Jill W Holder

In September 2016 Holder and a team of stealthy helpers took over a thousand elephants to the village of Chilham, Kent, UK at 3am and left them in nooks and crannies, on walls and steps, in gardens and on paths.


Magic Elephants 2016

Chilham,  Kent.



The story goes that in the 18th Century Sir Henry Diggs; then Director of the East India Company, imported elephants to clear the forests around his estate and Chilham Castle.  The Elephant House, with its 14ft archways, was built to house them, mahouts housed in the attic spaces. The story has never really been substantiated but villagers used to recall being given rides when children, as late as the early 20th century.


Whatever the truth of that story there will be no denying that on the morning of September 23rd 2016, more than a thousand elephants were found by the inhabitants of Chilham:  in the streets, on garden walls, and tucked into odd corners, where they appeared overnight without warning.  Maybe in the future the story will be denied by some or told to children as a truth around a winter's fire. There may be photographic records and yet photographs can be faked and not as genuine as they appear.  Will the day the elephants were found achieve the mysterious aura of the Loch Ness Monster?  Only time will tell.

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In these three images, the elephants are found by the inhabitants of Chilham. It is hoped that each Chilham household display at least one in a front facing window and that should the occupants move on, the elephant would be left behind as a keepsake for the next occupier, so that the story lives on.

Image © Priscilla Lamont 2016

Image © Priscilla Lamont 2016

Image © Priscilla Lamont 2016