Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Heavenly Guardians

Cheryl was just getting out of watching a hockey game at the old Erie County Field house years ago. The field house stood on a busy road just off an Erie exit of Interstate 90. Cars would go speeding by in both directions as people made their way to and from the highway. There were many tragic accidents on this busy roadway as pedestrians, mostly teenagers, would cross the road after a concert or sporting event to make their way back to their nearby homes on foot. Cheryl was crossing the street after the hockey game with a few friends, when she lost her footing and fell in the middle of the road. One car swerved and barel missed her. Suddenly Cheryl was lifted up to her feet by some unseen force, just as another car sped past her. If she had not been raised off the ground, she would have been another fatality of the busy roadway. She could not explain it. She knows that she did not do it herself. Something had raised her up from the ground and saved her life. As a spiritual person who has been raised in a church all her life, Cheryl is pretty sure what saved her that day. An Angel. A guardian Angel.

Almost every ancient culture had a belief in angelic messengers from God. Ancient Hellenistic culture believed that every individual had a guardian spirit assigned to them, Plato and his followers expanded this belief. In his Phaedo, Plato talks of a destiny or guardian spirit that is the constant companion of man. Ancient Sumerians also believed in guardian spirits and many ancient Mesopotamian homes had altars dedicated to the resident's guardian angels.

Angels are talked of quite frequently in the Old Testament. Specifically Psalm 91:11 tells us,

"For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways." (NKJV)

In the New Testament Jesus Himself talks of guardian angels in their relation to children,

"Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven" Matthew 18:10 (NKJV)

Whether seen or not, guardian angels are among us today.

Stacy and his boss had an emergency in another field location of his employer. So they both quickly entered their vehicle and took off down the highway to their destination. Stacy forgot to buckle his seat belt. Although they were going well below the speed limit, the person that ignored the stop sign and sped through the intersection was not. The impact tore of the back axle off the Ford truck and sent it flying in the air and tumbling down the road. He remembers having one hand on the cab's roof and the other on the door. He could feel the ground beneath the roof as it turned end over end. Finally in a matter of seconds that seemed an eternity, the remaining part of the truck stopped. The glass in both door windows were smashed, but neither Stacy or his boss were injured. The paramedics that shortly arrived were amazed. Stacy remembers climbing out of the wreckage and seeing a man standing on the side of the highway with no car in sight. An odd thing to see, who walks down the highway? And after he pulled his boss from the wreck, he once again scanned the area. The man was gone. The roadway was enclosed by guard rails and deep foliage. there was nowhere the man could have gone. He disappeared. Stacy has always felt that his surviving the accident was a miracle. He is sure the person he saw was his guardian angel.

Recently I was sent this picture from a reader in Puerto Rico:

Here it is in Black and White to see the phenomenon more clearly:

If you look close, you can see the being behind the standing girl. It looks as if it has wings. I sent this photo to author Brad Steiger earlier this year and he had it analyzed by Dr. David Oester. Brad e-mailed me Dr. Dave's conclusion:
The haze is not around the body, but away from it. It does not resemble any aura, but it could be spirit energy as in ectoplasm. The photo was taken with Slow Shutter as the lights in the background are representative of hand holding a camera showing duplicated lights instead of a single light ray for each light. This would be considered paranormal.

What is behind the standing girl? I have repeatedly contacted the supplier of the photo, but he does not wish to elaborate or be recognized by the public since he is a person with a high profile in the local community. But the implications are obvious. For thousands of years, spiritual people, philosophers and clergy have claimed encounters with supernatural beings who have been charged by the Master of the Universe to watch over specific individuals. Most of the time they are invisible. Sometimes, on rare occasions they make themselves known. But one thing is evident about these heavenly guardians...

They walk among us.

Until Next Time,
Pastor Swope


Anonymous said...

I think that the girl with the red t-shirt moved on while the picture was taken, lefting a "trail" behind her. My 2c. worth....

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks Claudio,

That would seem to be the obvious answer, but there is not trail, it is a still image in the background. I would agree if the standing girl had some blur or trail herself as the background lights. Of course I am no photo expert that is why I contacted others.

