Uncanny: Danny Robins Delves Into The Case Of The Todmorden UFO
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Photo: © ichbinsnur123
In the third episode of the paranormal podcast series, 'Uncanny', Danny Robins explores a case that involves around an unsolved murder, a sighting of a strange craft and what seems to be a Cold War era conspiracy featuring real life men in black.
Danny is joined in episode three by Alan Godfrey, a former policeman and the witness of this unusual and unexplained string of events which took place in 1980 in the small market town of Todmorden in West Yorkshire.
Speaking in his strong Yorkshire accent, Alan told Danny that he and his fellow officer, Malcolm Agley, were called to Todmorden railway station where a dead body had been discovered.
Now in his 70s, the former policeman remembered, "as you got to Todmorden railway station, at the bottom end there was a coal yard and in the middle was a large pile of coal, and placed on top of there was a dead body, right on the top."
Alan continued, "Malcolm went up first and he looked down at me and said 'I think you better come and have a look', and the first thing that struck me was, I've seen quite a few dead bodies, there was something about his eyes that just sent a shiver down your back."
"Have you ever heard the saying he was frightened to death?" Alan asked, "that was the look on his face and then I noticed his hair was cropped and on the crown of the head was these individual black burn marks in a ring, if you like, and I could see the nape of the neck there was an open wound and he had this yellow a green substance smeared across it. He was wearing a jacket which was fastened in the wrong place and underneath the jacket was a white stringed vest, no shirt and I knew straight away this guy was dressed after death. Make no mistake, this guy didn't die here. There wasn't a mark of coal on him. It was completely wrong."
Danny asked Alan, "how do you get the body of a man on top of a coal heap without getting coal on it?" To which the Yorkshireman replied, "that's the million dollar question."
The body was later identified as that of 56-year-old Zigmund Adamski of Polish descent. Alan said, "he was giving his god daughter away at a wedding, but the day before he was doing that he went to the local shop. As he left his house, he was wearing his coat and everything fully dressed, and he had thick wavy hair. He had a bit of a conversation with a shopkeeper as he left the shop, he never arrived home. He just disappeared off the face of the earth and he turned up five-stroke-six days later, dead on top of the pile coal in Todmorden."
This isn't the end of Alan's story. Later that year he was out investigating another strange incident, this time it wasn't a murder, it was a roaming herd of cows after the station received several calls from residents of a local housing estate.
Despite driving around the town all night, there was no sign of the herd. At 5am, as Alan was about to finish his shift, he drove through the town centre, and then headed up towards the moors along Burnley Road. He remembers seeing something, "as I'm approaching it, I realised what I was looking at wasn't anything I've ever seen before. It was hovering about five foot off the ground, because as I'm approaching I could see under it. It was diamond shaped. It was approximately 20 feet wide and approximately 14 feet high."
From here it gets even weirder. Alan found his radio wasn't working and he was unable to contact the station, so he tried to document the sighting. He said, "I decided to do a quick sketch of it, like I would at a road accident. And then all of a sudden there was this 'woosh' and everything went white, and I mean, bright white, and then a split second later. It had gone, I was further up the road driving the police car."
The object had vanished and Alan had seemingly lost around 45 minutes of time. So he returned to the location of the sighting. He remembers, "I'd came back to where it had been and there's debris on the road, by that I mean, all these leaves and bits of branches and twigs and stuff, and the road surface was like whirlpool-dry, yet the rest of the road surface was wet because it had been raining most of the night."
The incident had occurred outside the gates to a local park, so Alan left the car and went to see if there was any sign of the object in the park. He said, "there was a big rugby pitch just as you went into the park, and lo and behold, all the cows were there." Danny asked the former policeman how the cows got in the park, Alan answered, "you tell me. Cows can't open gates can they? Let's be honest."
Danny tells us, "the next day, Alan filed his report. Maybe he'd have thought no more of it, except somebody at the police station decides to leak it to a local newspaper." Alan added, "it ended up with the Yorkshire Evening Post, and they put the two incidents together, Adamski and mine."
Off the back of this press attention, Alan received a letter from Russia. He recalls, "it was from Moscow, Professor Zackeroff he was called. Would I kindly write back to him about my encounter." Alan added, "it was the Cold War era weren't it. I didn't class him as an enemy, but I thought it rather sensitive. So I handed the letter in about a week later, I was informed to write back to him and he wrote back to me after that and I had to turn the letters in."
Alan said that soon after he was called into his chief inspector's office, "in the room, sat at one side was a guy in civvies with a file on his knee, and of course me being me I asked who he was, and he just said, 'all you need to know is I'm the man from the Ministry'. Whether it was Ministry of Defence or I don't know, MI5, who knows? But I took an instant dislike to him. I notice the file he had on his knee was probably about as thick as your finger, a big bulky thing. He opened it, and I saw my drawing."
