a copy of his book "The Closest Encounter" here.