A Letter from Joplin – Part 6 – The Butterfly People

This is the final installment of my sister’s email telling what happened concerning the tornado.

It really is a miracle that not more people were killed. One of Denny’s golfing buddies, age 75, had his whole house disappear and all that was left was his car in his driveway. He was thrown around in the tornado and deposited on his front yard. His wife had a sudden illness and died in Feb. Now he is wondering why God has kept him around.

I heard the story of a mother who had been trying to outrun the tornado. She stopped when she heard a voice say to pull over and get into the ditch.

She got into the ditch, covering her four year old daughter.

After the tornado passed over them, the mother asked her daughter if she was OK.

The little girl said she was and said to her mother,

“Wasn’t it pretty?”

Her mother asked her what she meant.

She replied that she saw a lot of butterfly people.

“Did you see the butterfly people in the sky?  They were carrying people in the sky.”

They were going into the sky with people and there were a lot around the two of them.

Besides the butterfly story about the mother and child taking safety in a ditch, I have heard of two more.

A mother and child pulled over at a convenience store, gas station.

The door had been locked by the people taking cover inside.

When the tornado had passed, the mother marveled at how unhurt they were.

Her child said it was because there were big butterfly wings covering their car.

The final one I have heard was about a grandfather and grandson in a field.

The grandfather covered his grandson to protect him from the tornado.

Apparently the man did have some injuries, but the child did not.

The little boy told his grandfather that he saw a lot of butterflies around him.

There are so many stories about the place that people took shelter ended up being the only place remaining in their home.

Sixteen days after the tornado in Joplin, this cat was found.

One of Lissa and Brandon’s friends found their cat alive in their rubble of a house after 16 days.

We are amazed with stories of all of the miracles, heroes, as well as tragedies.

Well, that’s what we have been up to.

Love, Ellen & Denny


A Letter from Joplin – Part 6 – The Butterfly People — 15 Comments

  1. I heard of the Butterfly People from my daughter, who is working with several people that were affected by the Joplin, Mo Tornado, I had to Google it as soon as I heard. Those are amazing stories, my heart and prayers go out to all the people who were affected by the Tornado’s.

    Prayers from Tulsa, Okla

  2. I heard another story of a woman who was in the basement with her granddaughter, age 3.

    When the storm was over, the little girl was talking about the Butterfly People.

    “They asked me if I was okay, and I said NO! and they saved grandma’s house so we wouldn’t lose it. They were blue and ‘wet’ with big white wings.”

    Gives me chills!!

  3. This is truly amazing! These stories gave me goosebumps, as well as hope and a sense of peace and safety.

    It is heartwarming to read these accounts.

    Children aren’t jaded by society and other influences so they are better able to see what we cannot.

    Truly amazing.

  4. All of the stories…every one of them awe-inspiring!!! ITA with Brittney when she said that children aren’t “jaded.” That should tell us adults something, shouldn’t it? Maybe every once in a while, may we LEARN something from our children! : )

  5. This is a load of made up crap, just like the story of the Christmas Shoes. People are so gullible.

  6. Bad Old Boy Bobby, Sounds like you need a spoon full of real reality in your
    life. When you do, swallow it Bobby and don’t spit it out. It might just heal what really is bothering you.

  7. Amazing stories of hope and survival. I agree, Bob open your eyes. Why is it so easy to discount other peoples miracles? Were you there? Did you witness what these people saw? How closed minded and nasty, shame on you!

  8. 161 died as a result of the tornado. About 16,000 were in its path.

    To have the death rate be, in effect, a rounding error–.01 percent–represents a lot of miracles to me.

    There was the late-20’s clerk at our motel.

    She, her husband and two kids under 5 were huddled under the stairs in their one story home.

    Every part of the home was swept away but the stairs.

    There were to family friends of my sister.

    They drove up the driveway. The father stayed in the vehicle, while the mother and early high school son tried to open the front door.

    They were unable to budge the door.

    All that was left of the upscale home was the front door.

    Neither the father nor the mother and son were hurt.

    Sounds like miracles to me.

    And, ask anyone from Joplin and he or she will be able to tell you others.

  9. My heart is with you Joplin and all its residents. I can so feel God’s presence everytime my husband and I come to Joplin.

    I cry for hours on end and find it so hard to talk about the storm to anyone.

    I grew up in Joplin.

    Our family home was in Duquesne and the house we lived in was destroyed.

    There wasn’t a stone left to show what was once there.

    My Mother and Dad and grandparents are gone, they died years before.

    I know God is there and his heavenly angels too.

    Keeping safe watch over all his children.

    You are all blessed Joplin, definately blessed.

    God will keep you safe.

    Love Debbie

  10. All the kids said they saw the butterfly people Bob.

    Wasn’t just one.

    Incredible stuff. Open your mind Bob.

    Your mind is like a parachute, it only works if you open it.


  11. I too grew up in Joplin. My favorite place in the whole, wide world!!

    I happened to go back to Joplin from Thanksgiving to Christmas 2009. As I left town I drove around and took pictures of homes we had lived in and schools that I had attended. I thank God that I had that opportunity to have that trip! Because, it is all gone!

    There was big snow storm coming that day I left town. So some of the pictures were a little dark. But I have them. One house was on Montana Place. As I searched the internet’s stories of the storm I found the one of Montana Place. Heart breaking! The women searching through to find something… anything.

    I was still out of work when it hit. I had the time but not the money to go. It broke my heart that I could not go. Could not go to help…to see…to just be there! God has a plan. I had to believe that when I wanted to go so bad. My family was not harmed and they were helping others.

    I love you Joplin! And one day I will make it back. In the mean time, my prayers are with you! I am proud of the way you have handled this opportunity to rise and raise. God bless you! Even those who do not believe! God Bless You!


  12. Bob, a couple of years after the Joplin tornado, I stopped at the Taco Bell in the middle of “the zone” (what many Joplin residents called the huge area devastated by the tornado so powerful it actually shifted a multi-story hospital slightly off its foundation, causing the building to be condemned).

    The store had been rebuilt.

    I started talking with the store manager on duty about the rebuilding and the tornado.

    She came over to my table and showed me a picture from shortly after the storm.

    It was of a slab foundation of a home with a small red blanket on the slab.

    The manager said the (former) home was that of one of her best friends, who was home that afternoon babysitting a 3 or 4-year old girl.

    She said when the tornado hit, the woman blacked out for whatever reason.

    The winds were so powerful that it not only swept away the house but sucked the carpet right out from beneath her friend and the little girl.

    Yet when her friend came to, the little girl was sitting on the grown lady’s stomach, and asked the woman:

    “When’s the lady in white coming back?”

    (Not a butterfly story, but a divine one nonetheless, seems to me.)

    The casualty number in Joplin should have been 4 figures.

    I’ve never seen a town bisected into 2/3 and 1/3 like that one after that horrible storm.

    And while I can’t explain why some lives were lost, I do believe God’s hand of protection (through angels under His almighty command) protected a lot of people that day.

  13. BTW, I forgot to mention, our family experienced miracles indirectly through that tornado as well.

    The day before, my son had graduated from Bentonville, AR High School.

    Instead of that afternoon, we opted to have his graduation party the next day, when the Joplin tornado of 2011 hit.

    We have a lot of family in Springfield, MO, including multiple 70 year old grandparents, who would have been traveling what was then the junction of I-44 and U.S. 71 (now Interstate 49), the fastest way to get between Springfield and Bentonville.

    As it was, for one reason or another, not one single person was there at the time returning home.

    Had they been there at the wrong time, they would have experienced what this trucker did in the following video (who WAS at that crossing right when the storm hit).


    Our own miracles.

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