Britons Claim To See
Host Of Angels
By Jonathan Petre
Most people regard them as little more than Christmas card adornments, but at least 800 Britons claim to have had encounters with angels, the first academic research into the subject has found.
Not only Christians have had these experiences; atheists, agnostics, Muslims and Jews have also claimed similar visitations, according to Emma Heathcote, a Birmingham University researcher who has studied the phenomenon for two years. Miss Heathcote, whose findings are the subject of the Everyman programme on BBC 1 on December 12, said she appealed for reports of experiences from Britons to include in a doctorate on the subject and was astonished by the level of interest.
According to her findings, angels tend to "appear" either to impart a message or to provide comfort or reassurance. They have also "intervened" to save people from fatal accidents. Almost a third of those who contacted Miss Heathcote reported seeing a traditional angel with a white gown and wings. Another 21 per cent saw angels in human form. Others felt a force or presence and some detected a distinctive scent or were engulfed in light.
One of the most striking reports came from a woman doctor who was doing her training at Guy's Hospital, London, when a three-year-old girl was brought in after falling under the wheels of a juggernaut. She wrote: "When they whipped her clothes off, there wasn't a mark on her. The girl came round and immediately asked, 'Where is the man in white?' A male doctor stepped forward and said, 'I'm here', but the girl said, 'No, the man in the shiny white suit who picked me up when the lorry went over me'."
Dena Bryant from Gloucestershire, described how she was frozen to the spot when two cars collided and one was hurtling towards her. She claimed to have felt feathers behind her legs and a force lift her out of danger. David Barber from Worcestershire almost drowned at his local swimming pool before his late grandmother appeared in angelic form and carried him to the surface.
More than half a church congregation said it saw an angel during a baptism. Miss Heathcote said: "I interviewed the vicar, the curate, the organist and a large number of the congregation and they all came up with the same story. They were embarrassed and asked me not to disclose their names."

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