Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Cottingley Faries

A film that took my breath away, The Fairy Tale, beautiful cinematography, evoking emotions and spiritual beliefs. Today is Fairy day and what better way to celebrate it than to talk about the most famous faeries I know. (besides Tink!) In 1917 Elise Wright (16) and Frances Grittith (10), cousins, spent a good deal of time behind the Wright home. They moved in together when WW1 occurred and soon became good friends despite their age. It was secret between the girls but one day, exacerbated by the wet shoes and dirty feet, one of the mothers pressed the cousins as to what they were up too, "At the stream visiting the faeries!" They blurted.
As if to prove the discovery, Elise and Frances borrowed the Wright family camera and photographed these 5 pictures. When Mr Wright developed the photos, believing they were hoaxes, he placed them in a drawer, there they sat for a few years. Mrs Wright's religion allowed belief in faeries, gnomes, and pixies. She became a advocate of the children's photos. The uproar began......

In 1920 Sir Author Conan Doyle was commissioned by Strand Magazine, to debunk the five photos the girls had taken, he made several visits to Cottingley, England. He idly sat by as the girls tried to conjoin the faeries into appearing. As we all know, Mr Conan Doyle is best known for writing Sherlock Holmes. He became quickly sucked into the tale the girls had to tell. Elise then, 19 and Frances, 13.
The photos were printed on Kodak paper although the company couldn't verify the authenticity of the subjects, they could say the negatives weren't altered.


In 1981 both girls (woman) gave a interview telling the public the photos were faked, they had used hairpins to upright the cutouts, it is believed the girls gave a histrionics to the parents in the time of their grieving, motions of separations. Neither girl had the heart to reveal the true nature of the photos after a famous writer became involved. Frances continued to say the fifth photo was real and untouched by either girl, she continued to say so up to her death. Elise died in 1988, Frances in 1986. In 2003 one of the girl's daughter, and granddaughter appeared on Antique Roadshow with one of the photos, it was appraised at L40,000. I'm not sure how much that is but I came imagine it's a lot.

I ask you....do you believe? C&G Design.




8 comments:

tina said...

No, I do not believe. Interesting story though.

Debbie said...

What an interesting story and I had NEVER heard of this before! God...I need to read more books! I was hoping right to the end that it was actually true...but alas...like many other seemingly extraordinary things in life...it was not. I believe in angels but I guess not fairies...but what an imagination those girls had! I love the idea of fairy houses in the woods for children. A hole in a tree where treasures are left (by us adults) for children to find. It's a bit like the tooth fairy (no pun intended!) and santa claus...isn't it? Reading this allows me to recall the innocence of childhood and the magic of it all. I kind of miss that. Maybe someday if I have grand babies, I can do it all over again! Thanks Dawn...this was a great post...as always!

Jean said...

I sure wanna believe but can be very wishy-washy about it. I do think the girls had a pretty good life, real or not.

lola said...

Great post Dawn. I go along with Debbie. If not for belief's of some sort, most people wouldn't have much to make live interesting. Some of these belief's {or dreams if you wish} have caused some great inventions that have helped many people. Fairies or not a higher power prevails.

Protector of Vintage said...

I am unfamiliar with that story. Glad you posted it! We have a fairy chair out in the garden. No sign of any fairies though :)

blackeyedsuzie said...

These photos are just lovely...oh, to be a fairy! Have you ever seen Fantasia? Some lovely fairy scenes...

Kathleen said...

Dawn I had never heard of this story or of the photos, but was totally enthralled by the tale. If we believe in angels, then why not fairies. Everyone's life deserves a little magic! Hugs, Kathleen

Nancy @ La Chambre Rose said...

I did not know about this fairy story. I wish I had seen the Antiques Roadshow with the print. How incredibly interesting!