WORMWOOD FILES:  "The Curious Demise of Zigmund Adamski"

Investigation by Dr. Abner Mality

Is there a 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 intelligences beyond comprehension involved? In the case of the demise of one Zigmund Adamski, it could be any of the above. For 30 years after Mr. Adamski's unfortunate passing, no one yet has come up with a satisfactory explanation of his death.

Join me as I take a further look...

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 coalyard owned by his father. It had been a slow day and no trucks had delivered coal since just after 8 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 acquaintences 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 behavior. 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 neighbor 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 3 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.

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 theorized 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 pouring rain in the middle of the day when there were a million better ways to dispose of the body?

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 Polish-American named George Adamski. George Adamski was the author of popular books in the 1950's detailing 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.

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.

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 15 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 center 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.

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. Really, Godfrey's story is worthy of its own article, as we don't have the time to delve into all its implications here.

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 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 occurence 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 shirtless man wandering around. Adamski had been missing for 5 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. 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 anaylysis, 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?

Any of you budding Sherlocks out there have a clue? Is the answer in the stars or here on Earth? Inquiring minds want to know...

This is Dr. Abner Mality, turning out the lights...