The Cottingley Fairy Incident of 1917 was a photography hoax founded by Frances Griffith (age 10) and Elsie Wright (age 16), cousins, who claimed to have photographed fairies cavorting by the beck (a small stream or brook) in their home town village on the outskirts of Yorkshire England. The pictures were shown to members of the Theosophical Society in nearby Bradford several years after being taken and subsequently garnered the attentions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's interest in spiritualism led him to declare the photographs as real and valid, believing in the validity of the entire experience until his death. The hoax was not revealed until 1983.
Related categories 5
The Case of the Cottingley Fairies
From Joe Cooper's 1982 article "Cottingley: At Last the Truth."
The Coming of the Fairies
Full text book by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in 1922; the author recounts his and others experiences relating to the Cottingly Fairy incident and other fairy sightings.
The Coming of the Fairies: An Alternative Viewpoint
Essay by Barbara Roden discussing why Arthur Conan Doyle believed or wanted to believe in fairies.
Cottingley Connect: Cottingley Fairies
Local site of the Cottingley Village with the story, location tracking of the photographs through history, colourized photographs, a book list and links.
The Cottingley Network
History of the photographs, investigations, and investigators which followed; images of the location, family, and letters related to the events.
Wikipedia: Cottingley Fairies
Encyclopedic entry of the five photographs by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths taken in 1917.
'Fairy' fakes sell for fortune
From BBC News, the original Cottingley fairy photographs were sold at auction for £21,620 to British bookseller Simon Finch. (July 16, 1998)
Last update:February 10, 2016 at 11:23:28 UTC