Tag: sherlock holmes


3 Classic Authors with Spooky Ties to the Occult

In the wake of Darwinism, the world was left with one loaded question: what does this discovery say about God and the afterlife? This search for meaning helped to spawn the Victorian Era obsession with the supernatural, a movement that sought the answers to life’s big questions- by any means necessary. Seances, astral projection, and psychic readings caught the interest of the era’s intellectuals, including some of your favorite authors.


1. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


As it turns out, the author and creator of famous detective Sherlock Holmes was supernaturally gifted. Doyle was a devotee of the Spiritualist movement, a widespread pursuit of the mystical originating with three dubiously psychic sisters. In 1848, the Fox Sisters of Hydesville, NY used a pattern of taps to communicate with the spirits in their supposedly haunted house. In the United States, rampant industrialization (hello disease and poverty) led to a nationwide obsession with death. In a world where one-third of infants born in cities did not live over 1 year, the sisters thrived. Though they recanted their story in 1888, they later stated that they had been paid a bribe of $1,500 to… well, lie about lying. By that point, however, Spiritualism had its own supernatural power as a sweeping movement. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Spiritualist and mystery writer, was desperate to solve the greatest mystery of all: the secret of life beyond death.


Sherlock Holmes, creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Image Via denofgeek.com


Conan Doyle’s fascination with the Fox Sisters led him to attempt a seance during his time as a physician. Known to fervently believe in telepathy, Conan Doyle publicized his beliefs during his notorious and brief friendship with magician Harry Houdini. Conan Doyle believed that Houdini had actual supernatural abilities, and, with his wife, convinced skeptic Houdini to participate in a seance. Conan Doyle’s wife claimed to receive a telepathic message from Houdini’s late mother; unfortunately, Houdini’s mother didn’t speak English. Yikes. Friendship over. Undeterred, Conan Doyle continued performing seances with his wife to contact his relatives who died in World War One. He would abandon his fiction writing at the height of his fame, focusing exclusively on his Spiritualist beliefs. After a lifelong obsession with ghosts, he eventually became one. Medium Estelle Roberts famously claimed to summon Doyle’s spirit in front of a large audience at his funeral in 1930.


2. Charles Dickens


Charles Dickens, literary genius behind A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, was also all about that spooky lifestyle. Close friends would say he had a “hankering for ghosts,” an obsession that lasted throughout his life. This passion is evident in many of his works, perhaps most famously in A Christmas Carol. Though he later became more of a skeptic, he still sought out evidence of the supernatural. Dickens once explained he would never rule out any possibilities: “don’t suppose that I am so bold and arrogant as to settle what can and what cannot be, after death.” More interested in the scientific and psychological aspects of the supernatural, Dickens went on to become a proponent of Mesmerism.



Live action adaptation of 'A Christmas Carol'

Image Via electricliterature.com


The Mesmerist movement represented the crossover between proven science and faith in the unknown. A major part of Mesmerism was its focus on medical miracles and many (scientific?) attempts to cure disease with psychic energy. According to those who believed, a practitioner could put his patient into a trance and transfer his stronger energy into the weaker patient. This became (alarmingly!) a popular medical treatment in the 1830s and 1840s… not a time period known for its long lifespans. So much for your reason and skepticism, Dickens!



3. Henry James


Widely regarded as the bridge between American literary realism and modernism, The Turn of the Screw author Henry James had an occult connection through his brother. William James was a core member of the Society for Psychical Research, an organization of intelligentsia in pursuit of the secrets behind death. The Society sought to apply scientific principles to the unexplored territory of the supernatural. William himself was no crackpot, a Harvard man many call “the father of American psychology.” Although Henry James himself was not a member, the two brothers often stayed together, and Henry had frequent exposure to his brother’s ideas. One major area of William’s research was haunted houses, which he and the Society believed to be telepathic hotspots.



Haunted house graphic

Image Via yourtownmonthly.com


The Society for Psychical Research had a documented impact on the rising Gothic literary moment. Elements of Gothic literature include elements of horror, death, and gloom, along with the Romantic emphasis on intense emotions. William’s psychical investigations directly influenced Henry’s later ghost stories; it’s likely Henry also drew upon William’s paranormal research for his Gothic novel The Turn of the Screw.


As it turns out, anyone can believe in the supernatural, even the literary greats. So now the question is… do you?



Featured Image Via lovetoknow.com

sherlock holmes

The Inspiration Behind the Character of Sherlock Holmes

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see the word “detective”? Let me take a wild guess. It’s Sherlock Holmes, am I right? You could say my deduction skills are on par with Holmes himself! But honestly, Holmes is such a famous character that his name has become synonymous deduction and detection.


