The Rossendale Fairies

Manchester artist John Hyatt took some photographs of the landscape around Rossendale in Lancashire. But when he later enlarged those he images he noticed they showed tiny winged creatures that looked like fairies.

Hyatt told the Manchester Evening News:
"It was a bit of a shock when I blew them up, I did a double take.
"I went out afterwards and took pictures of flies and gnats and they just don't look the same.
"People can decide for themselves what they are.
"The message to people is to approach them with an open mind.
"I think it's one of those situations where you need to believe to see.
"A lot of people who have seen them say they have brought a little bit of magic into their lives and there's not enough of that around."

Hyatt's fairy photos are currently on display at the Whitaker Museum in Whitaker Park, Rossendale.
When not photographing fairies, Hyatt is director of MIRIAD (the Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design).

So what could those things in his photographs be? I have no idea. Perhaps they're just insects. Perhaps they're bits of floating pollen. Or perhaps they're something else entirely.

I doubt the shapes have been photoshopped in. That seems too easy.

I'm also pretty sure Hyatt didn't prop the figures up with hatpins, which was the technique used by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths to create the Cottingley Fairies.

Paranormal Photos

Posted on Fri Apr 04, 2014


They're mayflies. HTH; HAND.

Not surprised that none of those Lankies spotted this right away, but slightly disappointed at Our Esteemed Editor.
Posted by Richard Bos  on  Sat Apr 05, 2014  at  07:56 AM
@Richard -- Mayflies does seem to be the leading theory. But I'm still a bit suspicious that there may be an element of more deliberate photo fakery here. Because some of those things look very humanoid. A bit too humanoid for mayflies.

Though, on the other hand, I'm definitely no bug expert!
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Sat Apr 05, 2014  at  08:16 AM
They don't look like mayflies, they look like something fake since some hold more humanoid shapes than others. Notice how they are all facing the camera. They also seem to be emitting light rather than being lit by it, my guess would be that this is a projection on something transparent (if Photoshop has been ruled out of course).
Posted by TheNothingHunter  on  Sat Apr 05, 2014  at  09:52 AM
FAKE. Fairies wear boots.
Posted by Luis  on  Sat Apr 05, 2014  at  10:34 AM
Definitely fake. Tiny, gossamer winged fairies are an invention of Victorian children's books and are therefore unlikely to be seen buzzing around Rossendale being photographed by Manc professors. In this case, I suspect real fairies are creating an illusion of tiny flying picturebook fairies continuing a program of disinformation. Pesky little sods!
Posted by Pete Byrdie  on  Sat Apr 05, 2014  at  01:27 PM
I must disagree with one of the above comments: They definitely do not look like they're emitting light - that's just the way bugs (or pieces of pollen) reflect in the rays of morning or evening sun.

I'm certain they are not real ("fake" would imply someone "faking" the things on purpose and I still have enough hope in humanity to wish it was an honest mistake, even though the artist comments seem to hint it was done on purpose) - if not because fairies don't exist, then because even though they appear to have the right amount of appendages none of these creatures appear to possess any joints on their arms or legs or any further anatomical details that would mark them as humanoid.

Now that I look at them they could be small blossoms floating in the wind, with the petals being the "wings" and the filaments the limbs. However as I'm not from the US I can't begin to imagine what sort of a plant would bloom like that.

That's all counting out Photoshop, of course.
Posted by Cliodna  on  Sun Apr 06, 2014  at  11:51 PM
My intial thought is they are midges.
Posted by Mr R  on  Mon Apr 07, 2014  at  02:32 AM
Cliodna: They're not in the US, they're from near Manchester, Lankyland, the (for now) United Kingdom.

And yes, I've seen photographs (and films - maybe it's in Attenborough's Bugs series?) of mayflies dancing together and catching the light exactly like that.
(By the way, "dancing"... that's entomologist-speak for "mass orgy". This scene is not suitable for pre-watershed viewing.)
Posted by Richard Bos  on  Tue Apr 08, 2014  at  02:58 AM
That's embarrassing. Thank you for the correction - I was thinking about Michigan for some reason when writing that comment.
Posted by Cliodna  on  Tue Apr 08, 2014  at  06:26 AM
Hyatt's awa' wi' the fairies, I think.
Posted by Lawrence M  on  Tue Apr 08, 2014  at  12:58 PM
How about this? Hyatt is performing a psychology experiment to see how many people accept his images show wee folk, how many think it's faked, and how many think the bufoon has mistaken a bunch of mayflies for supernatural entities. He's now eagerly scrutinizing the internet for our responses, plotting them in a graph, and drawing all manner of conclusions.
Posted by Pete Byrdie  on  Wed Apr 09, 2014  at  09:23 AM
Mayflies, in comparison, are closely the same, but mayflies have a longer wingspan, double winged and possess longer antennae. It could possibly be photoshopped mayflies, I mean, the man is a director in an Art institution, or what not. I'm sure he can remove certain "tags" from edited photos.

And to the possibility of faeries existing? I would say 50/50. Why? There are so many cloning experiments that I'm sure have being going on for years. Also, there are so many "new" things that people are discovering. I put it in quotation marks because these things are already in existence; most are just rising because of earthly or weather-wise changes. Who knows? Maybe Jiminy Cricket does.
Posted by Jenny Star  on  Sat Apr 12, 2014  at  12:14 AM
They are images, you decide what they are and what you want them to be, and then call them what you want. Artists deliver images, the rest we imagine.
Posted by David Moss  on  Wed Apr 30, 2014  at  08:21 AM
3 days ago I saw exactly the same phenomenon in my back garden. I went outside at 7.30am and saw these flies (they do look a lot like depictions of fairies) going up and down in rays of the morning sun, which turned them golden. I called my husband to come and have a look because I had never seen any insect like this before. They had very long (about an inch or so) legs and looked exactly like the photos John Hyatt had taken. I did laugh to myself and called them 'fairy flies' the minute I saw them ... their behaviour was fascinating, just going up and down in straight lines. We have a rather back-to-nature pond and surmised that they had all hatched from there. We went outside the following morning and this morning and saw nothing, so it really appeared to be a one off, and I feel quite privileged to have seen them. If you are of a fanciful nature, you might think they were fairies. And why not? Life has lost its magic.
Posted by Andria  on  Wed Jul 16, 2014  at  08:59 AM
How about using these photos as a sanity test on people pretending to be educated, intelligent and sentient beings?

If they think they could be fairies, we lock them up and deport them? 😊

Solve a lot of our current problems.
Posted by Stuart Halliday  on  Wed Mar 04, 2015  at  01:57 PM
When I first saw this picture, before I had read the "fairies" explanation, I thought it was a really pretty picture of an unpretty creature, to wit, mosquitoes. Now that I know the "fairies" theory.... yeah, they're still bugs.
Posted by AJ  on  Thu Mar 09, 2017  at  08:35 AM
Woolly Aphids, they have white furry bodies & appear to float around like pieces of lint when flying. Some have longer bits of fluff like tails so in the evening Sun light can look like tiny fairies. They feed on trees, bushes & are not good really for your plants. Just been watching from backroom window & did a Google search & found out what they are
Posted by Tinkerbell  on  Wed May 10, 2017  at  11:34 AM
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