The Cottingley Fairies

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The story of the Cottingley Fairies is one of the best known controversies concerning the argument of whether fairies actually exist. It all began in July of 1917, with Frances Griffiths getting into trouble with her mother for coming home with wet shoes and stockings. In frustration, Frances' mother said that she didn't understand what attracted the two girls to the beck as there was nothing there to see. In her book, Reflections on the Cottingley Fairies, Frances says, 'I did what I had never done before. I answered her back, yelling, 'There is! I go up to see the fairies!' Frances' mother, obviously, did not believe her daughter and sent her to the attic bedroom which she shared with her older cousin Elsie Wright. She also made sure to ask Elsie if she had seen these fairies, to which Elsie said she had. After being teased mercilessly, Elsie concocted a plan to fool the adults. 'Elsie got tired of the joking and one night suggested to me that she would copy the dancing figures of fairies from one of my most precious possessions, my Princess Mary's Gift book... 'That will shake them!' she said. 'They'll have to stop making fun of us then.'' The next time that the two girls were teased by their parents, Elsie challenged her father, telling him that if he lent them his camera, a Midg quarter plate, the two girls would try to take a photograph of one of the fairies. While Arthur, Elsie's father, wasn't happy about it, after being pestered by his wife and daughter, he eventually gave in. After loading the camera with a glass plate and setting the camera's shutter speed of 1/50s, the girls took the camera down to the beck to photograph a fairy. 'Elsie had already prepared her fairy figures when no one was about,' says Frances in her book. The figures were painted onto a stiff paper and poked into the ground using flat-headed hatpins which was stuck onto
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