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Mysterious Death of Zigmund Adamski 

A mysterious disappearance, a body with strange burns, and an inexplicable substance that baffled scientists. Zigmund Adamski, a 56-year-old miner, went missing from his home in Tingley, near Wakefield in June 1980. He had gone out to do some shopping.

To Zigmund’s colleagues at Lofthouse Colliery, it was a complete mystery.

Five days after he disappeared, Zigmund’s body was discovered 20 miles from his home at a coal yard in Todmorden. Zigmund’s body was lying on top of a pile of coal. He was wearing a suit but his shirt, watch and wallet were missing.

On the back of his head, neck and shoulders were mysterious burns which attracted lots of attention. James Turnbull, the coroner who dealt with Zigmund’s death, says it’s the biggest mystery of his career.

The coroner was baffled because although Zigmund had been missing for five days, he only had one day’s growth of beard. He says, “The question of where he was before he died and what led to his death just could not be answered.” James also said a strange ointment that appeared to have been used on Zigmund’s burns could not be identified by forensic scientists.

Exhaustive checks failed to reveal any record of Zigmund having been treated at any hospital during his missing five days. It was at this point that questions began occurring, regarding the origin of this inexplicable ointment and who applied it to Zigmund. It was not just the usual investigators, the police and coroners, who were attracted to this case. One of the most famous UFOlogists of all time, also called Adamski offered his own amazing theories on the tragedy.

He believed aliens from outer space abducted the Yorkshire miner by mistake.

Is there an answer to every mystery? Of course…but the trick is finding that answer. In some cases, a person dies a death so inexplicable and so peculiar that no answer can be found. A perfect crime? A freak natural event beyond explanation? Or were powers and intelligence beyond comprehension involved? In the case of the demise of one Zigmund Adamski, it could be any of the above. For 37 years after Mr Adamski’s unfortunate passing, no one yet has come up with a satisfactory explanation of his death.

The Disappearance of Zigmund Adamski.

Wednesday the 11th of June 1980, was a dreary, rainy day in the small coal-mining town of Todmorden in England’s West Yorkshire region. A steady downpour had been falling all day, so it was a glum and bedraggled Trevor Parker who was making the rounds at the coal yard owned by his father. It had been a slow day and no trucks had delivered coal since just after eight that morning, so Trevor had hoped to quickly be done with his daily inspection and get back inside where it was warm and dry. But just before he finished, he was stunned to see what looked like a man’s body resting on the top of a huge coal mound…a man lying completely motionless, facing the sky, prone in the pouring rain!

The police were called right away. Climbing to the top of the mound, they found the dead body of a man in his 50’s. A man wearing pants and shoes, but no shirt or watch. The body looked as if it had been in the rain all day, but Trevor Parker did not recall seeing it when the last truck stopped in that morning. The most peculiar thing about the body were the strange burns found on the back of the head, neck, and upper shoulders. The top layer of skin had been burned completely off.

Who was the dead man and how in the world did he get placed on the top of a mound of coal? How did he die?

The “who” part of the investigation was solved quickly. The rest has not really been answered to this very day. The body was that of one Zigmund Adamski, a Polish immigrant, who had been missing from his home since June 6…five days earlier.

Now the police began the painstaking work of figuring out just who Zigmund Adamski was and how he spent his last days. What they found out only deepened the mystery instead of making it clearer.

Adamski was 56 years old at the time of his death. He had been born in Poland but had lived in Britain since 1945 and had been a British citizen for a long time. He lived in the village of Tingley, about 20 miles from Todmorden, where his body was found. He had been married happily to his wife Lottie, also a Polish immigrant, since 1951.

Adamski’s life had been unremarkable prior to his disappearance on June 6, 1980. He had worked for years at Lofthouse Colliery and had recently applied for an early retirement. Lottie was wheelchair-bound due to multiple sclerosis and was requiring more and more care. The Colliery had rejected Adamski’s request, which led to disappointment and some depression. But not the kind of depression where Adamski might think of harming himself. In fact, all of the man’s friends and acquaintances agreed that Zigmund would never leave Lottie to fend for herself.

