As human beings, we have always been fascinated by tales of terror, horror, and the paranormal. We have always been intrigued by the unknown and the unexplained, by the stories of things that go bump in the night and the things that haunt our dreams.
But what if I told you that some terrifying tales are not merely the products of our imaginations but are based on true historical events? Even during the world wars, paranormal incidents occurred on both sides, though they’re usually dismissed as hallucinations from the battlefield. Unfortunately, the past is full of horrors just waiting to be uncovered.
So, sit tight, grab your popcorn, and let me take you through some of the unexplained mysteries during humanity’s darkest moments.
The Paranormal Side of WWI
World War I, also known as The Great War, was one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. Millions of lives were lost in the trenches, on the battlefields, and in the gas chambers. But many people don’t know that the war was also responsible for some of history’s most horrifying and supernatural events.
The Angel of Mons
Picture this, if you will. It is the early days of the First World War, and the British Expeditionary Force retreats from the advancing German army. The soldiers are exhausted, hungry, and scared. They know they are facing an inevitable defeat, and many have lost hope.
But then, something strange happens. As they march through the small Belgian town of Mons, they see a vision of an angel hovering above them. The angel is said to have had wings of pure white and a halo that shone with a blinding light.
The soldiers were stunned. They had never seen anything like it before. But then, something even more incredible happened. The angel descended from the sky and joined the British soldiers in their fight against the Germans.
It is said that the angel fought with such ferocity that the German soldiers were left in a state of shock and confusion. On the brink of defeat, the British soldiers suddenly found themselves inspired and filled with a sign of newfound courage.
The 29th of September 1914 saw the publication of “The Bowmen,” a short story by Welsh author Arthur Machen based on his ideas after reading accounts of the combat at Mons. Machen set his story during the retreat from the Battle of Mons in August 1914 after having written a few factual articles about the fighting for the newspaper.
A report detailing visions of a spiritual force that miraculously intervened to aid the British at the crucial moment of the battle was published in the British Spiritualist magazine on April 24, 1915. This was swiftly followed by the circulation of hysterical rumors and a rush of similar reports.
However, the most common description of this force came to be that of angelic warriors. Other descriptions included a bizarre glowing cloud and medieval longbow archers fighting alongside St. George. Comparable accounts of these battlefield visions were reported during ancient and medieval conflicts.
Reports of atrocities like the Belgian Rape and the Crucified Soldier provided the ground for the idea that the Christian God would immediately intervene against such a wicked foe. But several of these visionary tales resemble Machen’s, published six months earlier.
Using the angels as evidence of divine providence acting on the side of the Allies in sermons across Britain in May 1915 ignited a full-fledged controversy, which later moved to newspaper stories that were extensively circulated worldwide.
Perplexed by everything, Machen tried to stop the rumors by republishing the narrative in book form in August. In a lengthy preface, he stated that the rumors were untrue and resulted from his fiction. It became a best-seller and sparked the creation of numerous other books that all purported to offer proof of the presence of angels.
Machen attempted to correct the record, but some people saw his efforts as tantamount to treason for trying to minimize the impact of such a motivational tale. These brand-new books featured renditions of the angels by artists and well-known tunes. Further accounts of angels and apparitions, including Joan of Arc, came from the front.
According to Kevin McClure’s analysis, there are two main kinds of circulating accounts: some are more obviously based on Machen, while others have different information. These stories purportedly verifying sightings of paranormal activity during this period of significant media attention were secondhand.
Some were fabrications made by soldiers who weren’t even at Mons. In 1915, the Society for Psychical Research conducted a thorough study. It concluded: “We have received no first-hand testimony and no second-hand information that would justify us in assuming the appearance of any supernormal phenomenon.”
The SPR continued by stating that further inquiry revealed that the reports of battlefield “visions” that spread during the spring and summer of 1915 were “based on mere rumor and cannot be traced to any authoritative source.” The findings of this paper are significant because the Society for Psychical Research held that otherworldly powers exist.
