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Image credit: Elsie Wright

Cottingley Fairies

Also Griffiths, Francis.

One of the greatest hoaxes of the 20th century the Cottingley Fairies were the subject of a series of photographs taken by 16 year old Elsie Wright and her 9 year old cousin Francis Giffiths in the summer of 1917. The photos were of considerable interest at the time to Arthur Conan Doyle who famously believed them to be genuine beyond doubt.

A famous hoax

The photographs were taken two months apart at Cottingley beck, a small Brook near their home that they visited often. It was here that they claimed to have witnessed fairies, especially Francis, who swore for the rest of her life that they had indeed seen them. When asked about why they went to the brook one day Francis described the fairies that she had seen there and Elsie backed her up. The photographs, they said, proved that there were fairies at Cottingley beck.

It was not until 1983 that Elsie, then aged 83, finally admitted that the photographs had been faked. She claimed that they had been made with pictures cut out of magazines and held up with hatpins. Francis however still maintained that she had seen Fairies at Cottingley Beck and that despite the fact that four of the photographs were indeed fake, the fifth was genuine.

Related entries: Cottingley Fairies, Griffiths, Francis

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