The British cultural icon is over 130 years-old now. The character has so widely portrayed that his legacy has been immortalized and today, I want to take a look at the inspiration behind the character. 


Holmes is without doubt the most significant detective in literature, however, he was not the first. Edgar Allan Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin was the first fictional detective, and Dupin’s adventures are often referred as the root of all mystery stories. Even Sir Conan Doyle himself said


Each [of Poe’s detective stories] is a root from which a whole literature has developed… Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?


Émile Gaboriau’s Monsieur Lecoq is also a strong driving force behind the famous detective’s peculiar dialogue and actions and Conan Doyle referred to both Dupin and Lecoq at the beginning of A Study in Scarlet.

There are many potential individuals who could have inspired the character of Sherlock Holmes, such as Francis “Tanky” Smith, a policeman and master of disguise who went on to become Leicester’s first private detective. 


However Conan Doyle always claimed to have based Holmes on one Joseph Bell, a surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. Bell was infamous, just like Holmes, for drawing broad conclusions about a person from a glance. Holmes physical attributes and dress sense were also, according to Conan Doyle, inspired by Bell. Not hard to believe when you look at a photograph of the man in question! 


Image Via Pinterest

Image Via Pinterest


Doyle met Bell 1877 when he worked for him. This also explains why all of the Sherlock Holmes stories are told from the perspective of Dr Watson, Holmes’ close associate and roommate at Baker Street. When Conan Doyle confirmed that Joseph Bell was the inspiration behind the famous detective, he received a letter from Bell that read: 


You are yourself Sherlock Holmes and well you know it. 



Featured Image Via BBC


Sherlock Star Responds to Fan Criticism Over Controversial Statement

Sherlock actor Martin Freeman got himself into a bit of a frenzy a few months ago when he said that Sherlock is “not fun anymore” due to the pressure from fans. Unsurprisingly, fans didn’t take his comments too well. Now, Freeman is taking his words back. 


In an interview with The Telegraph last March, Freeman spoke about the pressure to deliver what fans wanted. 


“People’s expectations, some of it is not fun any more. It’s not a thing to be enjoyed, it’s a thing of, ‘You better f**king do this, otherwise you’re a c**t’. That’s not fun anymore,” he said.





Now, Freeman is changing the script. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Freeman assured fans that he is grateful for the fanfare he has received. However, he points out, that fanfare can come with strings attatched. 


“If you’re in something that has a lot of fans, that’s better than being in something that has no fans. My point with Sherlock was that those expectations can be heavy,” Freeman said. “There’s a certain aspect that some fans are going to run with the ball and make their own thing out of your show—which is completely fair enough, as long as we all acknowledge that that is what is happening.”





While its understandable and predictable that audiences will want the show to go in a particular direction, audiences have to accept that they won’t always get their wish, says Freeman.


“When people insist that Sherlock is supposed to be this show, when we decide what show it is, it’s like, ‘No, this is actually the show we’re making, and that we’ve always made. I know you want to see this happen, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to have to happen.’ I want all kinds of things, but they’re not going to happen in life. So that’s what gets, frankly, wearing,” Freeman said.


Nevertheless, Freeman wants to assure fans that his love and appreciation of Sherlock along with his character John Watson hasn’t wavered.


“But the show itself, I’m well aware of its importance in my life, both professionally and personally, because I love the show. I’m a fan of the show. Unfortunately, that’s the joy of being quoted out of context, and joy of newspapers needing a headline, even though the headline is not something I ever said at any point in the interview.”


So never fear Sherlock fans, Dr. Watson is still on board!





Feature image via BBC

Abraham Lincoln fake quote

Famous Quotes Most Frequently Misremembered

I feel like everyone knows that one person who won’t shut up with the movie quotes. It’s like, every other sentence is pulled from an iconic film, thrust into the conversation in a kind-of-but-not-really-relevant sense, followed by a shit-eating grin like they’ve just come up with perfection on their own.


It’s annoying, but then again, we’re all guilty of it at some point.


When I was in middle and high school, there were two guys that were that guy. Guy #1, whose specialty was the Criterion Collection, has since grown up and out of whatever was making him socially awkward, developed an incredible sense of self, and is now very successful in his own right. Props to you, Guy #1.


Guy #2, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well. He’s still annoying and tries too hard. He preferred to mass quote Stewie from Family Guy, and no one was very impressed after sixth grade.


