FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show Mummified Fairy Remains Found In The English Countryside?
An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows the mummified remains of a fairy found in Derbyshire County, England.
The pictured creature is a hoax that was created as an 2007 April Fools’ Day prank.
The image shows two gloved hands holding what some Facebook users claim are the mummified remains of a real fairy. Under the hands, what appears to be a “Police Evidence” bag can be seen.
“Mummified remains of a fairy have been discovered in the Derbyshire countryside,” reads the caption. (RELATED: Viral Image Claims To Show UK Government Letter About Proposed Mandatory Microchips)
However, the photo doesn’t show true mummified remains of any kind. The figurine was created for a 2007 April Fools’ Day prank by U.K.-based artist Dan Baines. The creator of illusions for magicians, Baines said he crafted the fairy figure in the photo and made up the backstory about its discovery as a prank, according to BBC News.
The made-up backstory, which included multiple photos of the fairy, detailed how a man supposedly found the remains while walking his dog in Derbyshire and how forensic experts and anthropologists examined it. Baines clarified after a few days that the mummified fairy remains were a hoax in a statement on his website.
“Even if you believe in fairies, as I personally do, there will always have been an element of doubt in your mind that would suggest the remains are a hoax,” Baines wrote. “However, the magic created by the possibility of the fairy being real is something you will remember for the rest of your life. Alas the fairy is fake but my interest and belief has allowed me to create a work of art that is convincing and magical.”
He went on to apologize for the prank, saying, “I hope you have not been offended by the events of the past few days but if you are I sincerely apologise. It took 50 years for the Cottingley fairies to be revealed as a hoax; at least you’ve only had to endure a few days of mystery.”