Friday, July 07, 2006

Arthur Conan Doyle & Fairies

This is a picture of the infamous Cottingley Fairies, supposedly the first actualy photographic evidence of fairies. In 1920, Arthur Conan Doyle received word of these photographs and became convinced that they were genuine. Even after they were exposed as a delightful fraud by two creative teenagers, he continued to believe in their authenticity. Gotta wonder how any thinking person could have been taken in by this, but thousands were. It was an enormous hot topic in it's day. Today, the media frenzy would probably have been comprable to anything involving Paris Hilton.

Arthur Conan Doyle became a dedicated Spiritualist in 1916 and remained so until his death in 1930. He was an enthusiastic researcher and wrote 13 books on Spiritualism related material in the last years of his life. At one point, he began publishing his own works under the Psychic Press publishing house name. His beliefs could not be shaken and he was going to be published one way or the other! Of course, it didn't hurt that he was the world's most successful author at the time and had time, money and celebrity on his side. He approached Spiritualism as an investigator, working endlessly to advance the cause. In his first book on Spiritualism, he says

I seemed suddenly to see that this subject with which I had so long dallied was not merely a study of a force outside the rules of science, but that it really was a tremendous, a breaking down of the walls between the two worlds, a direct undeniable message from beyond, a call of hope and guidance to the human race...

Doyle has contributed enormous amounts of literature to the Spiritualism religion. I'm fortunate enough to own a first edition set of his 2 volume History of Spiritualism. His writing, although a little antiquated by today's standards, is still interesting and compelling. If you're interested in checking this out for yourself, it has been put online at the site. His abiding belief in the fairies aside, Doyle gives us a great deal to think about.

He was frequently challenged by famous psychic investigators and debunkers, Harry Houdini and Harry Price, but he never gave up on some of his convictions, especially regarding spirit photography. I have lots more to say on the spirit photography topic and other physical manifestations, but that's for another day. Today, July 7, 2006 is the 76th anniversery of Arthur Conan Doyle's death, and I'll show a little respect. Everyone gets to have an eccentric side as far as I'm concerned.


1 comment:

Matt D. said...

RIP Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

That fairy story is awesome.