The Strange Case of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Cottingley Faeries

Sherlock Holmes might have been a skeptic but Arthur Conan Doyle believed in fairies. Well, he was convinced by the Cottingley Fairy photographs, the famous 1917 hoax. He even spent a million dollars promoting them and wrote a book, The Coming of the Fairies (1921), on their authenticity.

Few things in the world of Arthur Conan Doyle raise the same amount of feeling as the ‘Cottingley fairies’ episode, which causes profound embarrassment in many people who otherwise admire both the man and his work. These people simply cannot understand how the creator of Sherlock Holmes – a detective who dealt in facts, not theories, and who refused to acknowledge that the supernatural could exist – could himself have believed in fairies, and could have been duped by two young girls into publicly declaring that their photographs of fairies were real.  Even biographers of ACD tend to skirt around the issue, either downplaying the event or ignoring it altogether.

July 2017 will be the one-hundredth anniversary of when the initial Cottingley photographs were captured in North Yorkshire so Glimmerdark has invited noted historian, Professor Mark P. Donnelly to give a presentation on this fascinating (and largely forgotten) episode of literary, spiritual and supernatural history.