“This picture and the even more extraordinary one of the fairies on page 465 are the two most astounding photographs ever published.” (The Strand magazine, 1920, on the Cottingley Fairies) Apr01


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“This picture and the even more extraordinary one of the fairies on page 465 are the two most astounding photographs ever published.” (The Strand magazine, 1920, on the Cottingley Fairies)

Vivien image Hazel Lowther - Cottingley

‘Department of Great Lies : Annual Report:   January 2016’.

There can be no doubt that the fairy community is in need of another Great Lie to ensure its invisibility for the 21st century. The successful strategy employed in the early 20th century, now part of our legend, in which we made ourselves visible to two schoolgirls and showed them how to simulate our presence on photographic film, is no longer an option. Suspicion of the photographs was necessary for the success of that strategy.

Computer software (especially Photoshop) has made graphic illusion easily accomplished by anyone who owns a computer. Computer Assisted Animation has completed this block on credibility – we are now classified by humanity alongside occult absurdities such as vampires, zombies and werewolves. When those ridiculous figments can be made to look so real, no-one believes we are anything but fantasy.

The last General Gathering decreed this is not to be tolerated. Humankind has shown a remarkable capacity to accept Invisible Beings of many kinds so I was asked to propose a strategy for the 21st century to ensure our invisibility, it being central to the question of Faith in Fairies, without which we cannot survive. We have not been able to evolve ourselves beyond the cruel reality that Death by Declaration – I don’t believe in Fairies – is still a death sentence for us.

One thing the Cottingley strategy clearly demonstrated was the capacity of humankind to romanticise our size and the fact that we have wings – a process I have called ‘Disneyfication’. They have no fear of us when they visualise us as minute creatures, rather like dragonflies, who spend their time feasting and dancing. They would show real terror, and therefore real aggression, if they saw we are the same size as they are and that we have a long established philosophical and ethical tradition and, most of all, a non-negotiable commitment to protecting Planet Earth in the face of all their assaults upon it.

Our usual practice of enchantment – that is speaking in dreams and visions to approachable humans – has served us well through the 20th century, many such dreamers were moved to speak and spread the word, much good work was done. But we observe that in general their habit of self-consumption, that is, their inability to resist large forces swallowing up small forces, has led to side-tracking, silencing and occasional destruction of small forces.

A new initiative was required to which end, in the last year, fifty of our fit and able folk volunteered to have their wings removed and their invisibility rescinded for an experimental period of direct intervention in the affairs of humans. These brave folk have been placed into key positions in environmental organisations around the world : many of our teenagers were keen to take part in protests alongside the humans. They share a tendency to make noise and spectacle and it doesn’t really matter what they wear. All of them are charged to speak Truth to Power. Meanwhile the Fairy Breathers have spent the last year shaping the great weather systems of the planet – El Nino and the Gulf Stream – so that they warm and gather moisture, changing the planet’s climate patterns in challenging ways. These can be tracked and analysed on their computer models – they will puzzle and argue about the causes but will no longer be able to deny the effects. We need them to realise that – I don’t believe in climate change – could be their own Death by Declaration.

I will report results of this strategy at this time next year. Success in this intervention will inevitably be claimed by them as the result of the efforts of their scientists and politicians. No matter. We shall remain invisible. We will hope for wisdom in humankind, and a renewed belief in Gaia and the Fairies.

Laila – guardian of the Earth

Writer: Vivien Jones
Artist: Hazel Lowther