Zigmund was known to have some health issues himself. He had chronic bronchitis due to a heavy smoking habit and also had a heart condition. But he had never had a heart attack. He had no known enemies and no history of strange behaviour. His death seemed to be a complete enigma.

Adamski had gone missing for 5 days prior to his death. On June 6, he had had an afternoon meal with Lottie and some relatives who were visiting from Poland. Zigmund’s god-daughter was to be married on June 7 and the whole family was looking forward to the event. Zigmund had left his family shortly after the meal and told them he was going down to the local grocery store to get some supplies for the big feast the next day. He chatted with a neighbour who recalled him as being cheerful and in good spirits. And then Zigmund Adamski disappeared from the face of the Earth for 5 days, until his shirtless, burned body was found on top of a coal tip in Todmorden, 20 miles from Tingley.

An autopsy only partially cleared things up. The cause of death was given as heart failure and the time of his death was placed at between 11:15 AM and 1:15 PM on June 11. However, the strange burns on Adamski’s head and back were estimated to have taken place on June 9…two days before his body was found on the coal tip! Those burns had traces of an ointment around them as if somebody had tried to treat the wound. And there were almost three whole days before the burns were received…3 days during which Adamski’s whereabouts were completely unknown.

A theory emerged that the strange burns caused Zigmund to go into a state of shock, where he wandered around in disorientation and virtual amnesia. During this period of shock and mental confusion, he might have tried to climb the coal hill to get a better look at his surroundings. The exertion of doing this may have caused his heart attack.

Alan Godfrey believes he may have been abducted by aliens while a policeman.

But so many questions were unanswered. What caused the burns? Why was Adamski not wearing his shirt and watch? And the position of his body on top of the coal tip was extremely strange…facing straight up, almost as if he had been dropped onto the coal from above!

And there was still the question of the missing time and why Adamski would be in Todmorden in the first place. Despite having no known enemies, Lottie Adamski was convinced that Zigmund had been captured and held against his will.

The details of the strange death filtered out of the Tingley area and the story came to the attention of news outlets. The Sunday Mirror, a tabloid publication, turned the Adamski case into a national sensation by putting their own theory on the front page…Zigmund Adamski had been abducted by a UFO, killed by the aliens either intentionally or unintentionally, and his body dropped onto the top of the coal tip!

Such a scenario seemed bizarrely reasonable and would explain many of the mysterious circumstances of Adamski’s demise. Suicide was ruled out completely. An abduction by “mere” thieves or murderers also didn’t make much sense at the time. Some theorised that perhaps Adamski had been captured and killed by Communist or KGB forces. But he had been living in plain sight in England for almost 40 years. Why would they wait until 1980 to kill him? And why would his body be dragged up to the top of a huge mound of coal in the pouring rain in the middle of the day when there were a million better ways to dispose of the body?

George Adamski. On April 23, 1965, at the age of 74, Adamski died of a heart attack after giving a UFO lecture in Maryland. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

And there were yet more connections between the Adamski incident and UFOs. Both Tingley and Todmorden were located in the Pennine Mountain range of Yorkshire…an area notorious for high numbers of UFO sightings and strange lights being spotted in the sky. Investigation showed that quite a few “spook lights” were seen from June 6 to June 11, 1980…the exact dates of Adamski’s disappearance.

The very name “Zigmund Adamski” was a link to the UFO phenomenon. For among the first and most famous of “flying saucer” contactees was a man named George Adamski.

George Adamski (17 April 1891 – 23 April 1965) was a Polish-American citizen who became widely known in Ufology circles, and to some degree in popular culture, after he claimed to have photographed spaceships from other planets, met with friendly Nordic alien Space Brothers, and to have taken flights with them to the Moon and other planets.

