Frightful Photo Friday: The Cottingley Fairies


In a 1918 letter from Frances Griffiths to her friend, Johanna Parvin, living in South Africa, she said this:

Dear Joe,
I hope you are quite well. I wrote a letter before, only I lost it or it got mislaid. Do you play with Elsie and Nora Biddles? I am learning French, Geometry, Cookery and Algebra at school now. Dad came home from France the other week after being there ten months, and we all think the war will be over in a few days. We are going to get our flags to hang upstairs in our bedroom. I am sending two photos, both of me, one of me in a bathing costume in our back yard, Uncle Arthur took that, while the other is me with some fairies up the beck, Elsie took that one. Rosebud is as fat as ever and I have made her some new clothes. How are Teddy and dolly?

Hey, cute, just two friends pen-palling it up- wait, hold on a second, did she just say something about fairies?

Rewind a bit to one warm West Yorkshire Saturday afternoon in July 1917, Frances and her cousin, Elsie Wright, took Elsie’s father’s camera into the woods where they snapped off a few frames. Later, when Mr. Wright went about developing the photo plates, he was shocked to discover the forms of fairies traipsing across the images.

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