We head to the Yorkshire moors to take a look at one story of a mysterious death and then through bizarre coincidence, a second story of lights in the sky and little men with lamp like heads.
Alan Godfrey interview – The Cosmic Switchboard – Interview on a US enthusiast show with Alan Godfrey.
The Pennine UFO Mystery – Jenny Randles – Jenny Randles book on the UFO sunjectcovering the area of Yorkshire at the time of the event, including Alan Godfreys story.
Who or What Were They? – Alan Godfrey – Self published book for sale through Ebay, written by Alan Godfrey detailing his life as a police officer and the UFO sighting.
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Zigmund Adamski & Aland Godfrey
Zigmund Adamski was living a peaceful, unremarkable but happy life in the town of Tingley, just South of Leeds in Yorkshire, England. A Polish immigrant, he’d moved to England in 1945, settled down, married, worked and was nearing retirement. Police Constable Alan Godfrey was likewise, an unassuming man. He worked on the police force in nearby Todmorden and drove his beat in the towns and villages within the surrounding valley. In 1980, these two men would be tied together by a series of truly strange events, a murder that remains unexplained until today and a case of abduction by creatures with lamp-like heads. This is Dark histories, where the facts are worse than fiction.
In 1980, Yorkshire was in the grip of fear perpetrated by Peter Sutcliffe, a man more infamously known as the Yorkshire Ripper, he had by this point, killed nine women and throughout 1980, he would kill four more. The murders were a national sensation and had sparked one of the UK’s largest manhunts involving 289 police officers that worked full time on the case. His murder spree had lasted over five years, the Yorkshire Police were suffering savage criticism from all angles and best advice from authorities to the public veered dangerously close to suggesting a curfew.The public had become accustomed to reading gruesome tales of murder in the papers and as the years ticked by since the discovery of the first victim in 1975, so to the death toll climbed.
Rather more unusually, a flurry of lights in the sky had been seen over Northern England throughout the late 1970’s. Reports came in to police stations of phantom helicopters, unexplainable lights and silent aerial phenomena. In the depths of the Cold War, with the Soviet Union to the East and an ongoing battle with the IRA in Ireland to the West, these reports were taken very seriously by the local authorities who diligently followed up reports, often times chasing satellites through the sky, or low circling aircraft, flying in to Manchester.
It was then, a strange atmosphere that surrounded the valleys and moors of Yorkshire as the dawn broke on a new decade. For most, life was, of course, perfectly normal, but an unsettling undercurrent ran just below the banal normality of the every day and with each new strange or gruesome report in the news, it threatened to break the surface.
Zigmund Adamski was born in Poland in 1923. Very little is known about his early life besides the fact that in 1945, aged 22, Adamski immigrated to England and in 1951, married Leokadia Howalska. The pair seemed to then go on to live a quiet and peaceful life in the town of Tingley, six miles South West of central Leeds in Yorkshire, England. Adamski worked in the local coal mine, the Lofthouse Colliery and by 1980, Adamski was aged 56 and nearing retirement. In fact, he had recently applied for early retirement as the Lofthouse Colliery was planned for closure in 1981. Zigmund felt he could better take care of his wife who suffered from Multiple Sclerosis and was wheelchair bound, without the long hours of pit work on his shoulders at the same time. His application was initially rejected and on top of this, his own health had declined from a heavy smoking habit and a life working in the mine, leaving him troubled with Bronchitis, though he had been undergoing treatment which appeared to be having positive results and his health didn’t appear to hold too many negative effects over his ability to live a normal life.
On June 6th, 1980, Zigmund had more pressing matters to attend rather than considering his rejection for early retirement however. In just a few days, he was scheduled to give away his Goddaughter at her wedding and in preparation, was playing host to two family members from poland, his cousin and her son. On the morning of June 6th, Zigmund and his cousin went to nearby Wakefield to go shopping and after their return home, the family had lunch together.
