They're as much a part of growing up as fairies and Santa Claus, but it seems angels are no longer the stuff of childhood.
An increasing number of intelligent young women - including A-listers Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Hudson - are resurrecting their belief in guardian angels and turning to them for help with anything from landing that dream job to finding love.
And while it might sound crazy to the rest of us, the figures speak for themselves.
A recent Mori survey discovered 46 per cent of adults believe they have a guardian angel, with the majority admitting they ask them for help.
Sarah-Jayne Allen is one believer. The 29-year-old full-time mum from Castle Cary in Somerset, once dismissed the existence of angels as 'ludicrous', but changed her mind two years ago when she fell pregnant with her first child by new partner Robin Williams, 54, a mechanic.
"The night before our 12-week scan, I had a vivid dream," she recalls. "An old lady - who I recognised from pictures as Robin's mum Nancy, who'd died 20 years before - came to visit me.
"Beside her was a pure white figure surrounded by golden lights. She didn't have a face, but I knew she was an angel.
"They told me they had to take my baby. I didn't want to let her go, but they said she would be looked after. In my dream I was distraught, but the angel hugged me and told me everything would work out soon.
"As they disappeared, I felt a warm and soothing energy rush. I felt happy."
Sarah-Jayne, who has two daughters, Melissa, 10, and Lydia, eight, from a previous relationship, woke up and knew immediately something was wrong with her unborn child.
Hours later, the sonographer at Yeovil District Hospital confirmed her worst fears. Her baby girl had died.
Sarah-Jayne's only comfort came from her dream.
"I knew that my daughter was somewhere being looked after," she says simply.
After her experience, Sarah-Jayne began to research angels. And the more she read, the more she was convinced that what she'd seen in her dream was real.
"I was so sad after the miscarriage and even though I felt a little silly at first, I began to ask the angels for help. I wanted them to make me feel better again," she admits.
And nine months later, despite the fact she wasn't trying for a baby, Sarah-Jayne discovered she was pregnant again.
Understandably, her previous pregnancy had made her anxious. So, looking for reassurance, she once again turned to her angels.
"I asked them to protect us. We had one scare as the doctors found extra fluid at the back of the baby's neck, which can be a sign of Down's syndrome. But I just kept asking the angels to look after my baby, and further tests showed he was a healthy boy."
Alexander was born this August at Yeovil District Hospital weighing 8lb 13oz.
"In the birthing room, Robin and I could feel an electric energy. Instinct told me it was the angels welcoming our baby," Sarah-Jayne says.
However, there were more testing times to come. Six weeks after Alex was born he had difficulty breathing. Doctors told Sarah-Jayne he had a problem with his windpipe which might not improve until he was four.
Again, she spoke to her angels, asking them to make Alex better. Now four months old, he has already made a full recovery.
Like other believers, Sarah-Jayne says she often finds white feathers - which along with shiny coins are seen as a sign by believers that angels are watching over them.
"I find feathers all the time," she says. "Mostly on the doorstep. I've put one in Alex's memory box. He's my angel baby and I thank them every day for my gift."
If Sarah-Jayne was alone, it would be easy to be sceptical.But there are thousands around the world with similar stories they can only explain as being paranormal.
American spiritual psychotherapist Doreen Virtue, 51, was one of the pioneers who developed a holistic therapy, similar to reiki, in which she calls upon angels to visit those in need of help. And in the last 10 years, as people desert traditional religions in their droves, the number turning to therapists like Doreen has increased.
Author Jacky Newcomb, known as The Angel Lady, has written nine best-selling books on the subject. She claims to get thousands of letters every month from people who want to explore their angelic links.
"It's growing all the time," she says. "Traditional religions aren't fulfilling people's needs these days and women in particular are searching for their own comfort."
Psychologist Ingrid Collins adds: "Who wouldn't find comfort in the idea of a guardian angel - a totally dedicated, super-powerful friend who is focused on offering you help, support and understanding?"
Something Gabriella Crombie, 33, from Rutland, Leicestershire, agrees with.
She had her first angel experience seven years ago when her father was ill with prostate problems.
"I'd read a little about angels. I knew feathers were one sign and suddenly I was finding them everywhere.
