Sherlock, Fairies, and Ghost Writers
May 24, 2019
The Ghost Club is the oldest group of its kind, dedicated to the investigation of, unsurprisingly, ghosts and other such paranormal beings and activities. Founded in London back in 1862, its original members included a future prime minister and even a clergyman who would go on to become the Archbishop of Canterbury. Charles Dickens, Nobel Prize winning poet W.B. Yeats, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were all members, providing an interesting twist on the term 'ghost writer.'
Speaking of which, the creator of Sherlock Holmes was also something of a ghost hunter in real life, writing of his paranormal experiences and beliefs in his final published book, "The Edge of the Unknown."
Hence, Sherlock's "daddy" was a ghost writer!
Interesting that the man who created the supremely logical Sherlock Holmes thought there were things out there that could not always be explained by methods employed by his famous detective.
Doyle was a fervent believer in spiritualism, and even believed mental illness could often be explained not as a medical condition, but as possession by spirits. A famous friend of his and the noted skeptic Harry Houdini once performed a trick for Sir Arthur and then explained how he did it in the hopes of proving to Doyle that such paranormal explanations were nonsense, but the stunt backfired when Sir Arthur refused to believe Houdini’s magical feat was an illusion, insisting instead that his friend Harry actually had supernatural powers.
Houdini was rather pissed off, Sir Arthur was adamant, and they eventually ended their friendship.
And of course, there was Sherlock Holmes' daddy's greatest unsolved case:
The Cottingley Fairies refer to several photographs taken around 1917 by two young girls in England. The pictures show one or the other of the two children with what they claimed were actual fairies. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle saw the pictures and declared them authentic; that is, he believed the tiny winged figures in the photos were truly what the girls claimed. He even wrote a book about it! (The Coming of the Fairies)
It wasn't until the 1980's that the girls, then elderly, confessed the photographs had been faked and the pixies were actually cardboard cutouts of copied fairy illustrations from a popular children's book.
By the time the creator of Sherlock Holmes got involved, the girls were too embarrassed to admit it was just a bit of fun, although both claimed they actually DID see fairies out in the woods.
Ironic that Sir Arthur would be taken in when Sherlock would surely have deduced the fraud, but perhaps he was influenced by his friend J.M. Barrie, the creator of one of the most famous fairies in literature, Tinker Bell. After all, the writers responsible for Sherlock Holmes and Peter Pan did pen a comic opera together, Jane Annie, or The Good Conduct Prize, about some rather mischievous schoolgirls.
If you'd like to hear (and watch!) the man himself explain his philosophy on Sherlock Holmes and spiritualism, be our guest.
Whether or not you believe in fairies or ghosts, call The Best Ghostwriters at 323-539-7635 or drop us an email if you have a tale, supernatural or not, that needs to be told.
We may not believe in ghosts, but we believe in your story!