A Tale Of The Cottingley Fairies

The photographs were black and white. However, the subject was gray in its entirety.

How could two cousins of nine and sixteen procure evidence of pixies when no other had afore? With a borrowed camera, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright presented five most compelling pictures of fairies at Cottingley brook. Of course, their summer (1917) antics couldn’t stay merely between them.

Frances penned a letter to a friend, saying, “I am sending two photos, both of me, one of me in a bathing costume in our back yard, while the other is me with some fairies. Elsie took that one.”

Arthur Wright, to whom the camera belonged, credited the fairies to his daughter’s photography skills. When more fairy prints appeared in his darkroom, he refused the
girls the use of his Midg quarter-plate.

His wife was not of the same mind. Untitled design-56

After attending a lecture on “fairy life,” Polly Wright shared the pictures with the speaker. How a bit of cardboard figures and hatpins could fool! The photos were authenticated and garnered the attention of spiritualists—including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Ironic that the author of Sherlock Holmes was quite taken by the hoax. In truth, all of England was. The Cottingley Fairies appeared in a time of war. And in times of war, it is good for people to believe in something . . . something better, something pure and light. . . Even if only for a short while.

Share a time you believed in something magical. . . 

10 thoughts on “A Tale Of The Cottingley Fairies

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  1. Hello There,
    Does anyone notice the hand of the girl in cottingly 2 photo, she is sitting talking to a fairy, but the hand of the girl looks odd, it looks big with really long fingers it looks like a hand of a witch.
    It is just me or it is her hand or something else!

    1. Goodness, you’re right – it’s huge! Possibly she had that same “large hand” problem actress Vivien Leigh had

      1. It is said that Vivien Leigh disliked the size of her hands. At 5’3″, she felt they were disproportionate to her petite frame and frequently wore gloves to cover them up.

    2. How observant…that is curious indeed! The strange appearance of her hand has since been attributed to the camera angle and the possibility that Frances moved her hand during the long exposure.

    3. her hand is resting on top of the “thing” that looks like a hand. look closely and you will see the color difference. but, I see what you mean !

  2. I love this story! I also love the movie made about it… My mom used to tell me that Lacewings were really fairies, and I loved believing that they were! And when we developed a “Fairy Ring” in our yard, I explained to my scientific minded granddaughter, how the ring develops as a result of a fungal spread underground, and then I said, “and at night, under a full moon, the fairies come out and dance in the ring!” She looked at me with a raised eyebrow and replied, “Really, grandma?”…. Well, I had to try!

  3. My friend Albert created the movie “Fairy Tale” that came out a few years ago. I was with him in High School when he found the story of the cousins. His mother’s name was Francis and a friend’s mothers name was Elsie.
    I have also seen fairies around my house inside and out. They are a brilliant gold. Fairies also love pizzas.

  4. I’ll say, Someone has to notice it by now since those pictures are now 100 year’s old and not only that, but her hand is the only thing that is odd in the photo because everything else is Ok. (The girls took really good pictures) I was starting to tink there were real fairies playing a trick on them like in the “fairy tales”. But since i started to love fairys when i was 14, although everyone else says that fairys does not exist i always felt that there are still fairys somewhere but that they are tricky to find and they will not appear to everyone but to some special people, especially one who is pure at heart. I say that maybe if i go to Ireland or another European country, probably i will find one and even a leprechaun. I wish i could see i real live one, by the way Happy Saint Patrick’s Day Everybody! 🙂

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