So who was behind this hoax? A comment to our earlier post has pointed us in the direction of a children's charity called 'Global Angels' - the suggestion seems to be that the idea was part of a marketing exercise for a music event the charity planned last year at the London Eye - close to the supposed sightings - called '360 degree revolution in Kindness'. I am not sure whether this ever actually took place - I can't find any reference to it other than as a planned event (e.g, in this article from 2006).
If you go into the Angel of the Thames website and view the source code (in Internet Explorer go to 'view' and then select 'source') you will be able to see the following in the keywords section: 'globalangels, 360, apparition, spooky, sightings, sighting, london eye, revolution in kindness, angel on the thames'. David Grant, who supposedly saw something while filming, is a sponsor of the charity, hosting its launch at the private bank Coutts & Co.
So, case closed? I think so, but it's not necessarily the end of the story. Thanks to some uncritical reports in the press, the story of the Thames Angel is now out there, perhaps being passed on as folklore by people unaware of its dubious provenance. Perhaps too, the tale will shape people's perceptions so that they interpret unusual experiences/hallucinations by the Thames as sightings of an Angel. So don't be surprized if future sightings crop up and the story develops a life of its own.
What about the ethics? The charity appears to be raising money for some worthy causes and I guess a prank is relatively harmless. On the other hand putting deliberate lies into the public sphere should not be taken lightly - I think when people do stunts like this the least they should do is hold up their hands and publicly acknowledge what they have done to prevent these lies becoming a matter of record. So come on Global Angels, come clean!
Oh yes and the Brockley connection... Global Angels was founded in 2003 by Molly Bedingfield, with her offspring Daniel and Natasha Bedingfield on the board. The family used to live in Manor Avenue, Brockley, indeed it was here that Daniel recorded his best selling debut album. More intriguingly the Bedingfields seem to have been members of the Pentecostalist Hillside Church - perhaps not averse to encouraging a literal belief in the tangible existence of Angels!