Walt Gray: Pascagoula UFO

Local News

The world is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing this week. And Walt Grayson is here with a space-related story that didn’t happen on the moon but right here in Mississippi.

It was an unusual event that happened in an already unusual place- at the Singing River.

The Singing River and the Pascagoula River are one and the same. It is an odd river- and a unique river in some respects. Let’s start with its name.

Well, you won’t find the Singing River designated as such on road maps. But then again, you won’t find a Pascagoula River sign on Highway 90 either. The name pays homage to a peculiarity the river used to exhibit. It sang.  Within living memory of some folks. I talked to a lady who heard it sing years ago. A humming she described it. Lore says a tribe of ancient Native Americans chose to wade into the river and drown instead of being taken into slavery by a neighboring tribe. And the occasional singing, are the spirits of those who passed on instead of giving up.

The Pascagoula is unique in that it is the only river in the nation its size not to be dammed or leveed or impeded in any other way- on the main channel or any of its tributaries. The Pascagoula starts at Merrell where the Leaf and the Chicasawhay rivers merge and then it flows southward through the George County clay bluffs, then the deep, dark swamps of Jackson County and finally it fans out into broad mudflats where it meets the Gulf of Mexico. There’s good fishing here where the freshwater meets the salt.

That’s what Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker were doing one October night in 1973- fishing. Just about here, where highway 90 crosses the Pascagoula north of the Shipyards. They didn’t hear singing that night- but buzzing. When they looked around they saw a football-shaped craft and three beings who glided out, gathered the two men up and took them inside for an examination and then deposited them back on the bank where they came from.

The incident got a lot of publicity and prompted a rash of UFO sightings for months along the Coast back in 1973.

Some people said the whole thing was a hoax. Others said the two fishermen had very real experiences.

I’m not so sure we aren’t better served just believing what people say. I have talked to many other people who say they have had UFO experiences in Mississippi. I can’t think of a reason they’d make up such a story- and I can think of a bunch of reasons that they probably shouldn’t.

I give Hickson and Parker the same leeway. And I know these two fishermen are just glad they UFO that caught them- pitched them back.

There is a new interpretive sign at the foot of the highway 90 bridge in Pascagoula in Lighthouse Park that tells all about the Pascagoula UFO incident of 1973.

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