My famous UFO ordeal has baffled investigators for 40 years – but I'll believe the horrors I witnessed until the end

SCRAMBLING for a pen and paper, PC Alan Godfrey desperately tried to sketch out the vast, hulking vessel that loomed in front of him – until he was suddenly engulfed by a dazzling white light.

When he came to, the young policeman found himself 100 yards down the Yorkshire country lane in his patrol car as the mysterious object vanished in his rear view mirror.

The incredible story, which made headlines around the world 40 years ago, earned the small market town of Todmorden the title of Britain’s UFO hotspot and continues to obsess investigators to this day.

“I have never claimed that I was abducted,” PC Godfrey, now 73, tells Sun Online from his home in Todmorden.

“But everything up until the bright white light and afterwards, when I was on the other side, I’ll believe it until the end.”

Here, we step inside the bizarre saga of the UK’s most famous UFO case and talk to some of the world’s leading investigators about what really might have happened that fateful day.

From 'marauding cows' to UFO horror

During the early hours of November 29, 1980, PC Godfrey was out patrolling the Pennines in the pouring rain following reports that a herd of cows was on the loose.

By 5am, with no sight of the marauding group, PC Godfrey headed into Todmorden town centre for one last sweep before clocking off.

He passed a bus shuttling morning workers, saw no sign of trouble and decided to go for one last look for “those bloody cows”.

PC Godfrey passed another bobby on foot patrol, who declined his offer of a lift.

“How I wish he would’ve said yes, it would’ve been priceless to have another officer witness what was about to happen,” he says.

He then drove past his police station and was about to turn right on to the estate when something caught his eye several hundred yards up the road.

“If only I’d had a mobile phone on me at the time so I could record what I saw, it would’ve been a lot easier than 40 years of trying to explain it," recalls PC Godfrey.

“I thought it was a bus at first, but I remembered I’d already passed the early morning service, and as I got nearer it very clearly looked nothing like a bus.

“It was completely blocking the main road. A huge metal object hanging in the air about five feet off the ground.

“It was diamond shaped, about 20ft wide and 14ft high with what appeared to be dark paneling across the upper top third – my headlights were shining off the side and if I’d gotten out of the car and thrown a brick at it, it would’ve gone 'bang'.

If I’d gotten out of the car and thrown a brick at it, it would’ve gone bang

“The whole bottom half was spinning in an anti-clockwise direction, which was kicking up leaves and dirt beneath it.

“I just sat there in awe, staring at it.

“Next, my training and five years on the force kicked in.

“I put my blue flashing lights on, flipped on the hazards and attempted to radio the control room.”

Both PC Godfrey’s personal and in-car radio sets could not establish contact, so he pulled out a sketchpad and pencil, a common practice for officers used to responding to traffic collisions at the time.

But as he drew the remarkable object, a brilliant white light suddenly flashed, blinding him in an instant.

As the flash gradually subsided, he realised he was no longer sat sketching the object. Instead, he was back driving along Burnley Road.

'Tickly electric' feeling

“I was about 100 yards on the other side of where the thing had been hovering,” he claims.

“There was a strange tickly electric feeling about the place.

“I turned around and went back to the spot the object was hovering. The road surface beneath it was bone dry – everything else was glistening from the earlier downpour.

“In the dry patch, leaves, twigs and small branches lay in a swirled pattern. It was very peculiar.”

Terrified and shocked, the copper rushed back to the station to seek help.

Initially, PC Godfrey’s encounter became an in-joke within the station as gossiping bobbies made sniggering remarks such as ‘Captain Kirk’.

One even made a prank report to the local newspaper reporter who rang up to check if any serious incidents had been reported.

Other strange sightings

During his next shift, PC Godfrey was called in to see his inspector, who remarkably revealed three officers from the Halifax division also reported seeing strange “steel blue lights” at 4.49am.

Initially, it was believed to have happened on the same night as PC Godfrey’s case – it was only decades later it turned out to have happened several days earlier.