He was the first, and most famous, of the so-called contactee of the 1950s. Adamski called himself a “philosopher, teacher, student and saucer researcher”, although most investigators concluded his claims were an elaborate hoax, and that Adamski himself was a con artist. Adamski authored three books describing his meetings with Nordic aliens and his travels with them aboard their spaceships: Flying Saucers Have Landed (co-written with Desmond Leslie) in 1953, Inside the Space Ships in 1955, and Flying Saucers Farewell in 1961. The first two books were both bestsellers; by 1960 they had sold a combined 200,000 copies

In his books, Adamski detailed his abduction by alien beings who took him on a tour of the solar system. Though the books were sensationally popular for a time, very few people took George Adamski seriously and he was considered a crank and a hoaxer by many. Still, it is surely a striking coincidence that a man suspected of being abducted and killed by UFO aliens had the same last name as one of the most famous abductees of all time.

Over the decade’s numerous critics and sceptics have investigated Adamski’s claims. The aliens Adamski claimed to have met in the 1950s were described by him as “human beings from another world”, usually light-skinned, light-haired humanoids that would later be called Nordic aliens. Adamski claimed in his books that these “alien humans” came from Venus, Mars, and other planets in Earth’s solar system. However, none of the planets he mentioned are capable of supporting human life, due to their environmental conditions.

On October 9, 1946, during a meteor shower, Adamski and some friends claimed that while they were at the Palomar Gardens campground, they witnessed a large cigar-shaped “mother ship.” In early 1947, Adamski took a photograph of what he claimed was the 1946 cigar-shaped “mother ship” crossing in front of the moon over Palomar Gardens. In the summer of 1947, following the first widely publicised UFO sightings in the United States, Adamski claimed that he saw 184 UFOs pass over Palomar Gardens one evening.

In 1949 Adamski began giving his first UFO lectures to civic groups and other organisations in Southern California; he requested and received, fees for the lectures. In these lectures, he made “fantastic” claims, such as “that government and science had established the existence of UFOs two years earlier, via radar tracking of 700-foot-long spacecraft on the other side of the Moon.” In his lectures Adamski further claimed that “science now knows that all planets [in Earth’s solar system] are inhabited” and “photos of Mars taken from the Mount Palomar Observatory have proven the canals on Mars are man-made, built by an intelligence far greater than any man’s on earth.” However, as one UFO historian has noted, “even in the early 1950s [Adamski’s] assertions about surface conditions on, and the habitability of, Venus, Mars, and the other planets of the solar system flew in the face of massive scientific evidence…”mainstream” ufologists were almost uniformly hostile to Adamski, holding not only that his and similar contact stories were fraudulent, but that the contactees were making serious UFO investigators look ridiculous.”

On May 29, 1950, Adamski took a photograph of what he alleged to be six unidentified objects in the sky, which appeared to be flying in formation. Adamski’s May 29, 1950, UFO photograph was depicted in an August 1978 commemorative stamp issued by the island nation of Grenada in order to mark the “Year of UFOs.”

Alan Godfrey interviewed by Frank Bough on BBC Breakfast at height of the media storm.

On November 20, 1952, Adamski and several friends were in the Colorado Desert near the town of Desert Center, California, when they purportedly saw a large submarine-shaped object hovering in the sky. Believing that the ship was looking for him, Adamski is said to have left his friends and to have headed away from the main road. Shortly afterwards, according to Adamski’s accounts, a scout ship made of a type of translucent metal landed close to him, and its pilot, a Venusian called Orthon, disembarked and sought him out. Adamski claimed that the people with him also saw the Venusian ship, and several of them later stated they could see Adamski meeting someone in the desert, although from a considerable distance.

