Q: Myth, folklore, legend, or truth? When a person dies on a feather pillow, do angels come and sew crowns for every person that the deceased loved in his or her life? These crowns are said to be threaded together from the feathers in the pillow and fashioned into different shapes and sizes. I'd be grateful for any information you might have.

A: It's interesting for those of us who study cross-cultural accounts of angels and paranormal phenomena to note how certain activities once attributed to entities such as fairies in earlier times became associated with angels with the advent of Christianity. Local gods and goddesses very often became transformed into saintly humans with extraordinary powers. Mischievous entities were transmogrified into imps, and benevolent beings achieved angelic status.

The folklore of the angelic feather crowns was borrowed from the earlier repertoire of the fairy folk, who celebrated the death of a good person by creating diadems of glory. Birds as winged and feathered creatures that symbolized the soul flying up to a higher level of being were transformed into angels, who were envisioned with feathered wings and a heavenly residence. With the introduction of angels into the newly converted people's mass consciousness, fairies were replaced by benevolent angels as the weavers of feathered crowns to commemorate the passing of a good person.
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