• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Half Title
 How the matter arose
 The first published account, stand...
 Reception of the first photogr...
 The second series
 Observations of a clairvoyant in...
 Independent evidence for fairi...
 Some subsequent cases
 The theosophic view of fairies
 Back Matter
 Back Cover














Group Title: coming of the fairies
Title: The Coming of the fairies
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00098533/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Coming of the fairies
Physical Description: ix p., 1 l., 13-196 p. : front. (port.) plates. ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Doyle, Arthur Conan, 1859-1930
Publisher: George H. Doran Co.
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: c1922
 Subjects
Subject: Fairies   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated from photographs.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00098533
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 03644575
lccn - 22023374

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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
    Half Title
        Page i
        Page i-a
        Page i-b
    Frontispiece
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Preface
        Page v
        Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
        Page viii
    List of Illustrations
        Page ix
        Page x
    Half Title
        Page xi
        Page xii
    How the matter arose
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 32a
        Page 32b
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
    The first published account, stand Christmas number 1920
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 48a
        Page 48b
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    Reception of the first photographs
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 64a
        Page 64b
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 80a
        Page 80b
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
    The second series
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
    Observations of a clairvoyant in the cottingley Glen, August 1921
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
    Independent evidence for fairies
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 128a
        Page 128b
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 144a
        Page 144b
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
    Some subsequent cases
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
    The theosophic view of fairies
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
    Back Matter
        Page 197
        Page 198
    Back Cover
        Page 199
        Page 200
Full Text































40





THE COMING OF
THE FAIRIES

ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE





























































MR. E. L. GARDNER
Member of the Executive Committee of the Theosophical Society (England)

[ Frontispiece






THE COMING OF

THE FAIRIES


BY
ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
Author of "The New Revelalion," "The Vital Message,"
"Wanderings of a Spiritualist"


ILLUSTRATED F-ROM
PHOTOGILAPHS.












NEW YORK
GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY





































COPYRIGHT, 1921, 1922,

BY GEORGE II. DORAN COMPANY.
































THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES. I

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.











PREFACE


This book contains reproductions of the
famous Cottingley photographs, and gives
the whole of the evidence in connection with
them. The diligent reader is in almost as
good a position as I am to form a judgment
upon the authenticity of the pictures. This
narrative is not a special plea for that au-
thenticity, but is simply a collection of facts
the inferences from which may be accepted
or rejected as the reader may think fit.
I would warn the critic, however, not to
be led away by the sophistry that because
some professional trickster, apt at the game
of deception, can produce a somewhat simi-
lar effect, therefore the originals were pro-
duced in the same way. There are few real-
ities which cannot be imitated, and the an-
cient argument that because conjurers on
their own prepared plates or stages can pro-
duce certain results, therefore similar re-





PREFACE


sults obtained by untrained people under
natural conditions are also false, is surely
discounted by the intelligent public.
I would add that this whole subject of the
objective existence of a subhuman form of
life has nothing to do with the larger and
far more vital question of spiritualism. I
should be sorry if my arguments in favour
of the latter should be in any way weakened
by my exposition of this very strange epi-
sode, which has really no bearing upon the
continued existence of the individual.
ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE.
CROWBOROUGH,
March 1922.


















CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE
I HOW THE MATTER AROSE . . . 13

11 THE FIRST PUBLISHED ACCOUNT, STRAND
CHRISTMAS NUMBER 1920 . . 39

III RECEPTION OF THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS . 59

IV THE SECOND SERIES 93

V OBSERVATIONS OF A CLAIRVOYANT IN THE
COTTINGLEY GLEN, AUGUST 1921 108

VI INDEPENDENT EVIDENCE FOR FAIRIES . 123

VII SOME SUBSEQUENT CASES . . . 152

VI11 THE THEOSOPHIC VIEW OF FAIRIES . 171

















ILLUSTRATIONS


MR. E. L. GARDNER .

ELSIE AND THE GNOME . .

ELSIE AND FRANCES .

COTTINGLEY BECK AND GLEN

ELSIE IN 1920, STANDING NEAR WHERE
WAS TAKEN IN 1917

FRANCES IN 1920 .


FRANCES AND THE FAIRIES


Frontispiece
PAGE
S . 32

S . 33

.* 33

THE GNOME
. 48

. 48

. 49


ELSIE SEATED ON THE BANK ON WHICH THE FAIRIES
WERE DANCING IN 1917 (PHOTO 1920)

THE FALL OF WATER JUST ADOVE THE SITE OF LAST
PHOTOGRAPH .

FRANCES AND THE LEAPING FAIRY . . .

FAIRY OFFERING POSY OF HARE-BELLS TO ELSIE

FAIRIES AND THEIR SUN-BATH . . .

A VIEW OF THE BECK IN 1921 . . .

THE TWO GIRLS NEAR THE SPOT WHERE THE LEAP-
ING FAIRY WAS TAKEN IN 1920 . . .

THE PHOTOGRAPH FROM CANADA . .

ix


64


64

65

80

81

128


129

144


















THE COMING OF
THE FAIRIES











THE COMING OF THE
FAIRIES

CHAPTER I
HOW THE MATTER AROSE

The series of incidents set forth in this
little volume represent either the most elab-
orate and ingenious hoax every played upon
the public, or else they constitute an event
in human history which may in the future
appear to have been epoch-making in its
character. It is hard for the mind to grasp
what the ultimate results may be if we have
actually proved the existence upon the sur-
face of this planet of a population which
may be as numerous as the human race,
which pursues its own strange life in its own
strange way, and which is only separated
from ourselves by some difference of vibra-
13






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


tions. We see objects within the limits which
make up our colour spectrum, with infinite
vibrations, unused by us, on either side of
them. If we could conceive a race of beings
which were constructed in material which
threw out shorter or longer vibrations, they
would be invisible unless we could tune our-
selves up or tone them down. It is exactly
that power of tuning up and adapting itself
to other vibrations which constitutes a clair-
voyant, and there is nothing scientifically
impossible, so far as I can see, in some peo-
ple seeing that which is invisible to others.
If the objects are indeed there, and if the
inventive power of the human brain is
turned upon the problem, it is likely that
some sort of psychic spectacles, inconceiv-
able to us at the moment, will be invented,
and that we shall all be able to adapt our-
selves to the new conditions. If high-ten-
sion electricity can be converted by a me-
chanical contrivance into a lower tension,
keyed to other uses, then it is hard to see
why something analogous might not occur
with the vibrations of ether and the waves
of light.
14





HOW THE MATTER AROSE


This, however, is mere speculation and
leads me to the fact that early in May 1920
I heard, in conversation with my friend Mr.
Gow, the Editor of Light, that alleged photo-
graphs of fairies had been taken. He had
not actually seen them, but he referred me
to Miss Seatcherd, a lady for whose knowl-
edge and judgment I had considerable re-
spect. I got into touch with her and found
that she also had not seen the photographs,
but she had a friend, Miss Gardner,
who had actually done so. On May 13 Miss
Seatcherd wrote to me saying that she was
getting on the trail, and including an extract
from a letter of Miss Gardner, which ran as
follows. I am quoting actual documents in
this early stage, for I think there are many
who would like a complete inside view of all
that led up to so remarkable an episode.
Alluding to her brother Mr. Gardner, she
says:

"You know that Edward is a Theosophist,
has been for years, and now he is mostly en-
gaged with lecturing and other work for
the Society-and although for years I have
15






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


regarded him as bathed in error and almost
past praying for, I now find a talk with him
an inspiring privilege. I am so very thank-
ful that I happened to be in Willesden when
his bereavement took place, for it was so
wonderful to watch him, and to see how mar-
vellously his faith and beliefs upheld and
comforted him. He will probably devote
more and more of his time and strength to
going about the country lecturing, etc.
"I wish you could see a photo he has. He
believes in fairies, pixies, goblins, etc.-chil-
dren, in many cases, really see them and play
with them. He has got into touch with a
family in Bradford where the little girl,
Elsie, and her cousin, Frances, constantly
go into woods and play with the fairies.
The father and mother are sceptical and
have no sympathy with their nonsense, as
they call it, but an aunt, whom Edward has
interviewed, is quite sympathetic with the
girls. Some little time ago, Elsie said she
wanted to photograph them, and begged her
father to lend his camera. For long he re-
fused, but at last she managed to get the
loan of it and one plate. Off she and Frances
16






HOW THE MATTER AROSE


went into the woods near a- water-fall.
Frances 'ticed' them, as they call it, and
Elsie stood ready with the camera. Soon the
three fairies appeared, and one pixie danc-
ing in Frances' aura. Elsie snapped and
hoped for the best. It was a long time be-
fore the father would develop the photo, but
at last he did, and to his utter amazement
the four sweet little figures came out beauti-
fully!
"Edward got the negative and took it to
a specialist in photography who would know
a fake at once. Sceptical as he was before
he tested it, afterwards he offered 100 down
for it. He pronounced it absolutely genuine
and a perfectly remarkable photograph.
(Edward has it enlarged and hanging in his'
hall. He is very interested in it and as soon
as possible he is going to Bradford to see
the children. What do you think of this?
Edward says the fairies are on the same
\line of evolution as the winged insects, etc.,
etc. I fear I cannot follow all his reason-
ings, but I knew you would be keenly inter-
ested. I wish you could see that photo and
17






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


another one of the girls playing with the
quaintest goblin imaginable!"

