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Contradiction - Do Angels Have Wings?
Even Browne's spirit guide "Francine" seems confused about this.
"Sylvia Browne's Book of Angels".
One thing which has changed in Sylvia Browne's philosophy is whether or not angels have wings.
Many of Browne's followers know that early on, Browne said that angels do not have wings, and that now she says that all angels have them.
However, I think that most of her fans don't realize that there is more to the story than that.
To understand the rest of this article, it is necessary to learn about "Francine," Browne's "spirit guide."
A being from The Other Side (heaven) who has been with Browne all of her life, Francine first appeared to Browne when Browne was three years old. It is through Francine that Browne purportedly gets most of her knowledge about "The Other Side" (what most people would refer to as "heaven").
On page 20 of Browne's book The Other Side and Back (hardback edition), she describes Francine as :
According to Browne, Francine - like all Spirit guides - is a wealth of knowledge, because, as she says on page 21 of the same book:
According to Browne, Francine has been there, on The Other Side, training as a Spirit Guide and gaining knowledge for nearly five hundred years.
So, I would imagine, if anyone knows what an angel looks like, it would be Francine.
1991 - Francine Says "No Wings"
Not only does Francine speak to Browne, but over the years, Browne has performed "trance sessions" where she "channels" Francine. During these sessions, Francine supposedly takes total control of Browne's body, and Browne is not conscious of anything which happens during the trance. Francine gives lectures during some of these trances (not as much nowadays as back in the early 90s), and even answers questions from the audience.
(NOTE: One woman's account of one of these "trance readings" can be read in this article.)
I recently was given an audio tape of one of these "trance sessions," which was recorded on February 19, 1991.
The person who sent me the tape was present when the tape was made, and in fact recorded it with his/her own tape recorder.
At the time, people attending these "trance sessions" were encouraged to tape them. Later, I am told, Browne's people did the taping exclusively, and recording by anyone else was forbidden.
At the beginning of this particular tape, Larry Beck (who would later marry Browne) explains the trance process to those present. Here is part of that explanation:
At this point, there is silence for a few moments, then Sylvia Browne, supposedly channeling Francine, says:
Francine talks for a while about angels, and at one point, says the following about them:
So, according to Francine, who has "direct access to God's divine knowledge," angels have no wings. The very thought of them having wings is horrifying to those on The Other Side.
Angels have no wings - case closed.
1999: Francine Says "Only Archangels Have Wings"
Things get a bit more confused when you read the following, which first appeared on www.Sylvia.org's Frequently Asked Questions Page in February of 1999 (emphasis mine):
A few years later, on page 40 of Sylvia Browne's Book of Angels, Browne gives a slightly different version of why she had changed her mind on the "wings issue" in recent years.
She describes being 22 years old, sitting in a parked car, feeling very low, when suddenly a striking-looking man knocks on the window and speaks briefly with her. She continues (emphasis mine):
Note that now, it is Browne alone who sees the archangel, not Browne and her granddaughter.
Also note that in both versions, Browne fails to mention that it was Francine herself who first put forth the "no wings" teaching. Instead, Browne passes it off as a misunderstanding on her part.
In Browne's audio recording Angels and Spirit Guides, she tells yet another version of the "angel in the foyer" story, ending with Francine explaining to Browne why the archangel is there.
In some versions of the story, the archangel simply vanishes after smiling. In at least one other version, the archangel tells her its name (Ariel), and why it is there (to guard Browne's granddaughter).
It seems to be a very flexible story.
So now, Browne says that only archangels have wings. None of the other types of angels (seraphim, cherubim, etc.) have them. And, remember, it is Francine who tells her that.
Case closed. Only archangels have wings. Until...
2003: Francine Says "All Angels Have Wings."
Illustration of Winged Angel from "Sylvia Browne's Book of Angels".
Published in 2003, Sylvia Browne's Book of Angels adds to the confusion, explaining in great detail all the types and ranks of angels, and how you can tell them apart by the color of their wings. On pages 49-50 of the hardbound edition of the book, an "angel chart" can be found which tells us, among other things, what types of angels have what color of wings:
So, Browne's story at this point is, she was wrong for years, angels do indeed have wings. All of them.
And again there is no mention of the fact that it was Francine who originally said that angels do not have wings, nor that it was Francine who later said that only Archangels have wings.
So, case closed? Who knows? Evidently, not Francine.
For someone who supposedly has "direct access to God's divine knowledge," Francine certainly seems to have a hard time keeping her story straight.
Added Oct 24, 2007
2007: All angels still have wings, but...
Cover of Browne's 2007 book "Psychic Children".
A correspondent to this site who says that she is "on the fence" about Browne, has just informed me of yet another change to Browne's story about angels' wings.
Published in 2007, Browne's book Psychic Children adds even further to the confusion. Starting on page 141 of the hardback edition, Browne says the following:
Note that in this list, there are only eight types of angels, rather than the ten mentioned in her earlier Book of Angels. Also, note the totally different colors Browne assigns to the various types:
What happened to Powers and Carrions? And why do all the remaining types (except Principalities) now have different colors?
Perhaps Psychic Children, though published four years later, was written before Book of Angels, and so before Browne supposedly "learned" of Powers and Carrions. But that would not explain the totally different "color scheme".
Whichever book was written later, why doesn't Browne explain, or even mention, this total change?
Compared to the number of people reading Browne's books in the late 1990s, the number of people who had attended Browne's "trance sessions" in 1991 was miniscule. I think it likely that Browne counted on the fact that nobody from those early days would remember what she (playing the part of Francine) said about the topic.
Then, in the late 90s and early 2000s, when the topic of angels was suddenly very popular, and books filled with pictures of beautiful, winged angels were selling like hotcakes, Browne changes Francine's story. Was it in order to crank out some books which capitalized on the newly-popular topic?
Listening to Francine on the "trance session" tape, to me it seems painfully obvious that it is simply Sylvia Browne pretending to be Francine. Francine - who is supposedly an ancient Incan - talks in the exact same colloquialisms as Sylvia Browne does, using some of Browne's oft-repeated phrases such as "Don'tcha see?"
And if she is an ancient wise one, full of centuries' worth of wisdom and knowledge, why does she stutter and stammer, peppering her lecture with "ummms" and "uhhhs" like most of us on "This Side" do?
I have heard from ex-members of Browne's church of Novus Spiritus who say that even the die-hards back in the early 90s started to wonder if Browne was faking at least some of the "trance sessions."
One tells me that there is a tape where Browne slips up and "breaks character," with Francine referring to Sylvia's grandmother as "my grandmother."
I have also been told that these old tapes of the Francine sessions are no longer available from the church. That even some of the ministers have requested copies, and were refused. Is it because Browne doesn't want people to notice how Francine and her story changed? Are there other contradictions which could be found on those tapes?
Eventually, according to more than one ex-member, many came to the inescapable conclusion that the whole Francine thing was a charade.
When I told a friend about all of the above, he sarcastically said "Gee, it's almost like Sylvia Browne is making it all up!"
I myself find it difficult to come to any other conclusion.
My thanks to the people who pointed this whole story out to me, and to the one among them who fortunately still had a copy of this tape, and shared it with me.
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