At around 3:45 PM, Zigmund left the home to buy groceries for lunch the following day. As he walked to the local shop, he met his neighbour and the pair exchanged cursory greetings. He said goodby, walked off down the street, bought his groceries and never returned.
PC Alan Godfrey was born in 1950 and had been working as a police officer in the town of Todmorden, 30 miles to the West of Tingley, since 1974.
At 3:45 PM on the wet, rainy afternoon of the 11th June, five days after Adamski’s disappearance, he received a call on his police radio whilst walking his beat from long standing friend and colleague PC Malcom Hagley. Hagley was responding to a call from Trevor Parker, the son of the owner of a Coalyard adjoined to the Todmorden railway station, named Tomlins. Despite being directly next to the station, Tomlins was an isolated yard, a horseshoe shaped industrial unit, sitting at the end of a long, desolate track. Parker had been readying to load his truck with coal for his afternoon deliveries when he happened across a man lying atop a 12” pile of coal, surrounded by large wooden sleepers. He said of the discovery:
“I was loading my truck for the last delivery of the day. The body was just lying there in plain sight. I didn’t know if the man was dead or alive. It gave me a terrible fright, so I called the police and ambulance, I didn’t want to be out there by myself, I was scared and the body gave me a very eerie feeling. I have no idea how the man got in the yard, but I can tell you one thing for absolute certain, there was no body on that coal pile when I loaded my truck earlier.”
By 4:10, both PC Hagley and Godfrey arrived at the scene and as Hagley climbed the pile of coal, he discovered the man was dead, he called down to Godfrey to come take a look and offer a second opinion on the manner of the situation. After the precarious climb to the top, he saw just why Hagley had called him up to take a look.
The body was that of Zigmund Adamski, he was lying face up, described by Godfrey as if “He’d just got into bed and was fast asleep”. There were some peculiarities however, most obviously pertaining to Zigmunds clothing. He was wearing a suit, but underneath his suit jacket, which was mis-buttoned, he lacked a shirt and was wearing only a string vest. His trousers were unzipped and shoes were tied crudely. His watch and wallet were nowhere to be found, but he was clean, displaying no sign of coal dust or dirt on his face or clothing. There was no sign of a struggle, on both the body, nor the stacked coal pile, and the only injuries that Godfrey noted were a series of burn-like marks around Adamski’s crown, nape and shoulders that appeared like a chemical burn in several patches which had been treated by a “Green Yellowy substance”. Something about the situation didn’t sit right with either policeman, Godfrey said of the scene:
“It was quite obvious to me and to Malcolm, that this guy didn’t die where he was found. He appeared to have been dressed after death. It was quite steep, I can’t imagine anyone carrying a body up there, why would they? It was very strange. 2 and 2 were making 5.”
Both officers on the scene confirm their suspicions with one another that the body did not appear to be the result of a natural death and called for the Criminal Investigations Department to come out and investigate the scene. The CID arrived, photographed the scene and the coroner announced life extinct and arranged for Zigmund Adamski body to be removed from the yard and taken to Hebden Bridge for autopsy. Alan Edwards, consulting pathologist at Royal halifax Infirmary undertook the autopsy and found that he had only a single days beard growth and had eaten well during the days he had been missing, though he had not eaten on the day of his death, which was estimated to have been between 11AM and 1PM on the 11th, the same day he was found. The burns appeared to be precise and occured around two days prior to death and samples of the green gel like substance that covered the burn marks were sent to the Home Office laboratory in Wetherby for chemical analysis. Cause of death was marked as heart failure, though the exact cause was never 100% evident. The only discernible marks on the body at all were a small series of superficial cuts on the palms of both hands, both knees and a small cut on the right thigh. The whole thing was beginning to feel very peculiar to all involved.