This letter filled me with hopes, and I re-
newed my pursuit of the photographs. I
learned that they were two in number and
that they had been sent for inspection to
Miss Blomfield, a friend of the family. My
chase turned, therefore, in that direction,
and in reply to a letter of inquiry I received
the following answer:

The Myrtles, Beckenham,
June 21, 1920.
DEAR Sm,
I am sending the two fairy pictures;
they are interesting, are they not ?
I am sure my cousin would be pleased for
you to see them. But he said (and wrote it
to me afterwards) that he did not want
them to be used in any way at present. I
believe he has plans in regard to them, and
the pictures are being copyrighted. I don't
think the copyright will be his. He has not
yet finished his investigations. I asked him
if I might photograph them myself so as to
have a few prints to give to friends inter-
18






HOW THE MATTER AROSE


ested, but he wrote that he would rather
nothing was done at present.
I think my cousin is away from home just
now. But his name is Edward L. Gardner,
and he is President of one of the branches
of the Theosophical Society (Blavatsky
Lodge), and he lectures fairly often at their
Hall (Mortimer Hall, Mortimer Square,
W.). He lectured there a few weeks ago,
and showed the fairies on the screen and
told what he knew about them.
Yours sincerely,
E. BLOMFLELD.

This letter enclosed the two very remark-
able photographs which are reproduced in
this volume, that which depicted the dancing'
goblin, and the other of wood elves in a
ring. An explanatory note setting forth
the main points of each is appended to the
reproductions. I was naturally delighted
at the wonderful pictures, and wrote back
thanking Miss Blomfield for her courtesy,
and suggesting that an inquiry should be set
on foot which would satisfy me as to the
geinuine nature of the photographs. If this
19






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


were clearly established I hoped that I might
be privileged to help Mr. Gardner in giving
publicity to the discovery. In reply I had
the following letter:
The Myrtles, Beckenham,
June 23, 1920.
DEAR Sm ARTHUR,
I am so glad you like the fairies! I
should be only too glad to help in any way if
I could, but there is so little I can do. Had
the photographs been mine (I mean the neg-
atives), I should have been most pleased that
anything so lovely in the way of information
should have been introduced to the public
under such auspices. But it would, as things
are, be necessary to ask my cousin. I be-
lieve he wants people to know, but, as I
wrote before, I do not know his plans, and
I'm not sure if he is ready.
It has occurred to me since writing to you
that it would have been better had I given
you his sister's address. She is a most sen-
sible and practical person, much engaged
in social work, with which her sympathetic
nature and general efficiency make her very
successful.
20






HOW THE MATTER AROSE


She believes the fairy photographs to be
quite genuine. Edward is a clever man-
and a good one. His evidence on any of the
affairs of life would, I am sure, be consid-
ered most reliable by all who knew him, both
for veracity and sound judgment. I hope
these details will not bore you, but I thought
perhaps some knowledge of the people who,
so to say, "discovered" the photographs
would hell) in taking you one step nearer the
source. I do not see any opening for fraud
or hoax, though at first when I saw the prints
I thought there must be some other expla-
nation than the simple one that they were
what they seemed. They appeared too good
to be true! But every little detail I have
since heard has added to my conviction that
they are genuine; though I have only what
Edward tells me to go upon. He is hoping
to obtain more from the same girls.
Yours sincerely,
E. BLOMFIELD.

At about the same time I received a letter
from another lady who had some knowledge
of the matter. It ran thus:






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


29 Croftdown Road, Highgate Road, N.W.,
DEAR SIR ARTHUR, June 24, 1920.
I am glad to hear that you are in-
terested in the fairies. If they were really
taken, as there seems good reason to
believe, the event is no less than the dis-
covery of a new world. It may not be
out of place to mention that when I ex-
amined them with a magnifying glass I
noticed, as an artist, that the hands do
not appear to be quite the same as ours.
Though the little figures look otherwise so
human, the hands seemed to me something
like this. (There followed a sketch of a sort
of fin.) The beard in the little gnome seems
to me to be some sort of insect-like appen-
dage, though it would, no doubt, be called a
beard by a clairvoyant seeing him. Also it
occurs to me that the whiteness of the fairies
may be due to their lack of shadow, which
may also explain their somewhat artificial-
looking flatness. Yours sincerely,
MAY BOWLEY.
I was now in a stronger position, since I
had actually seen the photographs and
22






HOW THE MATTER AROSE


learned that Mr. Gardner was a solid person
with a reputation for sanity and character.
I therefore wrote to him stating the links
by which I had reached him, and saying how
interested I was in the whole matter, and
how essential it seemed that the facts should
be given to the public, so that free investiga-
tion might be possible before it was too late.
To this letter I had the following reply:
5 Craven Road, Harlesden, N.W.10.
DEAR SIR, June 25, 1920.
Your interesting letter of the 22nd
has just reached me, and very willingly I
will assist you in any way that may be
possible.
With regard to the photographs, the story
is rather a long one and I have only gath-
ered it by going very carefully. The chil-
dren who were concerned are very shy and
reserved indeed. . They are of a me-
chanic's family of Yorkshire, and the chil-
dren are said to have played with fairies
and elves in the woods near their village
since babyhood. I will not attempt to nar-
rate the story here, however-perhaps we
23






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


may meet for that-but when I at length ob-
tained a view of the rather poor prints it so
impressed me I begged for the actual nega-
tives. These I submitted to two first-class
photographic experts, one in London and
one in Leeds. The first, who was unfamiliar
with such matters, declared the plates to be
perfectly genuine and unfaked, but inexpli-
cable! The second, who did know something
of the subject and had been instrumental
in exposing several "psychic" fakes, was
also entirely satisfied. Hence I proceeded.
I am hopeful of getting more photographs,
but the immediate difficulty is to arrange for
the two girls to be together. They are 16 or
17 years old and beginning to work and are
separated by a few miles. It may be we can
manage it and thus secure photographs of
the other varieties besides those obtained.
These nature spirits are of the non-individu-
alized order and I should greatly like to se-
cure some of the higher. But two children
such as these are, are rare, and I fear now
that we are late because almost certainly
the inevitable will shortly happen, one of
24






HOW THE MATTER AROSE


them will "fall in love" and then-hey
presto!!
By the way, I am anxious to avoid the
money consideration. I may not succeed,
but would far rather not introduce it. We
are out for Truth, and nothing soils the way
so quickly. So far as I am concerned you
shall have everything I can properly give
you.
Sincerely yours,
(Sgd.) EDw. L. GARDNER.

This letter led to my going to London and
seeing Mr. Gardner, whom I found to be
quiet, well-balanced, and reserved-not in
the least of a wild or visionary type. He
showed me beautiful enlargements of these
two wonderful pictures, and he gave me
much information which is embodied in my
subsequent account. Neither he nor I had
actually seen the girls, and it was arranged
that he should handle the personal side of
the matter, while I should examine the re-
sults and throw them into literary shape.
It was arranged between us that he should
visit the village as soon as convenient, and






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


make the acquaintance of everyone con-
cerned. In the meantime, I showed the pos-
itives, and sometimes the negatives, to sev-
eral friends whose opinion upon psychic
matters I respected.
Of these Sir Oliver Lodge holds a premier
place. I can still see his astonished and in-
terested face as he gazed at the pictures,
which I placed before him in the hall of the
Athenaeum Club. With his usual caution he
refused to accept them at their face value,
and suggested the theory that the Califor-
nian Classical dancers had been taken and
their picture superimposed upon a rural
\British background. I argued that we had
certainly traced the pictures to two children
of the artisan class, and that such photo-
graphic tricks would be entirely beyond
them, but I failed to convince him, nor am
I sure that even now he is whole-hearted in
the matter.
My most earnest critics came from among
the spiritualists, to whom a new order of
being as remote from spirits as they are
from human beings was an unfamiliar idea,
and who feared, not unnaturally, that their
26






HOW THE MATTER AROSE


intrusion would complicate that spiritual
controversy which is vital to so many of us.
One of these was a gentleman whom I will
call Mr. Lancaster, who, by a not unusual
paradox, combined considerable psychic
powers, including both clairvoyance and
clairaudience, with great proficiency in the
practice of his very prosaic profession. He
had claimed that he had frequently seen
these little people with his own eyes, and I,
therefore, attached importance to his opin-
ion. This gentleman had a spirit guide (I
have no objection to the smile of the sceptic),
and to him he referred the question. The
answer showed both the strength and the
weakness of such psychic inquiries. Writ-
ing to me in July 1920, he said:

"Re Photographs: The more I think of it
the less I like it (I mean the one with the
Parisian-coiffed fairies). My own guide
says it was taken by a fair man, short, with
his hair brushed back; he has a studio with a
lot of cameras, some of which are 'turned by
a handle.' He did not make it to sell Spir-
itualists a 'pup,' but did it to please the
27






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


little girl in the picture who wrote fairy
stories which he illustrated in this fashion.
He is not a Spiritualist, but would laugh
very much if anyone was taken in by it. He
does not live near where we were, and the
place is all different, i.e. the houses, instead
of being in straight lines, are dropped about
all over the place. Apparently he was not
English. I should think it was either Den--
mark or Los Angeles by the description,
which I give you for what it is worth.
"I should very much like the lens which
would take persons in rapid motion with the
clarity of the photo in question, it must
work at F 4-5 and cost fifty guineas if a
penny, and not the sort of lens one would
imagine the children in an artisan's house-
hold would possess in a hand camera. And
yet with the speed with which it was taken
the waterfall in the background is blurred
sufficiently to justify a one second's expo-
sure at least. What a doubting Thomas! I
was told the other day that, in the unlikely
event of my ever reaching heaven, I should
(a) Insist on starting a card file index of
the angels, and (b) Starting a rifle range to
28






HOW THE MATTER AROSE


guard against the possibility of invasion
from Hell. This being my unfortunate rep-
utation at the hands of the people who claim
to know me must discount my criticisms as
carping-to a certain extent, at all events."

