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.