Cottingley Fairies
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In The End... The Answers

A year later, in 1983, Frances and Elsie, now 75 and 81 years old, confess "that the fairies in the photographs were actually drawings Elsie had made, cut out and set in place with hatpins."

The cutouts were traced from "Princess Mary's Gift Book", backed by cardboard and held in place by long hatpins fastened with zinc oxide bandage tape. Although the house, the beck and even the dustbins were scoured for clues, nothing was ever found. The book had remained on the shelf, unread since it was awarded... and the girls knew that.


Princess Mary's Gift Book


(left) A young Princess Mary, (right) Pricess Mary's Gift Book

Beautifully illustrated, Princess Mary's Gift Book, 1914 [Hodder and Stoughton], was sold to raise funds for charity.

Some of the contributors of artwork, poems and passages in this 140 page collection were Edmund Dula, J. J. Shannon, M. E. GraFleur, Carlton A. Smith, Eugene Hastain, A. C. Michael, Claude A. Shepperson, W. B. Wollen, Arthur Rackham, E. H. Detmol, Bimbahi Joyce and Charles Napier Hemy.



The "confession" was released in a article to The Times on 9th April 1983 by Frances.

And in Frances' book published in the same year, she says:

"I'm fed up with all these stories... I hated those photographs and cringe every time I see them. I thought it was a joke, but everyone else kept it going. It should have died a natural death 60 years ago."

The book once again renews public interest and she is commissioned to write an article in the Times newspaper.

Many miles away in New Zealand, the last surviving member of Doyle's investigation team, Edward L Gardner hears the truth about the Cottingley Fairies at the grand old age of 96.


Flim Flam! Now Tell The Truth!

But I Still Believe