By Barbara Elsborg On May 22 2012, 5:37 am
I live in Yorkshire, in the UK, a few miles from the village of Cottingley. The village is famous for pictures taken in 1917 by two local schoolchildren. Frances and Elsie took photos of what they claimed were fairies at the bottom of the garden at the side of Cottingley Beck. One of their fathers developed the plates and declared the images to be fakes, but news got out and they were examined by an expert who decided they were real. Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – creator of Sherlock Holmes- thought they were genuine and wrote a book about them.
The photos don’t look so convincing these days but they certainly had people all over the world wondering for years. In 1981 Frances and Elsie admitted they’d held up cut-out fairies with hatpins, though Frances continued to maintain they had seen fairies for real and the fifth picture was genuine. Hmm!
I love gardens with walls. The Secret Garden was a favourite read of mine. I love the idea of something mysterious just waiting to be discovered. Although the Cottingley girls faked those photos, how fantastic that for so many years people wondered if they were real. Maybe that fifth photo says there really are fairies at the bottom of the garden. Off to look at mine….
In my book Worlds Apart – there’s something at the bottom of Taylor’s garden on the other side of a stone wall. When he was a boy, he saw what lay on the far side but as a grown-up – he sees something different. I hope you’ll read the book and find out for yourselves what’s at the bottom of his garden.