Alan Godfrey pictured along with a drawing of the craft he claims to have seen in 1980. On the right is a drawing of one of the 'aliens' he recalled under hypnotic regression. Despite the hype, he himself remains uncertain about the precise nature of both his encounter and recovered memories.
PC Alan Godfrey will remember November 28th 1980 as long as he lives - for it was a night when he believes that he encountered a craft from another world. Not only that, but under hypnotic regression, his story includes abduction and examination by other-worldly beings. What took place on the lonely Todmorden road 30 years ago may never be known for sure, but his experience has a wealth of interest for UFOlogists and folklorists alike.
5 months prior to his own experience, Godfrey had had a tangential brush with the weird when he was the first officer to attend the spot where Zygmund Adamski's body was found. That case presented many puzzling aspects to the police and the coroner at the time that some believe indicate alien involvement (although latter day investigations point to a more prosaic, if still troubling, problem within the Adamski family).
The evening of the 28th November was, however, altogether more life-changing for PC Godfrey. Following the Burnley road through the outskirts of 'Tod', he was on the lookout for some cows that had been reported as missing.
It was then that he saw what he first took to be a bus, but as he drove closer he realised that the 'bus' was actually an diamond-shaped object hovering 5 feet above the ground and rotating at high velocity. His police training having not covered such an eventuality, he reached for his radio to call for assistance - only to find that the device wouldn't work. Almost paralysed, he remained in his car, trying to sketch what he was seeing - remembering later that the top half seemed to remain stationary while the bottom half rotated at speed.
At some point, time seemed to suddenly 'jump' forward, and Godfrey found himself still sat in the car, but 20 to 30 yards further along the road and with the object vanished. Baffled, he turned the car around and drove slowly back down to where the encounter occurred. Where the object had hovered, the ground was dry - despite the ground everywhere else remaining wet from rain the night before.
Baffled, he returned to the police station, where it began to dawn on the constable that he couldn't account for at least 15 minutes of time. Other oddities included a split along the bottom of his boot and a constantly itching foot. Naturally fearing ridicule, he didn't report the incident until another report was made by a member of the public of a bright light descending into the same valley shortly before Godfrey's own encounter. Encouraged, he filed an official report but soon found himself at the centre of media attention when the police chose to issue a press release.
Hypnotic Regression and the 'Abduction' Memories
After the case initially came to light, Godfrey's recollection of events became increasingly confused and he agreed to undergo hypnotic regression.
Sadly, if anything the regression sessions made Godfrey even less sure about what had happened. He recalled interference on his radio and police handset being blinded by a light as he fell unconscious. The next set of recovered memories involved being inside a room - which seemed, oddly to be more akin to a house than a spaceship. More oddly still, a large black dog was present as well as a bearded man called 'Yosef.' In the sessions, Godfrey recalled Yosef speaking to him 'telepathically'.
As if this confusing cast of characters were not enough, Yosef was accompanied by several small creatures which seemed vaguely robotic and had "lamp-shaped" heads. Around the size of a 5 year old boy, these entities seemed to act as assistants to Yosef.
After the hypnosis, Godfrey remained ambivalent about whether they represented real events, some kind of dream or had arisen unbidden from his own subconscious. Still troubled by the events and the notoriety he found himself in the national headlines and ultimately honourably resigned from the police following an injury sustained when he intervened in a robbery.
The image PC Godfrey would later draw of the UFO he saw has become, in a small way, iconic and has been pored over by theorists for many years. Some argue that his verbal description of a spinning motion is suggestive of a natural phenomenon such as a tornado, and that his encounter was a result of an epileptic reaction to this event. Others have suggested that, far from lighting and tired, he simply fell victim to a misperception of a double decker bus. Both of these theories are to some degree supported by his recollections, but another intriguing link has been mentioned over the years.
In the 1960s, Finnish architect Matti Suoronnen created a concept for a pre-fabricated house in the shape of a flying saucer. Around 100 were built, and toured the world throughout the 1970s. Today around 60 still survive - one of which is currently in London. Interesting, one was present in Todmorden in the early 1970s and the look of the house is eerily reminiscent of what Godfrey drew. I am currently trying to locate more information about this strange confluence to see whether the Futuro may have played some subconscious part in Godfrey's perception of what he experienced.
Courtesy of Dan Birch at Todmorden Album, I am able to confirm that Futuro House was located at Todmorden actually some years before PC Godfrey's sighting in 1971. Here it is, being delivered on a flatbed.
As you can see, there are some obvious visual similarties between the Futuro House and the object Godfrey described - and, in fact, many of the objects reported by UFO witnesses. Of course, the major difference is the 9 years between Futuro's stint in Todmorden and Godfrey's sighting, but it is an interesting instance of synchronicity nonetheless.
An interview with Alan Godfrey: BBC Breakfast Time
This fascinating clip reveals more about how Godfrey viewed his experience at the time.
Short documentary about the case - includes interviews with Godfrey himself.
Further reading and recommended books
Futuro About the Futuro concept - a pre-fabricated house that toured Britain in the 1970s - including Todmorden. Was it, or a recollection of it, an influence on PC Godfrey's experience? [futurohouse.co.uk]