Think Fairies Are Real? So Does This Professor
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
Reading Comprehension (3 questions)
- How did the professor come upon the fairies?
- 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...