The Baffling Story of Alan Godfrey (1980) | Todmorden


Between the months of June and November back in 1980, a bizarre strange of events took place in the small town of Todmorden that today, still remain unsolved.

For several weeks leading up to and after the 6th June, reports of strange lights in the night sky were being received by the Todmorden police who, despite investigating them, could never give a definitive answer as to what they were.

Despite a flurry of phones calls and people going to the police station to report what they had been seeing, one of the most strangest and what would soon be one of the UK’s most high profile cases of what we now call the UFO phenomena as well as alien abduction, would soon take place.

On the 28th November, 1980, Police Constable, Alan Godfrey, who was based at the Todmorden branch of the West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police Force, had been sent out to check on reports of cattle wandering around a local estate.

His shift was supposed to finish at 6am that morning but at around 5.15am, as he was travelling along Burnley Road in his Ford Escort Panda, he was about to turn right onto Ferney Lee Road when suddenly, and apparently out of nowhere, a bright white light appeared in front of him. 

Stopping his police car, what Godfrey saw that night would possibly be the accumulation of events that had not only engulfed the residents of Todmorden leading up to this point but also something more sinister for Godfrey himself.

Act 1 – Zigmund Adamski

Zigmund Adamski

Six months earlier, on the 11th June and at around 3.45pm, as Trevor Parker was entering his father’s coal yard that was situated close-by to Todmorden train station, he came across the body of a man lying on his back and on top of a ten foot high coal heap.

Startled by his discovery, he telephoned for an ambulance which duly arrived and around thirty minutes after his discovery, two police officers arrived to attend to the scene.  Those officers where PC Malcolm Agley and also that of PC Alan Godfrey.

Upon their arrival, they quickly presumed that the man had died from a heart-attack but the scene itself was one that was puzzling in its nature.  The first strange oddity was where he was found lying.  The coal heap was around ten foot high and none of the coal seemed ‘out of place’ in that it didn’t appear any of it had been disturbed by someone or some people having to walk up it.  The body of the man also didn’t have any signs of coal dust on his shoes or hands which may have indicated that he had climbed up the coal heap.

Next was the man’s clothing.  It seemed he had rushed to get himself dressed as his appearance was one that appeared uneven with some of his clothing not properly fastened.  The zip on his trousers was down, his shoes laces untied.  He was wearing a suit but his shirt was missing?  His whole appearance just didn’t seem right.

Upon further investigation, Godfrey noticed strange burn marks at the back of the man’s head and neck which also appeared to have a gel like substance smeared over them. 

A postmortem on the body of the deceased took place that same evening, at around 9pm, over in nearby Hebden Bridge and it would soon transpire that the body was that of a 56 year old miner by the name of Zigmund Adamski.

Adamski was a resident of Tingley, near Wakefield, which is around thirty eight miles from where his body was found and it appears that he had left his home in Thornfield Crescent at around 3.30pm on Friday, 9th June, to visit a local shop.

It was the last time that Polish-born Adamski was seen alive.

His whereabouts during the five days he was missing have always remained a mystery and several theories have since emerged which include kidnapping, an involvement with the KGB and of course, alien abduction.

As for the postmortem, details emerged that along with the strange manner in which his body was found and how disorganized his clothing was, it seems that he had only one day or beard growth, indicating that he had been alive during the five days he was missing and that he had been somewhere that had allowed him the opportunity to shave.  This is where the theory of kidnapping seems to have stemmed from and that in the lead up to his disappearance, he and his wife had allowed a family member to stay with them as she had put out a restraining order against her husband.  Now, while no proof or evidence has ever been found to implicate ‘the husband’ in the disappearance of Adamski, many people think it’s more than plausible that he was held captive for those missing five days, perhaps even being tortured during this time, thus the marks being found on the back of his head, and during this period, he suddenly died from a heart attack and his captures disposed of his body on the coal heap in Todmorden?  Some think the husband may have been behind the kidnapping whilst not directly being with Adamski during those five days he was missing, but like I say, no definitive proof has ever been found.

