Shirley, Ralph - The Angel Warriors at Mons 01 – A lance corporal’s evidence
Type of Spiritual Experience
The number of peple seeing this is unknown but we have simply added a representative figure - probably an underestimate of about 50
A description of the experience
THE ANGEL WARRIORS AT MONS Including NUMEROUS CONFIRMATORY TESTIMONIES EVIDENCE OF THE WOUNDED and CERTAIN CURIOUS HISTORICAL PARALLELS AN AUTHENTIC RECORD 
BY RALPH SHIRLEY EDITOR OF "THE OCCULT REVIEW [PUBLISHED BY THE NEWSPAPER PUBLICITY CO. CI FLEET STREET, LONDON, E.C. ]
THE ANGEL WARRIORS AT MONS
The press in this country has recently given publicity to various stories claiming to be authentic of appearances of phantom warriors who are stated to have come to the rescue of the hardly-pressed armies of France and England at the time of the retreat from Mons. At this date it will be recollected that the German army was carrying every- thing before it in a triumphant advance towards Paris, and it seemed to the majority of people both in this country and across the Channel that nothing could prevent the capture of the French capital.
Suddenly there came a change over the whole outlook — a change that was explained in all sorts of different ways according to the conceptions of the military situation as seen from the point of view of innumerable armchair strategists. An opinion which held favour with many, and which rumour loudly supported, was that a Russian army had come by sea to an English port, and passing through this country and across the Channel had landed on the French coast, and was threatening the German line of retreat. This bubble was soon burst, but people still continued to ask themselves how it was that the triumphant onward march of the irresistible German army had suddenly been thrown back at the battle of the Marne, in disastrous and ignominious retreat.
It was about this time (September 29, 1914, to be precise) that a circumstantial narrative which might have been intended to be taken either as fact or fiction appeared in the columns of the Evening News under the title of The Bowmen.
This story narrated how at a critical point in the retreat of the Allies an apparition of an army of English bowmen with St. George at their head had come to the rescue of the retreating forces of General Joffre and Sir John French, and had struck terror into the German armies. Many readers took this charmingly-written tale as a statement of fact, but a letter addressed to the author, Mr. Machen, by the present writer, elicited the response that the narrative had no foundation outside the writer's vivid fancy. Soon, however, correspondence began to reach the papers from various quarters giving records more or less circumstantial of appearances of phantom warriors who, it was confidently averred, had actually come to the rescue of the defeated armies at this critical moment. These correspondents would have none of Mr. Machen's statement that his story was pure romance.
It might not be, they said in effect, that the phantom English bowmen had been seen on the battlefield (though one of the narratives actually maintains this), but they stoutly declared that of the apparitions of spirit warriors and especially of St. George on his white charger, there could be no possible doubt. These stories were in their turn borne out by the French wounded, many of whom maintained that while the English had seen the figure they took for St. George, they themselves had seen St. Michael, while many others had witnessed the apparition of Joan of Arc riding at their head in full armour.
Such stories had indeed been widely current in France at the time of the retreat from Mons — nearly a month before the appearance of Mr. Machen's story. Thus a lance-corporal, who was subsequently wounded, and is now in an English hospital, told his nurse (Miss C. M. Wilson) of his own experience on or about August 28. It is not so definite or circumstantial as some of the others, but it has the merit at least of being first-hand.
" The weather," he states, "was at the time very hot and clear, and between eight and nine o'clock in the evening we were standing with a party of nine other men on duty. Immediately behind us half of our battalion was on the edge of a wood resting, when an officer suddenly came up in a state of great anxiety and asked if we had seen anything startling,"
the impression at the moment being that a German surprise attack was threatened. Immediately after this the lance-corporal's attention was drawn to a strange appearance in the sky.
A Lance-Corporal's Evidence
I could see quite plainly in mid-air (he said) a strange light which seemed to be quite distinctly outlined and was not a reflection of the moon, nor were there any clouds in the neighbourhood. The light became brighter and I could see quite distinctly three shapes, one in the centre having what looked like outspread wings, the other two were not so large, but were quite plainly distinct from the centre one. They appeared to have a long loose-hanging garment of a golden tint, and they were above the German line facing us.
We stood watching them for about three-quarters of an hour. All the men with me saw them, and other men came up from other groups who also told us that they had seen the same thing. I am not a believer in such things, but I have not the slightest doubt that we really did see what I now tell you.
In most of the records of the appearance the apparition of a luminous cloud is alluded to. One of these narrates how
" in this cloud there seemed to be bright objects moving. The moment it appeared the German onslaught received a check. The horses could be seen rearing and plunging and ceased to advance."
A soldier of the Dublin Fusiliers is cited as confirming this phenomenon, adding, with regard to the cloud, that it quite hid them from the enemy.