Tuesday, 03 August 2004
Frances & Elsie Both Saw Fairies
CREDITS:© Margaret Krupa/CottingleyConnect.org.uk
© The Cottingley Network/Cottingley.net
WHERE: Cottingley, Yorkshire, England. WHAT: photographic fairy hoax.
MAP: Cottingley. AERIAL: large photo [431KBs]
Thumbnail  and text  links pop-up source pages.
"…and there are fairies at the bottom of our garden!" was at one time a colloquialism equivalent to "Pull the other one!", used when hearing someone's tall story. The reference is to one of the crudest yet most successful photographic hoaxes ever perpetrated, the real life Cottingley Fairies case. A photographic prank by two young women, Frances Griffiths and her cousin Elsie Wright, took in many prominent people post WWI, including 'Sherlock Holmes' author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was many years before the perpetrator's confession revealed the truth. A convincing example of people believing what they want to believe.
If you just want an overview, then the MuseumOfHoaxes.com web site has one that includes the pictures, and Chris Willis has one with more details, and references [Geoffrey Hodson working link for Chris's broken one] for further research.
The village of Cottingley has two web sites telling the fairy story: few places of a similar size can claim to be so well served on the web. Margaret Krupa's web site, Cottingley Connect, features the story of the Fairies with the five      famous pictures. The Gnome picture [scroll down] is shown hand colored by the subject… Elsie Wright that is: for those whose attention may have wandered - the gnome was a hoax! The Cottingley Network adds background information, so we recommend a visit to both sites, both of which are detailed and well laid out.
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)