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Space Monster Murder Mystery?

People occasionally want to know why I write these articles. Most of the time, it’s a more or less selfish thing: I enjoy writing, I enjoy reading about space aliens, and I enjoy calling people names. Part of the time, it’s more righteous: The idea that people are making loads of money off of their stories of space aliens bothers me on a deep spiritual level. This article, however, is a first: a tale of space alien shenanigans is being used to cover up a murder.

I’m sure that Alfred Hitchcock would love this story. So let me start off the way that he started off so many episodes of his show: Meet Zygmund Adamski. Born in Poland, he moved to Britain (famous home of jellied eels, which I would love to try some day) and became a collier. As far as I can tell, that’s a fancy top-hat wearing British word for ‘coal miner.’

Anyway. In June 1980, the day before the wedding of his god-daughter, Adamski went out for some potatoes and vanished. At the time, his wife’s initial suspicion was that Adamski had been kidnapped. A search was put on, to no avail. Zygmund Adamski was gone.

Five days after Adamski’s disappearance, Trevor Parker, manager of a local coal yard, began his day normally. He went to work, left around 11 am to check on some other properties, and returned at 4. That’s when he spotted a man face down on top of a pile of coal. Thinking that it was a drunk who had wandered over from the train station and was sleeping it off, he called an ambulance, who discovered that it was, in fact, Adamski. And he was a lot worse off than drunk: he was quite dead.

He was wearing trousers and a coat, but no shirt. His watch and wallet were missing, and he had a number of burns on his back along with some round bruise marks over his head. The burns had been treated with some sort of ointment, which is generally referred to as ‘mysterious’ or ‘strange’ or ‘unknown’ or ‘from an outer space Walmart’ by people trying to make this case sound a lot creepier than it actually is. Finally, though he had been gone for five days, he only had one day’s worth of beard growth, and there was no sign of how he had been dumped at the top of the coal pile. This led a lot of irresponsible schmucks to claim he had been dropped there from a UFO – though since there was no crater, it’s more like he was gently lowered down on a tractor beam. Ugh.

Apparently, people didn’t have a whole lot to worry about in the Britain of 1980. Newspapers started running headlines such as “UFO DEATH RIDDLE” which, in today’s terms, is the journalistic equivalent of “OMG U R NOT GOING 2 BELEEV THIS!” Until I edited it, the Wikipedia entry for Zygmund Adamski was more or less the same: “Zygmund Adamski was a guy who was totally kidnapped and killed by some space monsters, dude. [citation needed]”

Anyway: There are three things that seem to make people think this story involves space monsters from beyond the moon. The first is the mysterious manner in which Adamski disappeared; the second is the ‘mysterious ointment’ that had been applied to his burns and the round marks on his head; and the third is the fact that one of the police officers who investigated the case later claimed to be abducted by space aliens from a sight near where the body was found.

First things first: why would Adamski disappear the day before his god-daughter’s wedding, an event which the entire internet more or less agrees Adamski was really looking forward to? Well, that part of the story’s flat out wrong. Adamski was having a feud with a family member, who he felt should have been more involved in the wedding. Adamski was, in fact, not looking forward to the wedding at all. Oh. That family feud, by the way, went something like this: one of Adamski’s wife’s friends had taken out a restraining order on her husband. She then went to stay with the Adamskis, and the husband was… well. I don’t know, but I suspect he was rather unamused by the whole thing. As for the other ‘mysterious’ aspects of the disappearance, all that’s left is that Adamski had shaved during the time he was missing. Why, again, does that require space aliens? Is it impossible to shave here on earth? I don’t know, I have a beard, maybe things have changed since I last shaved. I suppose this is a good point to mention that everyone who was actually at the scene of the body dump seems pretty convinced that someone could have tossed Adamski on the pile and left without leaving obvious footprints and whatnot. I mean, it’s a pile of coal, not a pile of rice flour.

So! Secondly! The ‘mysterious’ ointment and the ring-shaped bruises. It turns out that Adamski was going to an acupuncture clinic for some aches and pains. The treatment he received involved putting cotton balls inside bamboo tubes, pressing them against the skin, and lighting that mess on fire. Yeah, I know, it sounds crazy to me too. So as weird as the explanation is, it’s not quite space alien weird. As for the ointment, I don’t know what to tell you. It was listed as an unidentified substance in the coroner’s report, but they don’t really seem to have put their backs into figuring out what it was. As far as I can tell there was no chemical testing, no materials engineers (the best kind of engineers) were involved, and so on. The coroner just looked at it, figured it wasn’t Vaseline, and gave up.

Allow me a brief moment of speculation. The dude thought that lighting bamboo on fire and slapping himself with it would cure his ills. What would he do if he got some minor burns on his head and shoulders? I’d wager his strange ideas about how medicine works would lead him to throwing some weird shit on there. Just because it wasn’t an ointment that the coroner recognized doesn’t mean it wasn’t birdhouse glue or unicycle lubricant or something else wacky. It certainly doesn’t mean that it was from outer space.

Finally, one of the police officers that helped out at the scene later claimed he was abducted by aliens six months later from a road near the site of the body dump. Unless this is the first article you’ve read on my site, you should know that some guy claiming something weird happened to him is rarely sufficient to convince me. Especially when the something weird that happens is as outlandish and improbable as abduction by space monsters. I mean, if he was saying he found an onion ring in his french fries, that’s one thing, but damn.

