Tuesday, 12 May 2009

cottingly fairys

By the end of World War One the English were emotionally bruised and battered by four years of unrelenting bloodshed. They seemed to be in need of something that would reaffirm their belief in goodness and innocence. They found this reaffirmation in a series of haunting fairy photographs taken by two young girls in a garden outside of a home in Cottingley, Yorkshire.
The two young girls, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright, were cousins. Initially they took two photographs in 1917 to prove to their parents that they really had been playing with fairies outside in the garden, as they had claimed. The photographs showed the girls posing while delicate, winged creatures danced around them. A local photographic expert was shown the photos and proclaimed them to be genuine, unretouched images. Once they had received this official stamp of approval, the fairy images began circulating through upper class British society.
Eventually the photos came to the attention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Doyle was a passionate believer in spiritualism, and he latched onto the images, convinced they were conclusive photographic proof of the existence of supernatural fairy beings. Doyle publicly made this argument in an article he wrote for Strand magazine in 1920. When the girls provided him with three more fairy photographs, he wrote a second article.
Doyle’s passionate belief in the authenticity of the fairy photos helped to make the two girls famous, and it sparked a national controversy that pitted spiritualists against skeptics.

1 comment:

  1. i love these sooooo much. you know that film a true fairy story? i full on loved that when i was wee lasssss and used to shout DO YOU BELIEVE IN FAIRIES out my window at people and write down how many people said yess we should do it sometime x