My previous article was on the subject of the Owlman of Cornwall, England - a creature that has been termed "the U.K.'s Mothman." It's important to note that the Owlman is not the only winged monster that has been seen in the U.K., as you'll now find out. A fascinating story of nothing less than a real-life dragon in the U.K. can be found in the pages of Charles Igglesden’s 1906 book, A Saunter Through Kent With Pen & Pencil. Kent being a county in southern England. Of a dragon reportedly seen in Cranbrook, Kent, centuries earlier, Igglesden wrote: "The magnificently wooded park of a hundred and fifty acres is richly watered by a huge lake made in 1812 and a smaller one within the grounds, while further west is an old mill pond that rejoices in a curious legend. It is an old one and the subject of it is very ancient indeed and as rare as it is horrible." He continued that nothing less than a flying dragon was said to haunt the pond but that "on certain – or uncertain – nights of the year it wings its flight over the park and pays a visit to the big lake yonder. But he always returns to the Mill Pond and it is said to pay special attention of a vicious kind to young men and women who have jilted their lovers. A legend with a moral is this. But a winged dragon! A dragon of the ordinary kind is bad enough. But a flying dragon! Augh!" Now, onto another bizarre affair.
One might be forgiven for thinking that sightings of large, winged monsters only ever occur in the skies over large forests and jungles, and above remote mountains. Not so. In fact, far from it. In 1984, just such an unearthly beast was seen soaring over the capital city of the United Kingdom: London! The specific location was Brentford, a town situated within west London. The day on which all hell broke loose was hardly of the kind one might expect to associate with a monster. There were no dark and stormy skies, no thunder and lightning, and no howling winds. Instead, there was nothing but a warm, pleasant, sunny day in March. The man who kicked off the firestorm of controversy was Kevin Chippendale, who, at the time, was walking along Brentford’s Braemer Road. As he did so, Chippendale’s attention was drawn to something strange in the sky. It was some sort of large, flying animal. Not the kind of thing you see every day, to be sure. And in a decidedly synchronistic fashion, it all went down in the skies directly above a local pub called The Griffin. It was the imagery of a legendary griffin of ancient mythology that Chippendale most associated with the thing he briefly encountered. It was winged, fork-tailed, and sported mean-looking talons. Chippendale could do nothing but stare in awe. And in shock and terror, too.
Without doubt, one of the strangest aspects of cryptozoology is it’s tie-in with the Crop Circle mystery. Although it’s a little-known aspect of both phenomena, more than a few accounts exist of strange creatures seen in and around Crop Circles. From Matthew Williams – the only British man ever arrested, charged and convicted for making a Crop Circle - come several such accounts. It transpires that, unsurprisingly for someone who has spent years deeply immersed within the Crop Circle controversy, Matthew is a veritable fountain of knowledge with respect to tales of weird creatures either having been seen in, or at least in the direct vicinity of, complex Crop Circle formations. One such case is truly strange. Matthew advised me that the story in question concerned a man who had felt curiously compelled to drive late at night to a certain field in Wiltshire many years ago. On doing so, he parked his car and duly, and carefully, began his walk into the depths of the crop. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a large, black, human-like figure appeared in the air over the field.
"It reminded me a little bit of the Mothman sightings when I heard this story," said Matthew, not without a high degree of justification. Matthew continued that the source of the story could only stand and stare in awe, while suddenly gaining the distinct impression that the hovering entity was the source of at least some of the Crop Circle formations that were appearing in Wiltshire. At that precise moment, a simple Crop Circle suddenly appeared on the ground immediately below the black figure – after which it vanished from the skies and the man was left utterly alone in the field, and with no real option other than to make his shocked way back to his vehicle and drive home, baffled and bewildered by both the weird, aerial entity and what it was that had directed him to the field.
Imagine driving, late at night, across the foggy moors of central England and coming across what looks like nothing less than a living, breathing pterodactyl! Think it couldn’t happen? It already has. From 1982 to 1983, a wave of sightings of such a creature – presumed extinct for 65 million years - occurred in an area called the Pennines, better known as the “backbone of England” and comprised of rolling hills and mountains. So far as can be determined, the first encounter occurred at a place with the highly apt name of the Devil’s Punchbowl, on September 12, 1982. That was when a man named William Green came forward with an astonishing story of what he encountered at Shipley Glen woods. It was a large, grey colored creature, that flew in "haphazard" style and which possessed a pair of large, leathery-looking wings. The latter point is notable, since it effectively rules out a significantly sized feathery bird, and does indeed place matters into a pterodactyl category. Seventy-two hours later, a woman named Jean Schofield had the misfortune to see the immense beast at the West Yorkshire town of Yeadon. That the thing was heading for the Leeds/Bradford Airport provoked fears in Schofield’s mind of a catastrophic mid-air collision between a passenger plane and the mighty winged thing. Like so many cases, this one was suddenly over.