Tuesday, May 22, 2018

PSI ‘74: Psychics and the UFO Witness from Pascagoula

In our last installment, UFO Promoter, Lawrence Brill: From Crime to Conferences, we saw how a convicted real estate swindler found a new calling as the promoter of a paranormal and UFO conferences.

The PSI in PSI Conferences was for Psychic, Spiritual and Intuition. Brill, with the help of rising psychic star, Bernadene Villanueva, they were able to gather an impressive roster for their first program, top talent ranging from psychic celebrities to scientists and best-selling authors. The conference was named PSI ’74 and events were held at the Hilton Hotel and the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Aug. 2, 3 and 4, 1974. The conference was heavily promoted through advertising and Villanueva’s media interviews.

Uni-Com Guide: Here and Now Aug. 1974 featured a cover and interview with Bernadene Villanueva, and a full-page ad for PSI ‘74

The two-day conference included psychic rap sessions, Mrs. Dixon’s speech “A Gift Of Prophecy” and psychic healings.

PSI ‘74 featured:

Jeane Dixon was the keynote speaker, “A Gift Of Prophecy”
Joseph DeLouise known for his predictions (Chicago)
Bernadene Villanueva (gave a demonstration of psychic healing)
Rev. Jean Page Bryant Tampa psychic, radio talk show host

Dr. J. Wilfred Hahn of the Mind Science Foundation (Laredo, TX)
Dr. Stanton Maxey (Stuart, FL) Acupuncture Expert, speaking “on the elimination of fatigue factor in pilots as a means of preventing airplane crashes.”

Jess Stearn, author of “Edgar Cayce: The Sleeping Prophet”
Robert Prete, Astrologer and publisher of Rising Sign magazine (Los Angeles)
Tom Valentine, editor of The National Tattler
Robert Parker, New Awareness magazine founder

Perhaps to pad the show, Brill added some UFO content,

Charles Hickson (UFO witness)
“I was on a UFO”

The Pascagoula Abduction story of Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker is so famous, we won’t repeat it here, but for anyone needing a recap, here’s their own story from their hometown paper, Pascagoula’s The Mississippi Press, Oct. 13, 1973:
See larger version in the PSI '74 photo collection.

Most of the other guests did not have a strong UFO connection, but Page Bryant believed that UFOs had a connection to the Bermuda Triangle, and Jeane Dixon had made a high-profile prediction on the future of UFOs.

The Press Coverage
Jeane Dixon’s appearance grabbed most of the press attention, recounting several of her predictions, from the topic of UFOs to the fate of the U.S. President.

Sarasota Herald Tribune, Aug 5 1974
See larger version in the PSI '74 photo collection.
The Clearwater Sun August 5, 1974
"Dixon Fails To Spellbound" by Michael Bane
Ms. Dixon came to St. Petersburg at the behest of the promoters of PSI ‘74, an omnibus convention of almost anyone interested in the psychic world and psychic phenomena. Their playbill ran the gamut from authors and lecturers to UFOlogists to Ms. Dixon, the Saturday night headliner. The crowd was primed for revelations. Ms. Dixon had none to offer.
Questions from the audience gave “her a chance to run down her most recent predictions – UFOs would soon be in contact with the Earth, the President (Nixon) would remain in office and weather the impeachment storm, former vice-President Agnew is slated for a comeback in the United States is slated for a civil war before the end of the century, backed by “our country’s enemies.”

A Disclosure of Pascagoula Contact - of the Psychic Kind

In August, Reporter John Keasler wrote a multi-part article series on the PSI ’74 conference for the Thomasville Times. In addition to the lectures, there was a thriving section for merchants offering products and services:
Today I'll describe a psychic convention. You go with an open mind no pun meant, and your first impression could be oh - oh: Look out for the pitchmen, keep one hand on your wallet and don't play cards with strangers. The impression doesn't last very long, although there is an "ESP - testing machine" for sale at a booth in the corridor. It's simply a calculator in which you push buttons and try to match numbered lights you can't see, on the operators side. I don't think many were sold at $179.50. For 50 cents you can test your own psychic ability.
Charles Hickson of Pascagoula, Mississippi.
During the show, Keasler met UFO witness Charles Hickson, and found him to be the most credible person there. He interviewed Hickson about his Pascagoula abduction experiences, and Hickson told him that for months afterward he was terrified, but something had eased that.
“Yeah the fear’s gone now. It was bad for a while. I can’t tell you how bad.”
Keasler asked if it was because of the monstrous appearance of his abductors.
“That was bad enough, but something more than that. I couldn’t explain it to myself, at first. But it was that they were machines.”

When asked, Hickson said, “What made the fear go away? I can’t really tell you … just yet.”
Keasler backed off, but later returned to the topic. Hickson refused, so the reporter took a stab, guessing, “ Do you mean that you are being somehow contacted by space people?  Telepathically?”
Hickson, replied, “Yep.” But he wouldn’t say more about it. Discussing his abductors, Hickson said, “…what picked me and Calvin up was machines… operated by a mind somewhere else.”
Later, Kessler returned to the telepathic contact, asking, “When did your messages start?”
“About three months after they got us, or to put it this way, just about the same time my nightmares stopped.”
Keasler asked him if he was worried they would come back, but Hickson said, “I wouldn’t be afraid next time.”
“Because of the messages you’ve gotten?”
“I can’t say yet."
From UFO Contact at Pascagoula, 1983 book by Charles Hickson and William Mendez.
Two years later, Hickson recalled his close encounter with a famous psychic from the conference.
Valley News (Van Nuys, CA) June 27, 1976
"Man still marvels at ‘space things’" by Douglas R. Sease (UPI)
“I'm convinced to my satisfaction that they were robots controlled by a mother ship somewhere... I spoke with Jeane Dixon (a reputed Washington, D.C. psychic) about this and she fully believed me,” Hickson said. “She said they came from a planet that's just beyond Jupiter, one our astronomers think is there but they haven’t seen it since Jupiter is always between it and the earth."

When Prophecy Fails

Jeane Dixon and the psychics at PSI ‘74 failed to foresee the resignation of President Richard Nixon on August 8, 1974, just days after the conference. If the prediction of UFO disclosure and contact were to be fulfilled, it would be under the leadership of the newly inaugurated Gerald Ford as President of the United States.

PSI Expansion

In the weeks that followed, PSI Conferences produced some smaller events, a one-day event:

Saturday Aug 24
PSI Conferences 1 day only lecture at Tampa’s Admiral Benbow Inn.
(Day-long conference)
Fee $25 All Lectures & Banquet

and later, a 6-week class on

PSI Conferences Study Center Classes
Aug 27 - Oct 16 Weeks $25 10 - 12 AM
Psychic Development 
Introduction to Metaphysics Psychic Development
Instructor Page Bryant

These classes were partly to produce some income until the next PSI Conferences production...

Lawrence Brill and his PSI Conferences partners were taken by surprise that one of their minor acts at PSI ‘74 received a disproportionate amount of interest. Charles Hickson of the Pascagoula abduction had been a big hit, and it inspired them to put UFOs front and center for their second major event, the Flying Saucer Symposium in November of 1974.

Next up, the story of the epic

1974 Tampa Flying Saucer Symposium

For the STTF collection of more news articles on PSI ‘74, see this link.


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