Wings of Desire

Ochopee, Florida -- Desiree Flanders (32) claims that she has been visited by an actual angel from heaven for the past three years, and the armies of the credulous have sprung into action in that area, practically deifying her in the small swampy community. The angel, who she calls "Shep (short for Shepherd)," has been visiting her since the early summer of 1996.

Winging' it - Flanders Brandishes one of Shep's Feathers

According to Flanders, Shep is quite the sensualist, enjoying fatty and sugary foods, occasionally eating everything in her refrigerator. He refrains from alcohol, she says, one of the few details of her story that do not match up perfectly with the 1996 movie Michael, starring John Travolta.

Yes, this angel dances, he has a big gut, he loves animals, he belches. "When he takes on the guise of the flesh, he enjoys the things that only the flesh can provide -- mostly eating. He gains weight every time he comes here."

A small but loyal group of pious followers follow Flanders, sometimes sitting vigil at her lakeside house waiting for the possibility of meeting "Shep," despite the fact that she has no photographs of the elusive angel and none of her followers have seen him. All that they have been able to see is her "feather," supposedly plucked from his divine wings. Flanders, who works at Fred's Craft Barn (where you can buy fake feathers by the truckload) refused to have the feather analyzed by a local veterinarian.

"Either you believe in Shep or you don't, but I don't see any good coming out of people looking at this under a microscope. No, you can't take it," she said.

"She's definitely an idolater," says local Pastor John Foster , Ph.D. (33) of Faith Assembly of God, the local Pentecostal church. "She and her followers will hopefully come back to us, but for the time being I personally discourage people from visiting her and her supposed 'angel.' If he really exists, which I doubt, how are any of us to know who he is really an agent of?"


"Local Woman Claims Angel Visit", Dade County Sun November 12, 1997

phone interview with Desiree Flanders, March 13th, 1998

Photo courtesy of The Dade County Sun

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