The Cottingley Fairies…

This interesting item was sent in to me by Burton W. McKinney in a follow-up to my recent blog on The Cottingley Fairies. I thought perhaps everyone might like to read it.

To this day, the suburban area of Cottingley continues to get visitors and the official retraction, even though more than 20 years ago, is still not as a well-known as the hoax itself. This may be partly due to the fact that the story was put to film in 1997 under the title Photographing Fairies. Locals are asked where the Fairy Glen is, even though the site along the small river is off limits, due to the danger of erosion. The story begins with Elsie borrowing her father’s camera one Saturday afternoon in July 1917, in order to take Frances’s photo, to cheer her up. She had fallen in the beck and been scolded for wetting her clothes. The girls were away for about half an hour and when Elsie’s father developed the plate later in the afternoon, he was surprised to see strange white shapes coming up. He believed these were birds, then sandwich paper, but it was Elsie who told him these were fairies. Apparently, in order to prove that fairies really did exist, Elsie had taken the picture, showing Frances with a troop of sprites dancing in front of her. In August, the roles were reversed and Frances took a photograph of Elsie with a gnome. The print was under-exposed and unclear, as might be expected when taken by a ten year old. The plate was again developed by Elsie’s father, who suspected that the girls had been playing tricks and refused to lend his camera to them any more. Elsie’s parents searched the girls’ bedroom and waste-paper basket for any scraps of pictures or cut-outs, and also went down to the beck to search for evidence of fakery. They found nothing, and the girls stuck to their story: they had seen fairies and photographed them.

About Patrick

a photographer, writer and blogger, a studio and press photographer since the mid 1960's, first published writings in 1974
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