10 Unusual Facts About Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Recently a friend asked me if I fancied writing an article on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (ACD) for a local magazine. I agreed to and duly set about doing some deeper research into the author and Spiritualist. During the research for the article I found out some really interesting facts about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (ACD hereafter) and decided I would share a few here. Included below are 10 unusual and often overlooked facts about the great man.

>>> ACD killed off Sherlock Holmes very early in his writing career. However, due to the popularity the character had suddenly gained, he was forced to bring him back to life in later books.

>>> The character Sherlock Holmes was actually based on one of ACD’s early teachers, Dr Joseph Bell, who was a renowned forensic scientist at Edinburgh University. However, ACD was more akin to Sherlock’s methods than many would believe. 

>>> ACD first became interested in Spiritualism around 1886 at the age of 27. It was after reading a book written by the US High Courts Judge, John Worth Edmonds , one of the most influential early American Spiritualists of his time, who claimed that after the death of his wife he had been able to communicate with her.

>>> ACD started his early exploration of Spiritualist study by holding ‘table turning’ sittings after coming home from work as a physician at Southsea, Hampshire.

>>> ACD joined the British Society For Psychical Research in 1893. The society included as one of its members future Prime Minister Arthur Balfour. 

>>>  It is documented that both Charles Dickens and Joseph Conrad came through from Spirit to ACD and requested that he finish their unfinished works.

>>> ACD was such an avid Spiritualist that he eventually gave up writing fiction in order to devote his time only to the study of paranormal and Spiritualism. The general public thought he’d gone mad and he lost much of his reputation because of it. However, ACD was never concerned what others thought of him. His passion and belief in the study of the afterlife was too strong and passionate.

>>> ACD wrote 20 books on the study of Spiritualism. Compared with sixty books with Sherlock Holmes appearing in them. In total he wrote over three hundred books and novels.

>>> In his later years of life, ACD commented many times that he wanted to be remembered for his Spiritualism work and not for Sherlock Holmes.

>>> On his passing, ACD was first buried in the grounds of his Crowborough estate Some 10 years later, his widow passed to spirit and her body was buried alongside him. However, in 1955, the estate was sold  and remaining family decided to have his body moved to All Saints Church in Minstead, Hampshire, near ACD’s  retreat home at Bignell Wood in the New Forest.


Sir Arthur’s life was a full and interesting one. He had many skills other than being a writer. His passion was his Spiritualism which took him around the world lecturing  and sharing the belief.

He was more like his Sherlock Holmes character than he might have thought. His research into the paranormal world was always completed methodically and scientifically. He worked with facts and always sought the truth. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was possibly one of the greatest British ambassadors for the Spiritualist movement and his writings on the subject are as fresh today as when he first wrote them.

Interesting Observation
In a recent ‘Sherlock’ TV Drama with Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock has deliberately experimented with drugs in order to experience and contact the afterlife for answers.  ♥


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