These psychic impressions and messages
are often as from one who sees in a glass
darkly and contain a curious mixture of
truth and error. Upon my submitting this
message to Mr. Gardner he was able to as-
sure me that the description was, on the
whole, a very accurate one of Mr. Selling
and his surroundings, the gentleman who
had actually handled the negatives, subjected
them to various tests and made enlarged
positives. It was, therefore, this interme-
diate incident, and not the original inception
of the affair, which had impressed itself
upon Mr. Lancaster's guide. All this is, of
course, quite non-evidential to the ordinary
reader, but I am laying all the documents
upon the table.
Mr. Lancaster's opinion had so much
weight with us, and we were so impressed
by the necessity of sparing no possible pains
29






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


to get at truth, that we submitted the plates
to fresh examination, as detailed in the fol-
lowing letter:
5 Craven Road, Harlesden, N.W.10,
DEAR SIR ARTHUR, July 12, 1920.
Just a line to report progress and ac-
knowledge your kind letters and enclosure
from Kodak's.
A week back, after your reference to
Mr. Lancaster's opinion, I thought I would
get a more careful examination of the
negatives made than before, though that
was searching enough. So I went over to
Mr. Snelling's at Harrow and had a long
interview with him, again impressing him
with the importance of being utterly certain.
I told you, I think, that this Mr. Selling
has had a varied and expert connection of
over thirty years with the Autotype Com-
pany and Illingworth's large photographic
factory and has himself turned out some
beautiful work in natural and artificial stu-
dio studies. He recently started for him-
self at Wealdstone (Harrow) and is doing
well.






HOW THE MATTER AROSE


Mr. Snelling's report on the two negatives
is positive and most decisive. He says he is
perfectly certain of two things connected
with these photos, namely:
1. One exposure only;
2. All the figures of the fairies moved dur-
ing exposure, which was "instantaneous."
As I put all sorts of pressing questions to
him, relating to paper or cardboard figures,
and backgrounds and paintings, and all the
artifices of the modern studio, he proceeded
to demonstrate by showing me other nega-
tives and prints that certainly supported
his view. He added that anyone of consid-
erable experience could detect the dark back-
ground and double exposure in the negative
at once. Movement was as easy, as he
pointed out in a crowd of aeroplane photos
he had by him. I do not pretend to follow
all his points, but I am bound to say he
thoroughly convinced me of the above two,
which seem to me to dispose of all the ob-
jections hitherto advanced when they are
taken together! Mr. S. is willing to make
31






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


any declaration embodying the above and
stakes his reputation unhesitatingly on
their truth.
I am away from London from Wednes-
day next till the 28th when I go on to Bing-
ley for one or two days' investigation on the
spot. I propose that you have the two nega-
tives, which are carefully packed and can
be posted safely, for this fortnight or so.
If you would rather not handle them I will
send them to Mr. West of Kodak's, or have
them taken to him for his opinion, for I
think, as you say, it would be worth having,
if he has had direct and extensive practical
experience.
I am very anxious now to see this right
through, as, though I felt pretty sure before,
I am more than ever satisfied now after that
interview the other day.
Yours sincerely,
EDW. L. GARDNER.

After receiving this message and getting
possession of the negatives I took them my-
self to the Kodak Company's Offices in
32






















































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HOW THE MATTER AROSE


Kingsway, where I saw Mr. West and an-
other expert of the Company. They ex-
amined the plates carefully, and neither of
them could find any evidence of superposi-
tion, or other trick. On the other hand, they
were of opinion that if they set to work with
all their knowledge and resources they could
produce such pictures by natural means, and
therefore they would not undertake to say
that these were preternatural. This, of
course, was quite reasonable if the pictures
are judged only as technical productions, but
it rather savours of the old discredited anti-
spiritualistic argument that because a
trained conjurer can produce certain effects
under his own conditions, therefore some
woman or child who gets similar effects must
get them by conjuring. It was clear that at
the last it was the character and surround-
ings of the children upon which the inquiry
must turn, rather than upon the photos
themselves. I had already endeavoured to
open up human relations with the elder girl
by sending her a book, and I had received
the following little note in reply from her
father:






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


31 Main Street, Cottingley, Bingley,
July 12, 1920.
DEAR SIR,
I hope you will forgive us for not an-
swering your letter sooner and thanking you
for the beautiful book you so kindly sent to
Elsie. She is delighted with it. I can as-
sure you we do appreciate the honour you
have done her. The book came last Satur-
day morning an hour after we had left for
the seaside for our holidays, so we did. not
receive it until last night. We received a
letter from Mr. Gardner at the same time,
and he proposes coming to see us at the end
of July. Would it be too long to wait until
then, when we could explain what we know
about it?
Yours very gratefully,
ARTHUR WRIGHT.

It was evident, however, that we must get
into more personal touch, and with this ob-
ject Mr. Gardner went North and inter-
viewed the whole family, making a thorough
investigation of the circumstances at the
spot. The result of his journey is given in
34






HOW THE MATTER AROSE


the article which I published in the Strand
Magazine, which covers all the ground. I
will only add the letter he wrote to me after
his return from Yorkshire.

5 Craven Road, Harlesden, N.T.10,
July 31, 1920.
MY DEAR CONAN DOYLE,
Yours just to hand, and as I have now
had an hour to sort things out I write at once
so that you have the enclosed before you at
the earliest moment. You must be very
pressed, so I put the statement as simply as
possible, leaving you to use just what you
think fit. Prepared negatives, prints of
quarter, half-plate, and enlarged sizes, and
lantern slides, I have all here.
Also on Tuesday I shall have my own
photographs of the valley scenery includ-
ing the two spots shown in the fairy prints,
and also prints of the two children taken in
1917 with their shoes and stockings off, just
as they played in the beck at the rear of their
house. I also have a print of Elsie showing
her hand.
With regard to the points you raise:






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


1. I have definite leave and permission to
act as regards the use made of these photo-
graphs in any way I think best.
Publication may be made of them, the
only reserve being that full names and ad-
dresses shall be withheld.
2. Copies are ready here for England and
U. S. A.
3. . The Kodak people and also the
Illingworth Co. are unwilling to testify. The
former, of course, you know of. Illing-
worths claim that they could produce, by
means of clever studio painting and model-
ling, a similar negative. Another Com-
pany's expert made assertions concerning
the construction of the "model" that I found
were entirely erroneous directly I saw the
real ground! They, however, barred any
publication. The net result, besides Snell-
ing's views, is that the photograph could be
produced by studio work, but there is no
evidence positively of such work in the neg-
atives. (I might add that Snelling, whom
I saw again yesterday evening, scouts the
claim that such negatives could be produced.
36






HOW THE MATTER AROSE


He states that he would pick such a one out
without hesitation!)
4. My report is enclosed and you are at
perfect liberty to use this just as you please.
The father, Mr. Arthur Wright, im-
pressed me favourably. He was perfectly
open and free about the whole matter. He
explained his position-he simply did not
understand the business, but is quite clear
and positive that the plate he took out of the
Midg camera was the one he put in the same
day. His work is that of electrician to an
estate in the neighbourhood near. He is
clear-headed and very intelligent, and gives
one the impression of being open and honest.
I learnt the reason of the family's cordial
treatment of myself. Mrs. Wright, a few
years back, came into touch with theosoph-
ical teachings and speaks of these as hav-
ing done her good. My own connection with
the Theosophical Society she knew of and
this gave them confidence. Hence the very
cordial reception I have met with, which
somewhat had puzzled me.
By the way, I think "L.'s" guide ran up
against innocent little Snelling! He matches
37





THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


the description quite well, as I realized last
night. And he did prepare the new nega-
tives from which the prints you have were
made, and he has a room full up with weird
machines with handles and devices used in
photography. ...
Sincerely yours,
EDW. L. GARDNER.