Anonymous said...

For a thought-provoking short story about guardian angels, read THE BRIDGE OVER THE STREAM, a short story by Robert Hugh Benson. It's freely available at (Don't worry about the URL, it's not a horror story.)

-- Howard

Anonymous said...

I think a few more comments on this "angel photo" are in order.

(1) No paranormal photo that has gone through Photoshop is subsequently believable.

(2) The only reason anyone sees this as an "angel" seems to be the appearance of indistinct "wings" where we would expect, if this were a human, arms. Without such a pleasant association, the photo would be, if anything, very creepy.

(3) Angels are pure spirits. "Angels are spirits, but it is not because they are spirits that they are angels. They become angels when they are sent. For the name angel refers to their office, not their nature. You ask the name of this nature, it is spirit; you ask its office, it is that of an Angel, which is a messenger." - St. Augustine

As pure spirits, they would not show up on photographs (unless they want to).

(4) In Scripture, angels almost never are described as having wings. More commonly, they are in human appearance (except maybe for having a countenance as of lightning). The wings were an iconographic indication of the speed with which angels move; they are no more literal than the little gold hoops that represent a saint's holiness.

Yeah, I know: What about the Seraphim and Cherubim? Well, (a) this does not conform to the description of either, and (b) they took their appearances surely for symbolic purposes only -- perhaps to demonstrate how unimaginably non-human they are.

(5) Finally, even if this is an angel, how do we know it is not a fallen angel?

-- Howard

P.S. Please don't use the phrase "Master of the Universe" to describe God. It makes me think of He-Man and his green talking tiger, Cringer.

Manuel said...


It's motion blur. I'm a photographer, and I've seen this plenty of times.

What is happening is that the shutter was held open to try and expose the background with ambient light. Depending on the camera used and the settings (from the looks of the image, it's probably a really cheap point and shoot camera), the flash on the camera probably only illuminated the girls for 1/60th of a second. The camera exposure was probably 1 second though, so the ambient light would have illuminated the standing girl's movements. The flash would freeze the movement of the subject though, so you'll see them as standing still while there is motion blur surrounding them.

Unfortunately the only way to know for sure what camera was used and what speeds the shutter and flash were set to is to examine the EXIF data embedded in the photo. I checked it on the color version and the data has been stripped. If you have the original image you can read the data though.

However... one clue here is if you look at the lights along the horizon in the photo. They're showing motion blur in the same direction as the blur surrounding the standing girl.


Pastor Swope said...

Thanks Howard,

As far as I know, no Photoshop. Unless it was done to greyscale and it was not done by me, and I see no variance from the doriginal.

Pastor Swope said...


But He IS the Master of the Universe! :)

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks Manuel,

I am no photographer or an expert on such matters, so I just try to observe and reflect. That is why I sent it to others.

Anonymous said...

It appears to be the red-eye reduction stuttering pre-flash. On the left side of the image one can see three distinct images of the girl in the red shirt's right arm. note the way the red shirt and flesh tones are the same in the area of the "angel" adjacent to that arm.

Also there is a distinct facial image to the left of the girl's face - the left eye of the "angel" is clearly visible (on the right sort of monitor) with distinct upper and lower lids, iris and a hint of the medial sclera. Both eyebrows are visible and some traces of the right eye. The nose is well defined in every respect, as is the philtrum below, but the mouth is hidden below the right shoulder of the girl. both edges of the sides of the face/head are visible as is the right ear and the hairline, which shows a possible loose braid crossing the forehead. The face strongly resembles that of he girl in the red shirt, the eye spacing, nose shape and hairline shape in particular seem to match, although the eyebrows do seem thicker in the "angel" image.

The pre-flash is a more likely explanation than a long shutter speed alone due to the distinctness and multiple nature of the additional images and their restriction to the foreground. The background lights show relatively little trail compared to the foreground and no multiple images, indicating that the shutter was not open all that long, likely less than 1/4 of a second, and that the girl in red was moving rapidly.