So here’s my ode to you, Guys #1 and #2.  These famous quotes are also famously misremembered, so let’s see just how wrong we all are:


1. Frankenstein – It’s alive!


Not “He’s alive!”



2. The Graduate – Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?


While most people think the line is “Mrs. Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?”, it isn’t. 



3. The Mourning Bride Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.


William Congreve

Image via Boyle Poetry


Unfortunately, not the actual line from William Congreve’s 1697 play The Mourning Bride


Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned,
Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.


4. Dante’s Inferno – Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.


Dante's Inferno

Image via Kottke


Most routinely quoted as “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here,” the words inscribed above the entrance to hell in Dante’s medieval epic poem is actually a misquotation from H. F. Cary’s 1814 translation. The real quote is “All hope abandon ye who enter here.”


5. Sherlock Holmes – Elementary, my dear Watson!


Sherlock Holmes

Image via Epic Reads


The phrase “Elementary, my dear Watson,” is never actually said in the original Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The first time the phrase appears is actually in a novel by P. G. Wodehouse. Huh!


Featured Image via Innovative Advisory Group.


5 Literary Dudes I’d Like to Trick into Dating Me This Holiday Season

There’s no good way to say this: as November comes to a close and winter beefs up, all the hot singles near you are looking for a warm body to curl up next to, especially if their apartment doesn’t have central A/C. So in honor of it officially being cuffing season, here are five dudes of lit I’d like to tangle up with the ol’ ball and chain. So without further ado,


1. Neville Longbottom, from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling


I’m about to mix some metaphors, but bear with me. If the Harry Potter world was the real world, Harry would be the starting quarterback who gets all the trophies, the glory, the fame, the fortune, and the groupies. Harry would also lose his hair by twenty-six, be terribly accident prone, and constantly be followed by people lurking in the shadows. Neville, on the other hand, is that sensitive, artsy boy who found puberty the summer between junior and senior year, grew a foot and a half and got smoking hot. Harry’s the John Lennon, the snarky, sulky, self-absorbed one while Neville’s the George Harrison, putting in the work and the time on the sidelines. Plus, Matthew Lewis is a total slice.


Matthew Lewis

Image via Matthew Lewis


2. John Watson, from the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle


Does anyone actually want to date Sherlock Holmes? Seriously, anyone?


Gimme a dude like Watson. Watson is the sensible, thoughtful, educated, and life-experienced counterpart to Holmes’ assholery disguised as genius. He’s the rock that keeps Sherlock grounded, and really, isn’t that what we’re all looking for at the end of the day? Also, Martin Freeman.


I’m sorry this gif is so huge, but let’s all be honest here, giphy is really difficult to work with.
Gif via Giphy


3. Samwise Gamgee, from the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien


Samwise Gamgee is the absolute definition of ride or die. Despite stopping to declare at minute 44 of 726 (extended edition trilogy runtime) that that was the farthest he had been from home – 



Sam not only went way farther than he ever dreamed, but he literally carried his best friend up a volcano to destroy a magic ring which he doesn’t even get credit for. Sam deserves the world and I’d like to give it to him.


4. Cinna, from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins


Cinna is an incredible stylist, aesthetically perfect, and a major part of an underground resistance set on overthrowing a corrupt dystopian regime, and he does it all in gold eyeliner. Cinna made Katniss. Without him, Katniss would’ve just been another girl in bad clothes killed on TV. Yikes.


Lenny Kravitz

Is this article just an excuse to post this photo of Lenny Kravitz? The world may never know.
Image via AJ Supreme


And here’s where I realize that I was unknowingly picking characters that also have a smoke show on-screen counterpart, but here’s also where I realize that I played myself.


5. Gregor Samsa, from The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka


I’m not gunna lie, I always get The Metamorphosis and The Fly confused, but to be fair, they’re very similar concepts.


Jeff Goldblum in The Fly

Image is from THE FLY, not THE METAMORPHOSIS via Hero Wiki


Sure, Gregor Samsa’s life sucks. He’s a traveling salesmen who gets turned into a cockroach. He’s got the shit end of the life stick, and if he’s not careful someone might try to squash him with that stick because he’s literally a cockroach. Despite, he loves his family, cares for them, and dreams of sending his sister to a music conservatory. He’s looking out for his own, that is, until he dies just like he lived, gruesomely. It’s the American Dream.


Featured Image Via The Hunger Games Wikia (Cinna), The Leaky Cauldron (Neville), Ars Technica (Sam), BBC (Watson), photoshopped by yours truly.