I trust that the reader will agree that up
to this point we had not proceeded with any
undue rashness or credulity, and that we
had taken all common-sense steps to test the
case, and had no alternative, if we were un-
prejudiced seekers for truth, but to go ahead
with it, and place our results before the pub-
lic, so that others might discover the fallacy
which we had failed to find. I must apolo-
gize if some of the ground in the Strand ar-
ticle which follows has already been cov-
ered in this introductory chapter.











CHAPTER II


THE FIRST PUBLISHED ACCOUNT-"STRAND 9
CHRISTMAS NUMBER, 1920

Should the incidents here narrated, and
the photographs attached, hold their own
against the criticism which they will excite,
it is no exaggeration to say that they will
mark an epoch in human thought. I put
them and all the evidence before the public
for examination and judgment. If I am my-
self .asked whether I consider the case to be
absolutely and finally proved, I should an-
swer that in order to remove the last faint
shadow of doubt I should wish to see the
result repeated before a disinterested wit-
ness. At the same time, I recognize the dif-
ficulty .of such a request, since rare results
must be obtained when and how they can.
But short of final and absolute proof, I con-
sider, after carefully going into every pos-
sible source of error, that a strong prima-
39





THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


facie case has been built up. The cry of
"fake" is sure to be raised, and will make
some impression upon those who have not
had the opportunity of knowing the peo-
ple concerned, or the place. On the photo-
graphic side every objection has been consid-
ered and adequately met. The pictures
stand or fall together. Both are false, or
both are true. All the circumstances point
to the latter alternative, and yet in a matter
involving so tremendous a new departure
one needs overpowering evidence before one
can say that there is no conceivable loophole
for error.
It was about the month of May in this
year that I received the information from
Miss Felicia Scatcherd, so well known in
several departments of human thought, to
the effect that two photographs of fairies
had been taken in the North of England un-
der circumstances which seemed to put fraud
out of the question. The statement would
have appealed to me at any time, but I hap-
pened at the moment to be collecting ma-
terial for an article on fairies, now com-
pleted, and I had accumulated a surprising
40






THE FIRST PUBLISHED ACCOUNT


number of cases of people who claimed to
be able to see these little creatures. The
evidence was so complete and detailed, with
such good names attached to it, that it was
difficult to believe that it was false; but,
being by nature of a somewhat sceptical
turn, I felt that something closer was needed
before I could feel personal conviction and
assure myself that these were not thought-
forms conjured up by the imagination or
expectation of the seers. The rumour of the
photographs interested me deeply, there-
fore, and following the matter up from one
lady informant to another, I came at last
upon Mr. Edward L. Gardner, who has been
ever since my most efficient collaborator, to
whom all credit is due. Mr. Gardner, it may
be remarked, is a member of the Executive
Committee of the Theosophical Society, and
a well-known lecturer upon occult subjects.
He had not himself at that time mastered
the whole case, but all he had he placed
freely at my disposal. I had already seen
prints of the photographs, but I was relieved
to find that he had the actual negatives, and
that it was from them, and not from the






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


prints, that two expert photographers, es-
pecially Mr. Snelling of 26 The Bridge,
Wealdstone', Harrow, had already formed
their conclusions in favour of the genuine-
ness of the pictures. Mr. Gardner tells his
own story presently, so I will simply say
that at that period he had got into direct
and friendly touch with the Carpenter fam-
ily. We are compelled to use a pseudonym
and to withhold the exact address, for it is
clear that their lives would be much inter-
rupted by correspondence and callers if their
identity were too clearly indicated. At the
same time there would be, no doubt, no ob-
jection to any small committee of inquiry
verifying the facts for themselves if this
anonymity were respected. For the present,
however, we shall simply call them the Car-
penter family in the village of Dalesby,
West Riding.
Some three years before, according to our
information, the daughter and the niece of
Mr. Carpenter, the former being sixteen and
the other ten years of age, had taken the
two photographs-the one in summer, the
other in early autumn. The father was quite
42






THE FIRST PUBLISHED ACCOUNT


agnostic in the matter, but as his daughter
claimed that she and her cousin when they
were together continually saw fairies in the
wood and had come to be on familiar'and
friendly terms with them, he entrusted her
with one plate in his camera. The result
was the picture of the dancing elves, which
considerably amazed the father when he de-
veloped the film that evening. The little
girl looking across at her playmate, to inti-
mate that the time had come to press the
button, is Alice, the niece, while the older
girl, who was taken some months later with
the quaint gnome, is Iris, the daughter. The
story ran that the girls were so excited in
the evening that one pressed her way into
the small dark-room in which the father was
about to develop, and that as she saw the
forms of the fairies showing through the
solution she cried out to the other girl, who
was palpitating outside the door: "Oh, Alice,
Alice, the fairies are on the plate-they are
on the plate!" It was indeed a triumph for
the children, who had been smiled at, as so
many children are smiled at by an incredu-
43






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


lous world for stating what their own senses
have actually recorded.
The father holds a position of trust in con-
nection with some local factory, and the fam-
ily are well known and respected. That they
are cultivated is shown by the fact that Mr.
Gardner's advances towards them were made
more easy because Mrs. Carpenter was a
reader of theosophical teachings and had
gained spiritual good from them. A corre-
spondence had arisen and all their letters
were frank and honest, professing some
amazement at the stir which the affair
seemed likely to produce.
Thus the matter stood after my meeting
with Mr. Gardner, but it was clear that this
was not enough. We must get closer to the
facts. The negatives were taken round to
Kodak, Ltd., where two experts were unable
to find any flaw, but refused to testify to the
genuineness of them, in view of some pos-
sible trap. An amateur photographer of ex-
perience refused to accept them on the
ground of the elaborate and Parisian coif-
fure of the little ladies. Another photo-
graphic company, which it would be cruel to
44






THE FIRST PUBLISHED ACCOUNT


name, declared that the background con-
sisted of theatrical properties, and that
therefore the picture was a worthless fake.
I leaned heavily upon Mr. Selling's whole-
hearted endorsement, quoted later in this ar-
ticle, and also consoled myself by the broad
view that if the local conditions were as re-
ported, which we proposed to test, then it
was surely impossible that a little village
with an amateur photographer could have
the plant and the skill to turn out a fake
which could not be detected by the best ex-
perts in London.
The matter being in this state, Mr. Gard-
ner volunteered to go up at once and report
-an expedition which I should have wished
to share had it not been for the pressure of
work before my approaching departure for
Australia. Mr. Gardner's report is here ap-
pended:

5 Craven Road, Harlesden, N.TW.1O,
July 29, 1920.
It was early in this year, 1920, that I
heard from a friend of photographs of fair-
ies having been successfully taken in the
45






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


North of England. I made some inquiries,
and these led to prints being sent to me with
the names and address of the children who
were said to have taken them. The corre-
spondence that followed seemed so innocent
and promising that I begged the loan of the
actual negatives-and two quarter-plates
came by post a few days after. One was a
fairly clear one, the other much under-
exposed.
The negatives proved to be truly astonish-
ing photographs indeed, for there was no
sign of double exposure nor anything
other than ordinary straightforward work.
I cycled over to Harrow to consult an expert
photographer of thirty years' practical ex-
perience whom I knew I could trust for a
sound opinion. Without any explanation I
passed the plates over and asked what he
thought of them. After examining the
"fairies" negative carefully, exclamations
began: "This is the most extraordinary
thing I've ever seen!" "Single exposure!"
"Figures have moved!" "Why, it's a gen-
uine photograph! Wherever did it come
from?"
46






THE FIRST PUBLISHED ACCOUNT


I need hardly add that enlargements were
made and subjected to searching examina-
tion-without any modification of opinion.
The immediate upshot was that a "positive"
was taken from each negative, that the orig-
inals might be preserved carefully un-
touched, and then new negatives were pre-
pared and intensified to serve as better print-
ing medituns. The originals are just as re-
ceived and in my keeping now. Some good
prints and lantern slides were soon pre-
pared.
In May I used the slides, with others, to
illustrate a lecture given in the Mortimer
Hall, London, and this aroused considerable
interest, largely because of these pictures
and their story. A week or so later I re-
ceived a letter from Sir A. Conan Doyle ask-
ing for information concerning them, some
report, I understood, having reached him
from a mutual friend. A meeting with Sir
Arthur followed, and the outcome was that
I agreed to hasten my proposed personal
investigation into the origin of the photo-
graphs, and carry this through at once in-
47






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


stead of waiting till September, when I
should be in the North on other matters.
In consequence, to-day, July 29, I am just
back in London from one of the most inter-
esting and surprising excursions that it has
ever been my fortune to make!
We had time, before I went, to obtain opin-
ions on the original negatives from other ex-
pert photographers, and one or two of these
were adverse rather than favourable. Not
that any would say positively that the photo-
graphs were faked, but two did claim that
they could produce the same class of nega-
tive by studio work involving painted mod-
els, etc., and it was suggested further that
the little girl in the first picture was stand-
ing behind a table heaped up with fern and
moss, that the toad-stool was unnatural, that
in the gnome photo the girl's hand was not
her own, that uniform shading was question-
able, and so on. All of this had its weight,
and though I went North with as little bias
one way or the other as possible, I felt quite
prepared to find that a personal investiga-
tion would disclose some evidence of falsity.
The lengthy journey completed, I reached
48




















