I Saw Angels! Hovering! Over Flight 93! Crash Site! Angels!

Yes, former FBI agent employee, you saw ANGELS.

A former police officer who retired from the FBI due to post-traumatic stress disorder linked to her role in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks has written a book about seeing legions of angels guarding the Pennsylvania site where a hijacked airliner crashed.

Officer Lillie Leonardi, who arrived at the Flight 93 scene about 3 hours after the crash — and this is the plane that didn’t crash into a building on Sept. 11, 2001, but into a field in Pennsylvania, likely because passengers rose up against the terrorists and stopped them, at the cost of their own lives —

Leonardi, 56, remembers the burning pine and jet fuel stinging her nostrils. She said she also remembers a smoldering crater littered with debris too small to associate with the jetliner or 40 passengers and crew on board.

“I’m used to crime scenes but this one blew me out of the water. It just looked like the ground had swallowed up” the plane, Leonardi said.

“That’s when I started seeing like shimmery lights … and it was kind of misty and that’s when I first saw, like, the angels there,” Leonardi said. “And I didn’t say anything to the guys because you can imagine if I would have said, ‘I just saw angels on the crash site,’ they’d have called the office and they’d have said, ‘She lost her mind and tell her to go home.’”

I have a friend who is a compulsive liar, a teller of tall tales. The shit he’s told me over the years … you’d be amazed. Some of it is just so transparently false you just have to stare at the guy while he’s concocting the story, thinking “Hey, no way does your dad own a Lear Jet! He worked all his life in a plumbing supply store! And you did not just get back from a private flight to the Caribbean, where you made love to a beautiful rich woman who now wants you to manage her Kentucky thoroughbred farm!”

The reasons he’s still a friend are 1) Other than this, he’s a nice guy. 2) He doesn’t mean any harm by it. 3) Everybody knows about it and most don’t seem to mind. “That’s just the way he is.” And 4) I’m going to figure him out eventually. Something happened to him to make him this way, and I want to know what it was.

But  you can tell when he’s telling a story. His face changes. His voice changes. He is visibly making up the thing on the spot, fumbling over the details, eyes rolling up and to the left as he consults with his inner Tall Tale Muse.

This is completely subjective, but … I get the same feel while reading this lady’s account.

The capper on the story, for me, is the bit about the Catholic Church guy who jumps in to make it official:

The Rev. Ron Lengwin, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, counts Leonardi a personal friend and also interviewed her on his weekly radio show, Amplify.

“I have no reason to believe that she did not see angels,” Lengwin said. “I think it’s not surprising to me that God could choose to say that he was present there to give comfort to people, and to give comfort to the people who were there to give comfort to other people.

Horrible tragedy, check. Lots of dead people, check. Church whore shows up to point out God’s loving mercy, double-check. Thank you Rev. Ron Lengwin, C.W.

From Leonardi’s own website:

In her first book, “In the Shadow of a Badge/A Spiritual Memoir” Lillie shares the story of what she witnessed at the Flight 93 crash site during the events of 9/11. The pages penned provide a personal account of her 13 days at Shanksville – including the tale of angelic visitations before, during and after 9/11 – revealed during her subsequent treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Yeah. So … officer undergoing psych treatment says “I saw angels.” ABC News takes that religio-mystical claim at face value, pumping it up into a fact and pimping her book so even more people will take it at face value.

Yes, I am poking a bit of fun at this woman. I defend myself by arguing  that, as she is now in the news, as she is now a public person with a public story, she and her and her story are fair game for commentary. (Plus, she’s pitching a book.)

Behind that story, though, is this real person, and for her I feel genuinely sad. Reading Leonardi’s posts on her blog, I see an ordinary someone damaged by an intolerable, horrific experience. I count her as yet another victim of the events of Sept. 11, and I wish her the best in healing.

The worst part of the whole thing is that, whereas I can be transparent enough to admit to this childish moment of humor, neither the whores of ABC News nor those of the Catholic Church can admit to using this poor woman for their own purposes.

No, they are SERIOUS people, and this is a SERIOUS story.

A story of angels, and godly mercy, and the officer who witnessed it all. Oh, and her book (which will now become a bestseller among the goddy crowd).

Totally true, every speck of it.

No, really.

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About Hank Fox
  • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Markita Lynda—damn climate change!

    Here you are present at the birth of a legend. Cue the copycat visionaries, mysterious healing of vague injuries, solemn RC pontification and all the rest of the religious confabulation.

    Bullshit, all of it.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    So why didn’t these flibbertigibbet angels do something useful, like catch the plane and set it down lightly in the field?

    • Hank Fox

      That was THE very first question that occurred to me too.

    • desoto

      God works in mysterious ways, dontcha know

    • Bob Jase

      They would have but they didn’t have a written work order.

    • nichrome

      Yeah – just like Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit!

    • PDX_Greg

      And it came to pass that as the vessel that contained so many innocents plunged violently toward the hard Earth, angels appeared to them; “Don’t worry, we’ll stick around and comfort the FBI agent that shows up three hours after you are ruthlessly crushed and ripped into a million tiny bits in a crater of your making.”

  • stewart

    “So why didn’t these flibbertigibbet angels do something useful, like catch the plane and set it down lightly in the field?”

    Maybe they weren’t angels, but vultures.

    • Kels

      Pennsylvania vultures are known for their bioluminescence. Hence the shining.

      No, not the Shining. Totally different.

  • stewart

    “No, not the Shining. Totally different.”

    Perhaps, but how hard does one have to look before some similarities become evident?

  • christophburschka

    “Plane full of innocent people is crashing? Don’t worry, I’ll send some sparkly lights to let people know I was watching.” God’s a dick.

  • http://www.facebook.com/using.reason usingreason

    Clearly the most useful function of the Angels was to be there after the crash, “to give comfort to the people who were there to give comfort to other people.”

    That makes total sense, it’s so obvious. Jebus is amazing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/using.reason usingreason

    Let me paraphrase every interview she is going to give:

    I was someplace important on September 11, 2001 doing important things and a sufficient amount of time has no passed so I don’t look greedy/creepy so buy my book.

  • interrobang

    So she sees some heat-shimmer and the kind of dancing spots in front of her eyes that someone might get from a sudden change in blood pressure (the sort of thing that would probably happen to someone who had a major shock, like, say, seeing a plane crash up close and personal), and this constitutes “angels” and is grounds for giving her a book deal.

    Fucking hell, there are some stupid people out there, and she’s only the least of them.

  • nankay

    Yeah, my 1st thought was, “What the heck were they guarding?” My next thought was “Did you try to talk to them? touch them ? take a picture? point them out to anyone else? Why the hell not?”

  • wscott

    Correction: Leonardi was an FBI employee, but not an Agent. From her own website:

    From 1998 to 2010, Lillie Leonardi was employed by the FBI (Pittsburgh Division) as Community Affairs Coordinator.

    http://lillieleonardi.com/about/

    Don’t mean to nitpick, but I don’t want to give this poor deluded woman credentials/credibility she doesn’t deserve.

    • Hank Fox

      Thank you! I couldn’t quite figure it out in the accounts I read, so I just assumed “agent.” Correction noted, and made.

  • Ash

    do not judge so harshly. whats it to you if you do not believe. Believer or not, she believes what she saw and who are we to shoot her down. perhaps it gives her comfort to such a disaster that she came face to face with because of a job…