Monday, May 22, 2006

Sherlock author, Wicca founder duped by girls

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1859 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (d. July 7, 1930), Scottish physician and author, creator of Sherlock Holmes.

After his son died in World War I, he dedicated himself to spiritualistic studies. An example is The Coming of the Fairies (1922) in which he supported the existence of ‘little people’ and spent more than a million dollars on their cause. He was apparently totally convinced of the veracity of the obviously faked Cottingley fairy photographs, which he reproduced in the book, together with theories about the nature and existence of fairies.

Doyle’s gullibility possibly was heightened because he had first been told about the photographs by his fellow devotee of esoteric matters and enthusiastic believer in the pictures, Gerald Gardner, the founder of modern Wicca. By May 1920 Gardner was using slides of the Cottingley pictures at lectures. Doyle saw the first two photos and Gardner convinced him they were real, whereupon Doyle wrote an article on the subject in The Strand, the magazine that published his Holmes tales. Doyle did, however, say that the photos should be tested by disinterested people.

While Doyle was in Australia on a lecture tour in 1921, Gardner sent him information about three more photos that he had been shown by the Cottingley cousins, and Doyle shed any doubts that he might have had, apparently believing that Gardner fit the bill of his "disinterested" person.

Doyle at this time was a major international celebrity, but his fascination with ghosts, fairies and "the afterlife" drew ridicule worldwide. In 1923, as he toured America, an editorial in the New York Times said: "Again Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is placing on many of this country's inhabitants the embarrassing task of trying to strike a balance between their long-established liking for him and their equally well-settled dislike for what he is doing."

Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright, two young cousins living in Cottingley, near Bradford, England. The children took a total of five photographs between 1916 and 1920 of what appeared to be fairies dancing ...

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