The Dead fairy hoax
was an April Fools' Day
prank in 2007. The prankster
, a magicians' prop maker, managed to sell his creation: the fake corpse of a fairy on an internet auction
for nearly £300.
A few days before April 1 2007
, Dan Baines, a 31-year-old illusion designer
from London, posted on his website images of 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.’
In spite of the coming of April Fool's Day, the website received feedback from a large number of fairy believers, accumulating over 20,000 hits in one day. On April 1st, Baines appended a note to the website, thanking the readers for expressing their interest in his story and acknowledging that 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 United States 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. '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, there were people who still believed that the mummified fairy was genuine. 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.
- – Dan Baines' website.