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2001 (ca.): Protected by Angels

In 2001, variations of the following story were being sent around anonymously through email... the following example comes from Snopes.com:

Diane, a young Christian university student, was home for the summer. She had gone to visit some friends one evening and the time passed quickly as each shared their various experiences of the past year.

She ended up staying longer than she had planned and had to walk home alone. But she wasn't afraid because it was a small town and she lived only a few blocks away. As she walked along under the tall elm trees, Diane asked "God" to keep her safe from harm and danger. When she reached the alley, which was a short cut to her house, she decided to take it. However, halfway down the alley she noticed a man standing at the end as though he were waiting for her. She became uneasy and began to pray, asking for God's protection. Instantly a comforting feeling of quietness and security wrapped around her, she felt as though someone was walking with her. When she reached the end of the alley, she walked right past the man and arrived home safety.

The following day, she read in the paper that a young girl had been raped in the same alley, just twenty minutes after she had been there. Feeling overwhelmed by this tragedy and the fact that it could have been her, she began to weep. Thanking the Lord for her safety and to help this young woman, she decided to go to the police station. She felt she could recognize the man, so she told them her story. The police asked her if she would be willing to look at a lineup to see if she could identify him. She agreed and immediately pointed out the man she had seen in the alley the night before.

When the man was told he had been identified, he immediately broke down and confessed. The officer thanked Diane for her bravery and asked if their was anything they could do for her, she asked if they would ask the man one question. Diane was curious as to why he had not attacked her. When the policeman asked him, he answered, "Because she wasn't alone. She had two tall men walking on either side of her."

Since 2001, this story has been reprinted many times in differing ways, generally either as an example of a pro-prayer urban legend, or as an inspiring 'true' story -- ignoring the fact that no one actually knows who first sent out the story by email.

        It's safe to say the story isn't true, however, for the simple reason that it is an obvious copy of an old account of an encounter with a phantom dog that was recorded in a 1938 issue of the journal Folklore. Follow the link below to read more about that account!