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Were The Cottingley Fairies Real or Fake?
What's The TRUE Story Behind The Cottingley Fairies?
In 1917 in Cottingley, Yorkshire, England, a pair of young ladies named Elsie Wright (16) and Frances Griffiths (10) believed that there were fairies in their garden and took photos of them to prove the existence of the fairies to their families. The photos were accepted within the family as proof and were never intended to go any farther than that. However, by 1920, they had left the family circle and become a world story. Some people felt that the photos proved the existence of fairies.
The story faded away in the early 1920s and both girls went on to live normal lives. However, in 1966 a news reporter spoke with Elsie and renewed interest in the story. In the 1980s, the women admitted to using cardboard cutouts taken from a children's picture book, Claude Arthur Shepperson's Princess Mary's Gift Book, to fake the fairies. Francis, who rarely spoke of their ruse because she was ashamed of it, did, however, maintain until her death, that the fifth photo was of a genuine fairy. Both women maintained that they had seen REAL fairies in the garden.
On this page, with the assistance of videos from the Antiques Roadshow and James Randi, learn a bit more about the Cottingley fairies and pause for a moment to think about whether or not you believe in fairies...
Do You Believe In Fairies?
The Cottingley Fairies Antique Roadshow Video April 2009 - The photos and the camera that took the famous pictures of the fairies.
"I'm often asked what was my favourite Roadshow moment and I think the Cottingley fairies has to be it. It was so unexpected and so exciting, one of those moments that still sends shivers down my spine. During the filming I felt that I might not get through the item, such was its impact on me." ~ Paul Atterbury, Antiques Roadshow Highlights
In the 1920s, it was often believed that cameras did not and could not lie...
The Fifth Cottingley Fairies Picture - This is the picture which Frances Griffiths claimed was REAL.
James Randi and the Cottingley Fairies Video - Mr. Randi presents proof in this short video that the photographs were faked.
The Case of The Cottingley Fairies
The Cottingley Fairies story has inspired a number of books, some of which are easier than others to find. You might look for the following titles:
- Reflections on the Cottingley Fairies: Frances Griffiths - in Her Own Words: With Additional Material by Her Daughter Christine.
- Fairies - A Book of Real Fairies: The Cottingley Photographs and Their Sequel by Edward L. Gardner.
- Three articles on Doyle and the Cottingley Fairies Unknown Binding by Robert Sheaffer
The Case of the Cottingly Fairies. Were there really fairies at Cottingley? Over seventy years ago, two girls living in this suburb of Bradford 'saw' and photographed fairies. Their story captured the imagination of British society and has been an enigma until now. Click here to order your copy of The Case of the Cottingley Fairies from Amazon.
More Reading About The Cottingley Fairies
- Cottingley Fairies - Wikipedia
The Cottingley Fairies appear in a series of five photographs taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths in 1917. Read all the details at Wikipedia.
- James Randi Educational Foundation Library, The Case of the Cottingley Fairies
n 1917 two innocent-seeming English schoolgirls, 16-year-old Elsie Wright and her 10-year-old cousin Frances Griffiths, launched a deception that somehow managed to fool many people over the following years, including the creator of Sherlock Holmes,
- The Cottingley Network
This section is dedicated to the Cottingley Fairies. Read a detailed account of the story with a focus on the people, places and events which helped fool generations.
- Cottingley Fairies
Even today these photographs continue to mystify and fascinate the world. All this with the first photograph that a young girl took.
Fairy Tale - A True Story (1997) - The movie based quite loosely on the Cottingley fairy controversy.
- Fairy Tale: A True Story Movie Review
A lovely family-friendly movie about fairies.
- Fantastical Fairies By Jasmine Becket-Griffith / Strangeling
Discover the fairy world of Jasmine Becket-Griffith.
- Five Fairy Coloring Books
Find five fairy-themed coloring books...
- A Treasury of the World's Greatest Fairy Tales Child...
Discover The Two Volumes of The World's Greatest Fairy Tales Books.
- Three Fairy T-Shirts From The Mountain
Discover three fairy-themed shirts from the Mountain.