,-,-







I





















I




















I;



























'\\





THE FIRST PUBLISHED ACCOUNT


a quaint, old-world village in 'Yorkshire,
found the house, and was cordially received.
Mrs. C. and her daughter I. (the girl as
shown playing with the gnome) were both
at home to meet me. and Mr. C., the father,
came in shortly afterwards.
Several of the objections raised by the
professionals were disposed of almost at
once, as, a half-hour after reaching the
house, I was exploring a charming little val-
ley, directly at the rear, with a stream of
water running through, where the children
had been accustomed to see and play with
the fairies. I found the bank behind which
the child, with her shoes and stockings off,
is shown as standing; toad-stools exactly as
in the photograph were about in plenty,
quite as big and hearty-looking. And the
girl's hand ? Well, she laughingly made me
promise not to say much about it, it is so
very long! I stood on the spots shown and
easily identified every feature. Then, in
course of eliciting all that one could learn
about the affair, I gathered the following,
which, for the sake of conciseness, I set out
below:






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


Camera used: "The Midg" quarter-plate.
Plates: Imperial Rapid.
Fairies photo: July 1917. Day brilliantly
hot and sunny. About 3 p. m. Distance:
4 feet. Time: 1-50th second.
Gnome photo: September 1917. Day
bright, but not as above. About 4 o'clock.
Distance: 8 feet. Time: 1-50th second.

I. was sixteen years old; her cousin A.
was ten years. Other photographs were at-
tempted but proved partial failures, and
plates were not kept.
Coloring: The palest of green, pink,
mauve. Much more in the wings than in the
bodies, which are very pale to white. The
gnome is described as seeming to be in black
tights, reddish-brown jersey, and red
pointed cap. He was swinging his pipes,
holding them in his left hand and was just
stepping up on to I.'s knee when A. snapped
him.
A., the visiting cousin, went away soon
after, and I. says they must be together to
"take photographs." Fortunately they will
meet in a few weeks' time, and they promise
50







THE FIRST PUBLISHED ACCOUNT


me to try to get some more. I. added she
would very much like to send me one of a
fairy flying.
Mr. C.'s testimony was clear and decisive.
His daughter bad pleaded to be allowed to
use the camera. At first he demurred, but
ultimately, after dinner one Saturday, he
put just one plate in the Midg and gave it
to the girls. They returned in less than an
hour and begged him to develop the plate as
I. had "taken a photograph." He did so,
with, to him, the bewildering result shown
in the print of the fairies!
Mrs. C. says she remembers quite well
that the girls were only away from the house
a short time before they brought the camera
back.
Extraordinary and amazing as these
photographs may appear, I am now quite
convinced of their entire genuineness, as in-
deed would everyone else be who had the
same evidence of transparent honesty and
simplicity that I had. I am adding nothing
by way of explanations or theories of my
own, though the need for two people, prefer-
ably children, is fairly obvious for photog-







THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


raphy, in order to assist in the strengthen-
ing of the etheric bodies. Beyond this I
prefer to leave the above statement as a
plain, unvarnished narrative of my connec-
tion with the incidents.
I need only add that no attempt appears
ever to have been made by the family to
make these photographs public, and what-
ever has been done in that direction locally
has not been pressed by any of them, .nor
has there been any money payment in con-
nection with them.
EDWARD L. GARDNER.

I may add as a footnote to Mr. Gardner's
report that the girl informed him in con-
versation that she had no power of any sort
over the actions of the fairies, and that the
way to 'tice them," as she called it, was
to sit passively with her mind quietly turned
in that direction; then, when faint stirring
or movements in the distance heralded their
presence, to beckon towards them and show
that they were welcome. It was Iris who
pointed out the pipes of the gnome, which
we had both taken as being the markings of
52






THE FIRST PUBLISHED ACCOUNT


the moth-like under-wing. She added that
if there was not too much rustling in the
wood it was possible to hear the very faint
and high sound of the pipes. To the ob-
jections of photographers that the fairy
figures show quite different shadows to those
of the human our answer is that ectoplasm,
as the etheric protoplasm has been named,
has a faint luminosity of its own, which
would largely modify shadows.
To the very clear and, as I think, entirely
convincing report of Mr. Gardner's, let me
add the exact words which Mr. Selling, the
expert photographer, allows us to use. Mr.
Selling has shown great strength of mind,
and rendered signal service to psychic study,
by taking a strong line, and putting his pro-
fessional reputation as an expert upon the
scales. He has had a varied connection of
over thirty years with the Autotype Com-
pany and Illingworth's large photographic
factory, and has himself turned out some
beautiful work of every kind of natural and
artificial studio studies. He laughs at the
idea that any expert in England could de-
ceive him with a faked photograph. These
53






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


two negatives," he says, "are entirely genu-
ine, unfaked photographs of single expo-
sure, open-air work, show movement in the
fairy figures, and there is no trace whatever
of studio work involving card or paper mod-
els, dark backgrounds, painted figures, etc.
In my opinion, they are both straight un-
touched pictures."
A second independent opinion is equally
clear as to the genuine character of the
photographs, founded upon a large experi-
ence of practical photography.
There is our case, fortified by pictures of
the places which the unhappy critic has de-
clared to be theatrical properties. How well
we know that type of critic in all our psychic
work, though it is not always possible to at
once show his absurdity to other people.
I will now make a few comments upon the
two pictures, which I have studied long and
earnestly with a high-power lens.
One fact of interest is this presence of a
double pipe-the very sort which the an-
cients associated with fauns and naiads-in
each picture. But if pipes, why not every-
thing else ? Does it not suggest a complete
54






THE FIRST PUBLISHED ACCOUNT


range of utensils and instruments for their
own life? Their clothing is substantial
enough. It seems to me that with fuller
knowledge and with fresh means of vision
these people are destined to become just as
solid and real as the Eskimos. There is an
ornamental rim to the pipe of the elves which
shows that the graces of art are not unknown
among them. And what joy is in the com-
plete abandon of their little graceful figures
as they let themselves go in the dance! They
may have their shadows and trials as we
have, but at least there is a great gladness
manifest in this demonstration of their life.
A second general observation is that the
elves are a compound of the human and the
butterfly, while the gnome has more of the
moth. This may be merely the result of
under-exposure of the negative and dullness
of the weather. Perhaps the little gnome
is really of the same tribe, but represents an
elderly male, while the elves are romping
young women. Most observers of fairy life
have reported, however, that there are sep-
arate species, varying very much in size, ap-
55






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


pearance, and locality-the wood fairy, the
water fairy, the fairy of the plains, etc.
Can these be thought-forms? The fact
that they are so like our conventional idea
of fairies is in favour of the idea. But if
they move rapidly, have musical instru-
ments, and so forth, then it is impossible to
talk of "thought-forms," a term which sug-
gests something vague and intangible. In
a sense we are all thought-forms, since we
can only be perceived through the senses,
but these little figures would seem to have
an objective reality, as we have ourselves,
even if their vibrations should prove to be
such that it takes either psychic power or a
sensitive plate to record them. If they are
conventional it may be that fairies have
really been seen in every generation, and
so some correct description of them has been
retained.
There is one point of Mr. Gardner's in-
vestigation which should be mentioned. It
had come to our knowledge that Iris could
draw, and had actually at one time done
some designs for a jeweller. This naturally
demanded caution, though the girl's own
56







THE FIRST PUBLISHED ACCOUNT


frank nature is, I understand, a sufficient
guarantee for those who know her. Mr.
Gardner, however, tested her powers of
drawing, and found that, while she could
do landscapes cleverly, the fairy figures
which she had attempted in imitation of
those she had seen were entirely uninspired,
and bore no possible resemblance to those in
the photograph. Another point which may
be commended to the careful critic with
a strong lens is that the apparent pencilled
face at the side of the figure on the right
is really only the edge of her hair, and not,
as might appear, a drawn profile.
I must confess that after months of
thought I am unable to get the true bear-
ings of this event. One or two consequences
are obvious. The experiences of children
will be taken more seriously. Cameras will
be forthcoming. Other well-authenticated
cases will come along. These little folk who
appear to be our neighbours, with only some
small difference of vibration to separate us,
will become familiar. The thought of them,
even when unseen, will add a charm to every
brook and valley and give romantic interest
57






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


to every country walk. The recognition of
their existence will jolt the material twen-
tieth-century mind out of its heavy ruts
in the mud, and will make it admit that
there is a glamour and a mystery to life.
Having discovered this, the world will not
find it so difficult to accept that spiritual
message supported by physical facts which
has already been so convincingly put before
it. All this I see, but there may be much
more. When Columbus knelt in prayer upon
the edge of America, what prophetic eye
saw all that a new continent might do to
affect the destinies of the world ? We also
seem to be on the edge of a new continent,
separated not by oceans but by subtle and
surmountable psychic conditions. I look at
the prospect with awe. May those little crea-
tures suffer from the contact and some Las
Casas bewail their ruin! If so, it would be
an evil day when the world defined their
existence. But there is a guiding hand in
the affairs of man, and we can but trust and
follow.













