The Cottingley Fairies Hoax

Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths were cousins who ‘proved’ the existence of fairies whilst living in Cottingley in England.

Sixteen year old Elsie was a talented artist who worked in a greetings card factory as well as a photo lab.

One day she borrowed her fatherโ€™s camera and took several photographs in their garden.


The Cottingley Fairies

When these photos were later developed, fairies could plainly be seen in some of them.

Elsie’s father, Arthur, was sure that the fairies were fake but her mother, Polly, believed that they were real.

When the photographs became public knowledge they generated a huge level of interest from the public.

The Sherlock Holmes author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, had just been asked to write an article about fairies for The Strand Magazine.

Upon seeing the photos he was convinced that they were real and that the girls were genuine.

Some of the better Cottingley Fairies photos were published.

For over 50 years the two cousins remained quiet about their photos until, in 1981, they were interviewed for a magazine called The Unexplained.

They admitted that four out of the five infamous photographs were a hoax and had been faked by making cut-out fairies and then holding them up with hatpins.

They had intended for the photographs to be a joke but were too embarrassed to admit to it after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had become a believer.

Frances always maintained, however, that the last of the five Cottingley photographs that they took was genuine and that her and her cousin really did see fairies.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. I can’t believe that someone as esteemed as Conan Doyle could have fallen for such a hoax.

  2. Are all fairies as hot as the one in this post? ๐Ÿ™‚

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