The Mysterious Death of Zigmund Adamski: Alien Abduction or Crime?

Zigmund Adamski

Zigmund Adamski’s body was found atop a coal heap with no explanation.

What do you think happened to Zigmund Adamski?

An alien abduction or did someone stage a crime scene to look that way?

Zigmund Jan Adamski was born in the middle of August 1923 and spent much of his life in his native Poland, marrying multiple sclerosis sufferer Leokadia (Lottie) in 1957. Three years later the couple relocated to Tingley, a small town near Wakefield in Yorkshire, England. Over the course of the next twenty years, they established themselves as just another married couple that wouldn’t stand out in a crowd if they tried. They were friendly and unassuming and, by all accounts, got along with most people. That makes what happened on June 6th, 1980, all the more puzzling.

At 3:30pm, Zigmund Adamski set off on the short walk to the local shops in order to buy some groceries. It was just another day. Adamski offered a cordial and standard greeting to one of his neighbours before heading down the street. That was the last time he was ever seen alive. For a man like Adamski to go missing without notice for days was completely out of character. His god-daughter’s wedding would take place the following day. Five days after he vanished, and twenty miles away in the town of Todmorden, Adamski’s family and friends’ worst fears were realised when his body was discovered by Trevor Parker, son of the owner of Tomlin’s Coal Yard.

Britain was experiencing a series of UFO sightings around this time, and Todmorden was dubbed “UFO Alley.”

Finding Adamski’s Body

A recreation of how Adamski's body was found

BBC recreation of how Adamski’s body was found

Discovery of Zigmund Adamski’s body was made at 3:45pm on 11 June, approximately five hours after the yard had last been used. Mr. Parker was on site from 8am to 11am and didn’t see anything untoward. It was just after 4pm when the first police response arrived on the scene. PC Alan Godfrey, the attending officer, examined the body as best he could and determined the cause of death to be a heart-attack. There were some questions that needed to be answered, however. If this was a straightforward case of a heart-attack, then why was the corpse positioned as it was, face down on top of a 12 foot high pile of anthracite. It was speculated that Adamski’s body was in all likelihood deposited there from above, as there was no evidence that anyone climbed up or down the heap. How could he be lowered from above without being seen in the middle of a hot summer’s day?

When he was found, there were no signs that Adamski had been sleeping on the streets, and he did not appear to have any medical conditions. He had not checked into a hospital during that time, and he had eaten well during his disappearance. No signs of a struggle were found at the scene.

Fascinating Facts

As smartly as he was dressed, Adamski’s shirt was nowhere to be found. His watch and wallet had also been removed. It looked as though another individual had attempted to put on Adamski’s clothes and didn’t do a very good job of it. His trousers and shoes were both fastened crudely, as if done by somebody who had very little idea of how to do it. His coat was also fastened up the wrong way. Despite being gone for five days, there was only a single day’s beard growth. Most peculiar of all was the strange burn marks around his neck and shoulders. All of these burns were covered in a gel like substance that could not be identified.

The Post-Mortem Results

Dr Alan Edwards, the consulting pathologist at the Royal Halifax Infirmary, conducted the post-mortem examination in Hebden Bridge just after 9pm that day. Dr Edwards’ professional judgment placed the time of death between 11am and 1pm on the day that Adamski was found, while the burns were two days old. The exact cause of death was a matter of such deliberation, that Adamski’s death took Coroner James Turnbull several months to register. It was ruled as a heart-attack.

Another Related Alien Abduction?

Several months after responding to the original report, PC Godfrey was required to pursue another bizarre report: cows had been reported to be appearing and disappearing from a local council estate. It was 5am and while en-route to investigate, PC Godfrey saw what he initially thought was an overturned bus on Burnley Road. As he drove closer, he could tell that what he saw wasn’t a bus at all. It was hovering five feet off the ground. PC Godfrey made numerous attempts to contact his station, all of which failed. Rather than venture out onto the street, the lone police officer decided to draw what he witnessed instead. He sketched a diamond-shaped object that blocked the entire road.

Alan Godfrey and his drawing of the UFO

Alan Godfrey and his drawing of the UFO he claims to have seen in Todmorden. On the right is a depiction of an alien he recalled under hypnosis.

Half an hour later, PC Godfrey found himself in his patrol car, further along the same road. His boots had splits along the soles, lending credence to him being dragged along the road against his will. When he drove back down the road, there was no sign of the object. The herd of cows were later discovered in a field behind a locked gate. The absence of hoofprints in the muddy field indicated that the cows did not enter through the gate. One week after PC Godfrey’s encounter, the press somehow found out and all but ended his career in law enforcement.

So What Happened?

UFO investigators interviewed family members in 2005 and they provided a case for human abduction. They 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 noticable 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.

Tell us what you think.


Original article, The Mysterious Death of Zigmund Adamski, published March 16, 2015.
SJH Strange Tales
BBC Inside Out Webpage (Article dated 3rd February 2003)
Sites pulled on 21-2 March 2015

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Les Hewitt

Les currently resides in London and is a freelance writer with a long standing passion for the unexplained and paranormal. In his spare time he enjoys astronomy and Xboxing. It's a big Universe full of wonders.

Historic Mysteries