Another strange occurrence is the sudden dissemination of the rumors in the spring of 1915, six months after the incidents and the publication of Machen’s story. The reports that were then published frequently cited unnamed British personnel as their sources.
The most recent and thorough investigation of the Mons story by David Clarke believes that these individuals may have been involved in a covert effort by military intelligence to disseminate propaganda and misinformation that would have boosted morale.
The date would make military sense because it was difficult for the Allies due to the Lusitania sinking, the Zeppelin assaults, and the failure to make a breakthrough on the Western Front. Conveniently, some of the publications stated that sources could not be named due to security concerns.
The only solid proof of visions experienced by actual named serving troops was presented during the discussion. It revealed that they had seen ghostly cavalrymen rather than angels or bowmen during the retreat rather than during the actual combat.
However, unlike in Machen’s account and other tales of angels, these visions did not act to fight or deter German forces. Such sights might have been hallucinations, as many men were weary from the withdrawal and had not slept well in days.
The most comprehensive assessment of the incident’s findings concluded that Machen’s account inspired most of the tales. When public enthusiasm waned in 1915, the stories undoubtedly helped bolster morale at home and show the value of religion during warfare.
But was the Angel of Mons a supernatural entity, or was it just a legend that had been born out of the chaos and confusion of war? Many believe that the angel was real. They point to the fact that numerous soldiers reported seeing the same vision of the angel, and some even claimed to have spoken with it.
There are also reports of wounded soldiers being miraculously healed by the angel’s touch.
Others, however, are more skeptical. They argue that the story of the Angel of Mons was just a propaganda tool used by the British government to boost morale and inspire patriotism.
They point out that the legend only emerged after the Battle of Mons had taken place and that there are no contemporary accounts of the angel’s presence during the battle.
So, what is the truth? Was the Angel of Mons real or just a product of wartime propaganda? The answer, my dear readers, is shrouded in mystery. We may never know what happened on that fateful day in Mons.
But one thing is for sure — the legend of the Angel of Mons continues to inspire and captivate us to this day, reminding us of the enduring power of faith, hope, and courage in even the darkest times.
The Phantom Army
The horrors of war are well documented, but what happens when the horror transcends the living? During World War I, soldiers from both sides reported seeing ghostly apparitions of phantom armies. These were visions of their fallen comrades and long-dead soldiers from past wars, including Roman legionnaires and medieval knights.
Imagine fighting on the front lines, surrounded by the deafening roar of artillery fire and the screams of wounded soldiers. Suddenly, you see a line of soldiers dressed in antiquated uniforms marching toward you. You may rub your eyes, thinking it’s just a trick of the light, but the apparitions remain steadfast. Many soldiers reported seeing these phantom armies and feeling a deep sense of unease at the sight.
The reports of phantom armies were not isolated incidents. They were widespread and crossed national boundaries. German soldiers, for example, claimed to have seen ghostly French troops marching toward them, while British soldiers saw the ghostly army of a long-dead English king.
Some people dismissed these sightings as mere hallucinations brought on by the stress and trauma of war. However, others believed these were real supernatural entities, spirits of soldiers who died in battle and whose souls remained trapped on the battlefield.
The belief in ghosts and the supernatural was common during World War I. Soldiers were dealing with unprecedented stress and trauma, and many found comfort in the idea of supernatural intervention. It’s possible that these sightings were a psychological coping mechanism for soldiers to process the horrors of war.
Regardless of their origin, the sightings of phantom armies remain a haunting mystery from the past. They serve as a reminder of the toll that war takes on the human psyche and the lengths to which the mind will go to find comfort and solace amid chaos and despair.
The Paranormal Side of WWII
World War II was another devastating conflict that saw millions of lives lost. But it was also when some of the most infamous and chilling historical events occurred.