During the days following the discovery of the body and once the police had identified the victim as Zigmund Adamski through the missing persons records in Wakefield, the investigation and inquest began to turn up more facts about his life and it was anything if not spectacular in it’s normality. He was well liked around Tingley, had no enemies, debts nor alcohol or gambling problems. His marriage appeared to be a loving and caring relationship and he was seemingly looking forward to taking part in the wedding in the days following his disappearance. The neighbour who crossed paths with Adamski on his way to the shops on the day of his disappearance remarked that he has seemed “Happy, friendly and in high spirits”. A close friend of Adamski’s, Christopher Zielinski had been drinking with Adamski on the 4th of June, two days before his disappearance and he told police that he had left to go home early and take care of his wife, though he had been entirely fine within himself. Zielinski described Adamski’s marriage as happy and added that the idea of his disappearing for five days voluntarily, leaving his wife to fend for herself was utterly unthinkable.
There was only one black mark on Adamski’s history that the investigation found, that of the recent issuing of a restraining order taken out upon the husband of his cousin who was currently staying with the Adamski’s. There was rumblings of a family feud concerning the coming wedding and the husband was somewhat put out by Adamski’s level of involvement. Regardless, the police were quite happy with the situation and Alan Godfrey later confirmed that there was never any reason to suspect any members of the family to have been involved.
The inquest opened with much puzzlement on behalf of the coroner, James Turnbull who told the press:
“I have not ruled out crime. I am not happy. We have not got a lot of answers to the questions that have been asked today.”
As the investigation stalled, the police appealed to the public through the local press to come forward with any information or witness reports for the days between Adamski’s disappearance and the eventual discovery of his body. The headline in the local paper the evening courier read simply:
“Five lost days: Inquest appeal in mystery death”
Whilst police waited for possible information from the public, the inquest was adjourned. If the authorities had been hoping for the facts to become clearer during the postponement of the inquest, they were to be sorely disappointed. Results returned from the Lab in Wetherby which stated that the Gel substance could not be identified, extensive searching of local hospital records confirmed that no one matching Adamski’s appearance had been admitted for any head injuries and it became apparent that Zigmund Adamski had never been to Todmorden in his life, nor did he have any friends, family or acquaintances in the town. He simply had no reason to be there at all.
Eventually, after no witnesses came forward, the Inquest resumed and concluded with an open verdict. Heart failure was accepted as the official cause of death, with poor condition of the lungs a contributing factor, whilst the coroner, who had not actually visited the scene on the day of the bodies discovery confirmed that Adamski had died where he was found, despite protestations from both PC Godfrey and Hagley, who on the day of the discovery, were quite convinced of the opposite. Neither men were called to give evidence, so the voices fell on deaf ears. Speaking to the press after the inquest, the coroner stated:
“The question of where he was before he died and what led to his death could not be answered.”
“In my 12,000 cases, this is the most baffling I’ve ever had. If I was told a UFO took this man up and dropped him on the coal pile, I would only raise one eyebrow.”
This may have been merely a flippant comment to describe his own bafflement with the case by Turnbull, but this statement would seed into a long running story, helped along by a truly bizarre event and very strange coincidence that was to take place six months after the closure of the mysterious case of Zigmund Adamski.
LIGHTS IN THE SKY
As time passed, the mysterious death of Zigmund Adamski faded away into the background and everyday normalcy took over once again for the police in Yorkshire. PC Alan Godfrey moved on from the investigation and went back to his regular duties, keeping the peace and working his beat around the Yorkshire Moors. That was until November, as winter rolled in and the nights drew longer in the Valley.
On the night of November 28th, 1980, PC Alan Godfrey was driving his beat after pulling the night shift. It had been a hectic night, after the station had received several calls concerning an escaped herd of cows roaming around Todmorden and the surrounding area. It had been something of a wild goose chase, as each new call came in and PC Godfrey drove to the scene, the cows were nowhere to be found. By 5am and nearing the end of his shift, Alan was once again driving over to a local estate to check on a fresh report concerning the elusive herd. As he drove along Burnley Road, a country A road that cuts through the valley from Todmorden to central Burnley, he found himself having to abruptly stop his vehicle. Up ahead, sitting besides a local park on the Northern border of Todmorden, he saw a large object covering the road. At first he thought it may have been a bus, but as he crept his car nearer, he discovered it was something altogether more strange.
