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The Angel Soldiers of Mons

In August 1914, one of the most famous cases of apparent angelic intervention took place at a World War I battlefield in Mons, Belgium. French and British Allied soldiers were fighting against an advancing German force, and it looked as though the Germans would win. Then the tide of battle turned; fire from the Allies suddenly increased, and the Germans retreated. At first this seemed to be a normal battlefield event, but wounded French and British soldiers told an unusual tale while in the hospital. They insisted that they had not been fighting alone; they had seen angels on the battlefield fighting alongside them.

According to the French soldiers, the army of angels had been led by the archangel Michael; British soldiers said that they had recognized the angelic general as St. George, a medieval knight famed for slaying dragons. A few soldiers said there were only a few angels, while most saw many. Descriptions of the angels also varied, although most of the soldiers said the figures in question emitted a bright light and had wings.

Map of Mons

Initially, the hospital workers disbelieved these stories, saying they were the result of the soldiers’ injuries and mental trauma. When uninjured French and British soldiers came forward with similar stories, skeptics attributed them to battlefield misperceptions or a mass hysteria that produced hallucinations.

Later, German soldiers who had been on the Mons battlefield seemed to corroborate these stories, saying that the tide of battle turned when they suddenly felt powerless to proceed. At this time, the Germans’ horses began running away from the battle, and it seemed like there were thousands of troops opposing them, even though there were relatively few. However, the German soldiers did not report seeing any angels.

On 24 April 1915, an account was published in the British Spiritualist magazine telling of visions of a supernatural force that miraculously intervened to help the British at the decisive moment of the battle. This rapidly resulted in a flurry of similar accounts and the spread of wild rumours. Descriptions of this force varied from it being medieval longbow archers alongside St. George to a strange luminous cloud, though eventually the most popular version came to be angelic warriors.

However. according to Fortean Times, Arthur Machen (a Gothic horror writer) insisted until his dying day that the Angel of Mons was fiction. Machen believed that his short story "The Bowmen", was the true source of the legend, pre-dating all other claims that were made from the spring of 1915 onwards. From that time the legend took on a life of its own and even today, versions of the story continue to circulate in folklore and the mass media.

The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena by Patricia D. Netzley;;

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  1. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.


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