Adamski described Orthon as being a medium-height humanoid with long blond hair and tanned skin wearing reddish-brown shoes, though, as Adamski added, “his trousers were not like mine.” Adamski said Orthon communicated with him via telepathy and through hand signals. During their conversation, Orthon is said to have warned of the dangers of nuclear war, and Adamski later wrote that “the presence of this inhabitant of Venus was like the warm embrace of great love and understanding wisdom.” Adamski said that Orthon had refused to allow himself to be photographed and instead asked Adamski to provide him with a blank photographic plate, which Adamski says that he gave him. When Orthon left, Adamski said that he and George Hunt Williamson were able to take plaster casts of Orthon’s footprints, which contained mysterious symbols.

PC Alan Godfrey UFO Witness on BBC Breakfast Time TV Show – 1980’s


Police officers make their living fighting crime and solving mysteries, but what happens when the shoe is on the other foot? What if a police officer becomes the centre of their own unsolved mystery? Usually, when a police officer becomes the victim of a crime, law enforcement makes it a top priority to solve the case, but they’re not always successful.  And then there was the most spectacular link to UFOs of all. One of the British constables called to investigate Zigmund Adamski’s death was named Alan Godfrey, a respected policeman. On November 28, 1980, Constable Godfrey had his own bizarre encounter with a UFO…less than one mile away from the coal tip where Adamski’s body had been found.

After finding Zigmund’s body, Alan was again on duty in Todmorden at 5 am.

He claims he also encountered a UFO, which made headlines all over the world.

Alan says, “I wish I’d never seen the UFO, particularly because of the effects on my children.”

“It’s not easy having a policeman as a father but when he’s a policeman who saw a UFO it’s even worse.”

Godfrey had been fruitlessly looking for some lost cattle in the wee hours of the morning when he spotted a glow up the road. Investigating the light, he was astonished to see a giant rapidly spinning object with what appeared to be windows hovering over the road. The bizarre object was almost supernaturally quiet as it spun ominously. Godfrey later swore to the absolute physical reality of the strange craft…he remembers the headlights of his car reflecting off of it and leaves whirling beneath it.

Then things REALLY got strange. Godfrey’s next memory is driving away from the object…on the opposite side from which he approached it. The craft flew noiselessly into the sky and disappeared. The stunned Godfrey checked the time…and noticed that 30 minutes had gone by on his watch, though it felt like a split second since he got out of his car.

The shaken police officer made a report of what he saw…risking ridicule and the ruin of a solid career. He became the centre of a huge investigation. Psychiatrists used hypnotic regression techniques to try and unlock the mystery of the “missing minutes.” Under hypnosis. Godfrey related that he had been brought aboard the UFO and given a physical examination by two non-human entities, one tall and “handsome”, the other small and ugly. He was told to forget the incident and was then put back in his car.

A lot of strange events surrounded Godfrey’s encounter. The missing cattle were soon found in a field behind a locked gate, but there was no sign of any hoof prints. Godfrey had discovered the body of Zygmunt Adamski in a Todmorden coal yard. Shortly after Godfrey’s alien encounter, he had sex with his wife for the first time in years. Even though an injury had rendered Godfrey incapable of conceiving children, his wife miraculously became pregnant.

Alan Godfrey and his drawing of the UFO he claims to have seen in Todmorden. Alan Godfrey with a chalk drawing of the UFO and his bearded alien done at the time.

In 2016 Alan Godfrey, the former PC with West Yorkshire Police said he remains convinced he may have been abducted by aliens on the 36th anniversary of the shocking series of events. Mr Godfrey was on patrol in Todmorden in the early hours of November 28 1980, when he insists a large UFO spotted him while he was on a search for missing cattle. The officer was in Burnley Road on the outskirts of the town looking for the farm animals that were reported missing and about to give up when he claims to have seen what he thought was a bus approaching from a few hundred metres away.

But as he got nearer, he realised it was not the 5 am commuter bus, but, instead, “a large mass”. He said at the time: “It was a fuzzy oval that rotated at such speed and hovered so low over the road that it was causing the bushes by the side to shake.” He claims he stopped to sketch the “UFO” on his notepad, but was overcome by a burst of light.

