Fairy Investigation Society

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The Fairy Investigation Society was founded in Britain[1] in 1927 by Capt. Sir Quentin C.A. Craufurd, MBE and the artist Bernard Sleigh to collect information on fairy sightings.[2]


During its prime, in the 1920s and 1930s, the society organized meetings, lectures, and discussions for collecting evidence of fairy life. With World War II, however, the society's records were largely lost or destroyed. The society was inactive until 1949 when Craufurd revived it with the help of Nottingham secretary Marjorie Johnson. Johnson wrote newsletters through the 1950s and helped create a survey of living fairylore, later published as Seeing Fairies.[3]

During the late 1950s there were well over a hundred members, including famous individuals such as author Alasdair Alpin MacGregor, Ithell Colquhoun,[4] Leslie Alan Shepard,[5] RAF commander Sir Hugh Dowding, Victor Purcell, Walter Starkie (of gypsy lore fame), Naomi Mitchison and animator Walt Disney.

According to folklore historian Simon Young, a condition of membership was a genuine belief in fairies. Craufard, for instance, was a pioneer of wireless technology with the Royal Navy who believed he had established communication with marsh elves on the outskirts of London, and that on one occasion they had told him where to dig for treasure.[6]

In 1960 a newspaper article in the Sunday Pictorial ridiculed Marjorie Johnson, who began to withdraw from her role in the society. The society was only semi-active under her successor Leslie Shepard, based in Blackrock, Dublin, Ireland, finally closing down in the early 1990s.

The society was reestablished online by Young about 2014. It has an anonymous membership list and no longer requires members to believe in fairies.[6]

See also[edit]

Cottingley Fairies


  1. ^ Evans-Wentz, W. Y. (2003). The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries. Citadel Press. ISBN 0-8065-2579-7. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  2. ^ Simon Young, ‘A History of the Fairy Investigation Society, 1927-1960’, Folklore 124 (2013), 139-156
  3. ^ Anomalist Publishing 2014
  4. ^ "Magical Societies". Ithell Colquhoun. Archived from the original on 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  5. ^ Russell, Ian (2006-01-01). "Leslie Alan Shepard (1917-2004): Page 5". Folk Music Journal. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  6. ^ a b "Fairy Investigation Society". Radio National, The History Listen program (Podcast). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 23 January 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2018. 

External links[edit]