Pascagoula or PA ghoulie?
I’m always fascinated when encounters feature entities that are never seen again. These one-and-done sightings not only discredit traditional supernatural, ufological, and cryptozoological explanations—something I relish—but also raise some interesting questions. One such question: why haven’t we seen more entities like the ones witnessed in Mississippi by Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker on October 11, 1973? According to their story (which, when Hickson and Parker were divided by authorities to collect separate testimonies, remained identical and unaltered), the duo was fishing the west bank of the Pascagoula River when flashing lights and an ovoid object appeared in the night sky. Hickson and Parker, somehow paralyzed, watched as three strange creatures approached them.
[A sidenote from the Cutch: it’s troubling to see “Pascagoula abduction hoax” pop up as one of the Google’s primary autofill suggestions when searching for this case. This style of insidious, albeit quiet, imposition of an “official narrative” will be ubiquitous if the mainstream media has anything to say about it. I encourage anyone who supports the silencing of supposed “fake news” to take a step back and consider the impact such censorship might have on Forteana.]
What allegedly happened was more or less your typical abduction scenario, complete with a medical examination. The entities, however, where anything but typical. Hickson and Parker described the beings:
“...about five feet tall, had bullet-shaped heads without necks, slits for mouths, and where their noses or ears would be, they had thin, conical objects sticking out, like carrots from a snowman's head. They had no eyes, grey, wrinkled skin, round feet, and claw-like hands.”
“They didn't have clothes. But they had feet shape... it was more or less a round like thing on a leg, if you'd call it a leg... Ghostlike and pale with wrinkled skin, and conical projections where nose and ears would normally be….”
Later commentators compared the skin’s texture to that of an elephant or a mummy’s bandages. An artist’s interpretation:
Space mummies have appeared in other cases, but none with the bizarre head appendages described in Pascagoula. Many have tried to make sense of this odd appearance—Greg Bishop and others have noted the similarities between the Pascagoula entities' appearance and southwestern First Nations kachina dolls—but, since the aliens have never seemed to grace us with another visit, we are at a loss for comparison. Or are we? I was listening to a recent Where Did the Road Go? interview with Timothy Renner, a collector of paranormal lore in Pennsylvania’s York, Lancaster, and Adams counties. Before proceeding, I’d like to quickly address two things. First, you may notice that many of my posts include a WDTRG? reference. While this may seem self-serving (I’m regularly on the show), I guarantee that I would listen just as loyally, and be just as inspired by this podcast, were I not a recurring roundtable guest. The show really is that good. Secondly, hats off to Renner. Collections of ephemeral local lore are usually a strong turn-off for me, but Renner has gone to great lengths to separate fact from fiction, and has doggedly tracked down the origins of many of these legendary stories (and flat-out discredited some along the way). He appears to be a truly open-minded skeptic.
In his interview with Seriah Azkath, Renner mentions the odd activity around Chickies Rock, a formation overlooking the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County. The location is well-known in Bigfoot circles as the traditional home of the albatwitch, described as a diminutive, mischievous hair-covered creature fond of throwing apples. Chickies Rock, however, was also the site of another odd sighting in the mid-20th century. According to Renner:
A woman… she was picnicking there with her friends and they went to leave and get some water… she saw this eleven or twelve feet [sic] high mummified creature with what looked like knives sticking out of the side of its head. Completely terrified her… The fellow driving said he had to pull over, he was so shocked by what he saw. Then they realized they had left most their workmates back there in the park, so they had to go run, and they got them. It was unclear from the original newspaper article if her workmates saw it as well (other than the fellow that was driving with her). They did say that everyone was very quiet, no one wanted to talk about it, except one woman said there was a witch who lived there that had cursed the area.
I think that was about the 1940s or ‘50s. In the late 1960s, there was sort of a ‘ghost mania’ that was going on there. Some teenagers said they saw a ghost at Chickies Rock… A bunch of people saw what they described as a kind of a silver mist, but one person said that what they saw was a thing with bandages wrapped around its head and knives sticking out of it, so it sort of confirmed that woman’s earlier sighting from years and years before.
A mummy, you say? With odd protrusions sticking out of its head? Spotted in the late 1960s (not much earlier than the ’73 abduction) on a site well-known to First Nations tribes (who, it might add, in a reflection of the Pascagoula claw motif, called the location Ka'ot'sch'ie'ra, or “place of crayfish”)?
While avoiding the declaration that either aliens are at Chickies Rock, or that Pennsylanian witches abducted Hickson and Parker, the two descriptions are strikingly similar, and are the closest match I have found.
There are a few problems with this proposition, however. For example, according to ufologist Patrick Gross, it was later commentators, rather than Hickson himself, who compared his abductors’ skin to mummy bandages. Similarly, in personal correspondence with Renner, he has astutely reminded me of the height of the Chickies Rock entity, which greatly exceeds the five-foot stature reported by Hickson and Parker. On balance, recall that the Pascagoula entities seemed capable of levitation—could the eleven/twelve foot height seen in the Chickies Rock case simply mean the entity was floating higher above the ground? We will likely never know if there is a true connection between the knife-headed ghoul of Pennsylvania and the space mummies of Pascagoula. What is apparent, however, is that true Forteans should always remain on the lookout for connections, no matter how unrelated they may seem.
Header photo of Chickies Rock by WikiMedia Commons user Jaknouse