3. Sherlock Holmes away with the fairies

by Tony Quinn

Victorian fairies, Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes

In 1917, two girls in Yorkshire produced photographs they had taken of fairies in their garden, one of them is shown above. In summary:

  • Elsie Wright (age 16) and her cousin Frances Griffiths (10) used a simple camera and were said to be lacking any knowledge of photographic trickery.

  • The girls said they could not photograph the fairies when anyone else was watching.

  • There was only one independent witness, Geoffrey L. Hodson, a writer and Theosophist (someone who believes all religions are attempts by a ‘spiritual hierarchy’ to help humanity in evolving to greater perfection, and that each religion therefore has a portion of the truth).

  • Hodson claimed he could see the fairies, and confirmed the girls' observations.

  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – a spiritualist and creator of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes – not only accepted the fairy photos as genuine, he even wrote two pamphlets and a book about them and added fairy lore.

  • The fairy pictures were used as part of an article by Conan Doyle in the Christmas 1920 edition of The Strand magazine

Aurthur Conan Doyle Fairies book cover Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book, The Coming of the Fairies (Extraordinary World), is still in print, and some people still believe the photos are authentic.

Does the picture look genuine to you?

How many people believe in the Loch Ness Monster, UFOs, aliens, vampires, werewolves...

Page 4: The power of photographs