The Fairy Ring

By: Mary Losure


In Cottingley Village around 1920 a photograph would soon lead the world to believe in the existence of fairies. In our interview with Frances shined some light on how the photo came to be and why we didn’t find out about the truth sooner.


Reporter: So in this picture it clearly shows you sitting next to a Fairy, but that is not the case correct?

Frances: No that is not correct. While it seems that I am sitting next to a Fairy the truth of the matter is that Elsie painted a cutout of a fairy and then I took a picture sitting next to it.

Reporter: Why did you take this photo?

Frances: When I moved to Cottingley I used to spend a lot of time sitting down by the river, While I was there I realized that near the river there was a fairy glenn. When I came home muddy my mother tried to make stop going down to the river, but I told her that I liked to go there and watch the fairies. After I said that I was constantly teased by my family. I wanted the teasing to end so I went to my cousin (an amazing artist) and seeked help. She painted the cutouts and then we took a picture of them and showed our parents. For a while the teasing stopped.

Reporter: So this was not meant to get into books, it was only to stop some joking in your family?

Frances: Absolutely.

Reporter: So how did the pictures go viral?

Frances: One day my mom went to a meeting that discussed the existence of fairies. While there my mom mentioned the picture and then showed them. When Edward Gardner found out about it he put the pictures in all kinds of newspapers and eventually Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a book on it called The Coming of the Fairies.

Reporter: Why didn’t you tell the truth about the picture to your mother before things got so out of hand?

Frances: Me and Elsie were afraid of getting in a lot of trouble. We never thought that things would get so out of hand.

Reporter: What do you mean when you say that things got out of hand?

Frances: This went from being a simple picture to stop teasing to a series of photos that put in a position where if we were to tell the truth then there would most likely be a large consequence for not saying anything sooner.

Reporter: Did you like all the attention that the photos brought?

Frances: No, No I didn’t. The photos made the teasing start in school. Also I didn’t like the attention, I didn’t like fooling people I knew it wasn’t right to not tell them, but Elsie and I made a pact that we wouldn’t tell anyone about it.

Reporter: How did other people find out?

Frances: Well when we got older and had kids. When the kids found the photos Elsie told them the truth. For a long time I was mad at her and I didn’t talk to her, but after a while I calmed down and realized that it was the right thing for her to do

So thats how Frances and Elsie fooled the world with a few simple photos.


Elsie- Frances older cousin who has a natural talent for art.

Cottingley- A small village in England.

Fairy Glenn- A place where fairies live and are sometimes capable of being seen.

Edward Gardner- A man who's life reasearch was on nature spirits (also know as fairies).

Sir Author Conan Doyle- An Author who heard about the photos and decided to write a book based off the fairies and their photos.

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Esabelle Elkins