The Brentford Griffin and the West London Dragon
In 1984 , and possibly earlier, people began seeing a mysterious object flying around the West London Suburb of Brentford. Decribed as a winged dog or a large bird like creature it seemed to match the description of the classical griffin, a flying lion with an eagle's head.
Psychic investigator and quester Andy Collins carried out the definitive investigation in 1985  and few new facts have been unearthed since then.
Andy Collins involvement with the Griffin began with a report in 1985 on London Weekend Television's 6 o'clock show about sightings of a griffin in the air over Brentford. In 1984 a man named Kevin Chippendale twice saw what he described as a large dog with wings flying over the houses of Brentford which he later identified as a griffin when he saw the sign of the Grifffin Arms pub nearby. A psychologist named John. Olssen saw the beast when jogging one morning. Andy concluded that a third possible witness did not actually see a griffin
Summary of the affair
Rereading my copy of Andy's booklet it becomes clear that the Brentford Griffin saga could very plausibly be considered as a leg pull originated by Robert Rankin, author of a number of humorous magickal mysteries centred on Brentford. A few papers who were aware of the griffin story dropped it when they heard Rankin was involved, bit at least one ran a piece and the simplest explanation is that it was a leg pull originated by Rankin that led to a short lived flap of Griffin sightings.
This explanation, convenient though it is overlooks the fact that the first sightings of the Griffin occurred in 1984 well before the program was created. Andy Collins interviewed Mr Chippendale and was impressed by his apparent honesty and lack of guile. Also, for what it is worth, Robert Rankin apparently claimed sightings went back to before the second world war.
Going through the twists and turns of the investigation would essentially reproduce the book here and I can only recommend you get a copy and read it thoroughly.
An extra twist occurred in 1998 when Martin Collins (coincidences like this keep cropping up) wrote a letter to Fortean times stating that when at school in the 1950s he had heard that there was a family of griffins living on Brentford Eyot, an island in in the Thames at Brentford. You can find the details from
Brentford has numerous griffin connections. The original coat of arms of Brentford, unveiled in 1932 show a griffin, Brentford's football team is called the Griffins, though no one knows why and the local brewery at the time was the Griffin brewery. Again no one knew where the name came from though the trademark may have been purchased from another brewery that went out of business before 1900 and may have led to the naming of the football team and a local pub.
In mythology the Griffin, offspring of an Eagle and a lion, was sacred to the sun and kept guard over hidden treasures. This is possibly significant.
In the 60s and 70s, I was told, by investigator John Merron, that buildings in the nearby borough of Acton were covered with carvings and statues of dragons. By the time I found out they all seemed to have vanished into skips. Traditionally dragons hoarded and guarded treasure and breathed fire. Intriguingly Mr Chippendale twice saw a flying beast pass between himself and a development called Green Dragon Towers.
I would therefore theorise that the Dragon was originally associated with West London and especially Acton and Brentford. There is a TENTATIVE support for this in that West London has a Wormholt Road and Wormwood Scrubs prison, “worm” being an old word for a Dragon. However the history of place names is full of traps for the unwary and I will accept correction from any place name expert.
If the Dragon was associated with West London this archetype, using the term loosely, would have been in the back of the minds of the inhabitants possibly generating sightings or influencing the interpretation of sightings. For reasons unknown the treasure guarding dragon was replaced by the treasure guarding griffin in Brentford. Leaving the question: What and where is the treasure?
- BEASTS OF LONDON: The Brentford Griffin
 Beasts of London
One thing is clear. The Brentford Griffin is a mystery that will never die. am convinced no flesh and blood griffin has ever lived on Brentford Eyot. However I am obliged to consider the possibility that a virtual Griffin was created from the imaginations and legends of the inhabitants.
Here is another puzzle The Mystery of St Juttemis
 The Brentford Griffin: The truth behind the tales, Andrew Collins, Earthquest books 1985 ISBN 0 950802425
In 1990 in Sutton Coldfield near Birmingham several people saw a bale of straw flying across the sky at a height of 500 feet. It was falling slowly and may have landed about a mile away. Police reckoned it must have fallen of a lorry (!!!!)
source: Abbreviated report Fortean Times 55 citing UK Press gazette 6th Aug 1990 which in turn quoted the front page of the Sutton Coldfield News presumably of late July
Question: Would a griffin look like a flying hay bale if it were in a bad mood.
There are some strange things up there.
September 2011: Iemoved the link to Monstropedia as it has been identified as an attack page.