How We Dream


When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle set out to write his book entitled The Coming of the Fairies he called on the world’s then foremost experts in the discipline of fairy spotting, fifteen year old Elsie Wright and her cousin Francis Griffiths.

Elsie and Francis had hooked the interest of both the scientific and lay worlds with their photographs, the first being Francis posing with a gnome. The second saw Francis with a host of pixies playing music in the forest. Well, when the famous creator of Sherlock Holmes requested yet another photo they could do nothing other than oblige and marched off into the woods. And do you know, once again they were able to catch glimpses of the fey folk and photograph them?

However, on this occasion the Little People appeared transparent, as if fading from view.

Ah, said the girls, they would no longer be allowed to take photos of the wee folk, for reasons unknown to mortal minds.

Fifty seven years passed and still the mystery had not been plumbed. The scientific community was stymied. Photographic experts simply could not figure it out. Hard to believe nowadays, but back then such technology had never even been envisioned. Had these two young ladies really had such encounters? Must be, for photos do not lie.

The girls now women, held the assertion all those years that those photos and their encounters with the Little Folk of the English country side were true.

It wasn’t until 1977 that writer, Fred Gettings , found the evidence he needed, Princess Mary’s Gift Book wherein lay the hand drawn pictures that corresponded exactly with the fairy procession in those pictures from 1917.


Well, Elsie had been a consummate painter after all and…not until 1982 did both women admit to the whole of it being a hoax.

How much we want to believe in such things. Is life really that dull without such fantasy?

Or, perhaps such fancies stem from our forgotten, but past history that while long dead for centuries, yet begs us to remember how it once was,  and perhaps, how it will be again.

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