By the way, computer guys. See that phrase up there? “French Fries?” My word processor is marking it as grammatically incorrect, because the first F isn’t capitalized. Here’s the thing: ‘french fries’ is short for ‘frenched fries.’ Frenching is a verb that refers to the process by which things (i.e. potatoes) are cut into strips. It has nothing to do with that nation in Europe. Damn you, Microsoft Word. Get your shit together. The ‘french’ in ‘french fries’ is only capitalized if it’s the first word in a sentence. I’m so angry right now.

Anyway. Where was I? Ah yes. So, there’s really no evidence, of any kind, that anything extra-terrestrial happened to Zygmund Adamski. He didn’t attend a wedding he didn’t want to go to, he had some acupuncture marks on his body, and there weren’t any witnesses to say one way or another what happened to him. I mean, if it was just someone’s story or whatever, I still wouldn’t believe it, but at least it would be something.

If he wasn’t abducted by space monsters from beyond the moon, what in fact happened? Well, John Hanson and David Sankey of BUFORA, the British UFO Research Association, looked into the matter in 2005. Interviewing various participants, here’s the much more reasonable scenario they put forward: Adamski was kidnapped by a family member, probably the one with whom he was feuding. He was held in a shed for a while, and allowed to shave. He was burned at some point and, possibly during an escape attempt, he had a heart attack and died. The (entirely earthly) kidnapper then panicked and dumped the body on the coal pile. According to the guys from BUFORA, people in the family know who the kidnapper is, and he’s still out there, never having paid for his crime. Just for the record, it’s THE GUYS FROM BUFORA that came up with this scenario. A group that would more likely than not prefer to find evidence of the existence of space monsters thinks that this case is a crock. I say this very infrequently, but I agree with these particular space monster enthusiasts.

Now, which of these scenarios sound more plausible to you? An old man is kidnapped as part of a family feud, and the stress gets to him and he has a heart attack, or, space monsters from beyond the moon conquered the non-trivial challenge of interplanetary space flight, grabbed a coal miner for some reason, and then when they accidentally let the miner die, they dumped him out of the spaceship? I mean, if I were a space alien, and a dude I had kidnapped died on my ship, I would dump the body all right. I’d dump it on the surface of the sun. Dumping it a mere 30 miles from the guy’s house really only ups the chances that the humans will get wise to my ways and develop countermeasures. But then, perhaps I’d be a crappy space alien. The fact that his watch and wallet were missing seem to indicate a more earthly, robbery-related motivation to me.

I should mention one further, ridiculous aspect of this case. Zygmund Adamski had the same last name (or surcog, if you prefer) as George Adamski, one of the most famous members of the contactee movement. This is, for some people, rock solid proof that space aliens are involved. Their logic goes something like this: Space aliens have the ridiculous intelligence and advanced technology required to traverse the distance between worlds, but they aren’t smart enough to tell the difference between Adamski the British coal miner and Adamski the lunatic in California.

Something in that logic doesn’t quite add up to me. I should also mention that having George Adamski involved in your tale makes it less believable, not more believable. The guy took photos of the lids of water coolers tossed into the air and claimed they were spaceships from Venus. He claimed that the photos of other planets taken by Soviet satellites were fakes, because he had been on a tour and seen the cities on Mars, Venus, and so on. He claimed to have made plaster casts of Venusian footprints, which had elaborate artwork on…. ugh, you know what? Never mind. George Adamski was a stone cold lunatic, and his involvement in any story makes it less believable.

I can’t say that I’ve interviewed participants in the case, and I’ve never been to England. So any explanation I come up with is going to be speculation. On the other hand, all of this baloney about space aliens abducting Adamski is speculation, so allow me to indulge myself.

Sometime in the autumn of 2006 I decided to go into downtown Philadelphia and spend some time in a pub with my comrades. At closing time, we were given the bum’s rush (as I recall, it was Detroit style, and the bouncer that threw me into the alley had an excellent technique) and decided to go home. As we approached the art museum, for some reason (it is not on the route between the public house and my abode) I became separated from my friends and it started raining. I happened, whilest wandering down a back alley some place, to spot a dumpster (or rubbish bin if you’re British) that had been emptied that day. As it was raining quite hard, I decided I’d hop in and wait the rain out. It seemed very, very logical to me. At the time.

This was not my finest idea.

I fell asleep.

Imagine my surprise when, several hours later, I woke up in total darkness, unsure of my location, chest deep in filthy garbage water. It was, if I may understate the situation slightly, a very unique sensation. I thought I’d died and gone to one foul-smelling afterlife.

Let’s say for the moment that I had died in that dumpster. What would have happened? Five days later, my gorgeous body would have turned up in a dump somewhere. And no one would have understood how or why that happened. Right now, some jerk on the internet would be telling people that I’d been kidnapped and offed by some space monsters from beyond the moon. When in fact, the beer that made Milwaukee famous had made a damn fool out of me.

Now, I’m not saying that Adamski was so bummed out about going to the wedding that he went on a bender and ended up DFO’d on a coal heap. But considering the facts of the story surrounding his disappearance, some sort of bender-related demise is just as likely as the space mafia putting the heat on him. I still like BUFORA’s explanation, though.

This case is just another example of a story that sounds good at first, but that dissolves under direct scrutiny. As are so many stories of space alien abduction. Oh, and now that I think of it, I confused Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Serling earlier in this article.

Be seeing you.