As a result of the meeting, Alan was ordered under the official secrets act not to say anything to the media about a Adamski or his own encounter. Seemingly this mysterious man from the Ministry was linking Adamski's unexplained death and Alan's UFO sighting.
What The Experts Think
Danny's guests in this episode were academic David Clark, who is one of the UK's leading experts on UFOs and Todmorden resident, Colin Lyle, a local UFO researcher.
David, who has done a lot of research on the case, says, "he is a credible witness in terms of the fact that police officers are trained to record details and facts, but we're basing it upon the story of one single person and I'm convinced he saw something extraordinary, but I do think there are a lot of unanswered questions."
Danny asked the UFO expert why he thinks people made the link between whatever Alan saw and the idea that Adamski was dropped onto a coal heap. David said, "people love mysteries don't they. Adamski was clearly abducted by someone whose identity has never been revealed. It looks to me looking at the evidence that I discovered when I was looking into this, he was held captive by someone, he was tortured, possibly by having his skin burned, and during his captivity, he suffered a heart attack."
David then points out that this sort of report wasn't uncommon at the time. He said, "there was a whole series of UFO sightings in that area during 1980, and it was a time when there was lots of sightings around the country and in fact, later in that year, we had the famous Rendlesham Forest incident in Suffolk."
David adds, "there was a lot of media coverage of the UFO mystery at the time, and I think the second edition of 'Close Encounters Of The Third Kind', had been released in 1980 directed by Steven Spielberg and what you find is that when people's awareness is raised, it does seem to sort of encourage them to report things that perhaps they wouldn't have otherwise taken seriously."
David told the podcast host that he had "absolutely no doubt" that Alan saw something that was completely outside of his normal experience, but thinks his story has a few holes. David explains, "he describes it as a diamond shape, but there are some drawings that he's done of it. There's one where it looks more like an elliptical shape, with a row of dark windows."
What's interesting about this is that the image might have been familiar to Alan as David explains, "if you had travelled to Todmorden in the late 1970s, you would have seen an object that looked exactly like that, sitting very close to Todmorden police station and what it was was the futuro house, which was a flying saucer shaped house that was invented by a Finnish inventor, and a plastic factory in Todmorden got a licence to make these things."
But how about the mysterious man from the Ministry, was Alan really being silenced? David agrees that he was, "I think the people who tried to silence him weren't the Ministry of Defence, I think it was West Yorkshire Police. You know, this is at the time when West Yorkshire Police were under all kinds of scrutiny because of the handling of the Yorkshire Ripper inquiry, for instance. They didn't like the idea that they had this maverick police constable in West Yorkshire who had had this weird experience and was talking to the media about what happened to him."
Local UFO enthusiast, Colin, was a little less skeptical. He told Danny, "I believe he saw what he tells people that he saw. I believe he saw some sort of craft. I believe he saw it rotating. I think the convincing parts is where he talks about see a metallic object where he felt that if he threw a stone at he would go ping. You know, those kind of little details are the kind of things that people would think, given such an encounter, I think."
Later in the podcast Danny asked what we'd all been thinking, "why is this all happening in Todmorden? If a UFO is going to land somewhere, why pick this particular small town?"
Colin said, "there's been some theories around that. I think there's something to do with the location. There's certainly elements of what you might call natural phenomena that produce things like Earth lights, it's to do with energies that's contained within the rock formations, and that pressure releases and when that releases these balls of light coming off the ground, so that may well be an attraction. It's an interesting location because there have been cattle mutilations there over the last 40-50 years. These cattle and sheep are found, they'd be mutilated in all sorts of different ways, by what appears to be quite advanced technology in the sense that they're seemingly surgically mutilated. And also it's interesting because quite often the animals have the appearance of being dropped, because they've created an indentation into the ground suggesting that they've been dropped from quite a height."
Alan stuck to his story and eventually he felt he had no option but to leave the police force. He told Danny towards the end of the episode, "it wrecked me completely, changed me. I ended up drinking a bottle of whiskey every single day. It drove me nearly as an alcoholic. It drove me to despair, marriage broke up, I ended up in a friend's attic bedroom."
Danny summed up his chat with Alan by saying,"this is such a deeply strange story. What did Alan see on that road in 1980? Does it have any bearing at all on the mystery of Zigmund Adamski? What happened during this alleged time lapse, the missing 45 minutes? There are people who believe that Alan was taken aboard that craft that seems impossible... or does it? And why is Todmorden a so called UFO hotspot?"
Clearly there is a lot more to talk about in relation to this case, especially with so much information already in the public domain, perhaps the case will be reopened in a future episode of the podcast.
More episodes of Radio 4's 'Uncanny' are available on BBC Sounds now and will also be broadcast on Saturday nights at 11:30pm on Radio 4 from October 23.
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