Runtime: 30 minutes
I Need a Fairy - Cottingley Fairies - Netflix
The Cottingley Fairies appear in a series of five photographs taken by Elsie Wright (1901–1988) and Frances Griffiths (1907–1986), two young cousins who lived in Cottingley, near Bradford in England. In 1917, when the first two photographs were taken, Elsie was 16 years old and Frances was 9. The pictures came to the attention of writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who used them to illustrate an article on fairies he had been commissioned to write for the Christmas 1920 edition of The Strand Magazine. Doyle, as a spiritualist, was enthusiastic about the photographs, and interpreted them as clear and visible evidence of psychic phenomena. Public reaction was mixed; some accepted the images as genuine, others believed that they had been faked. Interest in the Cottingley Fairies gradually declined after 1921. Both girls married and lived abroad for a time after they grew up, yet the photographs continued to hold the public imagination. In 1966 a reporter from the Daily Express newspaper traced Elsie, who had by then returned to the UK. Elsie left open the possibility that she believed she had photographed her thoughts, and the media once again became interested in the story. In the early 1980s Elsie and Frances admitted that the photographs were faked, using cardboard cutouts of fairies copied from a popular children's book of the time, but Frances maintained that the fifth and final photograph was genuine. The photographs and two of the cameras used are on display in the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, England.
I Need a Fairy - 1920 photographs - Netflix
Gardner believed the Wright family to be honest and respectable. To place the matter of the photographs' authenticity beyond doubt, he returned to Cottingley at the end of July with two Kodak Cameo cameras and 24 secretly marked photographic plates. Frances was invited to stay with the Wright family during the school summer holiday so that she and Elsie could take more pictures of the fairies. Gardner described his briefing in his 1945 Fairies: A Book of Real Fairies:
Doyle was preoccupied with organising an imminent lecture tour of Australia, and in July 1920, sent Gardner to meet the Wright family. Frances was by then living with her parents in Scarborough, but Elsie's father told Gardner that he had been so certain the photographs were fakes that while the girls were away he searched their bedroom and the area around the beck (stream), looking for scraps of pictures or cutouts, but found nothing “incriminating”.
I went off, to Cottingley again, taking the two cameras and plates from London, and met the family and explained to the two girls the simple working of the cameras, giving one each to keep. The cameras were loaded, and my final advice was that they need go up to the glen only on fine days as they had been accustomed to do before and tice the fairies, as they called their way of attracting them, and see what they could get. I suggested only the most obvious and easy precautions about lighting and distance, for I knew it was essential they should feel free and unhampered and have no burden of responsibility. If nothing came of it all, I told them, they were not to mind a bit.
My heart was gladdened when out here in far Australia I had your note and the three wonderful pictures which are confirmatory of our published results. When our fairies are admitted other psychic phenomena will find a more ready acceptance ... We have had continued messages at seances for some time that a visible sign was coming through.
Until 19 August the weather was unsuitable for photography. Because Frances and Elsie insisted that the fairies would not show themselves if others were watching, Elsie's mother was persuaded to visit her sister's for tea, leaving the girls alone. In her absence the girls took several photographs, two of which appeared to show fairies. In the first, Frances and the Leaping Fairy, Frances is shown in profile with a winged fairy close by her nose. The second, Fairy offering Posy of Harebells to Elsie, shows a fairy either hovering or tiptoeing on a branch, and offering Elsie a flower. Two days later the girls took the last picture, Fairies and Their Sun-Bath. The plates were packed in cotton wool and returned to Gardner in London, who sent an “ecstatic” telegram to Doyle, by then in Melbourne. Doyle wrote back:
I Need a Fairy - References - Netflix