The Strange Case of ''The Angels of Mons'': Arthur Machen's World War I Story, the Insistent Believers, and His Refutations [Bleiler]
Author: Richard J. Bleiler
World War I began disastrously for the English when the Germans routed them at Mons, Belgium, on August 23 and 24, 1914. On September 29, 1914, the Anglo-Welsh writer Arthur Machen fictionalized this encounter in a newspaper story, claiming that the English were saved by the appearance of angelic bowmen sent by St. George. But his fiction became accepted as fact. The believers—notables G. K. Chesterton, Arthur Conan Doyle and C. S. Lewis, along with almost forgotten figures like Harold Begbie, Phyllis Campbell and T. W. H. Crosland—wrote pamphlets, testimonies and poems, performed music and created motion pictures attesting to the existence of the guardian angels.
This history of the Angels of Mons controversy for the first time collects and annotates Machen’s work and the responses it inspired, most of which have not been available since their publication a century ago. Also reprinted for the first time are several of Machen’s responses to the believers, including “The Angels of Mons: Absolutely My Last Word on the Subject” and “The Return of the Angels: This Time They Are at Ypres.”