"I know some people might find it hard to believe, but they were in my house, on the street. It really made me believe the angels were looking out for my dad," she says.
"A week later he was rushed to hospital and I asked the angels to help him pull through.
"I was so scared for him, but one night I woke up and saw a golden light. I felt as if something was holding me, cradling me, and a feeling of amazing peace settled in the room.
"I could see the shape of golden wings and I realised it was an angel, telling me Dad was going to be OK. It felt reassuring."
Slowly, Gabriella's father started to recover. A week after he was admitted to hospital, he was well enough to go home.
Determined to find out more, Gabriella, a volunteer for the Citizens Advice Bureau, started attending seminars to learn how to summon her angels and how to ask them for help.
She says most people are interested in her beliefs and don't dismiss her as crazy. Since her first experience all those years ago, she has turned to angels for help with everything from solving her wardrobe crises to finding a boyfriend.
She insists that after years of falling for the wrong man, she finally found Mr Right after asking for angelic assistance.
A week after praying to the angels she met engineer Jason Rutter, 37, on a Facebook group - the only group he'd ever joined. The couple have been together since meeting up in January. "I'm sure he was sent to me," she says.
Of course, not everyone believes in angels. Professor Chris French, a psychologist at Goldsmiths University in London, says: "Angelic encounters are really just a fortunate turn of events.They're messages of positive thinking.
"It's much better to depend on your own resources and support from real people to get you through difficult situations."
However, women like Gabriella will not be swayed.
"I understand some people will be sceptical," she says. "But until there's evidence to say angels don't exist, I don't see why I shouldn't keep believing."
'Angels saved my life'
Student nurse Tracey Davies, 35, from St Helens, says a brush with death made her believe.
"I owe my angels my life," she says.
Last November, Tracey was driving along the motorway. "I was distracted, trying to switch tracks on my MP3 player, when I suddenly saw a tiny, flashing orb from the corner of my eye," she says.
"It forced me to concentrate on the road and seconds later a tyre rolled across the carriageway.
"I slammed on the brakes just as a car ploughed through three lanes of traffic, metres in front of me. If I hadn't been paying attention or had been driving any faster, I would have died."
Tracey had seen the mysterious orbs before. She'd done some research which suggested they were her angels. "They were certainly looking after me that day," she says.
Now, she consults her angels on all major decisions.
"They helped me find a new career," she says. "I was a make-up artist for 10 years but I hated it. I asked for advice and suddenly everywhere I looked I saw articles and leaflets about nursing. I really felt I was being guided. I started training as a nurse in April, and I know it's the job I was destined to do."
The Angel Therapist
Former civil servant, Jean Fisher, 42, a mum of two, believes angels started looking after her following the sudden death of her husband in 2005. She lives in Corby, Northamptonshire.
"After my husband Martin died, I was lost. The life I had known was gone forever. At my lowest moments, I'd find white feathers everywhere.
I found out they were supposedly linked to guardian angels and that sparked my interest.
Since then I've studied angel therapy with Doreen Virtue and I hold regular seminars and have a healing room in my home.
People come to see me after a bereavement, a relationship breakdown, or any life crisis. They could just be stuck in a rut and want to find out about their future and where their life is leading.
During a session of angel therapy the client lies on a bed, fully clothed, in a dimly lit room with soft music playing and oils burning. The therapist lightly places their hands on the head, stomach, knees and feet while silently calling on the person's guardian angel, along with angels of healing.
More and more young women are coming along often as a group, with work colleagues or friends.
These are intelligent, professional people who are convinced they've had angel experiences - they can't all be wrong."
'we Believe in Angels'
Shrek star Cameron Diaz, 37, is convinced she's had angelic protectors since childhood. "I know I have many
guardian angels with me all the time," she says.
Former Bond girl Denise Richards, 38, connected with angels after her mother died. "I believe we all go somewhere and that angels do exist," she admits.
Singer and actress Jennifer Hudson believes that her murdered mum, Darnell Donerson, is her guardian angel and that she is helping Jennifer learn to care for her new son, David, four months. "I feel her with me all the time," she says.
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