UFO story still burns brightly: John Greenwood on Alan Godfrey’s remarkable Todmorden experience, back in the national headlines 35 years on

Alan Godfrey
Alan Godfrey

It’s a little uncanny that this year’s Lamplighter Parade featured a brightly lit alien spaceship 35 years to the day from then police officer Alan Godfrey’s possible abduction by a UFO.

With models being made months and weeks in advance, they surely can’t have known the model would appear on the anniversary.

Last Saturday, Alan’s story was heavily featured in the Daily Mirror, the national newspaper group that was most intrigued by the incident at the time.

At the time Mirror reporter John Sheard closely covered Alan’s case, including videotapes made under solicitor Harry Harris’s supervision, in which Alan, under hypnosis, told of being taken aboard an unidentified object which appeared hovering in Burnley Road close to the then Mons Mill site on November 28, 1980.

Under hypnosis he gave an account of being taken aboard a craft and being subjected to some kind of experiment.

Consciously, Alan has no memory of this, but as an on-duty officer that night did see something hovering in the road, and made a sketch of it in his notebook. Shortly afterwards, there came a gap of time in which he cannot remember anything, and he was 30 yards further away when he came round. To add to the strangeness of the early hours events that morning, he had been sent to locate a herd of cows that had got out from their usual field and wandered down the hill in the direction of Centre Vale Park.

What helps make the case one of the world’s best known is police officers elsewhere in Calderdale and over the border in Rossendale - a different force - had seen and reported what appeared to be a flash in the sky moving at great speed over what would be the Todmorden area.

It is a case that still fascinates, is still largely unexplained, and yet is one of the world’s best known and certainly best documented cases.

In the years immediately following the incident, Alan faced immense pressure in the job and claims attempts were made to hound him out of the force.

Ten years on, he had come more to terms with his experiences and unassuming Alan found himself heavily in demand on chat shows across the world, including America’s biggest, the Johnny Carson Show, and sharing space with astronaut Buzz Aldrin, second person to walk on the moon, on Frank Skinner’s UK chat show, helping negotiate a bemused Buzz around Skinner’s heavy-handed (in this case) comedy.

Alan used his experiences for the good, helping charities raise thousands of pounds through a series of special presentation nights through the 90s and early 2000s.

He doesn’t appear publicly as often now, but the interest his case always garners was proved when he undertook a Mayor’s Charity show for last year’s Mayor of Todmorden, Michael Gill. Initially pencilled in for a Hippodrome Theatre foyer show, demand was so heavy for tickets the event was switched to the main auditorium. Both Michael and John Sheard were featured in the latest Mirror piece, and like Michael’s comments in that article I have always found Alan straight-talking and genuine, having interviewed him at length and on many occasions.

Having featured on numerous satellite and terrestrial TV documentaries and having had Hollywood intrigued by it all - he once rang me to say he was bringing U.S. film director Michael Grais, of Poltergeist series fame, round for a chat and, sure enough, my mum soon had the kettle on to entertain our guests - interest in his story is as undimmed and it is unexplained.