The Cottingley Fairies

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  • ‘The Cottingley Fairies appear in five photographs taken by Elsie Wright, 16, and Frances Griffiths, 10 near Bradford, in 1917.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used them to illustrate an article on fairies for The Strand Magazine. He interpreted them as clear and visible evidence of psychic phenomena.

    ‘In 1983, the cousins admitted that the photographs had been faked, although both maintained that they really had seen fairies. Elsie had copied illustrations of fairies from ‘Princess Mary’s Gift Book’, published in 1914.’

    - Wikipedia

    Thank you to Museum of Hoaxes

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    4 comments to The Cottingley Fairies

    • Rich

      It’s hard not to conclude that Conan Doyle really wanted to believe in fairies.

      As Frances herself said in 1985, “I can’t understand to this day why they were taken in – they wanted to be taken in.”

    • KFS

      Even for the era they aren’t particularly GOOD staged photos. It’s actually quite quaint to imagine how much people wanted to believe. :)

    • John Simpson

      People believed it partly because they wanted to, but also because they were looking at the photos in the wrong way. To discover if it was a forgery, they thought only about ways that a photograph could be doctored - not about ways that this could be staged in real life with cut-out fairies, and then photographed.

    • Jim A

      Those interested might try to watch the movie Fairy Tale: A True Story.

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