The Cottingley Incident: Debunking Faeries Essay

2487 words - 10 pages

Faeries have played a significant role in the folklore of cultures for centuries. Pagans, who have been around since the classical world, often viewed and worshiped faeries similarly to nymphs and tree spirits. Christianity tended to view faeries as a form of “demoted angels” who were stuck somewhere between heaven and hell when God ordered the closing of Heaven’s gates. Most often associated with spirits of nature, faeries are known by many names: banshees, sprites, brownies, nymphs and tree spirits. They are most often described as small human like creatures, similar to elves, and often possessing some form of magical abilities. Faeries has been a point of contention for hundreds of years and attempts to prove their existence has been met with varying degrees of success. The goal of this paper is to debunk one of the most well known and most publicized alleged faerie sightings,The Cottingley Incident, using the skeptic heuristics and concepts of logic we learned in Critical Thinking this semester.
In 1917, two cousins Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright, told their parents that they saw faeries. The girls claimed the faeries lived in the beck behind their home in England, and the two would play with the creatures there. Frances wasn’t supposed to be playing in the beck, so when she fell and got her clothes wet, she was scolded. When her mother asked her why she kept returning to the beck, she answered saying she wanted to play with the faeries there. When the adults didn’t believe them, the girls decided to obtain proof. Elsie had borrowed her father's camera, a Midg quarter-plate, and they went out for about half an hour. Mr. Wright developed the plate later in the afternoon and on it was a photograph of Frances with some faerie figures.
In August 1917 Frances took a photograph of Elsie with a gnome that was under-exposed and unclear. The plate was again developed by Elsie's father, Arthur, who suspected that the girls had been playing tricks and refused to lend his camera to them anymore. Both Arthur and his wife, Polly, searched the girls' bedroom and waste-paper basket for any scraps of pictures or cut-outs, and also went down to the beck in search of evidence of fakery. They found nothing, and the girls stuck to their story.
In the summer of 1919 Polly Wright went to a meeting at the Theosophical Society in Bradford. The lecture that night was on `faerie life', and Polly mentioned to the person sitting next to her that faerie prints had been taken by her daughter and niece. The result of this conversation was that two `rough prints' (as they were later called) came to the notice of Theosophists at the Harrogate conference in the autumn, and thence to a leading Theosophist, Edward Gardner, by early 1920. Gardner's immediate impulse after seeing the faerie pictures was to clarify the prints. The positive pictures were then turned back into negatives. Photographic experts examined the negative and the print but could find no trace of...

Find Another Essay On The Cottingley Incident: Debunking Faeries

Khushwant Singh's Train to Pakistan Essay

3864 words - 15 pages British dominion in India. Like the initial encounter the whole of Indian colonial era is marked by bloodshed; numerous local rebellions like the Maratha war, the Chauri-chaura incident are part and parcel of the Indian independence movement. Hence, the violent trait of decolonization is a natural corollary of its predecessor, imperialism. In his essay “Flawed Gandhism or Hindu Fundamentalism? No Cheers for Kanthapura,” T. J. Abraham concludes

Reality and Illusion in Shakespeare's Hamlet - Reality, Appearance and Deception

896 words - 4 pages refuses to exact the revenge when the opportunity presents itself. In the third act, Hamlet stumbles on Claudius striving to pray. Claudius, unbeknownst to Hamlet, reveals to the audience his guilt, yet is unable to pray. This fortuitous moment, however, passes without incident due to Hamlet's acceptance of a false assumption. "...am I then revenged to take him in the purging of his soul," questions Hamlet. (III.3 ln 84-85) Believing Claudius to be in

Sub-plots in Hamlet

1118 words - 4 pages Sub-plots in Hamlet   There are many things that critics say make Hamlet a "Great Work," one of which is the way that Shakespeare masterfully incorporates so many sub-plots into the story, and ties them all into the main plot of Hamlet’s revenge of his father’s murder. By the end of Act I, not only is the main plot identified, but many other sub-plots are introduced. Among the sub-plots are trust in the Ghost of King Hamlet, Fortinbras

Hamlet as Victim and Hero

1301 words - 5 pages Hamlet as Victim and Hero      Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, a Shakespearean tragedy, tells the story of Prince Hamlet, who gained the knowledge of a terrible incident that his kingdom had suffered. Claudius, the king of Denmark and Hamlet's uncle, had killed his own brother, the king, who was also the father of Hamlet, and married his brother's widow. Hamlet suffered these traumas to a severe degree, and his only relief was to defeat his

