I’m happy to announce that my third book, The Wisdom of Sherlock Holmes, has JUST BEEN RELEASED! I would be honored if you would click the link below and go look at it. I would be grateful beyond words if you would take the time to read the book and offer up a charitable review on Amazon or Goodreads. As an independent author, I can tell you that one review on Amazon is worth its weight in gold! In the book, I discuss the faith of Sherlock Holmes and prove with his own words that he was undoubtedly a believer in God, and even had some very solid orthodox and biblical views. It is surprising to many (who are only familiar with modern depictions) that Sherlock Holmes is demonstrably not an atheist, but talks about God in over a dozen of his adventures. My book includes every Holmesian reference to God that I could find, and much more, including his famous relationship with John Watson, the fact that Sherlock would often carry a gun into his adventures, the origins of his deerstalker hat and cape (never worn in the books) and much more. It also includes a full chapter on Holmes’ detective and deduction techniques, as well as a chapter that looks at the weaknesses of the great detective (perhaps sexism and racism?) I would be honored if you’d click the picture below and read the book. It is dirt cheap and FREE on Kindle Unlimited. Be sure to also scroll down and watch (and read the transcript of) the ONLY surviving video interview of Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle. The last half of the interview is about Conan Doyle’s silly spiritualism/psychic views, but the first part is all about the creation and origin of Sherlock Holmes. Very interesting!!
TRANSCRIPT OF THE INTERVIEW WITH ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE: (Note that Conan Doyle credits Dr. Joseph Bell as being his inspiration for Sherlock Holmes. My book, The Wisdom of Sherlock Holmes, discusses this in detail, and includes a chapter on Dr. Bell’s real life adventures as a doctor and consulting medical detective!) This interview was conducted in 1927 and came out several months BEFORE the first major talking movie, The Jazz Singer. It is really quite remarkable to have a preserved video interview of Conan Doyle, considering that we have no surviving video of C.S. Lewis, a British author who died 30 years after him, C.S. Lewis.
NOTE Several points of interest in this interview:
- Arthur Conan Doyle somehow, someway, does not believe that Sherlock Holmes is real. Perhaps this is because Conan Doyle is older, and his faculties are fading. Tut, tut, Mr. Doyle.
- Part of his impetus for inventing Holmes was the habit of previous mystery writers to leave out the steps of solving a crime.
- He refers to Watson as, “stupid.” How dare he!?
- He considers his research into psychic phenomena (much of which turned out to be a hoax) as much more important than Sherlock Holmes. A very daft attitude!
There are two things that people always want to ask me. One of them is how I ever came to write the Sherlock Holmes stories, and the other is about how I came to have psychic experiences and to take so much interest in that question.
First of all, about the Sherlock Holmes stories. They came about in this way: I was quite a young doctor at the time and I had, of course, scientific training, and I used to occasionally read detective stories. It often annoyed me how in the old-fashioned detective story the detective always seemed to get at his results either by some sort of lucky chance or fluke or else it was quite unexplained how he got there. He got there but he never gave an explanation how. Now that didn’t seem to me quite playing the game. It seemed to me that he’s bound to give his reasons why he came to his conclusions.
But when I began thinking about this I began to think of turning scientific methods, as it were, onto the work of detection. And I used, as a student to have an old professor, his name was Bell, who was extraordinarily quick at deductive work. He would look at the patient, he would hardly allow the patient to open his mouth but he would make his diagnosis of the disease, also very often of the patient’s nationality and occupation and other points, entirely by his power of observation. So naturally, I thought to myself, “well if a scientific man like Bell was to come into the detective business, he wouldn’t do these things by chance, he’d get the thing by building it up scientifically.”
So, having once conceived that line of thought, you can well imagine that I had as it were, a new idea of the detective and one which it interested me to work out. I thought of a hundred little dodges, as you may say, a hundred little touches by which he could build up his conclusions and then I began to write stories on those lines. At first I think they attracted very little attention, but after a time when I began the short adventures, one after the other, coming out month after month in the Strand magazine, people began to recognize that it was different from the old detective, that there was something there which was new, they began to buy the magazine and uh, it uh prospered and so I may say did I, we both came along together. And from that time Sherlock Holmes fairly took root. I’ve written a good deal more about him than I ever intended to do but my hand has been forced by kind friends who continually wanted to know more, and so it is that this monstrous growth has come out of what was really a comparatively small seed.
