Is it fake-news?
A First World War fake-news story?
The Angels of Mons seem to have been conjured up from Arthur Machen’s trench warfare short-story The Bowmen. In his introduction to this collection of four short stories Machen wonders how his fictional work could have become such a fantastical and widely believed legend…
“This affair of The Bowmen has been such an odd one from first to last, so many queer complications have entered into it, there have been so many and so divers currents and cross-currents of rumour and speculation concerning it, that I honestly do not know where to begin. I propose, then, to solve the difficulty by apologising for beginning at all.”
Arthur Machen, 1863-1947, is remembered as an author of supernatural and horror fiction. Following its publication in 1894, The Great God Pan was denounced for its sexual and horrific content, but more recently Stephen King has described the novella as “maybe the best (horror story) in the English language”, and it was an influence on Guillermo del Toro’s 2006 film Pan’s Labyrinth.
Born Arthur Llewelyn Jones in Caerleon, Gwent, Machen was an author, journalist and actor. Descending from a long line of Anglican clergymen Machen’s mystical and spiritual beliefs, combined with his interest in the medieval, led him to create his own particular fusion of literature and legend.