As for the KGB theory – well, Adamski had been living in England for forty years and had worked hard since arriving.  He was a miner who had worked at Lofthouse Colliery but had wanted to retire due to ill health as well as wanting to be his wife’s full-time carer who was wheelchair bound.

The postmortem also revealed details regarding his general health, saying that it appeared he was clean and well cared for and it didn’t appear that he had been sleeping rough and, as we have already mentioned, he only had one days beard growth, indicating he had access to amenities.  

As for the burn marks found on his head, they may have been caused by a hot or corrosive fluid and seemed to have been caused at least two days before his death.  But most intriguingly, his wife, Leokadia or ‘Lottie’ as she was commonly known, stated in court that she thought her husband had been scared to death such was the expression on his face when his body had been found.

To back this up, PC Godfrey, one of the first police constables to attend to the scene had also remarked on the ‘frightened’ the facial expression Adamski had when he first saw the body.

Godfrey said he would never forget the look on Mr Adamski’s face.

“Those eyes were staring up at me. I was looking down on him from a foot away. Those eyes sent a shudder down my spine. They were wide open. He had a look of someone who had seen something or someone that had scared him to death.”

Alan Godfrey, 1980

He added: “Something or someone put him on top of that pile of coal. And something scared him to death.”

As for the gel-like substance found around the burn marks on the back of Adamski’s head and neck, samples were taken and sent off for analysis, but it appears it could not be identified by forensic scientist.

Proceedings where soon adjourned by the coroner who said that they should “not leave any stone unturned” whilst investigating the matter further and “whatever can be done will be done, I shall see to that.”

Further proceedings would take place on the 4th September with the final proceeding taking place on the 25th September but neither could produce any real evidence of what had occurred from the 6th June up until the discover of Adamski’s body on the 11th June and to this day, the case remains unsolved.

As already mentioned, many theories and conspiracies have been spoken and written about but none have fully explained how Adamski’s body ended up on a ten foot coal heap and what had happened to him over five days of his disappearance.

Act II – Wandering cattle

PC Alan Godfrey

So this then brings us back to the evening of Friday, 28th November 1980 and to the strange events witnessed by PC Alan Godfrey.

It seems extremely strange that Godfrey was one of the first constables to attend to the scene of the Adamski case only six months prior and one that had led to many stories of alien abduction being touted as to the cause of his disappearance and now, here he was encountering another strange occurrence less than a mile from where Adamski’s body was first discovered.

Just before midnight, Todmorden police station received a call from a resident at a nearby council estate reporting that a herd of cows were wandering the houses causing a bit of a nuisance. With the evening being somewhat quiet, this would be a job that could be easily followed up.

Godfrey, who hadn’t been on duty for long and as he was making his way to the estate, another report came through from another resident, making a similar claim about the cattle. Despite his searches, and after driving up and down almost all of the avenues, there was no sign of any cows.

It was a very wet evening with rain pouring down heavily at times, and it seemed that the people of Todmorden were set for an extremely harsh upcoming winter.

With no sign of any cows, Godfrey decided to report back to the station, saying that the calls may have been a hoax but he then received another radio message, asking him to go back to the estate because a third resident had now reported being awakened by a loud noise coming from her garden.

The lady in question has never been named in order to prevent her from becoming a figure of fun, but as Godfrey describes in his book – ‘Who or What Were They?’, she had said to him, “I know I’m old, but I’m not bloody senile!”

What she went on to describe to him, he had kept confident.

She revealed that she was woken by stange noises coming from her garden, and after peering through a bedroom window, she had seen five to six cows moving about in the darkness, That is when she called the police station.

However, when she went downstairs to use the phone, which was situated on the front window ledge, she pulled open the curtains slightly to describe what the cows were doing. After ending the call to the police station, as she was putting down the receiver, an extremley bright glow, like a car headlight that had suddenly gone onto full beam, lit up the window, and within a second or so, everything went dark. When she looked back out of the window, all the cows had vanished.