His initial recollection was that he was then driving his car again further up the same road – with the mysterious UFO now gone. He says he turned around to return to where he believed it happened. The area was wet due to night time rain, but he found “a circular patch where the road had been dried in a swirled pattern. He also noticed his police boots were split at the sole – a possible sign he had been dragged along. Once back at the police station, the officer realised it was much later than it should have been and he had lost around 30 minutes.

Mr Godfrey was not going to report the encounter for fear of ridicule but later the same day heard a lorry driver three miles further out on Burnley Road at Cliviger reported to police seeing “a brilliant white” object at around the same time.

And neighbouring Halifax police officers also called in reports of a “brilliant blue-white glow” descending towards Todmorden, also at the same time.

News of other witnesses made him file an official report, which was leaked to the local press, and his case was looked into by UFO investigators.

They convinced him to undergo hypnotic regression which produced a bizarre testimony of what may have unfolded. He spoke of the bright light stopping the car engine, phenomena that was reported during the bizarre Warminster UFO sightings in the 1960s and 1970s, and also by a US police officer 15 months earlier in August 1979, during a startling incident when he was also blinded and the car windscreen cracked.

He then recalled his radio and handset becoming static before blinding light sent him unconscious. The regression produced a vivid account of an odd room which included a bearded man called Yosef, who questioned him telepathically, a black dog, and strange small droids. The case led to a media storm, with front-page national news reports and TV appearances, and went on to become one of the country’s most well-known alien abduction cases.

After details of his regression got back to superiors, Mr Godfrey was sent for medical and mental health assessments but was found to be fine. But he could not shake off the bizarre encounter, and later chose to resign some years on after being injured in the line of duty.

It later emerged that three police officers out searching for stolen motorbikes on the moors above Halifax observed a ‘steel blue’ light and officers in Littleborough and a witness in Cliviger also saw the same strange orb.

Alan said: “This was a nuts and bolts craft, not a trick of the mind. I have never seen anything like it. I would swear on the Bible it was from somewhere else. These things have been seen so many times above Todmorden, they call the area UFO alley.”

Alan Godfrey in 2016. Alan Godfrey, 67, is considered to be one of Britain’s most famous witnesses and has appeared in several TV documentaries, books, national newspapers and UFO conferences.

Godfrey’s abduction story was typical of most UFO visitors. But he was a respected professional and his tale began a huge controversy about the usage of hypnosis in UFO cases.

And then there was his connection with Zigmund Adamski. Did all the UFO speculation about Adamski’s death in the press trigger some sort of elaborate hallucination or imaginary experience in Godfrey? Several psychiatric authorities have suggested it. Or it might just be that the same aliens who were responsible for Adamski’s death also picked up Godfrey in a similar fashion.

The media had a field day with both Adamski’s mysterious death and Godfrey’s UFO story. The incident was one of the biggest British UFO cases of all time, but there is little doubt that wild exploitation and exaggeration from the tabloid media clouded the issue and pushed more “plausible” explanations into the background.

One intriguing theory proposed that Adamski may have been the victim of “ball lightning” or some other “unidentified atmospheric phenomenon” (UAP). Ball Lightning is a mysterious and little understood natural occurrence that is seldom seen and almost impossible to study. It’s generally believed to a sphere of extremely powerful static electricity caused by geological processes. The Pennine Mountains in the vicinity of Tingley and Todmorden are known for many sightings of “spook lights”…and the Mountains are also the site of tectonic activity which could cause ball lightning.

It may have just been possible that sometime on June 6, 1980, Zigmund Adamski, after strolling in the Tingley area, was struck on the back by ball lightning or some other UAP. This would have explained the strange burns on Adamski’s back. It may have also caused extreme mental disorientation and even a black-out. Adamski may then have wandered about in a daze for quite some time. He may have torn off his shirt, which could have been ignited. His metal watch may have melted and he might have cast that off, too. Confused, Adamski might have wound up in Todmorden and might have tried to climb the tallest site in the area…the coal mound…to get a better view. The exertion might have proven too much for his damaged heart, leading to his death.

