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Dark side of Cottingley Fairy hoax - by family of the man who exposed it

Amid the media attention that followed after the hoax was eventually exposed by persistent journalists, Frances steadfastly maintained that she had seen fairies in Cottingley, and that the fifth photograph was authentic. In an interesting twist, Frances often remarked on how the experts never asked her the most important questions: what were the fairies doing, how did they appear, why could only she see them?


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The fake photographs became a smokescreen for what might have been a fascinating study of a little girl who believed she saw fairy life. There was no intentional malice in the origins, or longevity, of the Cottingley story. This was a family joke that got out of hand. We would all do well to heed the advice not to believe everything one reads, and the Cottingley fairies story — while undeniably enchanting — is also a cautionary tale; a reminder that we are all susceptible to suggestion when the conditions are right.

Certainly, some intriguing truths about the human condition can be revealed by our readiness to believe ideas that are plainly false.

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Its charm is the eternal doubt, rose-tinted with the shadow of hope. But the thrill is all in ourselves.

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Hazel Gaynor is the author of the novel The Cottingley Secret. Contact us at editors time. A photograph of Frances 'Alice' Griffiths taken by her cousin Elsie 'Iris' Wright , using her father Arthur's Midg quarter-plate camera, the first in the 'Cottingley Fairies' series.

By Hazel Gaynor August 1, William Morrow Paperbacks.

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Related Stories. Using a hatpin, the girls stuck a paper fairy holding a harebell onto a leaf and another cut-out, a leaping fairy, was pinned to a willow tree branch.


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  6. The fifth picture- a spooky image of transparent fairies peering from a misty nest - is different to the others. When the hoax was revealed, Frances insisted this was the only image that was real, and that she had taken it. But Elsie claimed she'd taken it and, like the others, it was a fake.

    He often took film crews to Cottingley and led tours of the beck. I remember an American coming over to try and disprove the images, he took photos of me at the beck with my Sindy dolls in the trees. He was contacted by many people claiming to have seen fairies. Dad grew up in a strict household, with bleak accounts of his father's experiences. He loved nothing more than taking on the sceptics.

    , July: The Cottingley Fairies | Anomalies: the Strange & Unexplained

    She is also writing a script about the hoax, which she plans to develop into a play or musical. Dark side of Cottingley Fairy hoax - by family of the man who exposed it 5. See photos images. Dark side of Cottingley Fairy hoax - by family of the man who exposed it Joe Cooper was a gifted musician.

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