155. Which well-known British author succumbed in 1917 to a deception by a ten year old and a sixteen year old?
From Quiz Don't Stop Deceiving
Answer: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The girls were cousins Frances Griffiths (aged 10) and Elsie Wright (aged 16) and in 1915 they produced the first of five photographs of - wait for it - fairies. They took the photograph in Elsie's home village of Cottingley in West Yorkshire. While Elsie's dad, keen photographer Arthur Wright, didn't believe the photo was genuine, his wife did and took the photograph to a meeting of the Theosophical Society of which she was a member. It caused a great stir, and when Elsie and Frances produced two more photos, one showing a fairy hovering near Frances and the other Frances about to shake hands with a winged gnome, Theosophists and Spiritualists throughout England got all excited. One of them was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the great rationalist detective Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle was a Spiritualist and fervently believed in the existence of fairies and in the authenticity of the photos (even when his friend Sir Oliver Lodge, a prominent researcher into psychic phenomena, said they were fakes). In all, Elsie and Frances produced five photographs featuring what came to be known as The Cottingley Fairies, and Conan Doyle believed that each of them was genuine, despite the skepticism of his peers.
Years later, an aged Elsie confessed that the fairies and the gnome were cut from the pages of 'Princess Mary's Gift Book' (published in 1914) and were illustrations by Claude Arthur Shepperson. The girls had suspended them on wire or fixed them in place with hat pins to take the photos.