The Angel of Illinois

What’s the latest batshit crazy religious news?  Well how about this American story that’s gone viral?

In broad outline, it goes like this.

A girl is trapped in the tangled metal of a car crash and the rescuers are about to give up.  Their cutting equipment simply can’t cope with the  degree of damage. The trapped girl asks the rescuers to pray with her as she fights for her life, but the fire chief has little or no hope of saving her.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, a mysterious man in clerical garb appears, even though the perimeter is secured and no civilians are allowed beyond the cordon.  He anoints the girl, says some prayers and assures the rescuers that they will indeed be able to cut the victim out of the wreckage.  To everyone’s astonishment, that’s exactly how it works out.  The girl is removed from the car and rushed to hospital.  But when the rescuers look around, the mysterious priest has vanished.

It’s a miracle.  He’s an angel.  Everyone is astonished and their faith is renewed.

katie lentz miracle priest angel rescue

You think I’m making this up, don’t you?  I am not.

Here’s an insane story from KHQA, a radio station in Missouri, entitled Mysterious priest performs miracle at site of Mercedes crash.

This is what the New London Fire Chief, Raymond Reed told reporters about his efforts to rescue Katie Lentz, who was trapped between the steering wheel and the seat, having suffered multiple injuries.

It was a very well-built car, and when you compact materials like that one, they become even stronger because you’re cutting through multiple things instead of one layer.

This is another way of saying that he didn’t have suitable cutting gear on his fire truck.  It also indicates that Mr Reed hadn’t the slightest idea how to use his equipment, because this is not a situation demanding cutters.  This is a job for a spreader.  Even after 45 futile minutes trying to cut the victim out of the car with inadequate gear, it doesn’t seem to have occurred to Mr Reed that maybe he should send for better gear or call in somebody who knew what they were doing.  Instead, he decided that the victim was going to die.

Suddenly a man appeared out of nowhere.

He came up and approached the patient, and offered a prayer.  It was a Catholic priest who had anointing oil with him. A sense of calmness came over her, and it did us as well. I can’t be for certain how it was said, but myself and another firefighter, we very plainly heard that we should remain calm, that our tools would now work and that we would get her out of that vehicle.

The tools did work after all, but they weren’t Raymond Reed’s.  Luckily, a crew from the Hannibal Fire Department turned up, led by a man who knew exactly what he was doing and they rescued Ms Lentz in no time at all.

So here we have the alternative reality which reads as follows:

A girl is trapped in a car.  The fire crew trying to extricate her are grossly incompetent but luckily a more professional team turn up and save the victim.  To avoid being exposed for the idiots they are, the team get together and declare that a rescue was completely impossible.  They then invent a mysterious guardian angel who obligingly disappears after the incident is closed down.

Nobody saw him arrive and nobody saw him go.  He appears in no photos.

Really?  It must be a miracle.


What the story really shows is a bunch of ignorant rednecks out of their depth.  Chief Raymond Reed, of course, is talking unmitigated horseshit in order to deflect attention from his own incompetent handling of the incident, but at the same time, isn’t it amazing how readily people are prepared to accept a supernatural explanation for things?  We haven’t moved all that far from witch-burning, really. Have we?

What’s most worrying is that the USA is the most powerful, most aggressive, most heavily-militarised country in the world, and they still believe in magic.

Be very afraid.




Priest identified.  No mystery.  No miracle.

21 replies on “The Angel of Illinois”

I am afraid. The growing arrogance of the USA complemented by utter ignorance and religious madness is very dangerous indeed.
And thanks to Edward Snowdon’s revelations it gets scarier and scarier.

I’m glad that religiously obedient Ireland isn’t a world power and only has a wimpy military force of no significance whatsoever, more concerned about traumatic experiences by some fired shots or wintry woolen uniforms in tropical ‘peace-watching’ countries. Lucky Irish, ye all.

As for that so-called angel appearing at a mangled car with useless helpers – it’s just, I don’t know, so redneck it beggars belief. But so is Lourdes or Jesus’ face on the Cliffs of Moher (though that one was seen by an American woman…).

I wish the Americans would just go the way of the Romans, just melt into small-town history and emerge at best as a quaint Berlusconi-esque bunga bunga country. Or whatever. Just go away.

Didn’t say that. Read again, please.

And I do know geography.

Not everything a foreigner says about Ireland is against the Irish. It’s about the Irish establishment. Or any establishment, full stop.Otherwise I wouldn’t live here.

What you did say,Carrig,is that Ireland has a wimpy military force of no significance whatsoever. Now the force may not be of significance in the sense that the US army or the British Army is significant,but I would like to see you suggest to friends and acquaintances of mine,some retired,some still active in the Irish military,that they are wimps. I have no doubt your disrespect would be reciprocated in a manner befitting to an imperious smartass.

Xenophobes out in force! I assume none of you think that everyone in the UK are like those who show up on the Jeremy Kyle show…

i think its fantastic, it made me laugh but besides that what does it matter whether its absolutely true or not, how does it negatively affect anyone in beleiving that it might be, maybe it gives people hope, uplifts them, gives them a sense of purpose and a potential world outsiede of this one, what does a cynical view of it give, which i should say is as much conjecture as the story they are relaying.

subjective cynisism does little but castiagte others beliefs that might bring them some positivity and replaces them with… what? negative nothingness in my view

Perhaps you meant sceptical rather than cynical. It’s not conjecture to say that a different crew turned up from a neighbouring fire department and did a much more effective job extricating the victim.

