Fairies and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
They were called the Cottingley Fairies, and the little girls who invented them managed to fool everybody, including the most skeptical mind in all of England—Sherlock Holmes.
In November 1918, 10-year-old Frances Griffiths and her 16-year-old cousin, Elsie Wright, took snapshots of each other in the Griffiths’;s backyard. When Mr. Wright developed the film, he noticed little white flecks near the girls. At first he imagined them to be birds or pieces of paper, but his daughter insisted they were fairies. When Elsie showed up with a picture of herself standing with a gnome, her parents became concerned. Unable to get a satisfactory explanation from Elsie, they circulated prints of the photograph to friends seeking an explanation. That’;s when the pixie dust hit the fan.
Elsie’;s mother, who was interested in the occult, showed the photos to friends at a meeting of the Theosophical Society, a group interested in religious mysticism. The photos were copied and examined, yet accepted with little or no challenge.
By coincidence, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the scrupulously precise sleuth Sherlock Holmes, was preparing to write an article on mysticism for
Anything but Elementary
Nowhere in any of Arthur Conan Doyle’;s Sherlock Holmes stories does the famous sleuth say, “Elementary, my dear Watson.” The line is an invention used in the popular motion picture series starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.
The November 1920
In August 1921, clairvoyant Geoffrey Hodson was summoned to Cottingley to verify the fairies. Hodson appeared but the fairies did not. The matter was put to a rest—until 1966 when reporter Peter Chambers of the London
In 1983, both girls—by then grandmothers—admitted that they had fabricated the fairy pictures based on Arthur Shepperson’;s illustrations in