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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our fourth calendar year
    PCR #185  (Vol. 4, No. 41)  This edition is for the week of October 6--12, 2003.

UFOs Over Florida Waters
by Will Moriaty
"Out Of Time"
by Mike Smith
Arnold....Stand By Me....Bennifer
 by Ashley Lauren
The Phone Call....Ah-nold

by John Lewis
"Rush"ing To Conclusions....Jaws Convention
 by Matt Drinnenberg
Stupid Is As Stupid Does....What The Hell?...."Rush" To A Coincidence....Pirate Jack....Congrats....Get Well....Kobe
 By Mike Smith
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UFOs Over Florida Waters

I have recounted numerous Florida U.F.O. stories in this column over the past few years. Typically the reports have been of unidentified FLYING objects, objects seen in the skies ABOVE the Sunshine State.

In last week's column, I discussed an unusual light show that occurred on and around the tent that I was camping in with a friend back in March 1981 on the shores of the Santa Fe River at the Ginnie Springs resort north of High Springs, Florida. That may well have been a type of U.F.O. sighting that up until now may have had an element to it that I had never pondered before - - water! Where Greg Howe and I camped was on a small peninsula literally surrounded by the tannin-filled water of the Santa Fe River to the north and the cool crystal-clear waters of Dogwood springs to our south.

In preparing for this year's Halloween Series, starting with Florida's U.F.O.'s, I recalled back many years to 1973 or 1974 when I was stretched out on my bed in my room back at Georgetown Manors in Tampa reading a national flying saucer of that era. It recounted the story of a sixteen-year-old boy who, on the night of December 13, 1973, saw a U.F.O. siphoning water out of the Braden River in Manatee County, Florida. The article came complete with one of those wonderful pen and ink renditions on newsprint that were so prevalent of publications of that type back in that era.

Whenever I cross the Braden River on Interstate 75 heading for Miami I never forget that story. The Braden River is a relatively small water body not much wider many people's driveways, but it is deeply hidden in thickets of moss-draped Live Oaks and Pignut Hickories that almost conceal it from view, as if they are standing sentinels to guard some mysterious secret from the river's past.

I lost the magazine and that article years ago and decided several weeks ago to go onto the web in search of it. Although I could not track it down, I landed upon a wonderful site called the Archives for U.F.O. Research, or ASU.

The ASU was founded in Sweden in 1973 and is possibly the world's largest repository of U.F.O. data and folklore. An ASU representative, Anders Liljegren was kind enough to pull up five references to the case that involved authors Ted Phillips, Delair Bernard, Ray Palmer and Skylook, but was unable to find the article in the 1973 records. He was also generous enough to refer my inquiry to Mr. Carl Feindt who has a fascinating web site called WATERUFO: A RESEARCH ENDEAVOR.

Mr. Feindt was generous to link this fine site to PCR publisher Nolan Canova, who in turn bucked Mr. Feindt's e-mail to me. Although that site did not list the Braden River incident mentioned above, it did mention several fascinating Florida Water U.F.O. events, which I will briefly list below. Your "La Floridiana" homework assignment for this week will be to go to the WATERUFO web site and research these sightings in greater detail:

1. Jacksonville, Florida, 1957 (Fate Magazine, September 1957, page 6).

2. Oldsmar, Florida, 07-29-57 (The Bluebook Unknowns by Don Berliner).

3. Atlantic Ocean off the Florida Keys, 03-26-66 (Strange Encounters by Timothy Beckley, pp 86-87).

4. Cape Canaveral, Florida, June 1966 (Official UFO Magazine, May 1977 by Farish/Titler).

5. Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Miami, Florida, 09-27-66 (Invisible Residents, by Ivan t. Sanderson).

6. Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ft. Pierce, Florida, 07-07-65 (UFOCAT #81332, Sanderson, pg. 57).

7. Ft. Pierce, Florida, mid 1975 (UFOCAT #141790).

8. Pensacola, Florida, 07-20-90 (MUFON UFO Journal, #272).

Class dismissed!

Thirty Year Anniversary of the Pascagoula Abduction
On the evening of October 12, 1973 I was working late at WWBA radio in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was, at the very tender age of eighteen, a promotion manager for the station. Our radio station office and transmitter was located on 62nd. Avenue North in a heavily wooded area south of Sawgrass Lake and next to a St. Petersburg Times distribution center. Mountains of earth were being piled up three blocks east to make way for the construction of Interstate 275.

On this fateful evening I was blabbing with one of the station's disc-jockeys, Alan Ostrander. As the man with a golden voice read off radio copy on-air, I went into the UPI teletype room and stared in disbelief at the story being printed before my eyes. The copy was about two men, Charles Hickson, 42, and Calvin Parker, 19, who claimed the evening before to have been abducted by aliens on the banks of the Pascagoula River in Pascagoula, Mississippi. 1973 was definitely a U.F.O. "flap" year and this would be the penultimate chapter in that year's saga.

Yet another example of a U.F.O. operating in or near water, the two shipyard workers claimed that while they were fishing from an abandoned pier , around twilight, on the Pascagoula River, an alien craft suddenly hovered over the river. Occupants from the craft, who wore silver uniforms and had lobster claw-like hands "floated" Hickson and Parker off of the pier and into the craft where they allegedly conducted physical examinations of the two men.

Thirty years later no one has been able to either convincingly refute or support Hickson's and Parker's claims. If the intent by the two was to make up a story as a cottage industry, it failed miserably, fading fast from the public memory by late 1974. Nevertheless, real or fabricated, the Pascagoula abduction was at one time one of the most heralded U.F.O. cases in history.

Next week, "La Floridiana" continues its Halloween Series with "The Civil War Ghosts that Roam Key West", all right here in Nolan's Pop Culture Review!

"La Floridiana" is ©2003 by William Moriaty.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.