Godfrey just assumed this would have been a car passing by, and its headlights had more than likely scared away the cows. It seemed a logical explanation at that time.

After speaking to the lady, Godfrey made his way back around the estate for one last check to see if he could spot the roaming cattle, and despite his searching, he found nothing so returned back to the station full of frustration.

Act III – The Encounter

Hours later, and as his shift was coming to an end, the rain had finally stopped but a low cloud had drifted over the town, making for an eerie environment. Finishing off some paperwork, Godfrey was informed by a collegue that he was going to knock off duty an hour early at it was 5 am. Leaving the station together, his collegue headed off to the nearby police flats, whilst Godfrey got into his police car before beginning his drive into the town centre where he would check things out.

In the centre of Todmorden, Godfrey met another officer who was on foot patrol. Pulling alongside him, Godfrey offered the officer a lift just to get him out of the ‘chilly air’ as well as keeping him company in the final hour of his shift, but the officer kindly refused. Godfrey then told him he was going to have one final look for those ‘bloody cows!’

As Godfrey set off, he would soon leave Todmorden centre, passing the police station on his right hand side of the road. It was around 5.10am and the street where quiet.

About half a mile or so along Burnley Road, and as he neared Ferney Lee Road, Godfrey caught sight of something several hundred yards in front of him. At first, he thought it was the staff bus that carried officers to and from the police station, but he quickly remebered passing it in town and it was also too early for any of the actual bus services to be running.

Curious to what the ‘object’ was that was in the road ahead, Godfrey carried along Burnley Road and as he got closer, he soon realised that whatever it was, it was blocking the entire road.

As he inched closer, his car would soon come to a crawl until the object in front of him was almost covering his windscreen.

“What the hell is this?” Godfrey began saying to himself!

Illustration of object by Alan Godfrey

The object, which was no more that twenty yards away was hanging around five feet off the road surface. It was diamond shaped and appeared to be roughly twenty feet wide and fourteen feet in height. It also had a row of dark paneling across the upper top of it.

As he stared at the object, there seemed to be a flourescent glow coming from a large dome on the top and the whole thing was spinning slowly in an anti-clockwise direction.

Godfrey was stunned from what he was seeing and after a few moments passed, his training as a police officer suddenly snapped him out of his bemusement. He put on the hazards of the police car as well as the blue flashing beacon on top of his car.

He then attempted to radio the local control room at Sowerby Bridge police station but nothing happened. For some reason his personal UHF radio just wouldn’t work. However, it wasn’t uncommon for this to happen as the town was situated at the bottom of a valley and signals could be hard to get through.

Therefore he tried again using the police car’s VHF radio which was usually more reliable but again, he was unable to make any contact.

Unsure what to do next, Godfrey’s first thought was to leave the area and get back to the station and bring someone else out to see what he was watching, but experience took over and Godfrey, after calming himself, took out his notepad and with a pencil he quickly managed to sketch the object in front of him.

The trees that lined the road where shaking violently, but when he was sat in his car, he would tell at future interviews that there was no vibrations and there was certainly no noise!

As he was drawing the object, a sudden flash of light appeared and he found himself 50 to 100 yards further down the road than where he had first stopped his car, and the object he had sketched only a matter of seconds ago had disappeared.

Godfrey drove back to where he originally had pulled over, only to find the ground around him completely dry, despite it having rained.

A bus travelling on the opposite side of the road soon appeared, and still in an obvious state of confusion, Godfrey spoke with the bus driver who also noticed the same thing – one stretch of the road was completely dry.

1986 Conference – Alan Godfrey and a sketch of ‘Yosef’

By now, realisation suddenly hit him and Godfrey felt vulnerable.

Jumping back into his car, he drove off to head back to the police station. Upon arriving, PC Malcolm Agley was just making his way into the station after himself ending his own patrol that morning. Shouting out from his window, Agley looked puzzled when Godfrey told him to get into the passenger seat.

Doing a quick U-turn, Godfrey then set off back to where he had seen the bizarre sight in the middle of the road. He was babbling about the events that had occurred only a few minutes prior and as they pulled up and got out of the car, Agley himself seemed puzzled at what he was looking at.