CHAPTER III


RECEPTION OF THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS

Though I was out of England at the time,
I was able, even in Australia, to realize that
the appearance of the first photographs in
the Strand Magazine had caused very great
interest. The press comments were as a rule
cautious but not unsympathetic. The old
cry of "Fake!" was less conspicuous than
I had expected, but for some years the press
has been slowly widening its views upon
psychic matters, and is not so inclined as
of old to attribute every new manifestation
to fraud. Some of the Yorkshire papers
had made elaborate inquiries, and I am told
that photographers for a considerable radius
from the house were cross-questioned to find
if they were accomplices. Truth, which is
obsessed by the idea that the whole spiritual-
istic movement and everything connected
59






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


with it is one huge, senseless conspiracy to
deceive, concocted by knaves and accepted
by fools, had the usual contemptuous and
contemptible articles, which ended by a
prayer to Elsie that she should finish her
fun and let the public know how it really
was done. The best of the critical attacks
was in the Westminster Gazette, who sent a
special commissioner to unravel the mystery,
and published the result on January 12,
1921. By kind permission I reproduce the
article:

DO FAIRIES EXIST?

INVESTIGATION IN A YORKSHIRE VALLEY

COTTINGLEY S MYSTERY
STORY OF THE GIRL WHO TOOK THE SNAPSHOT
The publication of photographs of fairies
-or, to be more explicit, one photograph of
fairies and another of a gnome-playing
round children has aroused considerable in-
terest, not only in Yorkshire, where the
beings are said to exist, but throughout the
country.
60







RECEPTION OF THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS
The story, mysterious as it was when first
told, became even more enigmatical by rea-
son of the fact that Sir A. Conan Doyle
made use of fictitious names in his narra-
tive in the StranH d Magazine in order, as he
says, to prevent the lives of the people con-
cerned being interrupted by callers and cor-
respondence. That he has failed to do. I
am afraid Sir Conan does not know York-
shire people, particularly those of the dales,
because any attempt to hide identity imme-
diately arouses their suspicions, if it does
not go so far as to condemn the writer for
his lack of frankness.
It is not surprising, therefore, that his
story is accepted with reserve. Each per-
son to whom I spoke of the subject during
my brief sojourn in Yorkshire dismissed the
matter curtly as being untrue. It has been
the principal topic of conversation for
weeks, mainly because identity had been dis-
covered.
My mission to Yorkshire was to secure
evidence, if possible, which would prove or
disprove the claim that fairies existed. I
frankly confess that I failed.






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


The particular fairyland is a picturesque
little spot off the beaten track, two or three
miles from Bingley. Here is a small village
called Cottingley, almost hidden in a break
in the upland, through which tumbles a tiny
stream, known as Cottingley Beck, on its
way to the Aire, less than a mile away. The
"heroine" of Sir Conan Doyle's story is
Miss Elsie Wright,' who resides with her
parents at 31 Lynwood Terrace. The little
stream runs past the back of the house, and
the photographs were taken not more than
a hundred yards away. When Miss Wright
made the acquaintance of the fairies she was
accompanied by her cousin, Frances Grif-
fiths, who resides at Dean Road, Scarbor-
ough.
One photograph, taken by Miss Wright in
the summer of 1917, when she was sixteen,
shows her cousin, then a child of ten, with a
group of four fairies dancing in the air be-
fore her, and in the other, taken some
months afterwards, Elsie, seated on the
From this time onwards the real name Wright is used in-
stead of Carpenter as in the original article-the family hav-
ing withdrawn their objection.
62







RECEPTION OF THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS
grass, has a quaint gnome dancing beside
her.
There are certain facts which stand out
clearly and which none of the evidence I
was able to obtain could shake. No other
people have seen the fairies, though every-
body in the little village knew of their
alleged existence; when Elsie took the photo-
graph she was unacquainted with the use
of a camera, and succeeded at the first at-
tempt; the girls did not invite a third per-
son to see the wonderful visitors, and no
attempt was made to make the discovery
public.
First I interviewed Mrs. Wright, who,
without hesitation, narrated the whole of the
circumstances without adding any comment.
The girls, she said, would spend the whole
of the day in the narrow valley, even taking
their lunch with them, though they were
within a stone's throw of the house. Elsie
was not robust, and did not work during the
summer months, so that she could derive as
much benefit as possible from playing in the
open. She had often talked about seeing
the fairies, but her parents considered it was






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


nothing more than childish fancy, and let it
pass. Mr. Wright came into possession of a
small camera in 1917, and one Saturday
afternoon yielded to the persistent entreat-
ies of his daughter and allowed her to take
it out. He placed one plate in position, and
explained to her how to take a "snap." The
children went away in high glee and re-
turned in less than an hour, requesting Mr.
Wright to develop the plate. While this
was being done Elsie noticed that the fairies
were beginning to show, and exclaimed in
an excited tone to her cousin, "Oh, Frances,
the fairies are on the plate!" The second
photograph was equally successful, and a
few prints from each plate were given to
friends as curiosities about a year ago. They
evidently attracted little notice until one was
shown to some of the delegates at a Theo-
sophical Congress in Harrogate last sum-
mer.
Mrs. Wright certainly gave me the im-
pression that she had no desire to keep any-
thing back, and answered my questions
quite frankly. She told me that Elsie had
always been a truthful girl, and there were
64




































i:E..-: SEl.\AT,) ON Till I.\\K ON W ic I Till.: FAl'.lI:S
\vw n* i: n.\xci\; IN 1917 ( iio'ron 1920)


THE I: I'.\.I. ( 1' .ATI I .I1 I 'T .IO\'I-: T i l: SITE
OF ..\A 'T rI'll (YI 'I I


























-.1

















C. i'ANl.\ ('ES .A\N Till: I. .\ IN(; F I.\llY
Photograph taken by Elsie in August. 1920. "('aino" camera. Distance.
3 ft. 'I'inle, 1/50tih set. 'I'lis negative amld the two follo\\ilii (D andl I:
lhave b en as strictly exatiniled asl tlht e'arlii'r ol es' anl similarly itis.clos
lio trace' of ,being other thllan p rfectly -trtiliile ipliotogirapli.s. Also they
lirovel to have Iwell taken firn tihe' )aclt given til in. atll iilat' having
beenr privately inarkd (I llunknow\\n to the girls.







RECEPTION OF THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS
neighbours who accepted the story of the
fairies simply on the strength of their
knowledge of her. I asked about Elsie's ca-
reer, and her mother said that after she left
school she worked a few months for a pho-
tographer in Manningham Lane, Bradford,
but did not care for running errands most
of the day. The only other work she did
there was "spotting." Neither occupation
was likely to teach a fourteen-year-old girl
how to "fake" a plate. From there she went
to a jeweller's shop, but her stay there was
not prolonged. For many months immedi-
ately prior to taking the first photograph
she was at home and did not associate with
anyone who possessed a camera.
At that time her father knew little of pho-
tography, "only what he had picked up by
dodging about with the camera," as he put
it, and any suggestion that he had faked the
plate must be dismissed.
When he came home from the neighbour-
ing mill, and was told the nature of my
errand, he said he was "fed up" with the
whole business, and had nothing else to tell.
However, he detailed the story I had already
65






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


heard from his wife, agreeing in every par-
ticular, and Elsie's account, given to me in
Bradford, added nothing. Thus I had the
information from the three members of the
family at different times, and without varia-
tion. The parents confessed they had some
difficulty in accepting the photographs as
genuine and even questioned the girls as to
how they faked them. The children per-
sisted in their story, and denied any act of
dishonesty. Then they "let it go at that."
Even now their belief in the existence of the
fairies is merely an acceptance of the state-
ments of their daughter and her cousin.
I ascertained that Elsie was described by
her late schoolmaster as being "dreamy,"
and her mother said that anything imagina-
tive appealed to her. As to whether she
could have drawn the fairies when she was
sixteen I am doubtful. Lately she has taken
up water-colour drawing, and her work,
which I carefully examined, does not reveal
that ability in a marked degree, though she
possesses a remarkable knowledge of colour
for an untrained artist.
Sir A. Conan Doyle says that at first he
66






RECEPTION OF THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS
was not convinced that the fairies were not
thought-forms conjured up by the imagina-
tion or expectation of the seers. Mr. E. L.
Gardner, a member of the Executive Com-
mittee of the Theosophical Society, who
made an investigation on the spot and also
interviewed all the members of the family,
records his opinion that the photographs
are genuine.
Later in the day I went to Bradford, and
at Sharpe's Christmas Card Manufactory
saw Miss Wright. She was working in an
upper room, and at first refused to see me,
sending a message to the effect that she did
not desire to be interviewed. A second re-
quest was successful, and she appeared at a
small counter at the entrance to the works.
She is a tall, slim girl, with a wealth of
auburn hair, through which a narrow gold
band, circling her head, was entwined.
Like her parents, she just said she had
nothing to say about the photographs, and,
singularly enough, used the same expres-
sion as her father and mother-"I am 'fed
up' with the thing."
She gradually became communicative, and
67






