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The haunting true story behind Alice in Wonderland.

The fairy tale might have stood the test of time but the true story behind Alice In Wonderland is, well, just a little bit creepy.

Lewis Carroll was a pseudonym for Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who was born in England in 1832. When he reached 18, Dodgson left home to attend Oxford University, where he stayed for the next 20 years. He was a student and then a professor and a mathematician.

Dodgson created the Lewis Carroll pseudonym while he was at Oxford, so he could write children books unconnected to his academic career.

alice in wonderland
Lewis Carroll in 1870. Image via Getty.

Carroll was known for forming close friendships with children and not really having any relationships with adults.

He established friendships with the children of his colleagues and acquaintances - and he would spend lengthy periods of time with them and send them letters.

"Extra thanks and kisses for the lock of hair," he once wrote to a 10-year-old girl. "I have kissed it several times — for want of having you to kiss, you know, even hair is better than nothing."

When Henry George Liddell became the Dean of Christ Church at Oxford, Carroll became close with his three daughters - Lorina, Edith and Alice - and the legend of Alice began.

In 1862 Carroll - along with one of his colleagues - took the three girls out on a picnic and rowing trip along the Thames.

To keep the young girls entertained, Carroll started telling them a story which would eventually become Alice in Wonderland. 

Remembering that day, Carroll wrote in his diary: "[I]n a desperate attempt to strike out some new line of fairy-lore, I had sent my heroine straight down a rabbit-hole, to begin with, without the least idea what was to happen afterwards".

alice in wonderland
The three Liddell sisters. Image via Getty.
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After spending a few years refining and editing the story, he published Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1865, before writing the sequel Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. 

Carroll was also known as a keen photographer and he took photos of nude and semi-nude children - including a full-frontal nude shot of Alice's sister Lorina.

Carroll wrote openly about his penchant for taking photos of young girls.

“I confess I do not admire naked boys in pictures," he wrote. "They always seem to me to need clothes: whereas one hardly sees why the lovely forms of girls should ever be coverd [sic] up!”

alice in wonderland
Carroll would take photos of Alice and her sisters. Image via Getty.

In 1863 Carroll's relationship with the Liddell family abruptly ended. While he eventually resumed communication with Henry and his wife - Carroll never again spent time alone with their daughters.

There's no record of why the Carroll was cut off from the family, but some believe it was because he proposed marriage to young Alice - which wasn't that unusual around that time. In the mid 1800s the age of consent was 12 and many men would marry young brides.

However, when you realise this relationship was the inspiration behind one of the most popular children's books of all time - it's a little bit creepy.

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