Cottingley Fairies Fool the World
The Cottingley Fairies is the story of two young girls that hoaxed the world for decades with supposed photographic proof of fairies.
In July of 1917, one week before the end of World War I, two young girls, Elsie Wright and her cousin Frances Griffiths, were highly frustrated. The reason being was that their parents didn’t believe their story of seeing real fairies in a nearby glen. The girls were determined to get photographic proof.
Elsie and Frances set out with an old Brownie camera which belonged to one of the parents. What the two girls came back with, astonished everyone. Eventually, the press became involved and published the photo images. As a result, the photos were a worldwide sensation. Not only that, but a famous author proclaimed the images real.
The Cottingley Fairy Photographs Made Worldwide News
The Cottingley Fairies appear in a sequence of five photographs taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths. The two young cousins lived in Cottingley, near Bradford in England.
In 1917, when the photographs were taken, Elsie was 16 years old and Frances was 9. The pictures came to the attention of writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who used them to illustrate an article on fairies he was to write for The Strand Magazine. Doyle, as a spiritualist, was enthusiastic about the photographs, and interpreted them as absolute proof of supernatural beings. However, the public’s reaction was mixed. Some believed the images to be genuine and others believed that they were fake.
How the Two Girls Pulled Off the Cottingley Fairys’ Images
Frances and Elsie explained that they had taken colored cut-outs from a fairy-doll book and attached them to stakes. They proceeded to photograph these cut-outs posed in various places.
In late 1981 and mid-1982 respectively, Frances Way (Griffiths) and Elsie Hill (Wright), the two girls who took the photographs, publicly admitted that the pictures were faked. Frances told one writer: “My heart always sinks when I look at them. When I think of how they’ve gone all around the world–I don’t see how people could believe they’re real fairies. I could see the backs of them and the hat pins when the photo was being taken.”
*Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini Rift
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle DL (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a Scottish physician and writer most noted for the famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. Doyle, who was an avid Spiritualist, was convinced the pictures taken by the old Brownie Camera were of real fairies. A close friend of Harry Houdini, Doyle’s insistence that the photos were real caused an irrevocable rift in their friendship.
Looking at the images today, it is quite apparent the photos are 2-dimensional figures and although charming, can’t possibly be real fairies. However, many today believe that fairies really exist.
Watch the movie. Click the link below to see images of the fairies which fooled many worldwide.
PS. A little secret. You can catch a glimpse of a very young Mel Gibson at the end of the movie.