“The large object was just hanging there, in the air, only about five feet off the road surface. A diamond shaped object about 20 feet wide and 14 feet in height and what appeared to be a row of dark paneling atop the upper top third of it.”
He pulled his car over and tried to contact the station on his police radio, after getting only static as a reply, he tried his personal radio, but once again, nothing but static filled the cars interior. This in itself was not altogether unusual, as driving through the valley, it was common to meet radio black spots and so Pc Godfrey did the only thing he could think of doing as an officer of the law. He stepped out of the vehicle, pulled out his notepad and pencil and drew the object he saw as it floated noiselessly above the road surface, whipping up leaves around it in a silent vortex.
“All the litter and twigs on the road ahead of me were blowing like a whirlwind. The swirling was very unusual. Higher up the trees nothing was moving. But lower down on the trees and bushes and the road all this stuff was moving.”
As he continued to sketch out the object in the road, a blinding flash of white light filled his vision and the next thing PC Alan Godfrey could remember, he was continuing to drive the Burnley Road, twenty feet past where he had stopped to see the object that was now nowhere to be seen. Alan turned his patrol car around and headed back to town, where he collected a colleague who was on foot patrol in the town centre. Together they drove back to the scene and once again found nothing unusual in the road, in the park besides the road however, were the herd of elusive cows, who were now standing in the middle of the Rugby Pitch in the park. PC Godfrey later remarked:
“You don’t expect to see anything like that. You see some weird things in Todmorden, but nothing like that.”
After returning to the station and writing up the report on the missing cows, PC Godfrey contacted the farmer responsible for the herd, he clocked off at 6am and finally returned home after what had been a long and very strange night on the beat. The next night he returned to work and found his story from the night before had circulated around the station, leading to Alan taking a fair ribbing from his colleagues. As the days passed, the story was retold and the jokes continued and Alan for the most part, put it to the back of his mind and continued on with his role as local police officer. The following week, however, much to Alans surprise he found his story there on the front page of the local newspaper. Apparently, one of his colleagues, a policeman working the day shift, had seen fit to fill in the local press in on the strange event during their routine morning call to the station to collect a rundown on any events from the previous night. The story of what was now an official UFO sighting in the eyes of the press and was also now in the public domain, was aired, with much detail for all of Yorkshire to read.
Whilst many found the story as light amusement on a slow news day, there were some that took it more seriously. As it turned out, three other officers working on the moors that night searching for a stolen motorbike witnessed a zig-zagging object in the sky around the same time, as well as two traffic police officers from the greater Manchester police and several locals who also claimed to have seen an unidentifiable object in the sky. Despite these apparent confirmations, the story continued to find itself to be the butt of many a good-natured joke until eventually it slipped from current affairs into the background, eventually it existed solely as a running joke in the local lore. It would be another year before the press took any more interest in the story, but this time, it was to be national, more than fleeting and would make logical leaps and tie knots on a far greater scale.
“DEATH STRIKES FROM SPACE”
One year later, a man named Norman Collinson, the Chief Inspector of the Fraud Squad for the Greater Manchester police contacted PC Alan Godfrey. He had heard a story from a member of his staff concerning strange lights in the sky and when he questioned the man concerning what he had seen, investigations eventually led to Alans sighting. Collinson contacted Alan at Todmorden station and after confessing a personal interest in UFO sightings, he arranged a meeting to question him on the details of what he had seen on that night in November of 1980.
What was probably one of the strangest police interviews Alan Godfrey had ever been a part of took place in his own home, when Chief Inspector Collinson showed up on the date previously set between the pair, alongside a solicitor named Harry Harris and Mike Sacks, another man who had also professed to have seen strange lights in the sky two miles outside of Todmorden. The entire affair was videotaped and Alan walked the trio through his encounter, step by step. Seemingly impressed by what they had heard and after piecing together a timeline and finding what they thought might be around 20-30 minutes of missing time, the Inspector then suggested to Alan he should undergo a series of regression hypnosis sessions, to see what more he could recall that they suspected could have been lost to conscious memory. Initially, Alan wasn’t overly keen on the idea, dismissing hypnosis as stage tricks but after much reassurance from Collinson, he agreed to participate.
