Saturday, January 3, 2015

Spiritualism: Holmes vs. Doyle vs. Houdini

The book Sherlock Holmes — The Golden Years may seem easy to categorize because it is a collection of five new Sherlock Holmes detective mysteries. However, an even richer reader experience awaits because of the subtle way in which these stories explore other subjects such as Spiritualism.

The Kongo Nkisi Spirit Train tale dips into the supernatural realm as a way to explore the curious incongruity between the highly rational Sherlock Holmes and his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. You may, or may not, know that Doyle spent the latter part of his life strongly advocating for Spiritualism — the belief that it is possible to commune with the spirits of people who have died.

For nearly 30 years, Sir Arthur researched, investigated, and promoted Spiritualism in its many forms. This quest brought Houdini and Conan Doyle together in 1920. And, while they were personal friends, they were hardly allies with regard to Spiritualism. Both men trotted around the globe: Doyle advocating Spiritualism, and Houdini debunking spirit mediums, fortunetellers, and most anyone claiming supernatural powers.

Sir Arthur’s legacy includes twenty-one novels, 150 short stories, and a substantial collection of nonfiction, essays, articles, and memoirs, along with a three-volume collection of poetry. It also includes The New Revelation and The Vital Message, and Doyle’s most substantive book on Spiritualism The History of Spiritualism. Today, a plaque inside the door of the Rochester Square Spiritualist Temple in London reveals that Doyle was a major contributor the construction of the temple in the decade before his death in 1930.

Sherlock Holmes — The Golden Years explores the curious juxtaposition of logic and rationality, represented by Sherlock Holmes, and the supernatural, represented by the man who created this beloved detective. In The Kongo Nkisi Spirit Train Holmes confronts Doyle after he attends a séance at Jean and Arthur’s home. Holmes remarks:

“Like Diogenes, I am, above all, a seeker of truth. And, if it be possible to discover the truth that lies beyond the grave, I myself might expect to find it in deep reflection and lucid prayer, and not around a ill-lit table.”

Whether or not you believe in ghosts and other supernatural phenomena, you are destined to enjoy the true spirit of Sherlock Holmes as he is portrayed in Sherlock Holmes — The Golden Years.

Available on Amazon, and all good bookstores.

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