Hoaxes & Rumors

Classic Hoax: Derbyshire Dead Fairy Hoax

Classic Hoax: Derbyshire Dead Fairy Hoax

Does this image show mummified remains of a dead fairy discovered in Derbyshire, England? Today we take a look back at this classic hoax.

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It was an April Fool’s hoax back in 2007…

Although the hoax is now many years old, it continues to resurface regularly. Let’s take a look at the claim being circulated:

Do fairies live at the bottom of your garden?

Maybe not anymore but a recent discovery would suggest that they probably did. What appears to be the mummified remains of a fairy have been discovered in the Derbyshire countryside.

The 8 inch remains complete with wings, skin, teeth and flowing red hair have been examined by archaeologists and forensic experts who can confirm that the body is genuine. X-rays of the fairy reveal an anatomically identical skeleton to that of a child. The bones, however, are hollow like those of a bird making them particularly light. The puzzling presence of a navel even suggests that the beings reproduce the same as humans despite the absence of reproductive organs.

April Fool’s Hoax

The real story is that this is a photo of an 8-inch prop created by prop maker Dan Baines of London. He posted images of the prop online as an April Fool’s hoax in 2007. He also wrote an elaborate back-story, claiming a dog walker stumbled upon the mummified corpse in Derbyshire. Despite admitting it was a hoax, conspiracy theorists refused to believe his admission.

In a BBC article about the dead fairy hoax, Baines stated, “There are still a lot of people who believe it’s real. It’s started quite a lot of conspiracy theories. One claims that the fact I revealed it was a hoax was because of government pressure to stop people digging the ground up.”

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The prop was auctioned online for £280 (about $433 USD) about 10 days after the hoax.

Bottom Line

The mummified corpse of a dead fairy was not found in Derbyshire, England. In actuality, this was a hoax perpetrated by Dan Baines, and the carcass was a prop created as an April Fool’s Day joke. The BBC wrote at least two articles about the hoax, yet Baines claims that some people still maintained a belief that the Derbyshire fairy was real.


Updated October 4, 2014
Originally published May 2013

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