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


told me how she came to take the first pho-
tograph.
Asked where the fairies came from, she
replied that she did not know.
"Did you see them come?" I asked; and
on receiving an affirmative reply, suggested
that she must have noticed where they came
from.
Miss Wright hesitated, and laughingly
answered, "I can't say." She was equally
.at a loss to explain where they went after
dancing near her, and was embarrassed
when I pressed for a fuller explanation.
Two or three questions went unanswered,
and my suggestion that they must have
"simply vanished into the air" drew the
monosyllabic reply, "Yes." They did not
speak to her, she said, nor did she speak to
them.
When she had been with her cousin she
had often seen them before. They were only
kiddies when they first saw them, she re-
marked, and did not tell anybody.
"But," I went on, "it is natural to expect
that a child, seeing fairies for the first time,
would tell its mother." Her answer was to
68






RECEPTION OF THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS
repeat that she did not tell anybody. The
first occasion on which fairies were seen, it
transpired, was in 1915.
In reply to further questions, Miss
Wright said she had seen them since, and
had photographed them, and the plates were
in the possession of Mr. Gardner. Even
after several prints of the first lot of fairies
had been given to friends, she did not inform
anybody that she had seen them again. The
fact that nobody else in the village had seen
them gave her no surprise. She firmly be-
lieved that she and her cousin were the only
persons who had been so fortunate, and was
equally convinced that nobody else would
be. "If anybody else were there," she said,
"the fairies would not come out."
Further questions put with the object of
eliciting a reason for that statement were
only answered with smiles and a final sig-
nificant remark, "You don't understand."
Miss Wright still believes in the existence
of the fairies, and is looking forward to see-
ing them again in the coming summer.
The fairies of Cottingley, as they ap-
peared to the two girls, are fine-weather
69






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


elves, as Miss Wright said they appeared
only when it was bright and sunny; never
when the weather was dull or wet.
The strangest part of the girl's story was
her statement that in their more recent ap-
pearances the fairies were more "trans-
parent" than in 1916 and 1917, when they
were "rather hard." Then she added the
qualification, "You see, we were young
then." This she did not amplify, though
pressed to do so.
The hitherto obscure village promises to
be the scene of many pilgrimages during the
coming summer. There is an old saying in
Yorkshire: "Ah'll believe what Ah see,"
which is still maintained as a valuable
maxim.

The general tone of this article makes it
clear that the Commissioner would very
naturally have been well pleased to effect a
coup by showing up the whole concern. He
was, however, a fair-minded and intelligent
man, and has easily exchanged the rl1e of
Counsel for the Prosecution to that of a
tolerant judge. It will be observed that he
70






RECEPTION OF THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS
brought out no new fact which had not al-
ready appeared in my article, save the inter-
esting point that this was absolutely the
first photograph which the children had
ever taken in their lives. Is it conceivable
that under such circumstances they could
have produced a picture which was fraudu-
lent and yet defied the examination of so
many experts? Granting the honesty of the
father, which no one has ever impugned,
Elsie could only have done it by cut-out
images, which must have been of exquisite
beauty, of many different models, fashioned
and kept without the knowledge of her
parents, and capable of giving the impres-
sion of motion when carefully examined by
an expert. Surely this is a large order!
In the Westminster article it is clear that
the writer has not had much acquaintance
with psychic research. His surprise that a
young girl should not know whence appear-
ances come or whither they go, when they
are psychic forms materializing in her own
peculiar aura, does not seem reasonable. It
is a familiar fact also that psychic phe-
nomena are always more active in warm
71






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


sunny weather than in damp or cold.
Finally, the girl's remark that the shapes
were getting more diaphanous was a very
suggestive one, for it is with childhood that
certain forms of mediumship are associated,
and there is always the tendency that, as the
child becomes the woman, and as the mind
becomes more sophisticated and common-
place, the phase will pass. The refining
process' can be observed in the second series
of pictures, especially in the little figure
which is holding out the flower. We fear
that it has now completed itself, and that we
shall have no more demonstrations of fairy
life from this particular source.
One line of attack upon the genuine char-
acter of the photographs was the production
of a fake, and the argument: "There, you
see how good that is, and yet it is an ad-
mitted fake. How can you be sure that
yours are not so also?" The fallacy of this
reasoning lay in the fact that these imita-
tions were done by skilled performers, while
the originals were by untrained children. It
is a repetition of the stale and rotten argu-
ment by which the world has been befooled
72






RECEPTION OF THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS
so long, that because a conjurer under his
own conditions can imitate certain effects,
therefore the effects themselves never ex-
isted.
It must be admitted that some of these at-
tempts were very well done, though none of
them passed the scrutiny of Mr. Gardner
or myself. The best of them was by a lady
photographer connected with the Bradford
Institute, Miss Ina Inman, whose produc-
tion was so good that it caused us for some
weeks to regard it with an open mind.
There was also a weird but effective ar-
rangement by Judge Docker, of Australia.
In the case of Miss Inman's elves, clever as
they were, there was nothing of the natural
grace and freedom of movement which char-
acterize the wonderful Cottingley fairy
group.
Among the more remarkable comments in
the press was one from Mr. George A. Wade
in the London Evening News of December
8, 1920. It told of a curious sequence of
events in Yorkshire, and ran as follows:

"Are there real fairies in the land to-day?
73






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


The question has been raised by Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle, and there have been sub-
mitted photographs which purport to be
those of actual 'little people.'
"Experiences which have come within my
own knowledge may help to throw a little
light on this question as to whether there are
real fairies, actual elves and gnomes, yet to
be met with in the dales of Yorkshire, where
the photographs are asserted to have been
taken.
"Whilst spending a day last year with my
friend, Mr. Halliwell Sutcliffe, the well-
known novelist, who lives in that district, he
told me, to my intense surprise, that he per-
sonally knew a schoolmaster not far from
his home who had again and again insisted
that he had seen, talked with, and had played
with real fairies in some meadows not far
away! The novelist mentioned this to me as
an actual curious fact, for which he, him-
self, had no explanation. But he said that
the man was one whose education, person-
ality, and character made him worthy of
credence-a man not likely to harbour a de-
lusion or to wish to deceive others.
74







RECEPTION OF THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS
"Whilst in the same district I was in-
formed by a man whom I knew to be thor-
oughly reliable that a young lady living in
Skipton had mentioned to him more than
once that she often went up to (a spot
in the dales the name of which he gave) to
'play and dance with the fairies!' When he
expressed astonishment at the statement she
repeated it, and averred that it was really
true!
"In chatting about the matter with my
friend, Mr. William Riley, the author of
Windyridge, Netherleigh, and Jerry and
Ben, a writer who knows the Yorkshire
moors and dales intimately, Mr. Riley as-
serted that though he had never seen actual
fairies there, yet he knew several trust-
worthy moorland people whose belief in
them was unshakable and who persisted
against all contradiction that they them-
selves had many times seen pixies at cer-
tain favoured spots in Upper Airedale and
Wharfedale.
"When some time later an article of mine
anent these things was published in a York-
shire newspaper, there came a letter from a
75






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


lady at a distance who stated that the ac-
count confirmed a strange experience which
she had when on holiday in the same dale up
above Skipton.
"She stated that one evening, when walk-
ing alone on the higher portion of a slope of
the hills, to her intense astonishment she
saw in a meadow close below her fairies and
sprites playing and dancing in large num-
bers. She imagined that she must be dream-
ing, or under some hallucination, so she
pinched herself and rubbed her eyes to make
sure that she was really awake. Convinced
of this, she looked again, and still unmis-
takably saw the 'little people.' She gave a
full account of how they played, of the long
time she watched them, and how at length
they vanished. Without a doubt she was
convinced of the truth of her statement.
"What can we make of it all? My own
mind is open, but it is difficult to believe that
so many persons, unknown to one another,
should have conspired to state what is false.
It is a remarkable coincidence, if nothing
more, that the girls in Sir Arthur Conan
Doyle's account, the schoolmaster mentioned
76







RECEPTION OF THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS
by Mr. Sutcliffe, the young woman who
came from Skipton, and the lady who wrote
to the Yorkshire newspaper should all put
the spot where the fairies are to be seen
almost within a mile or two of one another.
"Are there real fairies to be met with
there?"

The most severe attack upon the fairy
pictures seems to have been that of Major
Hall-Edwards, the famous authority upon
radium, in the Birmingham Weekly Post.
He said:

"Sir Arthur Conan Doyle takes it for
granted that these photographs are real pho-
tographs of fairies, notwithstanding the fact
that no evidence has so far been put forward
to show exactly how they were produced.
Anyone who has studied the extraordinary
effects which have from time to time been
obtained by cinema operators must be aware
that it is possible, given time and opportu-
nity, to produce by means of faked photo-
graphs almost anything that can be imag-
ined.






