We all wish we had a guardian angel. Some of us are even nice enough to wish everyone else had one, too. But maybe we should be careful what we wish for, because if guardian angels were real, it would mean that awful people would end up with heavenly protection. People like Adolf Hitler, for example.
One of the most evil people in history, Hitler himself believed he enjoyed supernatural protection from God... or sometimes, from "the gods," if he was in a particularly neo-pagan mood. And as you will see from the list below, it seems the Fuhrer of Nazi Germany had good reason to think there were occult forces working to keep him alive.
The following crazy coincidences from Hitler's life and rise to power do suggest that the future German dictator and mass murderer did indeed have a destiny. Any one of these incidents alone could be easily written off as luck, but when put together, they seem to form a frightening pattern: some otherworldly force or entity might have been looking out for Adolf Hitler.
Are guardian demons a thing?
Believe it or not, Hitler was a kid once, too. And it was a childhood accident in winter of 1894 that may have been the first example of an evil supernatural guardian influencing others to protect young Adolf.
In January of that year, then-5-year old Adolf Hitler was playing tag with some other kids near the shores of the Inn River in Passau, Germany. Running out onto the thin ice of the river, Hitler fell through into the freezing water flowing down from the mountains, and struggled to stay afloat in the fast and frigid current.
He likely would have drowned or frozen to death then and there, were it not for the bravery of his parents' landlord's son, Johann Kuehberger. Young Johann spotted little Adolf struggling, and dove into the river to help him. Johann successfully pulled Adolf to shore, thus saving his life.
Johann was about the same age as Adolf at the time, and became a renowned priest when he grew up. He told his successor, Max Tremmel, that he had saved Hitler as a boy, thus helping ensure the future Nazi leader's rise to power.
It was during his military service for Germany in the First World War that Adolf Hitler became convinced he had been touched by destiny. And he wasn't alone in thinking this about himself; the young soldier racked up a string of surprising survivals in the face of certain death that gained him a reputation as an amazing, if prudish and somewhat preachy, soldier. As a dispatch runner for the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment, Hitler was often required to expose himself to enemy fire, including from shells and grenades as well as guns, and was almost never wounded while doing so.
Many years later, Hitler recalled an incident (whose time and place are not known to us) in which a mysterious voice warned him to leave a crowded dugout during an Allied barrage. Moments after he left the dugout and went out into the trenches, the dugout was hit by an incoming shell, and everyone inside was killed.
Of course, there is only Hitler's word to go on with this, but it isn't the only time he claimed to have been spoken to by supernatural forces. And he did survive a shell blast that killed several other nearby German soldiers, on 7 October 1916. The injury sent Hitler to Munich to recover, and it was during his time there, seeing German morale collapse all around him, that Hitler became convinced his country was being sabotaged by Jews and Marxists.
Had he died in this shell blast, Hitler wouldn't have witnessed the war's effects on German society, let alone have had his manic vision turned towards redeeming Germany for the Aryans.
Adolf Hitler enjoyed several lucky survivals during his Great War service on the Western Front. One of the most well-known incidents - and one which Hitler himself would later commemorate - was his chance run-in with a British solider on 28 September 1918.
Private Henry Tandey had been serving gallantly with British forces for the entirety of the war, having returned to the frontlines twice after having been wounded. On the day in question, Tandey had been shooting at German soldiers outside the French village of Marcoing all day. Late in the day, Tandey caught sight of a wounded German soldier running out from cover and trying to flee the assault.
Tandey put the German soldier in his sights - they were close enough to each other to make eye contact - but spared the man's life when he saw that the German was wounded. The German nodded his thanks and crawled away to safety.
Many years later, just before the outbreak of the Second World War, Tandey learned the awful truth: the German he spared was Adolf Hitler.
Hitler had known about Tandey's reputation much longer than Tandey had known about his, however. Hitler saw Tandey's photo in the newspaper when Tandey received the Victoria Cross (Britain's highest military honor), and recognized him immediately as the man who'd spared his life in France. He cut Tandey's photo out of the paper and kept it for 20 years.
He also went out of his way, as chancellor of Germany, to obtain a copy of Italian artist Fortunino Matania's painting of Tandey carrying a wounded friend to safety, and displayed it prominently in his offices.
When British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met with Hitler in 1938, hoping to avert a war between Britain and Nazi Germany, he noticed the painting of Tandey, and asked Hitler about it. It was then that Hitler yet again declared his belief the heavens were protecting him.
"That man came so near to killing me that I thought I should never see Germany again," Hitler said. "Providence saved me."
Another of Hitler's famous World War I run-ins with death occurred shortly after his encounter with Pvt. Tandey. Serving with the German army in the Ypres Salient in Belgium, Hitler was exposed to mustard gas launched in a shell from the British lines. Though mustard gas is usually deadly, Hitler walked away only with a case of temporary blindness.
As a result of his injury from this attack, Hitler rode out the rest of the war at a military hospital in Pomerania, and ultimately learned of the war's end while convalescing there. The news shocked him so deeply it solidified his belief that Germany was being betrayed by all manner of secret conspiracies, and sent him on the path of political radicalism.
Hitler used this attack heavily in propaganda about his war hero image, but years after his death, it was revealed that his blindness was likely the result of mental illness rather than a side effect of mustard gas. Hitler purged all the medical records he could find about the incident, to bolster his war hero image. But ultimately, the truth came out, though sadly not soon enough to damage the Fuhrer while he lived.