September 14, 2011 9:24:00 AM
GAUTIER, Miss. (AP) -- Charles E. Hickson Sr., one of two men who reported they were abducted from the banks of the Pascagoula River by aliens in 1973, has died at the age of 80.
Hickson died Friday in Ocean Springs, officials with O''Bryant-O''Keefe Funeral Home in Gautier said Tuesday.
Hickson spent nearly 40 years reliving the reported encounter. He also co-wrote a book, "UFO Contact at Pascagoula."
On Oct. 11, 1973, Hickson and Calvin Parker were fishing on the Pascagoula River. What seemed to be the beginning of a peaceful night turned to chaos when the pair said they suddenly found themselves in a close encounter with an alien craft and its occupants.
Hickson, then 42, and Parker, then 19, did not want their account publicized, but a reported leak to the newspaper made publicity inevitable.
After reporting their account to the sheriff''s office, Hickson and Parker both passed lie detector tests and were even questioned under hypnosis. Investigators are on record saying the pair''s story never wavered.
"I am not trying to force anybody to believe anything. I just simply tell them what happened to Calvin and me, and they make up their own minds if they want to believe it or not," Hickson said in a 2008 interview with WLOX-TV.
Parker, who was last reported living in Louisiana, has declined to discuss the matter.
According to Hickson''s account, two of the creatures from the ship seized him and another grabbed Parker, who fainted.
He said the aliens held them for about 20-30 minutes.
"Something came out of that wall, like a big eye. It came up in front of me, it went under me, and it came back up my back side. The next time I saw it, it came over my head in front of me. They turned me around and carried me right back out where they pick me up."
Then, Hickson said, within the blink of an eye, it was all over. He said the UFO was gone, and the men were left wondering what had happened.
A native of Jones County, Hickson served in the Army during the Korean War.
He is survived by two sons, three daughters, a brother and a sister; and 10 grandchildren and 15 great- grandchildren.
A graveside service will be Thursday at 1 p.m. at McGill Cemetery in Sandersville.
Some information from: The Mississippi Press and WLOX-TV
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
1. Friend of missing New Hope man speaks out COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. MUW continues to fly state flag COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
3. Accused murderer arrested for shooting COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY