Episode 17 – The Cottingley Fairies with Sarah Baggs
In 1920, five photographs took the world by storm. Taken by two young girls, Elsie Wright and Francis Griffith, the photos appeared to prove no less than the existence of fairies.
Experts in photographic trickery admitted they were stumped. Spiritualists and theosophists promoted the images as proof of the existence of the supernatural. Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, threw reason to the wind and supported the girls and their pictures.
Meanwhile Francis’ own father admitted he thought the photos were fake and that the experts had been fooled by a daughter that he didn’t see as particularly bright.
On this episode of Scamapalooza, I’m joined by Melbourne pop culture podcaster Sarah Baggs from It’s A Duck Blur, Pop Quiz Hot Shot and Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti. Together we uncover why the public were so keen to believe in fairies and why these two little girls were so happy to let them.