Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Author and Medium
Here at Write from the Inside Out, we love to get into the Halloween spirit! What better way than to have a guest post from Ron Pappalardo, author, speaker and psychic medium. Enjoy Ron’s post on what you didn’t know about the man behind Sherlock Holmes: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The 2011 movie Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows might be entertaining, but the portrayal of the famous detective by Robert Downey, Jr. is a far cry from the original character, who was known for solving crimes with his mind, not his knuckles.
Fans of Sherlock Holmes know that he was the creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote a series of Holmes detective stories which appeared in British periodicals beginning in 1887. Beyond that fact, most people know little more about Sir Arthur.
Being a big Sherlock Holmes fan, I somewhere picked up that in addition to writing, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a medical doctor. What I didn’t know until recently was that Sir Arthur wrote extensively on the subject of mediumship and the spirit world.
He was an early member of the Society for Psychical Research, an organization whose stated purpose is to understand “events and abilities commonly described as psychic or paranormal by promoting and supporting important research in this area” and “examine allegedly paranormal phenomena in a scientific and unbiased way.” In 1926 he penned a two-volume set, The History of Spiritualism, one of several books he wrote on the subject.
Sir Arthur’s fame and credibility in other fields made him a powerful advocate for the message that life continues after the event called death, and his predisposition to apply scientific methodology to the study of spiritual phenomena provided added weight to his words.
Because of Spiritualism, he believed that humanity was on the cusp of a historic breakthrough, and he promoted the cause with passion and excitement. I have in my possession a 1918 copy of a little book he wrote called The New Revelation. Here is an excerpt from a review of the book by the New York Tribune, which appears on the book’s front dust jacket:
“He sets forth his views and the reasons for the faith that is in him with a simplicity, a sincerity, and an absence of either dogmatism or fanaticism which must commend him to the respectful attention of even those who are most skeptical concerning the possibility of spirit communications.”
In the Preface, Sir Arthur affirms his conviction that the acceptance of spiritual phenomena will become increasingly commonplace—“In the next century this will be astonishingly perceptible to the minds of men.”
All in all, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle sounds like my kind of guy—a man who adhered to the strict principles of scientific methodology, but with a mind open enough to consider the possibilities beyond the current level of scientific understanding—possibilities that pointed to the existence of life after “death,” a world of Spirit, and a Higher Power at the center of reality.