Angels in My HairLorna Byrne’s 2008 book ‘Angels in My Hair’ is a bestseller. Her memoir covers the trials and tribulations she experienced while growing up with the ability to see angels — but not talk about it with anyone. Her own family thought she had mental problems. She was warned that there was a possibility they would send her to a mental institution. She was given foreknowledge of painful events that would happen later in life (e.g., the early death of her husband), but was sworn to secrecy. Finally, at a much later stage in her life, she was told to write her book so that people would know one simple message: We are never alone.

Ms. Byrne’s book has plenty of detractors — atheists, agnostics, Christians of various denominations, and individuals from other religious faiths. That is understandable, given the nature of her claims. As a Catholic, I certainly have qualms with topics that were left out of the book, but many of her editorial decisions make sense when one considers Ireland’s violent history between Protestants and Catholics.

‘Angels in My Hair’ is a great book for anyone who has ever wondered if angels exists. It’s also a worthwhile read for those who identify as a devout [insert religious denomination here], provided he or she accepts from the beginning that Ms. Byrne is writing exclusively on angels — not the Bible.

Before I go on, perhaps the best way to sum up how I feel about Ms. Byrne’s book is to first share a quick story from my own life.

When I was a young child I had a snowball fight with a bunch of kids. Half of us were on one side of the street, and half of us were on the other. We were running around having a good time, and at a certain point I picked up a snowball and charged towards the road with tunnel vision on my target. Suddenly I felt a force, as if someone had grabbed me by the shoulders and planted my feet into the ground. I was brought to an abrupt stop. A car slammed on its breaks and skidded to a halt right where I had been running. Even as a young child — with no formal religious education — I knew that I should have been hit by that car. I knew that I should have been injured or possibly dead. I knew that something intervened on my behalf. I had no knowledge of guardian angels at that time, but I remember being completely in awe of whatever force made itself known to me in that moment.

I tell this story because I have no reason to lie to my readers. I am not insane. I am not schizophrenic. I am not on some secret Vatican payroll to deceive people. I do not do drugs. I rarely drink. I am a law-abiding citizen who tries to do what is morally right. I also acknowledge that I am an incredibly flawed individual. Likewise, countless others like me — perhaps including individuals in your life who have never given you a reason to trust their integrity or mental health — have experienced something supernatural. Why should those individuals be treated as hostile witnesses? Answer: They shouldn’t.

Ms. Byrne says:

“We have become a very materialistic society, and so frequently we look at death and ask, ‘Is this it? I rot away and there is nothing more?’ I assure you there is more — much more. I hope that through the books I write I can communicate this and help people to understand. Believe what I say. Believe that, yes, there is more, much more, even though I may not be able to prove it or show it to you now; it is proven to everyone when they die. Some people feel that then it’s too late — if they have to wait to die to see the proof. People are given proofs while they are alive, but sometimes they have to look or listen very hard to recognize them.” Lorna Byrne, Angels in My Hair (New York: Random House, 2008), 174.

It is healthy to be skeptical. We should always read with a discerning eye. However, it is also healthy to have an open heart. The search for truth requires ample doses of each, even if it seems paradoxical. I believe that if you read ‘Angels in My Hair’ with that balancing act in mind, then you will see that there is much truth to what Ms. Byrne says.

You do not have to be a superman or superwoman. You do not have to bear all of life’s burdens as if you were Atlas holding up the globe. You do not have to create a tough-talk exterior shell to protect you from the opinions of others and you do not need to have all the answers. That is because you are not alone. In your darkest hours there is always someone by your side. Ask your angels to give you strength, and you will be surprised at what they bring you from the depths of your soul.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

15 comments

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Paulette. I really appreciate it. Feel free to circle back here if you read the book. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  1. Ah, very nice. Thanks for the book suggestion, too. I have been called such things myself, crazy, delusional, hence the name insanitybytes. We live in a mad, mad world, but often it seems as if the only things perceived as “crazy” are the good things. It’s somewhat amusing, I mean you can put a big old ring in your ear, stick a bone in your nose, wear a loincloth, and people will praise you for having found your identity, but speak of God or angels and people will back away slowly.

    Not long ago I read an article where scientists are studying people who hear voices. They are puzzled because in the past that was thought to be sign of mental illness and auditory hallucinations could be seen in the brain. Studies however are revealing that less than five percent of those who hear voices have any kind of measurable mental disorder at all. They don’t even appear to be hallucinating.The implications are puzzling to researchers and somewhat tantalizing.

    1. It’s somewhat amusing, I mean you can put a big old ring in your ear, stick a bone in your nose, wear a loincloth, and people will praise you for having found your identity, but speak of God or angels and people will back away slowly.

      That made me chuckle. There’s quite a bit of truth to that observation as well!

      It’s funny you should mention voices because there was another story I almost told in the main post. I suppose I can share it now.

