The legend began in 1917 on the outskirts of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. In a little town named Cottingley lived Elsie Wright, 16, and her younger cousin, Frances Griffiths, aged 10.

Behind Elsieís house was a babbling brook surrounded by enchanting woods. There the two girls played and together witnessed real fairies. Unable to convince Elsieís parents of their existence, the girls conspired to borrow her fatherís camera and take pictures. Under the darkroom's light emerged a photograph of Frances sitting among a troop of fairies!
 
Shortly thereafter, the girls captured a photograph of Elsie playing with a gnome, but nothing would satisfy her father that these creatures truly did exist. Two years later, Elsieís mother took the pictures to Bradford to share at a meeting of Theosophists (a group of spiritualists), where they became the center of attention and debate.
 
As good fortune would have it, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes, was in attendance. Keenly interested in the evidence, he arranged for publication of the first two images in Strand Magazine.
 
This was the year 1920 and the story was a sensation that drew attention worldwide. With his encouragement and support, that same year Elsie and Frances were given a camera and produced three more photographs of fairies.
 
Sadly, these would also be their last, since the girls moved away from one another and quit seeing fairies. Nonetheless, the pictures were published in 1922 in a sequel to Sir Arthurís first article, and were next incorporated into his book titled The Coming of the Fairies!

Endnote:

The excitement created by little Elsie and Frances has lived on in the hearts and minds of fairy lovers for decades. More than 90 years since the legend began, a small group of photographers has banded together as the Cottingley Society. Picking up where Sir Conan Doyle and the girls left off, the Society is dedicated to showing the world the magical existence of the fae!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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