Genre: Cryptozoology, Fairyology!
A few days before April 1, 2007
, Dan Baines, a 31-year-old illusion designer for magicians from London, posted on his website some images illustrating the corpse of an unknown eight-inch creation. The unusual corpse was claimed to be the mummified remains of a fairy
which was discovered by a dog walker at Firestone Hill
. The remains, as shown in the pictures, were complete with ears, wings, hair, skin, teeth and claimed to ‘have been examined by anthropologists and forensic experts who can confirm the body is genuine’. According to the website, X-rays of the 'fairy' showed that its bodys structure was the same as that of a child. The bones, however, were described to be ‘hollow like those of a bird, making them particularly light.
As soon as the images of the “dead fairy" were published, the event claimed worldwide attention and interest. In spite of the coming of April Fool's Day
, the website got responses and feedback from a large number of Internet fairy believers, with the surprising 20,000 hits in one day. Pictures of the supposed dead fairy were soon put on other websites, forums and blogs. On April 1st, Baines finally appended a note to the website, thanking the readers for expressing their interest in his story and acknowledging that the the fairy corpse was fake. He wrote: "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. However, the magic created by the possibility of the fairy being real is something you will remember for the rest of your life."
Subsequently, Baines listed the mummified fairy on ebay and the model attracted nearly 40 bids. The highest at the close of the sale was made by a private art collector in the US and the fairy was sold for £280.
Baines received hundreds of emails from the Internet readers, in which he had heard all sorts of comments including people who say they've seen exactly the same things. He was also told to bring the remains back to its grave 'as soon as possible or face the consequences.''There was one person who was quite upset because I revealed the place where the fairy was found.' - he said.
When Baines admitted that the dead fairy was a hoax, and that the model was in fact created by himself as an April Fools' prank, many conspiracy theorists
did not believe him. There were people who still believed that the mummified fairy was genuine. In addition, it was suggested that the fact Baines himself made it public that the corpse was a hoax was due to 'Government pressure to stop people digging the ground up'.
While most of the April Fool's Day pranks which emerge on the Internet generally fade out after a few days, the dead fairy hoax was acknowledged as an interesting trick which was able to survive and held the public attention long after the creator confessed to making the joke. It was noted that the number of queries sent to Baines regarding the dead fairy didn't slow down after the revelation of his hoax. After the event, Baines described the response to his prank as uncanny and that it had taken him up to four hours a day to respond to all the emails he had been receiving regarding the fairy.
Considering the huge response from the Internet fairy believers, Baines admitted addiction to April Fools' tricks and told people to "watch this space" for more pranks in the future.
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