UFO Conjectures

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

UFO skeptic Robert Sheaffer once believed in fairies?

Going through my UFO magazine collection, I came across an article in the issue pictured here [October 1977] by Robert Sheaffer, Cottingley Photos: Winged Ufonauts? [Page 40 ff.].

Could this be the arch-UFO skeptic, Robert Sheaffer?

Mr. Sheaffer, in the piece, opens with “Some of the most remarkable photographs of all time were taken near a small village in the English countryside [Cottingley Glen, in Yorkshire, England] beginning in the summer of 1917.”

These are the photographs:
Mr. Sheaffer supports the photos in many ways throughout his piece:

“If the only evidence we had for the authenticity of the Cottingley photographs was the testimony of the girls themselves, one might be justified in presuming the photos to be hoax … But the Cottingley photographs have been exhaustively investigated, and pronounced to be authentic, by one of the most learned and respected men of his day, none other than the celebrated Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.” [Page 41]

“The girls who took the photographs were incapable of concocting a sophisticated hoax.” [Page 41]

“We also know that ‘temporal provincialism’ (a form of arrogance that has always proved annoying to posterity) often causes people to interpret strange phenomena in a way that fits in with the popular ideas of their time. For example, the mysterious ‘airships’ that were sighted in 1896-97 were described as Jules Verne-type contraptions because that was the idea then popular of unknown flying objects. Of course, we now know that they must have been UFOs …” [Page 42]

OMG! This can’t really be the Robert Sheaffer we all know, can it?

As for the Cottingley fairy photos, you can read about them at Wikipedia:

The Wikipedia article says this:

In the early 1980s Elsie and Frances [the young “photographers”] admitted that the photographs were faked.