Essay on Light and Dark in Antigone

1188 words - 5 pages Use of Light and Dark in Antigone   The "Golden Age" of Greece is noted for its many contributions to the creative world, especially in its development of the play. These performances strived to emphasize Greek morals, and were produced principally for this purpose. Antigone, by Sophocles, is typical. The moral focused on in Antigone is the conflict between physis (nature) and nomos (law), with physis ultimately presiding over nomos

charant Creon as the Main Character of Antigone

1231 words - 5 pages Creon as the Main Character of Antigone   Throughout the Greek play Antigone by Sophocles, there exists a dispute as to who should receive the designation of main character. Antigone, the daughter of the cursed King Oedipus, as well as Creon, stately king of Thebes, both appear as the key figures in this historic play. I believe that Creon, king of Thebes, should be considered the main character in this work of Greek theater. Three

Free Macbeth Essays: Sleep and Sleeplessness

525 words - 2 pages The Sleep and Sleeplessness Motif in Macbeth We have consciences that function to tell us the difference between right and wrong. If we have clear consciences, we usually possess the ability to sleep. But when our consciences are full of guilt, we experience a state of sleeplessness. In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the sleep and sleeplessness motif to represent Macbeth's and Lady Macbeth's consciences and the effect Macbeth's conscience has

Life Outside of Life in Hawthorne’s Wakefield

898 words - 4 pages Life Outside of Life in Hawthorne’s Wakefield   Efficacy lies at the heart of human desires for immortality. Characters throughout literature and art are depicted as wanting to step aside and see what their world would be like without their individual contributions. The literary classic A Christmas Carol and the more recent, but ageless, film It’s Wonderful Life both use outside influences (three ghosts and Clarence the Angel

Essay on Identity in Song of Solomon

2172 words - 9 pages Searching for Identity in Song of Solomon         Abstract: Whether Africans really fly or just escape a monumental burden, perhaps only through death, is a decision Toni Morrison has apparently left to her readers. Never the less, no matter what you believe, within Song of Solomon, the suggestion is, that in order to "fly" you must go back to the beginning, back to your roots. You must learn the "art" from the old messages.   O

The Character of Oedipus in Oedipus and The Infernal Machine

904 words - 4 pages The Character of Oedipus in Oedipus and The Infernal Machine    The stories of Oedipus, as told through Seneca's Oedipus and Cocteau's The Infernal Machine, contain both similarites and differences. Both authors portray the character of Oedipus as being obstinate, ignorant, and inquisitive. Yet Seneca and Cocteau differ on their interpretation of the motives that propelled these characteristics of Oedipus. Seneca portrays Oedipus as a

Okonkwo's Tragic Flaws in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

3121 words - 12 pages        An increasing amount of contemporary literature traces its origins back to the early works of Greece. For ages, humans have fascinated themselves with the impossible notion of perfection. Unrealistic expectations placed on those who were thought to be the noblest or most honorable individuals have repeatedly led to disappointment and frustration, either on the part of those particular individuals or those they influence. Classic

Similar Essays

Debunking The Truth Behind The Roswell Incident

1812 words - 7 pages , such as the Romans and Greeks have been intent with flying amongst the gods. Hundreds of years later came the modern American alien craze, which spurred shortly after the Roswell incident. This happened on a weekend night during the July Fourth holiday, when an unidentified flying object made a crash landing onto a ranch owned by William “Mac” Brazel. Since that event, the enigma behind the American UFO obsession has yet to be stifled. Many

9/11 Conspiracy Theorists Essay

1219 words - 5 pages 9/11 Conspiracy TheoristsMarcus Downey College Composition (ENG 111) 02/01/08As with all events in history, there will be at least one, sometimes several, naysayers in the crowd and the events of September 11th 2001 are no exception. The United States Government presented the facts to the world but some just couldn't grasp it. The incident raised questions in everyone's mind, specifically how could this happen? President Bush was quick to state

The Ethics Of Internet Filtering In China

3677 words - 15 pages corrupting the young minds of China seems reasonable enough. But upon closer examination of the contents the government tries so hard to block and its method of doing so and its true motivation for doing the web filtering, we will soon come to realize what the government is doing is anything but moral when analyzed by both Chinese and Western schools of philosophy. Debunking Government’s Confucian Claim Even though through the course of

The Ethics Of Medical Animal Testing

1896 words - 8 pages , these companies really wouldn’t have been negligent. Effectiveness of Animal Testing As mentioned earlier, many organizations claim that animal testing is not only immoral, but ineffective. Many of them list incident after incident of how animal testing has failed. SIAV gives the example of the research for the polio vaccine where due to results of testing on monkeys, scientists believed that polio entered only through the nose. I was later