The Coming of the Fairies

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(4.1 stars; 36 reviews)

After a number of deaths in his close family, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle turned to spiritualism in hope of finding proof of the afterlife. Being open in this way, he wanted to believe that spirits and other supernatural being including fairies were real. Because of this he believed the photographs of fairies taken by the Cottingley girls were proof of the existence of such beings. In this book he presents his stance on the issue. Eventually it was proven that the photographs were indeed a hoax. (Summary by Amy Gramour) (3 hr 34 min)


Preface 1:50 Read by Rapunzelina
Chapter 1 34:22 Read by Lucretia B.
Chapter 2 21:05 Read by A. J. Carroll
Chapter 3. Part 1 19:28 Read by Rapunzelina
Chapter 3. Part 2 17:54 Read by Rapunzelina
Chapter 4 16:03 Read by Piotr Nater
Chapter 5 16:55 Read by Novella Serena
Chapter 6. Part 1 19:46 Read by Piotr Nater
Chapter 6. Part 2 13:23 Read by Piotr Nater
Chapter 7 22:15 Read by Rapunzelina
Chapter 8. Part 1 20:34 Read by Amy Gramour
Chapter 8. Part 2 11:16 Read by Amy Gramour


Desperately hopeful, the book's value is purely historic

(2.5 stars)

I agree that this book is sad- indeed, sad to the point of pathos. Doyle throws away all claims to rational discernment in this book. As a book intended to persuade skeptics, this book is an abject failure. More than once he brought to my mind Fox Mulder, with his lack of scientific scrutiny and his "I Want to Believe" poster. In fact, he tips his hand when he admits- isn't it nicer to believe? This is a man who wants with all his being to believe that he is not forever separated from his loved ones by death. This is so important to him that he is willing to believe anything at all that foments the worldview that the world is more than we can experience and prove- that it holds mystical secrets. For once we've lowered our logical standards to accept one premise, presumably the other would be that much easier to swallow. One star for its historical significance as a sidelight on a famous and beloved author, and also an interesting angle on what was a quite a seven-days' wonder.

Envy his faith

(5 stars)

Sir Arthur says in chapter two that we should imagine how much charm would be added to each stream, meadow, and garden for those who would believe. I wish I could remember the title of a modern short story. The protagonist is jealous of her new step-sister, who won't play with her. She's especially upset when she begins to suspect the other girl is playing with real fairies, who zip away before the first girl can get a good look at them! She is visualizing the Tinkerbell-type, and it drives her crazy that the mean girl is the one the fairies seem to love so much; while the romantic sweet little girl was shunned by them. She has started to suspect they are fake and follows as her sister leaves her bed one night. I will describe no more for fear of inadvertently spoiling the story for others. I don't find Conan Doyle's book sad: maybe the other reviewer was referring to the deaths in ACD's family that just preceded it, per the lovely volunteers who bring it to us.

A dreadfully sad book, if you think about it...

(4 stars)

This is, in some ways, a terribly sad book. Conan Doyle turned to spiritualism to help him deal with the vast wave of senseless death which had ravaged his family. His views made him, and I hope not to offend any spiritualists reading, terribly gullible, because the way spiritualists demonstrated the veracity of their claims was so poor. Conan Doyle does not realise how credulous he is. The sad thing is that Conan Doyle hopes that faeries will crack the wall of scientists around him who say “You cannot prove that you are speaking to the dead. Therefore, you cannot prove that all of your dead realtives are still, in some sense, alive.” If the methods used to prove fairies existed were sound, then the same methods must be sound when used to prove the existence of ghosts. His advocacy for fairies comes from a place of terrible pain, which opens him up to humiliation.


(4 stars)

Though the photgraphs were ultimately shown to be contrived, the author's research relied as much on eye witness accounts by numerous people and much on theosophical philosophy. In the end, one can believe or disbelieve according to personal expectations. It is at least an interesting glimpse into the world of theosophy.