Think Fairies Are Real? So Does This Professor

By Meera Dolasia on April 9, 2014

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Always wanted to meet Tinker Bell? Then you may want to head over to Rossendale Valley in Lancashire, England, where you will encounter not one, but numerous versions of the fairy that first made her appearance in J.M. Barrie's 1904 play, Peter Pan. At least that is what one university professor is asserting, and he even has pictures to prove it!

John Hyatt, Director of Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design (MIRIAD) and a lecturer at the Manchester Metropolitan University, claims that he accidently caught these gorgeous winged creatures on camera, when trying to capture the sunset through the trees.

In fact, it was not until he began developing the photos that he realized that they contained something other than the sunset. It was only upon zooming closer, that the professor discovered the fairies. Hyatt says that to ensure he was not mistaken, he snapped some pictures of gnats and flies for comparison - And sure enough, they looked nothing like these magical creatures.

Of course, this unusual claim has many experts up in arms. Among them is British Entomologist, Erica McLaughlin. She believes that the professor is mistaken - The creatures in the images are not fairies, but midges - a species of flies that resemble the fictional creatures thanks to their delicate wings and long legs.

Ben Hanson, the former host and lead investigator of paranormal claims from the television show 'Fact or Faked Paranormal Files', is not even ready to give Hyatt's claim any benefit of doubt. He thinks that the images are completely doctored to showcase the professor's art and design talent. Hanson's views are based on his observation that the foliage behind the photos has been blurred to give them the 'artsy' look, as well as the fact that fairies seem to be in precise focus - something that would have been almost impossible to do, if the professor was not even aware of their existence.

None of this skepticism seems to have affected Hyatt, who asserts that he has not altered the images beyond zooming in to the section where the fairies are flying. In fact he is proudly showcasing his 'Rossendale Fairies' at a special exhibition at the Whitaker Museum in Rossendale and is asking the general public to view the photos with an open mind. He says that so far, the feedback has been positive and that many visitors are thanking him for bringing a 'bit of magic' into their lives!

This is not the first time claims of fairy sightings have been made. The most famous hoax was concocted in 1917, by 16-year old Elsie Wright and 10-year-old Frances Griffiths. The young girls pasted drawings of fairies onto cardboard and then took pictures of themselves besides them. Thanks to limited knowledge of photography tricks, what was meant to be a harmless prank, turned into a worldwide sensation that had even astute people like Sherlock Holmes creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, conned for years. It was not until 1983, when the now 66-year-old Griffiths finally confessed that the picture had been completely doctored!

Resources: huffingtonpost.com, dailymail.co.uk,manchetereveningnews.com

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assertingastuteblurredconcoctedconneddoctoredentomologistfoliagegnatsgorgeoushoaxmidgesparanormalprankprecisesensationshowcaseskepticism
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Reading Comprehension (3 questions)

  1. How did the professor come upon the fairies?
  2. What do the two experts that the author has cited think about his claim?

Critical Thinking Challenge

Who do you think is right - Professor John Hyatt, Erica McLaughlin or...

782 Comments
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  • ooooooWednesday, May 11, 2016 at 7:52 am
    I KNEW IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • scigirlronni
      scigirlronniSunday, May 1, 2016 at 11:44 am
      That is so cool and amazing and I think fairies are real.This article is so awesome and amazing.I agree with this professor and we are going to keep looking for clues to show y'all fairies are real.
      • HgFriday, April 15, 2016 at 7:46 am
        Are fairies reel
        • HeFriday, April 15, 2016 at 7:45 am
          Are fierys reel
          • CrabbompaThursday, February 4, 2016 at 10:57 am
            Every one Fairies are reall
            • CrabbompaThursday, February 4, 2016 at 10:53 am
              I love fairies
              • BobThursday, February 4, 2016 at 10:52 am
                I love fairies
                • cheetahluver
                  cheetahluverSaturday, January 16, 2016 at 8:15 pm
                  I think that the professor had just taken a picture and had mistaken the bugs for fairies.
                  • KuraWednesday, November 25, 2015 at 12:42 pm
                    Really interesting article. I'll be using this for a school project :3
                    • yoblingo
                      yoblingoThursday, October 22, 2015 at 1:00 pm
                      i don't really care if they are real. But it would be kinda' cool if there was pixie dust (FLYING CARS)

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