I’ve always been fascinated by the story of the Cottingley Fairies. At the age of seven, the thought of two girls managing to capture images of the most illusive of creatures was sustaining. If there could be proof of magic, there could be proof that life was extraordinary and I would continue to believe.
Some years later, my parents bought me a copy of ‘The Coming of the Fairies’ by Arthur Conan Doyle. Here was a chance to see all the photographs collected in one place and to read his views on the matter. It seems that he was totally taken in by the ‘evidence’ and thoroughly absorbed by it all.
Looking closely at the photographs for myself, I could see that that the fairies had probably been drawn, cut out and placed against various backgrounds. However, the old fashioned, black and white appearance of the pictures lends an otherworldly quality to them that is almost credible.
What I remember most about my own exploration of the ‘truth’ in this true life story is the fact that my parents never told me it was a hoax.
(Inspired by photo: Frances and the Leaping Fairy)
Paper cuts her a figure:
lines of her body
made in the image
of flower stems.
is a calligraphed letter —
of a name,
K. S. Moore
‘Leaping Fairy’ is a poem from my magic and myth themed pamphlet in progress, ‘When seaweed is Medusa’s hair’.
Photo by Blue Square Thing on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA