Derbyshire Fairy Hoax

img-thing dead-fairy-01

Question 1 – Who Made it?

The ‘Dead Fairy’ hoax hit the headlines in 2007 when professional sculptor and illusion designer Dan Baines crafted a model of a fairy corpse. Intended as an April fool joke he built a back story around the prank by posting detailed pictures, showing hair, wings, teeth and skin and claiming that it had been found by a dog walker in Firestone Hill, Derbyshire.

He further convinced people that it was genuine when he wrote that the corpse had been examined by anthropologists and forensic experts who had taken X-Rays which revealed a child like skeletal structure with bones that were hollow similar to a birds for lightness.


Question 2 – What is it’s purpose?


Derbyshire has a varitey of locations that are based around the supernatural, with one particular location being based on fairies

So when this was made as an April’s fool prank, there could be some link to this idea of it having come from this area perhaps. However, around the internet (especially when April Fool’s is close) these type of ‘posts’ become much more common.


The back story that goes alongside this also helps out to create a rather convincing piece of work; all the more to help fool the viewer.

Question 3- Does it Succeed

“One person told me to return the remains to the grave site as soon as possible or face the consequences” Dan Baines

The site got 20,000 hits in one day from fairy believers. “Although I’ve said it’s a hoax, people still believe that it’s real,” said Mr Baines

How was it made? – Question 4

  • Dan Baines, a 31-year-old illusion designer for magicians from London.
  • The dead fairy was in fact a model created by himself as an April Fools’ prank
  • It is a plastic skeleton covered in paper mache, the skin is made from tissue paper and the wings are made out of dead leaves, it took a week to do.
  • He photographed it in a biscuit tin. Posted it on his website and it snowballed
  • Mr Baines placed the images on a website along with a detailed, although entirely fictional, description of the “find”. The website quickly received thousands of visitors interested in the Derbyshire fairy and its author was inundated with emails on the subject. (

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