It’s an interesting idea, but the Tingley-Todmorden area, though not very urban, is not so remote that someone wouldn’t have seen a dazed, burned, and a shirtless man wandering around. Adamski had been missing for five whole days. Could he have wandered unseen all that time? What about the traces of ointment on his back? Did some person try to treat Adamski after his burns but before his death? Why wouldn’t such a person notify authorities?

In 2008, two British investigators, John Hanson and David Sankey, reopened the case. They discovered that Adamski had some kind of “falling out” with a male family member concerning his goddaughter’s wedding and that it was serious. Lottie Adamski’s first thoughts upon learning of Zigmund’s death was that he had been abducted by someone related to this other family member.

John Hanson and David Sankey learned that Zigmund Adamski was in the middle of a family feud with a member who was having serious marital trouble. This family member’s wife had taken out a restraining order on him and she subsequently moved in with Zigmund and his wife, Leokadia. Members of the family believed that Adamski may have been abducted by the man and held in a barn somewhere; during that time Adamski experienced a heart attack.

Did his abductor take Adamski to a known UFO hotspot and create a crime scene that would look like an alien abduction? The bizarre facts of this case – clothes that were improperly fastened, the body dumped atop a coal heap without noticeable disturbance, burns that were reported to be only 2 days old with an unidentified gel substance, only one day of beard growth, and another strange encounter with a UFO by the police investigator – lead us to imagine all kinds of possible outcomes.

Hanson and Sankey also learned that Adamski’s body probably was NOT found facing up, but had likely been turned over by the ambulance crew before police arrived. They conclude that Adamski had been abducted by the family member, likely confined in a shed where he somehow came into contact with some kind of acid, and then later died of heart failure before being placed on the coal tip.

But Hanson and Sankey admit they do not know what the composition of the ointment on Adamski’s neck and back was. They speculate that certain strange marks found on the body might be due to a folk remedy for pain called “cupping” but can provide no proof that cupping caused the marks. In the final analysis, Hanson and Sankey provide a thoroughly investigated and less “far-out” guess at what happened to Zigmund Adamski. But a guess is all it remains.

The mystery has never been solved. Nor is it likely to be. The term “death by misadventure” applies to Adamski’s demise more accurately than almost any other death one can think of. Speculation about UFOs, UAPs, foreign agents, family feuds and other causes abounds, but unless someone comes forward with rock solid proof, it remains just that…speculation?

PC Alan Godfrey didn’t believe that Zigmund died of a heart attack; he believed that Zigmund was abducted by aliens. In the past 20 years, there have been many claimed sightings in the Pennine hills around Todmorden.

It’s regarded as the Britain’s UFO hotspot. But serious UFO watchers dismiss most of these Pennine sighting as just lights in the sky.

The corner is equally unconvinced about the presence of paranormal activity.

Although he still has a raft of unanswered questions regarding Zigmund’s death, James is opting for an earthly rather than alien explanation at present.

But he does say, “In fifty years time, if we discover aliens have been visiting us and we didn’t know about it, then that might give an answer.”

But after all these years, Alan Godfrey still has no doubts, leaving thoughts of the extraterrestrial in the minds of all those involved.

Zigmund’s family believes it was a case of human abduction instead of alien abduction. They believe he was being held captive and died of a heart attack.

The Adamski ‘Alien Murder Mystery’ Solved: Maybe?, page 1 – Above …

The Mysterious Death of Zigmund Adamski: Aliens or Crime

The Policeman and the Aliens – The Mercury Rapids Website

Former policeman’s story of a close encounter with a UFO pulls in …

Policeman Alan Godfrey claims he was ‘ABDUCTED by aliens after …

The Mysterious Death of Zigmund Adamski: Aliens or Crime

BBC Inside Out – Alien abduction claims in Yorkshire



The Iron Skeptic – Zygmund Adamski

S01E02 – The Strange Death of Zigmund Adamski by Bedtime Stories …

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