The early days of the American Revolution were troubling times for General George Washington. One winter’s afternoon at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in 1777 he was writing a dispatch when suddenly he sensed a “beautiful being” standing nearby. A mysterious voice said, “Son of the Republic, Look and Learn,” and through a vapor Washington saw the continents of the world spread before him. A dark, angel-like being sprinkled ocean water over the United States and Europe, and a cloud formed in between, then moved west to envelop America while cries and groans were heard from the American people.

Another vision arose – of towns springing up across the United States. A specter approached from Africa, and the inhabitants of America began battling one another. An angel wearing a crown of light that bore the word “Union” planted a flag on the divided nation and said, “Remember, ye are brethren.”

Washington’s third vision was of armies coming from Europe, Asia and Africa to devastate the whole country, until “a light as of a thousand suns” shown down and broke up another dark cloud enveloping the land. Again the angel sprinkled ocean water on the continent, the cloud rolled back and towns spread across America. Before vanishing, the visitor assured Washington that “the whole world united shall not prevail against the republic.”

The visions seem to represent the Revolution, which had already begun, the Civil War and a third conflict that involved nuclear weapons. Washington’s story was told by Wesley Bradshaw, publisher of the National Stripes magazine, who heard it from 99-year-old Anthony Sherman in 1859, two years before the Civil War began. Sherman said he had fought alongside Washington in the revolutionary war and claimed that he alone knew of the incident. Bradshaw probably doubted his account, at least initially, as he did not publish it until 1880. The Civil War had ended 15 years earlier – but the age of nuclear weapons had not yet dawned.