The Ghosts of Auschwitz
The Holocaust was undoubtedly a horrific event that stained human history with blood and tears. The Nazi regime’s systematic genocide of millions of Jews, Romas, and other minority groups is an unforgivable atrocity. But many people may not know that the concentration camps where these unspeakable horrors took place are rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of the victims.
One such place is the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. This was where the Nazi regime carried out their twisted “final solution” and executed an estimated 1.1 million people. It was here that many innocent lives were taken away in a brutal and inhumane manner.
Today, visitors to Auschwitz report strange and unsettling occurrences that are said to be linked to the restless spirits of those who perished. Many visitors have reported hearing strange noises, such as moaning, crying, and screaming, all coming from unoccupied areas of the camp.
Some have even reported seeing ghostly apparitions of victims walking around the camp, dressed in tattered clothing, and looking dazed and confused.
The intense sadness and despair that can be felt at Auschwitz are hard to put into words. People who visit the camp often feel an overwhelming sense of sadness and unease. Many have reported feeling cold spots, experiencing unexplainable smells, and hearing disembodied voices. It’s as if the spirits of those who suffered and died here still lingered in the mortal world.
But Auschwitz isn’t the only concentration camp with ghostly tales. Many other camps, such as Dachau and Treblinka, are also said to be haunted by the victims’ ghosts. The horrors within their walls were so unspeakable that it’s hard to imagine that the souls of the dead could ever rest in peace.
The haunting of concentration camps serves as a reminder of the atrocities during the Holocaust. It’s a testament to the fact that such cruelty and inhumanity can leave a permanent mark on a place, and the spirits of those who perished can still be felt today.
Remembering the past and ensuring such atrocities are never repeated is a chilling reminder.
The Nazi Occult
The Nazi’s fascination with the supernatural was not a secret. They were open about their obsession with the occult and their belief in a mystical power that could help them achieve victory in the war. To that end, they carried out countless experiments on prisoners in an attempt to harness supernatural powers.
One of the most famous experiments conducted by the Nazis was the attempt to create an army of zombies. They believed that by re-animating dead bodies, they could create an unstoppable army to fight for them. The scientists in charge of the experiment used a combination of drugs and electricity to try and bring dead bodies back to life.
While the experiment was a complete failure, it is a chilling reminder of how far the Nazis were willing to go in their quest for power.
The Nazis were also rumored to be searching for the Holy Grail, the cup Jesus drank from at the Last Supper. They believed the cup had supernatural powers to help them win the war. The search for the Holy Grail was led by Heinrich Himmler, one of the highest-ranking members of the Nazi party.
Himmler believed the Grail was hidden in Germany and ordered his men to search for it relentlessly. Despite their best efforts, the Grail was never found.
The Nazis’ obsession with the supernatural extended beyond their experiments and searches. They also believed that certain symbols and artifacts held mystical powers. The swastika, for example, was considered a sacred symbol of power and purity. The Nazis believed it could protect them from harm and win the battle.
The Nazi’s fascination with the occult and supernatural is a dark chapter in human history. It is a chilling reminder of how far people can go when they believe in something so strongly that they are willing to do anything to achieve it.
The fact that the Nazis were willing to conduct experiments on human beings and search for mythical objects like the Holy Grail is a sobering reminder of how twisted and dangerous their ideology was.
However, while these stories are certainly intriguing, it is essential to remember that they are still just stories. It is up to each individual to decide whether they want to believe in the supernatural. However, these tales’ impact on our imagination and understanding of the world around us cannot be denied.
Ultimately, the dark side of history reminds us that there is much we still don’t know and that the past haunts us in ways we never imagined. But it also reminds us of the importance of learning from our mistakes, striving for a better future, and never forgetting the atrocities committed in the past.
As we continue to uncover the secrets of our history, we can only hope that we will learn to use this knowledge for good and create a brighter future for ourselves and for generations to come.
Next, read about Gruesome Cases of Botched Executions in History, and then, about the Disturbing Mystery Behind the Edmund Fitzgerald Ship.
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