This is a clear case for Occam’s Razor.

tonyc, there is a difference between calling a whole army of the establishment wimpy and calling singular men wimps.
In the big picture the Irish army is wimpy, that is, of no significance in the wide world, and thank heavens for that. That’s one reason I like Ireland.

That there are Irish men involved in the army who are anything else than wimps, is not what I said or meant.

However, you seem to threaten me with the remark:

‘I have no doubt your disrespect would be reciprocated in a manner befitting to an imperious smartass’.

I wonder how this reciprocation might work. Beating me up to show that they are no ‘wimps’ but true men? Having a serious discussion about the hardship of being an Irish or whatever soldier? Showing me all the macho attitude a man, Irish or not, can muster? Argue with fists?

I would repeat all and sundry opinion to any soldier without being afraid of anything they might do.

Actually I did confront men with guns, British soldiers, while living in Belfast ages ago, and felt more like a man than they probably did.These boys were real wimps, more scared than I have ever been.
Incidentally I’ve had a discussion with an American soldier tonight, who spends his holidays over here. Poor guy… ;-)

And as it happens, I’m a woman, but one who is not in the least afraid of having an opinion, of manly fists, guns or being threatened by someone with some ominous sort of ‘reciprocation’.

Are we clear about that?

sorry. not ‘are anything else than wimps’
but: ‘anything but wimps’ That is no wimps.
Gosh, sometimes I get mixed up in a foreign language.

Hi All

Just one question Bock, your synopisis of the situation appears to be very accurate, but if some priest did show up at the crash scene, how come he is not recorded in any of the pictures or video taken at the time,
Also I assume you know as opposed to suppose that the new fire crew had more experience and different rescue equipment.
By the way I am with you on this one I think its a load of old rubbish
Re Lourdes, I would love if you took a day out next time you visit France and go there, would love to hear that feedback.

Mark — there are many possible explanations. It might be that they simply didn’t video everything. It might be that they don’t wish to have the man identified. It might be that he never existed in the first place.

As regards the new fire crew, media reports indicate that they had heavier gear with them. My own interpretation, given that they achieved quickly what the others failed to do in 45 minutes, is simply that they were a better crew or they were better led. The first chief’s claim that his gear wasn’t up to the job is simply nonsense. He wasn’t trying to cut open a tank.

I might well go to Lourdes some time, but I’m not getting into the water because I don’t want to pick up an infection.

Carrig,thats a kind of closing stable door after horse has bolted response,but you’re not fooling anyone. I fail to see why you mentioned your gender,as nobody else did.. As we’re off topic that’s all I have to say,as I don’t want to hijack this thread.

Update. The priest has now been identified, and it turns out he’s not an angel after all. He didn’t arrive at the car by magic. He simply asked the sheriff’s permission. He didn’t say anything about the equipment working and he didn’t disappear. By his own account, he shook hands with the sheriff and simply left.

No mystery. No miracle.

Ha -here comes Bock with his atheist conspiracy cover-up.
The fact that he didnt show up on the video PROVES he’s an angel, you know, just like vampires dont have a shadow. And he was able to save that womans life just by shaking the sheriff’s hand. What more evidence do you need??
A Miracle! Miracle I tell you.

Years ago I was involved in a head on collision with a truck (he jack knifed into my lane), now after I came around and while laying on the road waiting for the ambulance a priest came up to me (where he came out of I don’t know) he started praying over me and telling me to trust in Jesus and this just made me agitated as the poor guy didn’t realise that though in Ireland I am still tainted with “original sin” and never had to deal with the rituals.
They must sense carnage.

Re: Be Very Afraid….

You ain’t lying brother. The funny farm that is the USA is only getting worse.

In the red corner fighting out of the heartland, weighing in at a robust 275 lbs. each, with a record of cramming their independent self righteous fundamental bullshit down your throat, and if you don’t like they’ll execute you……..and 0, The Conservative Wing (Republican Party).

And in the Blue Corner, Fighting out of the Urban sprawl with a record of wiping your ass for you if you don’t want to do it yourself….and 0, The Progressives (Democratic Party).

Now fuck the handshakes and Come out swinging…..Ding Ding…….

And they’ve got their finger on the button……..Be very afraid.

Two car crashes and two drivers embedded in the wreckage. They survived however they survived. Two cheers. If a believer is comforted by prayer the morale boost can increase the will to survive. Believers can interpret the praying priest as spiritual intervention saving life. Nonbelievers can interpret the prayerful intervention as a psychosomatic trigger saving life by boosting survival willpower. Take your pick. It worked in both cases and two accident victims can resume their lives.

Using wimpy as an epithet to describe Irish defence forces is inappropriate. Ireland’s Mickey Mouse army is well trained and led by well educated officers. Since the first Irish soldiers participated in the UN peacekeeping operation in the Congo in 1961 about 125 soldiers have lost their lives in peacekeeping in several troubled places. That’s not wimpy – that’s dying, sometimes courageously, in support of UN ideals.

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