“But I was just so relieved that I wasn’t the only bobby to report strange sightings on the tops – I wasn’t going mad on my own,” he explains.

“I was delighted to have corroboration and thought ‘no more p***-taking from that lot’.”

Soon after, PC Godfrey tracked down another witness Leonard Smith, a former copper, who also reported seeing a “large sphere object rise into the sky”.

And in 2014, Bob Coates, a bus driver who passed the same spot as PC Godfrey at 4.55am on the same night, shared a similar story of leaves and twigs circling in a “whirlwind”.

PC Godfrey's superiors gave the green light to an interview with the local reporter and it appeared in the Hebden Bridge Times on December 5, 1980.

“I treated it as a bit of a laugh, I thought it could do no harm,” said PC Godfrey.

That was until the report was picked up by one of the UK’s top UFO academics, Jenny Randles.

Miner's murder

Ms Randles, a scientist and former director of the British UFO Research Association, read PC Godfrey’s story in the local paper and immediately launched an investigation.

And in an article she later wrote for a UFO magazine, she unwittingly linked the mystery murder of Zygmund Adamski – which PC Godfrey had helped investigate months earlier – with his encounter.

Mr Adamski was a 56-year-old miner who went missing five months earlier.

His body was found dumped on top of a 15ft-high coal pile in Todmorden by PC Godfrey, then a 33-year-old policeman with two commendations to his name.

His death was never solved, but speculation remained rife around the circumstances.

In his report PC Godfrey told of the frightening expression of “fear and pain” on Zygmund’s face as well as weeping burns on the back of his head, neck and shoulders that had been treated with a peculiar ointment.

His hair had been messily cut short, he was wearing a jacket but no shirt and there was no sign of coal dirt or dust on his hands, face or front – leading investigators to believe his body had been dumped there.

Despite exhaustive police investigations and medical tests, his death was never explained and the strange liquid was never identified.

In the wake of Ms Randles's article, PC Godfrey’s encounter eventually appeared on the front page of the Sunday Mirror and became worldwide news – with the copper appearing on chat shows, TV documentaries and radio programmes, and giving interviews to dozens of media outlets.

But their quest for the truth paled compared to that of PC Godfrey, who had been encouraged to undertake several hypnotic regression sessions in a bid to piece together the moments after the burst of white light.

I just started shouting, ‘Jesus the light… the light’. I’d been blinded

Professor Robert Blair and Dr Joseph Jaffee were both experts in the field and treated PC Godfrey on three occasions from their practices in Manchester.

He met Dr Jaffee for two sessions, both of which were filmed.

And what PC Godfrey described while under hypnosis was astonishing.

During one, he revealed: “I just started shouting ‘Jesus the light… the light’. I’d been blinded.”

Child-sized 'creatures'

In the recording, PC Godfrey described being carried inside the object where he met a strange “Biblical” man.

He told how he was carried, or “floated”, into the object, adding: “With him was a group of child-sized, large-headed ‘creatures’ working alongside the bearded ‘human’.”

PC Godfrey was pulled out of the regression over fears for his safety and the recordings gobsmacked him.

But, unlike his versions of events up until the bright white light, PC Godfrey is sceptical even of his own accounts during those sessions.

He added: “I have absolutely no idea what I was saying, if they are true, if they are a fabricated memory or if they are a collection of stories all muddled together as a result of hypnosis."

Scientists' struggles

Since first investigating UFOs in the 1970s, Jenny has been one of many scientists trying to find a middle ground theory that accepts the reality of the UFO phenomenon but does not go to the extreme of alien contact.

“Anyone who investigates UFO experiences and accounts thoroughly will know that there are too many genuine cases from very sincere and honest people like Alan, a distinguished policeman and father, for it to all be made up," she tells Sun Online.

“Scientists talk about unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) instead of UFOs.

