Thursday, September 29, 2011

Charles Hickson And The Nutzoid

Charles Hickson passed away on September 9th; he was 80 years old. If you're not familiar with the name, way back in 1973 (October 11, 1973 to be eXact) he claimed to be abducted by weird robotic aliens.

The story was that Hickson and a friend from work (Calvin Parker) were fishing from a pier near Pascagoula Mississippi when an UFO suddenly appeared and strange floating creatures exited from the craft. Each one was roughly humanoid in shape but with wrinkled elephantine skin, pointy nose and ears, and clawed-hands. The strange beings grabbed the two men and levitated them inside the alien vessel for examination. Then the aliens floated the two men back to the pier, releasing them, and then the otherwordly visitors left as quickly as they had arrived.

In a state of shock the men went to the local sheriff's office and told their incredible story. The word got out and soon Hickson and his friend were the focus of media attention.

I remember seeing Charles Hickson on TV some time later after his abduction. Dick Cavett had a late night talk show on ABC and one program was devoted to the topic of UFOs. (One source says the program was broadcast in November 1973, another states January 1974). My memory is a somewhat fuzzy but if I recall correctly Hickson was interviewed separately by Cavett.

There was a flap going on in 1973. Other guests included Colonel Lawrence Coyne who also told his own amazing story, an incident that occurred over Mansfield Ohio on October 18, 1973. Coyne and three other men in the Army Reserves were flying in a helicopter when an UFO appeared. Using a green beam the UFO dragged the helicopter around for a while and then released it.

All the guests sounded rational except for one. Of course a nutzoid has to show up and push his personal crazy beliefs. The nutzoid stated that UFO stories couldn't be believed, that you needed a thousand people to witness such events for them to be real. Gee, really. So if only 999 people see something, then it never happened? And on the flip side, what about mass hysteria?

Like I said, my memory is a bit fuzzy and I've been searching for a copy of that Cavett UFO program to make sure I have my details straight. But I do remember thinking that Hickson sounded more rational than the nutzoid. Astronaut James McDivitt, who had seen an unknown object while in space, was also involved in the discussion. He told the nutzoid he was being too scientific.

And who was the nutzoid?

Carl Sagan.


X. Dell said...

There are some sources that cite the Dick Cavett interview in January 1974, but this appearance isn't listed in Hickson's page. (Of course, isn't an infallible source). I've heard some radio interviews with Hickson (none with Parker), but don't recall seeing him on television.

Hickson came across as thoughtful and reasonable in the interviews I heard, nothing like the ignorant country hick stereotype associated with him in popular culture.

Marvin the Martian said...

I never thought much of Carl Sagan. His ego always got in the way of facts.

Doug said...

A "thousand" people? Somehow I envision Sagan wanting to say "billions upon billions" of people (just because that's what I remember from those old documentaries about space they'd get him to narrate).

Whenever I get abducted and probed--oh, that's only happening to the Chinese these days, isn't it. Never mind.