Item #1425 The Coming of the Fairies. Arthur Conan Doyle.
The Coming of the Fairies
The Coming of the Fairies
The Mind Behind Sherlock Holmes Defends the Existence of Fairies

The Coming of the Fairies

New York: George H. Doran Company, 1922. First American edition. Black and white photographic plates. Original cloth over boards. Octavo. [i]-[xii], 13-196 pages. Very good plus. Bound in coarse brown cloth over boards with spine and upper board titled in black. Photographic onlay of a fairy with one of the girls to middle of upper board. Minor wear to extremities, some age-toning to interior, and some silverfishing to spine. Overall a sturdy, displayable, discussable copy of this fascinating work.

Here is Conan Doyle's presentation of the evidence of the existence of fairies, as photographed in 1917 and 1920, by two young girls in England. Conan Doyle, a devoted spiritualist, fully believed in the legitimacy of these images, and hoped to create widespread public support for them. He felt that he could parley public acceptance of these fairies into a broader acceptance of spiritualism as a whole.

It's fascinating that the same mind which created literature's most logical, deductive, and impassionate detective also fell hard for spiritualism and these fairy photographs--which drew many debunkers at the time of their first publication. Nevertheless, in his Preface to the present work, Conan Doyle makes this recognizably Holmesian parry to these critics:
"There are few realities which cannot be imitated, and the ancient argument that because conjurers on their own prepared plates or stages can produce certain results, therefore similar results obtained by untrained people under natural conditions are also false, is surely discounted by the intelligent public."

The girls, Elsie and Frances, as old women, confessed in the 1980s to faking the famous Cottingley Fairy photographs using cardboard cutouts.

Ref. GREEN and GIBSON B29b.

Item #1425