The sessions took place under supervision of two psychiatrists, a Professor Blair, professor of psychiatry at Manchester University and the other, Doctor Joseph Jaffe a Manchester based psychiatrist who had cooperated in cases in conjunction with the city police on several occasions in the past. From the outset, neither psychiatrist was made aware of the exact manner of the encounter Alan had had on the Burnley Road, only a cold brief that something had happened about one year previous that had caused blocked memories. After each session Alan found himself plagued with nightmares. After three sessions spanning several months, however, the Police Superintendent in charge of Alan had been made aware of what was happening at the sessions and saw fit to put a halt to the whole operation. It turned out the story that Alan had for the psychiatrists was quite a tale.
Alan recounted the story upon his approach to the object in the road. “It’s a bus” he said, before correcting himself “It’s not a bus”. He then goes on to describe a period of time when, after the flash of light he saw as he sketched in his notepad, he was floating in a room alongside a “tall guy” in a long white robe and skullcap. He goes on:
“I then mentioned these little, I called them robots, about eight of them, 3 foot high. I don’t like them, for some reason they frighten me. The tall guy I called Joseph. Apparently they were doing some kind of examination on me, they attached something to my left leg and my right wrist. There was a dog there too.”
What Alan first recalled as little robots, he later detailed as “Small creatures, about the size of five year olds with heads shaped like a lamp”.
All of this information came as quite a surprise to Alan, his story was quite shocking as he could not recall any of it consciously. It wasn’t only Alan that found it shocking and through local ufologists, the story spread, eventually hitting the press. After the press got hold of the story, they took it upon themselves to get busy making links and the Coroners casual remarks following the inquest from the Zigmund Adamski case now came back to the fore. As we previously heard, Coroner Turnbull had made a passing comment in his statement to describe his lack of understanding for the whole affair, “If I was told a UFO took this man up and dropped him on the coal pile,” He’d said, “I would only raise one eyebrow.” and the press now ran with the concept. On Sunday the 27th September, 1981, the Sunday Mirror printed the front page with a large headline that read:
“Amazing UFO Death Riddle – A mans mysterious death is at the centre of one of the biggest UFO riddles in years”
The piece was filled with quotes from the Coroner explaining how confusing the Adamski case was and even quoted him as saying
“I do admit, that the failure of forensic scientists to identify the corrosive substance which caused Adamski’s burns lends weight to the UFO theory.”
In October, 1981, The Weekly World News, a national paper mainly concerned with esoteric, strange and often quite fictional stories printed the headline, “Death strikes from space” and all at once, the mysterious case of Zigmund Adamski and the strange events of the night in November, six months later, became forever linked via the presence of PC Alan Godfrey.
The attention that all this drew towards Alan was not entirely welcome. Alan found his superiors putting severe pressure upon him to not speak anymore on the incident, cases which could only be described as bullying and efforts to enforce unwelcome transfers continued for some four years, until eventually, after a violent physical assault by a group of drunks during a routine foot patrol left him hospitalised, Alan was forced to leave his position on the police force. With his forced retirement, the case of Zigmund Adamski and the events that happened to Alan in November fell to UFOlogists to investigate and ruminate upon theories.
