The Cottingley Fairies: A Famous Photo Hoax from 1917

The British Journal of Photography is reporting today that Geoffrey Crawley — the world-renowned photographer who debunked the Cottingley Fairies hoax in the 1980’s — has died. The hoax began in 1917 when two cousins named Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths (aged 16 and 10, respectively) claimed to have discovered fairies and, after borrowing a camera, produced photos to prove it. The controversial photographs captured the world’s attention for decades and even deceived Sir Arthur Conan Doyle before finally being debunked by Crawley in a series of articles published in the early ’80s. In 1983 the cousins admitted that the photos were faked using cardboard cutouts.

It’s interesting seeing how little it took to fool people with photographs in the early days of photography.

To read a more detailed account of the Cottingley Fairies hoax, read the Wikipedia article here.

(via BJP)

  • Jefton Sungkar

    BRILLIANT! i wish i lived in that era!… i’d be a millionaire :D

  • poo

    Too bad he worked so hard to destroy the mystery…

  • Chung Dha Lam

    Is this also first case of photo manipulation?

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  • Looby92

    its not exactly photo manipulation, because they were cardboard cut outs pinned to trees and branches, so nothing has physically been done to change the photograph itself

  • dakotah

    they admitted to 4 of the photos being fake, they said the last one taken was suppose to be real (obviously I dont believe them) but they always said the last one was real and the others were fake