The object had long disappeared, but it had left behind a bizzare scene in which the road surface below where the object was hovering was bone dry whereas the surrounding areas where wet from the rain. There was also a strange swirl of leaves that seemed out of place.

Bending down, the two men touched the ground and felt it to be warm to the touch which again seemed out of place in the coldness of that late November air.

After telling Agley of his strange encounter, but officers decided to see if anyone else was around who might have witnessed the event, and next of them was Centre Vale car park. Unfortunately, the gates were locked.

Undeterred, they both climbed over the tall gates and made their way into the fields, moving slowly along the pathway. Nobody was in the park at that time of morning, but something else was..

Shining their torches in front of them, both men jumped back as Godfrey’s torch illuminated the outline of a cow and then more cows started to appear from the darkness.

What make’s this more strange is that cattle had never grazed in the park! Where these the same cows that Godfrey had been out looking for only a few hours ago? And if so, how did they end up in the field when all the gates had been locked?

Returning back at the police station at around 6.30am, Godfrey still couldn’t explain what had occurred on Burnley Road, but his experience would soon take another strange turn as when he looked at one of the clocks in the building, he couldn’t account for 25 minutes of ‘missing time’.  Not only that, one of his boots had a split to which was not there before or during his shift that evening.

Godfrey himself recalled thinking at the time that it was rather odd that both he and Agley had arrived back at the station so late in the morning, but he wasnt sure how long they had been wandering around in the park.

In the weeks and months after the incident that took place on the 28th November, it seems Godfrey would become the butt of many jokes within the police force from not only his colleagues, but also those of his superiors. 

“Hey up, it’s captain Kirk” one of his collegues said as he entered the station during one of his shifts.

The following evening, Godfrey would be told of five other police officers who were attending an incident on the moors above Todmorden, had seen a glowing light in the distance and near-too or where Godfrey would, an hour later, encounter the strange object on Burnley Road.   One of them, P. C. John Porter, described it as being like a very cold, steel blue light.

After hearing of this, he submitted an official report detailing what had happened in those early hours – something he would perhaps later come to regret.

Another witness, that of school caretaker, Leonard Smith, who had seen a bright light zig-zagging over the same area where Godfrey had his experience also came forwards with what he had seen.  Obviously, he didn’t know what Godfrey was or had gone through at that same time of morning!

Godfrey would soon begin so face immense pressure, which he himself would later come out and say at times he felt like he was being ‘forced’ out of his job, and eventually he made the decision to retire from the police force.  But rather than just sit back and hope that the furor surrounding him would quietly go away, instead, he would spend hours and hours going through the event, trying to understand exactly what had happened and several months later, and after being arranged by solicitor Harry Harris, Godfrey made the bold decision to undertake hypnosis – this would reveal some extremely interesting and disturbing information.

Under hypnosis, Godfrey recalled getting out of his police car and made his way over to the craft but upon getting close, a beam of light emitted from the craft, hitting him directly onto his chest.

He then remembered feeling the sensation of weightlessness as he was brought into the craft.

At this point, everything went dark and when he recovered consciousness, he found himself face to face with a tall ‘humanoid’ figure, around 6ft tall.  The figure then asked Godfrey to get onto a table. 

According to Godfrey, the man, who would become known as ‘Yosef‘, then spoke to him telepathically, telling him to lie still and everything would be fine.  Strangely, Godfrey would tell under hypnosis how he felt safe and that it felt like he had met this figure before.

Lying still, eight small ‘beings’ with bulb shaped heads and large black eyes appeared and began performing medical examinations on him.

This seemingly went on for several minutes until Godfrey, it seems, became stressed and the ‘beings’ ended their examinations on him, telling him they feared he might have an heart attack.

Consciously, Godfrey had no recollection of any of this but as a police constable who was on-duty in those early hours of the morning and who had the foresight to sketch what he was ‘seeing’ at the time, something certainly did occur at 5.15am that morning.  Some ‘experts’ think he was just hallucinating due to working long hours and stressed by his job.  Others think he simply misinterpreted what he saw, saying it was probably a plane or helicopter flying overhead.  But when all said and done, one has to believe in what Godfrey put in his official report – after all, he was a well-respected but no-nonsense police officer who was experienced in his job.

In all fairness to Godfrey, he himself would later admit that perhaps the hypnosis may not have been accurate as he had been reading the story of the Betty and Barny Hill abduction case that occurred in New Hampshire, America in 1961, and he felt that maybe his subconscious was simply relaying what he had read in the book he had been reading.

Years later, Godfrey would come to terms with his experience and with popular TV shows such as The X-Files and Quantum Leap wetting the appetite of millions of people across the world, he would soon find himself inundated with requests to appear on chat shows, all eager to jump on the band wagon that the UFO phenomena had seemingly created.

The 90’s was, we can safely say, one that brought the subject of UFOs and alien abduction into many people’s homes and stories were abound of people all claiming to have been abducted and it seemed that Godfrey’s story was only the tip of the iceberg.

Perhaps one of the most widely known accounts of alien abduction is that of Travis Walton, an American forestry worker, who, after finishing his shift with six co-workers, saw a strange light in the sky whilst they were leaving the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest near Snowflake, Arizona.  Making their way to where the light was emitting from, upon their arrival, Walton left the truck they were travelling in, and just like Godfrey, he walked over to solid object that was immersed in light.

And just like in Godfrey’s case, he was struck in the chest by a bright light that came from the object, which was floating slightly off the ground.  He instantly blacked out but when he awoke, he found himself lying on an examination table.

Walton, just like in the case of Zigmund Adamski, would also go missing for five days after the encounter with the object in the forest.

The similarities with that of Walton and Godfrey are strikingly similar in nature.  Both approached a solid object that was floating slightly off the ground.  Both blacked out but under hypnosis, they would tell of how they woke to find themselves lying on a table surrounded by strange looking ‘beings’.  Both would also tell of experiments being performed on them.

Alan Godfrey and his book, Who or What Were They?

The hypnosis session’s Godfrey undertook, and there were three in total, never resolved the questions Godfrey wanted answering. He himself questions whether parts of the story are fact or fiction or a mixure of the two but there is no way for him to be sure. Whilst he does maintain that something bizarre definately occurred in the small hours of that November morning, and he firmly believes that what he had encountered was indeed a UFO, it’s under hypnosis and being examined by a tall being named ‘Yosef’ with eight small beings surrounding him that he can never be sure of. Was this a story invented by his mind playing tricks on him resulting from reading the story of Betty and Barny Hill?

The strange death of Zigmund Adamski and the UFO sighting by Godfrey, two closely linked events that occurred in the small town of Todmorden surely cannot be a coincidence – can it?

Alan Godfrey has spent the last forty years recounting the events that took place back in 1980 and you can listen to and watch many interviews simply by searching his name on Youtube.

We managed to contact Alan with a view to speaking with him directly, about his life in the police force and of course, his story on what took place in November 1980 but he politely declined our request confirming that he is no longer doing interviews due to ill health and spending the last forty years retelling his story.

If you wish to know more about his fascinating life as a police officer and of course the two events that ultimately shaped his life, then please visit his website where you can order his book, Who or What Were They?

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2 responses to “The Baffling Story of Alan Godfrey (1980) | Todmorden”

  1. Paul Wilkins avatar
    Paul Wilkins

    Ooh very interesting, I do love a good UFO story. Maybe ET was coming home… they must be something in this for so many witnesses to capture it however are his claims of being on board mixed with imagination the stories he had been reading maybe we’ll never know. He was a policeman after all and sworn to tell the truth. We’re not alone 👽

    1. Chris avatar

      At least Alan is honest enough to acknowledge that under hypnosis, it could well have been the story that he had recently read that was coming through when being interviewed. But something definately occurred that morning. Was it UFO related? Alien abduction? I don’t know, but it is an interesting story.

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