New 1973 Pascagoula UFO Witness
Found - Gives Vivid Interview
By Kenny Young

On October 21, 2001, Natalie Chambers of the Associated Press reported that a new witness to a legendary 1973 UFO incident has recently surfaced. Chambers identified this individual as Mike Cataldo, a retired Navy chief petty officer.
I was interested in more general details of this account, and specifically the reference to "a report" Cataldo made with a supervisor. This morning I conducted a YAHOO PEOPLE SEARCH for the name Mike Cataldo and found his telephone number listed for his residence at Marker Rd. in Rotonda West, FL.
Cataldo came to the phone and was surprised at my call, stating that I was the first person to ever contact him about this UFO sighting from 1973. He explained that he had been in touch with Associated Press reporter Natalie Chambers, but only after calling a Pascagoula, Mississippi newspaper a month ago. When calling the newspaper, he asked to talk with an old-timer employee at the paper, someone that might remember the Hickson/Parker abduction. Cataldo said that when he talked with Natalie Chambers, she made reference to the book entitled 'UFO in Pascagoula.' Being unaware of this book, Cataldo was shocked, saying "you gotta be kidding me!" to the reporter.
He went on to excitedly relate the story as it happened back in 1973.
"The story is very true," he assured while recounting the event. "We (Cataldo, Ted Peralta and Mack Hanna) left the shipyard and rode in Ted's Volkswagen to Hwy. 90, traveling west towards Buloxi, Mississippi. It was not even dusk yet, there was still some daylight to see by.
"When we first saw this thing through the windshield we thought it was a shooting star, going from right to left, but then it came down into a marshy, tree-lined area and hovered there for about 30-seconds. It was spinning and had blinking lights on the top of it all around its edge, all the way around it in a circle. These were blinking lights arranged on it just like you would tape lights to the side of a cake pan."
Cataldo affirmed that there was a definite structure to be seen, not just blinking lights.
"This thing was like a whitish-gray colored sailor hat, or a tambourine, and it was less than half a mile away and looked as big as any big American airliner I've ever seen. And then it just shot away, almost like it was just suddenly gone."
Cataldo said that shortly after the sighting he parted company with Ted Peralta and Mack Hanna and changed cars. Then while enroute to Ocean Springs as darkness was setting in, he saw the same object a second time at about the same distance away, watching it for another 45 seconds to one minute before it again shot off in the same manner as before.
Mike Cataldo said that there were other motorists in the area during each episode and that some of them had slowed down to look at the ufo.
"We were the only ones on the road to stop and look at it though," he said.
During this time, Cataldo said he never knew anything about the Hickson/Parker claim. He went home, telling his wife about it. Cataldo humorously recalled how his wife said he was hyperventilating with excitement. He went on to liken the anxiety and strangeness of the situation to a large snake sighting he had years earlier in 1963, "Some things you see in your lifetime that you just don't ever forget," he said.
The next day he returned to the site with Ted and Mack and they parked their car at the shipyard area, talking about the sighting from the previous day. They discussed what should be done about it and if they should report what they saw.
Cataldo said that he felt the sighting should be reported and he approached a man by the name of Nick, his division officer. He then approached the executive commander, Lt. Commander Heath and issued him a verbal report on the sighting. He said that to his knowledge, Heath did not prepare a written report concerning what was told to him.
"Not one of them took me seriously," he complained, "and I never heard another thing about it. Nobody ever asked about it again.
"I never knew of the Hickson/Parker abduction until days later. It happened on Thursday and it was not until the following Sunday that I saw the headline in the morning paper about two men taken aboard a Flying Saucer, I'm telling you I about died."
The next morning, Oct. 15, Cataldo said that he talked the situation over with his wife and again decided that it would be important to report the UFO sighting. At that time he placed a phone call to a an assistant public relations officer Keesler AFB. The female taking his call took the information, but Cataldo said that once again nothing resulted from his advisement.
"I have never talked to the fella involved, Charles Hickson, and I've never discussed this case or met with them at all, I never knew them and I never saw anything and had no involvement with what they said," Cataldo assured, "and I've never seen a UFO since then, not at all. Not even before then. Was it real? You're damn right it was real. I can't say anything about they did or were involved in. I don't even know if what I saw matches what they saw, but I know what I saw and where I was at. But where we saw the thing going across the sky through our windshield is basically the area where Hickson and Parker said they were taken aboard. The time frame of our sighting might have been around 6:00, but I can't recall for certain."
Cataldo said that two weeks after the sighting he left for California on temporary duty. While there, he saw Hickson on the Dick Cavette television show.
"I just couldn't believe it, here I was seeing this guy," he said.
Mike Cataldo explained that he has not seen Ted Peralta for 21 years, but thinks he could possibly be in the San Diego, California area. Likewise he has not seen Mack Hanna for about 23 or more years and suspects that he could also be located in either Kentucky or Logan, West Virginia. In the intervening years, Cataldo said that he has frequently told told his family (wife, 2 sons and relatives) about the sighting.
Cataldo said that aside from this present call, he has not been contacted by anyone regarding this except for his discussion with reporter Natalie Chambers. He said that he has not seen the newspaper article and would like to read it. He also said that he received a message from a friend telling him that Paul Harvey mentioned the story on his radio program yesterday, and wishes he could have heard it.
I thanked Mike Cataldo for talking with me and told him that I would be happy to E-mail him the text of the newspaper article by Chambers. Although it is a disappointment to know that his claims were probably not documented in a written report by his supervisor, further interviews with Hanna and Peralta would still be valuable to provide some verification of this alleged sighting. A YAHOO PEOPLE SEARCH was conducted for their names in the specified locations resulting in many returns and as of this writing some of the names have already been contacted but thus far with no success in finding the right individuals.
October 27, 2001
Kenny Young

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