Early 20th Century England was a time and place ripe for believing, both in scientific advancements such as electric light and photography, and in anomalous phenomena of all kinds. At the time, many people believed that such phenomena could be investigated dispassionately and tested with the standard scientific (empirical) method. The film follows several persons with their particular beliefs. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wants to see more evidence, while his friend Harry Houdini believes that it is all trickery and fraud. In Yorkshire, Polly Wright is in deep mourning for her son Joseph, a gifted artist who died at the age of ten. Her husband Arthur is devoted to her and to twelve-year-old daughter Elsie, and worries about her future; soon, she will have to quit school and go to work in the local factory. Elsie keeps Joseph's scrapbooks, model furniture, homemade costumes and fantastic fairy-houses. Cousin Frances, recently arrived from abroad, believes her father, missing in action in World War I, will return. As Polly attends meetings of the Theosophical Society to find out what they have to say about the next life, the little girls play at a nearby brook, where they occasionally see actual fairies. Subsequently, they borrow Arthur's camera and produce two photographs of themselves which apparently include fairies. These were meant only as gifts to Polly, but she immediately takes them to Theosophist lecturer E.L. Gardner, who has them analyzed by a professional. The photos are pronounced genuine, or at least devoid of tricks. That young children could be capable of photographic fraud is viewed by all the adults as extremely unlikely, and Conan-Doyle himself arrives at the girls' home with Houdini, Gardner and two new cameras. Abetted by the buffoonish Gardner, Elsie and Frances soon come up with two more photos and Conan-Doyle has the story published in The Strand. By way of apology to the fairies, the girls finish Joseph's last fairy-house and leave it in the forest as a gift. The publicity soon attracts unwanted attention; hundreds of people invade the village, crowding it with automobiles and reporters. The fairy-house is dismantled, and the fairies leave the area. In London, the girls are welcomed as celebrities, and have a second meeting with Houdini, who tells Elsie that he never reveals how he does his stage tricks and that "people don't really want to know". The film concludes with the return of the fairies, and of Frances' father.