Jackson County

Party in Pascagoula will revive famous alien abduction story of 1973

In this Oct. 18, 1973, taken in Gautier, Charles Hickson, left, and Calvin Parker Jr. of Pascagoula recount the experience of their alleged abduction by aliens from the banks of the Pascagoula River where they were fishing.
In this Oct. 18, 1973, taken in Gautier, Charles Hickson, left, and Calvin Parker Jr. of Pascagoula recount the experience of their alleged abduction by aliens from the banks of the Pascagoula River where they were fishing. Associated Press File

Downtown is going to be out of this world Friday night.

Third Friday is going out with a paranormal bang, and event organizers say it’s perfect for folks looking for something to do before the Pascagoula High School homecoming football game.

Jen Dearman, director of community and economic development for the city, said the last Third Friday event of the year will be called Galactic Adventures as a nod to Halloween and to recognize the historical significance of alleged paranormal activity in the city. In October 1973, a man and his co-worker claimed to have been abducted by aliens near the East Pascagoula River and were returned after their eyes were scanned.

“We’re trying to set the atmosphere as much as possible,” Dearman said. “We encourage people to come out, eat, have a good time and then go to the game.”

Charles Hickson became a Coast celebrity in 1973 after he claimed to have been abducted by aliens near the abandoned Schapueter’s Shipyard.

This is how the story goes: Hickson and co-worker Calvin Parker were fishing when they saw a spaceship with pulsing blue lights. Hickson claimed he and Parker were floated into the craft just after dark on Oct. 11. Then, a floating hovercraft that resembled an eyeball scanned Hickson’s body before he and Parker were returned to their fishing spot.

Hickson, who died in 2011 at the age of 80, reported the abduction to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. He later told the media it wasn’t his first or last run-in with the extraterrestrial.

Part of Third Friday will pay homage to Hickson, Dearman said, as two men who claimed to have witnessed the incident will talk at Downtown Buffet.

They will “relive the story,” Dearman said.

The city has enlarged old news articles and will have them hanging downtown. Make-believe aliens will make their way through the crowd.

There will also be a costume contest, an electric light parade and a pumpkin pottery demo presented by the Singing River Art Association. The night will end with the fourth annual Great Haunted Halloween Bicycle Tour.

Many local businesses are participating in the final Third Friday of 2016.

Scranton’s is offering a $4 mixed drink called Absolut Alien Abuctions. The restaurant will sell $1 Deep Fried Milky Way Bars. People who spend $25 or more at Ali’s Gifts and More will receive a free Halloween tote. Anything space-related at Whimsy’s Books & Toys will be 15 percent off. Other businesses are also offering specials for the themed event.

Third Fridays is a free monthly event. For more information, call 938-2352.

Sun Herald correspondent Donna Harris contributed to this report.

Justin Mitchell: 228-604-0705, @Journalism_J

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