But the curious thing is how many people around the world are perfectly convinced that he is a living human being. I get letters addressed to him, I get letters asking for his autograph, I get letters addressed to his rather stupid friend, Watson, I’ve even had ladies writing to say that they’d be very glad to act as his housekeeper. One of them, when she’d heard that he’d turned to the occupation of keeping bees, wrote saying that she was an expert at segregating the queen, whatever that may mean, and that she was evidently pre-destined to be the housekeeper of Sherlock Holmes.
I don’t know that there’s anything more that I can say with advantage, about him, but on the other point which is to me, of course, a very much more serious one, on the question of my taking up this psychic matter. Curiously enough my first experiences in that direction were just about the time when Sherlock Holmes was being built up in my mind. That would be about the year 1886 and 1887. So nobody can say that I’ve formed my opinions on psychic matters very hastily, it was just 41 years now since I wrote a signed article upon the subject which appeared in a magazine called Light so that I put myself on record.
[Warning: Nonsense below:]
During these 41 years I never lost any opportunity of reading and studying and of experimenting on this matter. People ask me will I write any more Sherlock Holmes stories, I certainly don’t think it’s at all probable. [Editor’s Note: HE NEVER DID, SADLY, AS HIS LAST TWO STORES APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED DIRECTLY BEFORE THIS INTERVIEW] As I grow older the psychic subject always grows in intensity and one becomes more earnest upon it. And I should think that my few remaining years will probably be devoted much more in that direction than in the direction of literature. None the less, of course, I haven’t abandoned writing, one has to earn one’s living, but my principal thoughts are that I should extend if I can that knowledge which I have on psychic matters and spread it as far as I can to those who have been less fortunate.
Don’t for one moment suppose that I am taking it upon myself to say that I am the inventor of spiritualism, or that I am even the principal exponent of it. There are many great mediums, many great psychical researchers, investigators of all sorts, all that I can do is to be a gramophone on the subject. To go about, to meet people face to face, to try and make them understand that this thing is not the foolish thing which is so often represented but that it really is the great philosophy and as I think the basis of all religious improvement in the future of the human race. I suppose I’ve sat with more mediums good, and bad, and indifferent than perhaps any living being. Anyhow, a larger variety because I’ve traveled so much all over the world and wherever I’ve gone, either in Australia, America, or South Africa, the best and the worst that can be had in that direction was put at my disposal. Therefore when people come along and contradict me, who’ve had no experience at all, read little and perhaps never been to a seance you can imagine that I don’t take their opposition very seriously. When I talk on this subject I’m not talking about what I believe, I’m not talking about what I think, I’m talking about what I know. There’s an enormous difference, believe me, between believing a thing and knowing a thing, and talking about things that I’ve handled, that I’ve seen, that I’ve heard with my own ears. And always mind you in the presence of witnesses, I never risk hallucinations. I usually in most of my experiments have had six, eight or ten witnesses, all of whom have seen and heard the same things that I have done.
Gradually I became more and more convinced on the matter as I studied year in, year out, but it was only at the time of the War, when all these splendid young fellows were disappearing from our view, when the whole world was saying, “what’s become of them, where are they, what are they doing now? Have they dissipated into nothing, or are they still the grand fellas that we used to know?” It was only at that time that I realized the overpowering importance to the human race of knowing more about this matter.
Then it was that I flung myself more earnestly into it and that I felt the highest purpose that I could possibly devote the remainder of my life to, was trying to bring across to other people, something of that knowledge and assurance which I had acquired myself. Certainly, the results have justified me. I am quite sure I could fill a room of my house with the letters that I have received from people, telling me of the consolation which my writings on this subject, and my lectures on this subject, have given to them. How they have once more heard the sound of a vanished voice and felt the touch of the vanished hand. Well, goodbye.