Historic Hoaxes · Weird History

Weird Wednesday: The Cottingley Fairies

Elsie Wright as photographed by her cousin Frances Griffiths in 1920 with a "fairy"
Elsie Wright as photographed by her cousin Frances Griffiths in 1920 with one of the most debated fairies of the 20th century.  Photo: http://www.cottingleyconnect.org.uk

This is a story that has captivated my attention since I was a little girl. It was 1917 in Cottingley, UK when two cousins, Elsie Wright, then 16 and her 10 year old cousin Frances Griffiths created two photographs- one of Frances with fairies and another of Elise with a gnome. These pictures were shown at a lecture on “Fairy Life” in 1919 and from that point sparked a debate among many prominent individuals at the time, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame. Critics felt that the fairies looked too modern with current hairstyles and clothing to be real while others argued that no darkroom manipulation or double exposures had taken place after examining the negatives. Continue reading “Weird Wednesday: The Cottingley Fairies”