“It’s a way of disassociating actual scientific research from the little green men and flying saucers stigma attached to UFOs.”

Jenny points to work conducted by academics across Norway and the US as well as the Ministry of Defence. 

The UK’s Condign Report, released under a Freedom of Information request in 2006, confirmed “unquestionable atmospheric events occur that are not yet fully understood by modern science”, events that some believe could be what witnesses like PC Godfrey have experienced.

“We need to properly study if natural phenomena in the ground can push waves of energy into the atmosphere, which then creates physical phenomena that can be seen and can be felt," Jenny adds.

“And, that also creates energy that can stall car engines, interfere with radio transmissions and potentially triggers physiological actions in those that get too close to it.

“People could suffer a terrifying experience which is in an altered state of consciousness where perceiving what they’re really seeing but also having a stimulated hallucination that is packed onto the top of that.”

Hundreds of sightings have been recorded in Todmorden and the surrounding Pennines.

Jenny claims it is one of the world’s best examples of a “window area”, a place where concentrated forces trigger forces such as lights and “alien contacts” like PC Godfrey’s.

The surrounding 20 miles of Todmorden have had more UFO sightings than any other part of the UK, with up to 100 sightings a year according to some experts.

Did PC Godfrey have an out-of-body experience?

Neuro-scientist Dr Michael Persinger investigated the effects pulses of energy, magnetism and electricity can have on humans – including the out-of-body experiences many UFO encounters centre around.

He created an electromagnetic helmet for participants to put on, dubbed the God machine.

Of the 900 people he tested in the 1990s, many had interactions with religious figures including the Virgin Mary, the Prophet Mohammed and Jesus.

Others who did not follow any religion gave accounts comparable with alien abductions such as PC Godfrey under hypnosis.

Professor Sue Blackmore, who underwent Dr Persinger’s test while exploring alien abduction accounts for the BBC’s Horizon show in 1994, explained: “Some abductees recall their experiences in full detail, but for many the ‘memories’ emerge only when they take themselves to a therapist for hypnotic regression.”

While PC Godfrey has always admitted he did not fully believe his regression tapes, he has always strenuously stuck to his version of events up until that point.

And Professor Blackmore – a respected lecturer and expert in out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, lucid dreams and sleep paralysis – said his description is to be believed.

Some abductees recall their experiences in full detail, but for many the ‘memories’ emerge only when they take themselves to a therapist for hypnotic regression

She added: “My attitude to all that is: I believe your description of what happened. They might be making it up, in my experience very few are.

“There’s been a huge resistance to this because the initial response from most people is either it’s all true and it proves aliens are coming or it’s all a lie.

“No one really will ever know how tired Alan was, but if you’re doing shift work you’re much more likely to suffer sleep paralysis. 

“I think his description is a very good one of what happened at the time and he dropped into this microsleep and probably one or two seconds later the car’s moved on and the memory that’s created feels more real than what’s created during ‘normal’ life.

“This is very important because people who dismiss these experiences don’t take into account how absolutely real it seems.”

Unsolved mystery

While Alan insists he won’t be gazing into the night sky to mark the 40 years since his encounter, many remain keen to solve the mystery of UFOs and UAPs.

Philippe Ailleris, a project controller at the European Space Agency, is calling on scientists to come together to investigate UAP events.

He runs the UAP Reporting Scheme to track and monitor natural phenomena linked to UFO sightings.

“There are still many truly puzzling cases that need investigating and moving on from the taboo that surrounds UAP would help,” he explains.

“We still cannot predict when and where such astronomical events will occur in the sky.

“But we understand to an extent the nature of supernovae and gravitational waves because scientists have collected and shared data.

“We do not know what UAP are, and this is precisely the reason that we as scientists should study them.”

Whatever scientists find, and as time only continues to move on from PC Godfrey’s encounter, exactly what happened may always remain a mystery.

However, he remains adamant: “I know what I saw, I’ll never forget it.”

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