Cottingley Fairies- What a Great Hoax

Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was fooled. 

Fooled by what you ask? A series of supposed photos of two young girls with fairies. It began in 1917 in the village of Cottingley in West Yorkshire and became public knowledge in 1919, but it wasn't until 1983 that they were proven fake. 1983 my friends!! Sixty four years before the very obviously staged photos were debunked, and only debunked when the two girls, now in their late 70's and early 80's actually admitted to the hoax. I love whimsy and fairytales, I fervently wish fairies lived at the bottom of my garden, I really wish these photos were genuine. What I wonder though is this: how on earth could people think these were genuine? Was photography so very new that they could suspend belief? This was no trick of light or something super imposed during the development process- these were painted cardboard cut outs on sticks in the ground. 

Yes, I sound critical but in reality I adore it. I adore the idea that people were so naive as to believe these really were photos of fairies. I'm smitten with a generation that was so caught up in the excitement  of the photos, of the possibilities as one person put it, "... the fact that two young girls had not only been able to see fairies, which others had done, but had actually for the first time ever been able to materialise them at a density sufficient for their images to be recorded on a photographic plate, meant that it was possible that the next cycle of evolution was underway. " Edward Garner. *  What a big statement! The next cycle in evolution?!

There were a few naysayers and my favorite reason for people thinking they may be fakes was the fact that they (the fairies) had "very fashionable hairstyles".  Haha, I love it!!

You decide for yourself. Is is just our modern, jaded eyes that see a fake- or are they indeed as obvious as I think?

*Edward Garner quote found on Wikipedia. Sourced from Smith, Paul (1997), "The Cottingley Fairies: The End of a Legend", in Narváez, Peter, The Good People: New Fairylore Essays, The University Press of Kentucky, pp. 371–405,ISBN 978-0-8131-0939-8

All photos public domain, with no copyright holders.


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