In the past thirty years, there have been several extended efforts by UFOlogists to get to the bottom of the events of both Zigmund Adamski and Alan Godfreys encounter on the Burnley Road. In 2005, John Hanson and David Sankey, members of BUFORA, the British UFO Research Association, undertook an investigation mainly focused on the case of Zigmund Adamski. The pair uncovered some interesting details concerning Adamski’s family affairs. They claimed that Zigmund was, contrary to popular belief, not as thrilled to be as involved in the wedding as most assumed. They interviewed Adamski’s family and uncovered the reason why Zigmund Adamski cousin and her son were staying with Zigmund and his wife Leokadia. It was a complicated feud that was due in part to the wedding and that it had eventually led to a restraining order being taken out upon the cousins husband. Many in the family believed that Zigmund had been kidnapped by the husband. Hanson and Sankey then go on to hypothesise that Zigmund had been kidnapped and held in a shed, tried to escape, causing battery acid to spill upon him, causing the burn marks. They also found out that Zigmund was undergoing Moxibustion, an alternative form of therapy whereby cotton balls are lit on fire and touched on the skin and they propose these too may have been the origin for the burn marks.
This theory seems to make a few great leaps in logic, firstly that everyone keeps battery acid in their sheds and that Zigmund was kept in a shed in the first place and secondly that practitioners of alternative therapies are untrained, unpracticed masochists.
A further theory proposed by many rests on the fact that Zigmund had recently been rejected for early retirement and suggest that with his family troubles and the disappointment of having his retirement denied, he was driven to suicide. This again appears to take liberties with the facts however. Firstly, why would he kill himself over the disappointment of not being able to retire early, when the very point of this application in the first place was to allow him more time to look after his wife, who suffered Multiple Sclerosis? As a dead man, this would only achieve an assurance he would never look after her again. Secondly, everyone spoke of him as happy and in good spirits.
We are of course, left with a theory that many UFOlogists and UFO enthusiasts believe and has seemingly become lore, that he was abducted by aliens and his body dumped on top of the coal. The main sticking points for this theory are that the coal pile was difficult to climb, undisturbed and the coroners comments, though there is little else.
So what of the events that later unfolded for Alan Godfrey? In 2017, UFOlogist Russ Callaghan investigated the case and found that a prefabricated, prototype “Futura” home, a round, dome shaped mobile home encircled with dark windows was in fact a resident feature of the area. It was also driven around on the back of a truck. Callaghan believes that the home matched Alans description and also that if it had been on the back a lorry, it may have appeared to have been floating if seen from a distance. The home does appear to match Alan Godfreys drawings, however Alan has adamantly denounced the idea, stating:
“I do not know what happened to me and I have never pretended that I do. I know what I saw, though. And that was none of the things that some people have tried to say that it was – such as a bus or a vision of a futuristic prototype house that was made locally. Neither of them can fly.“
As for his memories of abduction uncovered by hypnotic regression, Alan has always maintained that he is unsure of the truth. He himself fully admits that between his sighting and the hypnosis sessions, he had taken an interest in UFOs and begun reading books on abductions. He has also maintained that outside of the roadside encounter, he has no idea of what happened on that night, nor does he know any definitive truth on the matter.
One final, curious item of note, is the lockdown of any official files relating to both Zigmund Adamski and Alan Godfrey, all of which have been made unavailable. Despite numerous attempts from investigators and from Alan Godfrey himself to gain access for research purposes, they have never been granted permission, citing the documents as classified.
The case of Zigmund Adamski remains a deep mystery. Whether or not one considers it to be an alien abduction, it remains bizarre from either angle. If he wasn’t simply “dropped onto the coal pile” via an alien spacecraft, how did he find his way to Todmorden, over twenty miles from the shops he was last seen at, buying groceries? And why would he go there, with no previous links? Where had he been for five days and why had he appeared to be in relatively good health, well fed, clean, shaven, but with no wallet, shirt or watch? And what were the burn marks on his head, shoulders and neck? Finally, what was the unidentified gel taken from the burns?
In the case of Alan Godfrey, what did he see on the night in November and how much of his entire story, inclusive of the tales he wove whilst undergoing Hypnotic regression are true?
The Yorkshire Ripper may have been terrorising the locals in 1980, but these two stories remain as two of the more perplexing cases of the time, bubbling just below the surface helping to foster a strange atmosphere across the moors that winter, until eventually, they would fall away into obscure local history.