Fairies at the bottom of the garden.

I am killing three birds with one stone with this story for it will be both my entry in the FOWC one word challenge and the 3TC challenge and suffice as a rather interesting story for those of you who just read my blog.

If you live in the country you may be more aware of the stories of fairies and hobgoblins, a tree or bush can hide a multitude of things, an elf, or a fairy for who knows what lives at the bottom of the garden.

This is the story of the art of deception by two young girls, sixteen year old Elsie Wright and her nine year old cousin Frances Griffiths who lived in the village of Cottingley near Bingley in Yorkshire.

The two young girls believed in fairies and set about to prove their existence by borrowing their father’s quarter plate camera and set up their scenes with the use of hat pins and coloured paper cutouts near the stream at the bottom of Elsie’s garden.

As you can see, so convincing were their images that even eminent figures such as Sherlock Holme’s creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were hoodwinked into believing the images were true.

The photos were taken in 1917 and Elsie’s father, a keen amateur photographer developed the prints and was not deceived by the images, however his wife Polly always believed in their authenticity.

In 1919 she took prints to the Theosophical Society in Bradford where they were giving a lecture on fairy life and from there things spiralled out of control.

It was during 1920 that Conan Doyle who was a committed spiritualist became aware of the photographs and wanted to use them for an article on fairies he had been commissioned to write for the Strand Magazine.

Following the publication of Conan Doyle’s article great controversy raged with leading scientists of the day arguing whether the prints were real or fake for many a year.

I have to say they are rather splendid images and call me a sentimental old duffer but I’m quite happy to go along with the view that they are real as I so seldom go to the bottom of the garden, for all I know they could be there dancing about as I write.



About The Diary of a Country Bumpkin

I am a retired actor, although to be honest I only retired because I wasn't getting any work and the option of becoming an unemployed actor/waiter at my age was ludicrous, especially as my waiting skills are non-existent. Having said I’m retired, I don’t think there really is such a thing as a retired actor for I am still available for work, I just don’t have an agent or any connections with regards to obtaining any worthwhile work. I have over the years done student films when there is nothing else available, always low paid (if at all) the only incentive was always the promised copy of the finished film for your show reel which nine times out of ten always failed to materialise. I spent many years looking after my aged mother who had dementia, hence the lack of acting work but shortly after her death I was lucky enough to run into an ex-girlfriend of many years ago and our romance blossomed once again, resulting in us getting married in 2013. My move to the countryside inspired me to write The Diary of a Country Bumpkin which tells of my continuing dilemmas in dealing with the rigors of the countryside from the unexpectedly large number of pollens, fungal moulds and hay products waiting to attack the unsuspecting townie. I enjoy writing, see my play Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori on The Wireless Theatre Company, The Plays Wot I Wrote and The Battle of Barking Creek both available on Amazon.co.uk and am very fond of classic cars so my ideal occupation would be acting in a film I had written set in the 1930s/40s, we live in hopes. I am delighted to say that since venturing to the countryside where space is not quite the premium it is in town, I have due to the availability of two double garages acquired more classic cars to form a small collection the pride of which are a 1947 Bentley Mk VI and a 2000 Bentley Arnage. My various blogs and websites are continually evolving and I’m sure that by following the appropriate links you will find something which will edify or amuse.
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7 Responses to Fairies at the bottom of the garden.

  1. The Haunted Wordsmith says:

    I’ve always liked those photos 🙂

  2. Almost Iowa says:

    great controversy raged with leading scientists of the day arguing whether the prints were real or fake for many a year

    Rather than banter about the issue of fairies, why not debate matters more pertinent and much more fanciful, like the purpose for tenure.

  3. Hadn’t seen these before – but fabulous.
    Perception is everything…walk softly as reality is never for sure

  4. Diana @ Thoughts on Papyrus says:

    I remember I studied this case for a Religious Studies course, and it was about “miracles”. I know it sounds a bit ludicrous, but here it is. I also think it fits well with the psychology course and delving into the nature of people’s beliefs. Sometime they want to believe so much. Even in fairies and their existence.
    Just a thought – that hair on the fairy which has a ponytail. That is definitely not what real hair looks like or behaves (takes shape) even seeing it from this photo. It is definitely some kind of “plastic” hair, and I am far from being an expert on this comparison.

  5. Chris Hall says:

    Oh I remember these! I think it was on BBC ‘Look North’ – fabulous. I’m quite happy to believe in fairies and elves, proven or otherwise…

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