Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Cottingley Fairies

Many people who have an interest in fairies have seen or heard of the Cottingley Fairy Hoax.
If you have and didn't really know what the Hoax was or if you haven't heard of it at all, I thought, seeing as it is an important piece of fae-human history, I would share.

The story of the Cottingley Fairies revolves around 5 photographs taken in Cottingley, England in 1917 by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths. The first pictures caught the attention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who used the photos to illustrate an article on fairies written for The Strand Magazine in 1920. 

Enthusiasm from Sir Doyle and other spiritualists caused much interest in the photos as genuine proof of psychic phenomenon. Interest in them continued until 1921. Both girls grew up, married and moved from Cottingley. 

In the early 1980's the girls, now women, admitted that the photos were faked. There was one exception, however. Frances continued to claim that the 5th and final photograph was real.

The cameras used to take the photos are on display at the National Media Museum in Bradford, England. 

The story of the Cottingley fairies have inspired many other stories, movies and even television shows. 
Fairy Tale: A True Story is a movie based on the Cottingley story made in 1997. 
Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book is one of many books inspired by this amazing story.
There is even an episode of Torchwood called Small Worlds that inspired by this bit of history in which fairies are elemental beings that not even Torchwood understands. They take chosen children away into another dimension to become fairies and nothing Torchwood or any humans can do will stop them. 

This is my favorite Cottingley photo

Prints of the photos and other items including a first edition of Sir Doyle's book, The Coming of the Fairies, were sold at auction after the girls died for £21,620.

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