Fairies were another of the Society for Psychical Research’s workhorses. Among its members there were supporters of its existence, there were supporters of its nonexistence and there was a third group led by George Philimore who was not a supporter of either one or the other. When this third group were asked for their opinion about it, they crouched down and held their breath with their fists closed until their faces turned a deep purple color. When he was low in morale, Crookes thought that maybe they were right. But when he was in a good mood, he believed firmly in the existence of fairies, although he did not dare to put it in writing. It must be said that on those occasions of euphoria, Crookes not only believed in fairies and elves but also in the existence of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and even a Mr. Swosky who supposedly ruled the world clandestinely and tortuous from an opium den of Spitalfields. Crookes was a most fickle man. He could beg you to offer him a Scotch whiskey, and when you served it to him a moment later, tell you he did not want to. This happened once to Gurney, who became so furious with Crookes that he tried to force him to drink the entire bottle. But I am deviating from the subject of fairies. From time to time, the Society organized an expedition to the Epping forest with the purpose of looking for fairies and, if they found them, to ask them if they really existed or if it was all a farce orchestrated with contraband aims, which was Dr. Lodge’s opinion. When Myers asked him “contraband of what?”, he shrugged his shoulders and made a vague gesture with his hand. When arriving at the forest, the members of the expedition separated and they went wandering stealthily while they imitated the voice timbre of the fairies with the hope to attract them and thus to be able to ask them if they existed or not or, on the contrary, the one who was right was Philimore and his group. Each one was provided with a butterfly net in order to catch them. Myers once believed he had caught one by this procedure, but it turned out to be a harmless woman named Petty who was picking poisonous herbs. It took hard work convincing Myers to release her.
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