Monday, August 11, 2014

The Angels of Mons...

I have a very special guest blogger today. Among other things, he is an avid reader and history enthusiast! If I have a historical question, especially concerning battles and warfare throughout the ages, he is the first person I seek. Much of what you read in my various novels concerning the same comes from his vast knowledge, guidance and influence. In case you haven't guessed, my guest today is none other than my beloved husband, David Peterson! (And just to let you know, he's far more skeptical about otherworldly phenomenon than what I am...must come from the three decades he spent as a police officer. Just the facts, ma'am, just the facts.)

An Unusual Compliment To One of Our Airmen- 1915  Art.IWM ART 180

August, 1914, before the trenches, Mons  France.  The  heavily outnumbered British Expeditionary Force experienced its first defeat at the hands of the German Army.  Outnumbered and out flanked the British retreated. That they held out as long as they did could be counted a miracle.

A month later, the London Evening News published an article by Arthur Machen concerning this battle. He said that according to reports, a British soldier called upon St. George for help.  In answer to the request, an ethereal line of Welsh bowmen from Agincourt appeared, giving much-needed aid to the Brits.

Machen wrote this article in the first person perspective and intended it to be nothing more than an inspirational piece. Yet, when asked to provide proof of the supernatural event,  he said there was no proof since he made it all up. He further stated that he in no way wanted to be associated with deception.

Sometime later, a parish wanted to print the story in pamphlet form and asked him to provide permission along with his sources. When Machen again told them he didn't have any sources and that he wrote the piece as inspirational fiction, they didn't believe him. They stated further, that a priest knew one of the soldiers who witnessed the event personally, and he swore the story was true. He said that Machen had only elaborated on a true account. This credible, trustworthy priest insisted the soldier Machen had spoken of had indeed seen a “long line of shapes, with a shining about them.” 

Enter now the "Angels of Mons."  A Spiritualist magazine in Britain ran an account in April of 1915, speaking of supernatural visions that had miraculously intervened to help the British forces at a decisive moment during the battle.  Rumor as well as numerous accounts concerning the bowmen reinforced the story. The bright cloud everyone spoke of eventually became ‘angelic warriors.'

Nonetheless, Machen did everything in his power to disprove the stories, as he found it obvious the stories were based on his account. There were those who came to believe the stories were propaganda, designed to promote the belief that God stood on the side of the Allies.  Since we can't find a single published account by a supposed witness, or an arrow pierced German body, or even a shred of evidence supporting the notion that the angelic bowmen of Mon were real, we are left to decide the issue for ourselves. 

Now, here's a thought to ponder: Given the large bulk of sightings of spiritual soldiers at the American battle sites, “Why are there so few reporting’s of ghosts and spirits from the European battlefields in comparison?  The trench warfare of two World Wars, with thousands of casualties, chemical warfare, disease and moral crushing weather, shouldn't we see a few more ghosts?

Thanks David...and I'm sure if you look harder, you'll find them! (Despite your healthy dose of skepticism, you are dearly loved.)

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  1. Most interesting how the story took on a life its author never intended. I find it fascinating. Great guest blogger, Debbie, even if your DH is partial to "just the facts." For the record, mine is too! :)

    1. One more thing in common, Mae! The story is a fascinating one indeed!

  2. I enjoyed reading the story of the Angels Of Mon story that your guest blogger shared. It was intriguing and peeked my interest. And it made me ponder of the accounts of the story and why no one stepped forward to give an account of what occurred except that one soldier..

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and braving a comment! I love to hear them. The Angels of Mon is indeed an interesting piece of history and I kind of wish I could've somehow witnessed it!