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


"It is well to point out that the elder of
the two girls has been described by her
mother as a most imaginative child, who has
been in the habit of drawing fairies for
years, and who for a time was apprenticed
to a firm of photographers. In addition to
this she has access to some of the most beau-
tiful dales and valleys, where the imagina-
tion of a young person is easily quickened.
"One of the pictures represents the
younger child leaning on her elbow upon a
bank, while a number of fairies are shown
dancing around her. The child does not
look at the fairies, but is posing for the pho-
tograph in the ordinary way. The reason
given for her apparent disinterestedness in
the frolicsome elves is that she is used to the
fairies, and was merely interested in the
camera.
"The picture in question could be 'faked'
in two ways. Either the little figures of the
fairies were stuck upon a cardboard, cut out
and placed close to the sitter, when, of
course, she would not be able to see them,
and the whole photograph produced on a
marked plate; or the original photograph,
78







RECEPTION OF THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS
without 'fairies,' may have had stuck on it
the figures of fairies cut from some publica-
tion. This would then be rephotographed,
and, if well done, no photographer could
swear that the second negative was not the
original one.
"Major Hall-Edwards went on to remark
that great weight had been placed upon the
fact that the fairies in the photograph had
transparent wings, but that a tricky pho-
tographer could very easily reproduce such
an effect.
'It is quite possible,' he observed, 'to
cut off the transparent wings of insects and
paste them on a picture of fairies. It is easy
to add the transparent wings of large flies
and so arrange them that portions of the
photograph can be viewed through the
wings and thus obtain a very realistic
effect.'
"It has been pointed out that although
the 'fairies' are represented as if they were
dancing-in fact they are definitely stated
to be dancing-there is no evidence of move-
ment in the photographs. An explanation
of this has been given by the photographer
79






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


herself, who has told us that the movements
of the fairies are exceedingly slow and
might be compared to the retarded-move-
ment films shown in the cinemas. This
proves that the young lady possesses a very
considerable knowledge of photography.
"Millions of photographs have been
taken by operators of different ages-chil-
dren and grown-ups-of country scenes and
places which, we have been taught, are the
habitats of nymphs and elves; yet until the
arrival upon the scene of these two won-
derful children the image of a fairy has
never been produced on a photographic
plate. On the evidence I have no hesitation
in saying that these photographs could have
been 'faked.' I criticize the attitude of
those who declared there is something super-
natural in the circumstances attending the
taking of these pictures because, as a medi-
cal man, I believe that the inculcation of
such absurd ideas into the minds of children
will result in later life in manifestations of
nervous disorder and mental disturbances.
Surely young children can be brought up to
appreciate the beauties of Nature without
80














hi







II. I'AIiKY OFFI.' INf; POSY iOF 11.\1A E-IEI..S TO EI.1S
'ITh airy is standing almost still, poised on tlie Iush leaves. The wings
ai,. ?not with yellow, and upper part of dress is very pale pink.


















































































T'l ih4 coln t ;IiIis a fl (ttI thant t h a s q1uiltc 111titkiuv to 1I tth T he i eat It

I"' (' ( 11'("lo i a jtje lring tll t I lt ll ':lt o f t e il5 S it h o g va h ad n tevei bl een sest enl t
ihtesiiht ,it 'as ;I iiagl(itt iv hat 11. wttvttl very qulickly ity Ihe faitlles. andh
ii"ttI ati t I. ll]] \e:tIttv andh ill tilt atititilit especially.







RECEPTION OF THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS
their imagination being filled with exagger-
ated, if picturesque, nonsense and misplaced
sentiment."
To this Mr. Gardner answered:
"Major Hall-Edwards says 'no evidence
has been put forward to show how they were
produced.' The least a would-be critic
should do is surely to read the report of the
case. Sir A. Conan Doyle is asserted to have
taken it 'for granted that these photographs
are real and genuine.' It would be difficult
to misrepresent the case more completely.
The negatives and contact prints were sub-
mitted to the most searching tests known to
photographic science by experts, many of
whom were frankly sceptical. They emerged
as being unquestionably single-exposure
plates and, further, as bearing no evidence
whatever in themselves of any trace of the
innumerable faking devices known. This
did not clear them entirely, for, as I have
always remarked in my description of the
investigation, it is held possible by employ-
ing highly artistic and skilled processes to
produce similar negatives. Personally, I
81






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


should very much like to see this attempted
seriously. The few that have been done,
though very much better than the crude ex-
amples Major Hall-Edwards submits, break
down hopelessly on simple analysis.
"'The case resolved itself at an early stage
into the examination of the personal element
and the motive for faked work. It was this
that occupied us so strenuously, for we fully
realized the imperative need of overwhelm-
ingly satisfying proof of personal integrity
before accepting the photographs as genu-
ine. This was carried through, and its thor-
oughness may be estimated by the fact that,
notwithstanding the searching nature of the
investigation that has followed the publica-
tion of the village, names, etc., nothing even
modifies my first report. I need hardly point
out that the strength of the case lies in its
amazing simplicity and the integrity of the
family concerned. It is on the photographic
plus the personal evidence that the case
stands.
"Into part of the criticism advanced by
Major Hall-Edwards it will be kinder, per-
haps, not to enter. Seriously to suggest that
82






RECEPTION OF THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS
a visit to a cinema show and the use of an
apt illustration implies 'a very considerable
knowledge of photography' is on a par with
the supposition that to be employed as an
errand girl and help in a shop indicates a
high degree of skill in that profession! We
are not quite so credulous as that, nor were
we able to believe that two children, alone
and unaided, could produce in half an hour
a faked photograph of the type of 'Alice and
the Fairies.' "

In addition to this criticism by Major
Hall-Edwards there came an attack in John
o' London from the distinguished writer
Mr. Maurice Hewlett, who raises some ob-
jections which were answered in Mr. Gard-
ner's subsequent reply. Mr. Hewlett's con-
tention was as follows:

"The stage which Sir A. Conan Doyle
has reached at present is one of belief in
the genuineness of what one may call the
Carpenter photographs, which showed the
other day to the readers of the Strand
Magazine two ordinary girls in familiar in-
83






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


tercourse with winged beings, as near as I
can judge, about eighteen inches high. If he
believes in the photographs two inferences
can be made, so to speak, to stand up: one,
that he must believe also in the existence of
the beings; two, that a mechanical opera-
tion, where human agency has done nothing
but prepare a plate, focus an object, press a
button, and print a picture, has rendered
visible something which is not otherwise
visible to the common naked eye. That is
really all Sir Arthur has to tell us. He be-
lieves the photographs to be genuine. The
rest follows. But why does he believe it?
Because the young ladies tell him that they
are genuine. Alas!
"Sir Arthur cannot, he tells us, go into
Yorkshire himself to cross-examine the
young ladies, even if he wishes to cross-
examine them, which does not appear. How-
ever, he sends in his place a friend, Mr. E. L.
Gardner, also of hospitable mind, with set-
tled opinions upon theosophy and kindred
subjects, but deficient, it would seem, in
logical faculty. Mr. Gardner has himself
photographed in the place where the young
84






RECEPTION OF THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS
ladies photographed each other, or there-
abouts. No winged beings circled about him,
and one wonders why Mr. Gardner (a) was
photographed, (b) reproduced the photo-
graph in the Strand Magazine.
"The only answer I can find is suggested
to me by the appearance of the Virgin and
Child to certain shepherds in a peach-or-
chard at Verona. The shepherds told their
parish priest that the Virgin Mary had in-
deed appeared to them on a moonlit night,
had accepted a bowl of milk from them, had
then picked a peach from one of the trees
and eaten it. The priest visited the spot in
their company, and in due course picked up
a peach-stone. That settled it. Obviously
the Madonna had been really there, for here
was the peach-stone to prove it.
"I am driven to the conclusion that Mr.
Gardner had himself photographed on a
particular spot in order to prove the genu-
ineness of former photographs taken there.
The argument would run: The photographs
were taken on a certain spot; but I have
been myself photographed on that spot;
therefore the photographs were genuine.
85






THE COMING OF THE FAIRIES


There is a fallacy lurking, but it is a hos-
pitable fallacy; and luckily it doesn't very
much matter.
"The line to take about a question of the
sort is undoubtedly that of least resistance.
Which is the harder of belief, the faking of
a photograph or the objective existence of
winged beings eighteen inches high? Un-
doubtedly, to a plain man, the latter; but
assume the former. If such beings exist, if
they are occasionally visible, and if a camera
is capable of revealing to all the world what
is hidden from most people in it, we are not
yet able to say that the Carpenter photo-
graphs are photographs of such beings.
For we, observe, have not seen such beings.
True: but we have all seen photographs of
beings in rapid motion-horses racing,
greyhounds coursing a hare, men running
over a field, and so on. We have seen pic-
tures of these things, and we have seen pho-
tographs of them; and the odd thing is that
never, never by any chance does the photo-
graph of a running object in the least re-
semble a picture of it.
"The horse, dog, or man, in fact, in the
86




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