      Years ago I was driving home from work. In those days I was substitute teaching and for awhile I was driving all over the district to different schools. I came to an intersection. There was a red light with a “no turn on red” sign across the street. When the light turned green I was about to make my turn. I glanced and everything looked clear. As I was about to go a voice said “Don’t turn yet.” I thought, “What the heck? Where did that come from?” At that moment a car blew its red light and went through the intersection right where I would have turned. It was probably going 75 mph. I would have been crushed if I didn’t listen to that little voice. It was one of those instances where you get a chill thinking about just how close you came to dying.

      Again, how do I explain that to someone without them thinking that I’m lying or crazy? I can’t. I can just say, “Hey, listen, this happened to me. I’m telling the truth. I have no reason to lie about it. You can believe it or you can not believe it. It’s your call.”

      I used to keep stories like that to myself, but these days I just don’t care anymore. I know what happened and if anyone wants to laugh at me then I’m okay with it.

    2. Great story! Oh yes, I too used to keep these things to myself, but now I think they are so important to tell. Not long ago I was driving on a country road all alone, not a car in sight and this voice told me to stop. Nobody was coming so I hit the brakes, came to a full stop, and a deer jumped out and hit my car. It gave itself a headache and made my headlight go wonky, but it’s 65 on that road. I would have totaled my car if I hadn’t stopped. Naturally a cop came out of nowhere and demanded to know why I was stopped in the road for no reason. I was going to explain that “God told me to,” but thought the better of it. 😉

    3. It would have been interesting to see that cop try and write God a ticket. Ha!

      In all seriousness though, I think fear drives (no pun intended) certain segments of the population to try and convince people like us that we’re crazy. Men and women of faith know that they can draw strength from God, His angels, etc. That disrupts the earthy paradigm for a lot of people. If a woman truly believes in her heart that there is nothing society’s so-called masterminds can throw at her that can deliver a knockout blow, then she will be feared.

      The best way to deter you from achieving your life’s purpose when it goes against grain is to try and convince you and those within your sphere of influence that you’re not quite right.

  2. Thank you for having the courage to share this! I have mentioned it in the past and I will say it again, I swear my child can see angels. My child will have conversations when no one else is in the room, and he clearly is watching things that I cannot see. I have had days where I see him sitting and laughing yet there is not TV or others in the room. I have no doubt my son can see things that I can’t, I tend to wonder if the open mind and innocents of youth can be achieved again to witness the same things.

    1. I have heard that small children can see angels, but that as we get older they obviously lose that ability. Lorna talks about how she used to talk and laugh at angels as a small child and people would wonder what was making her so happy…so you never know, Truth! 🙂

  3. My son has taken my hand and walked me to a room then started talking and laughing as if he was talking to someone. I think he wanted me to see and chat as well but as you know I could see nothing. It was a very interesting experience.

  4. “Suddenly I felt a force, as if someone had grabbed me by the shoulders and planted my feet into the ground. I was brought to an abrupt stop. A car slammed on its breaks and skidded to a halt right where I had been running”
    Cue whistle of appreciation.
    Interesting anecdote; hope you don’t mind if I share one of my own.

    I had a similar experience a few years ago, riding on my motorcycle. My folks and I were out on a long ride–I forget if it was a day trip itself or just one day of a longer vacation–and at one point in the middle of nowhere, we had the road to ourselves. No cars were coming from either direction.
    We were talking on our Chatterbox radios (important detail–NOT CB radios; you couldn’t talk to us or hear us unless you were using another Chatterbox) about the road ahead, and of course checking our mirrors for traffic behind us.
    All of a sudden my mom yelled something that came out completely garbled… and then I heard a man’s voice quite clearly–NOT my dad’s–say “Get over.” Just those two words, calm as can be, clear as can be. “Get over.” (Please note that I did NOT say the voice came over my radio.)
    I pulled onto the shoulder before I could even think about the instruction, and just as I did, a car zoomed by me, driving too quickly to avoid and going all over the road.

    Here’s the kicker, for the both the “angels aren’t real” crowd AND the “motorcycles are dangerous” crowd–even with my bike on the shoulder, that car left me little room to spare. If I hadn’t gotten over when the voice told me, or if I’d been in a car, he would’ve hit me for sure.

    The trouble with these experiences, though, is that they are very personal in terms of evidence. We know they happened, but we have no way to prove it to anyone else. We have no way to replicate them, to test them. They are, by definition, unscientific.
    And to far too many people, “unscientific” is synonymous with “not real.”

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, SQP. I totally agree. I also take issue with people who say that I only came to my faith because I was “brain washed.” Actually, like many young men, I fell away from the church for years. I was lost. I was adrift. I was confused. It was only after a series of very personal experiences that I returned to my faith and that it was strengthened.

      Regardless, like you said, there is no way for you or me or anyone else commenting here to “prove” what happened was real. We just know what happened, and others can choose to believe or not believe.

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