Saturday, October 10, 2015

Spiritualism: Holmes vs. Doyle

The book Sherlock Holmes — The Golden Years may get pigeon-holed as a British Mystery because it is a collection of five new Sherlock Holmes detective mysteries. However, an even richer reader experience awaits the reader because of the subtle way in which these stories explore other subjects such as eugenics, colonialism, and Spiritualism.

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. Sir Arthur’s legacy includes 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.

There is a rare phonograph recording of Sir Arthur delivering a speech on Spiritualism on May 14, 1930, just two months before his death. He opened his talk by saying:

People ask, what do you get from spiritualism? The first thing you get is that it absolutely removes all fear of death. Secondly, it bridges death for those dear ones whom we may lose. We need have no fear that we are calling them back, for all that we do is to make such conditions as experience has taught us, will enable them to come if they wish. And the initiative lies always with them.

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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