Sir Arthur Conan Doyle And Psychics

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) may be most widely recognized as the creator of the legendary detective, Sherlock Holmes. However, Sir Arthur Conan Doye’s interests were wide and varied, and the success of the Sherlock novels, which assured him a substantial income, allowed him to devote considerable time to other pursuits which included an abiding interest in spirituality, psychic phenomena and the paranormal. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote prolifically on spiritualism and was one of its most famous proponents. Sir Arthur was one of those unique individuals who was as much artist as scientist, a sportsman, an adventurer and yet willing to explore spirituality and mysticism. Most of all, he was unafraid to speak out about his belief in spiritualism, psychics and the afterlife.

While critics place Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s interest in spiritualism and psychic following World War 1, in which Conan Doyle lost his son Kingsley, his brother Innes and two brothers-in-law, this is not historically accurate. Critics would like to imply that Sir Arthur had a momentary lapse in judgment during tragedy. The truth is his interested in spiritualism, mysticism, and the occult during his time as a practicing physician in Southsea, a seaside town in Hampshire, England, between 1885 and 1888. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle And Psychics At that time he was invited to participate in table turning experiments by a patient of his, a General Drayson. With the help of a psychic medium, some remarkable phenomena were evidently observed, which piqued Conan Doyle’s interest. It is said he took numerous notes and his curiosity clearly aroused. Not long after that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle joined the Society for Psychical Research and participated in a series of experiments that convinced him that telepathy, spirit contact and psychic abilities were possible. Sir Arthur was in good company as William James, W. B. Yeats, Henry James and Upton Sinclair all were or would be members and contributors to this organization.

It was of Sir Arthur’s son Kingsley, who died of pneumonia in 1918 while convalescing from serious injuries sustained during the Battle of the Somme during World War 1 that provided Conan Doyle with his first personal experience of communing with the dead. Despite the certainty that many of his literary peers would ridicule him, Conan Doyle reported on a psychic gathering in which he claimed that his son spoke to him, through a medium. In reply to the skeptics, he insisted that the medium, a Welsh woman, could have had no prior knowledge of the substance of his “conversation” with his son. “It was his voice and he spoke of concerns unknown to the medium,” he said. Shortly afterwards, Conan Doyle claimed to have had the same psychic experience with his late mother and nephew, insisting that he saw them “as plainly as I ever saw them in life.” Because Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s brand of spiritualism had a strong Christian aspect critics argued his involvement with a psychic was due to an ordinary sense of loss and bereavement. It was understandable, they argued, that the loss of his son would plunge him into such despair that he would seek solace in the hope of a spirit world, in which he could communicate with his loved ones. However, as mentioned before, this perspective does not take into account the Sir Arthur was already a self-proclaimed Spiritualist.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle read widely on the subject of spiritualism, ghosts, hauntings, the occult and psychic mediums. In fact, he met with many the best known spiritualists of his day. By the time he had reached the pinnacle of his success as an author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was as well known for his belief and research into the paranormal and Spiritualism. The subject psychics and paranormal even emerge in some of his novels (for example, The Land of Mist, one of the Professor Challenger series). Thirty years after his first exposure to psychics, at the age of 58, Sir Arthur wrote The New Revelation and The Vital Message, laying out his belief for all to see.

Not long after the publication of The New Revelation and The Vital Message Sir Arthur Conan Doyle became a supporter of the British National Spiritualists Union and the legendary Ghost Club, which, in the early part of the 20th century had attracted some of the most creative and original thinkers of the time. Members included the physicist Sir Oliver Lodge, psychologist Candor Fodor, and the Irish poet WB Yeats, Charles Dickens, Sir William Crookes and Air Chief Marshall Lord Dowding. The Ghost Club, which still exists today and is famous (or infamous, depending of if you are a skeptic) for conducting experiments designed to prove or disprove the existence of the paranormal.

Though Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beliefs about the paranormal also exposed him to public controversy, he never backed down and was more than willing to "mix it up" with critics. He continued his spirited (pun intended) defense of Spiritualism and all things mystical even though from time to time his support of the paranormal got him into trouble when he, too was taken in by hoaxers. One notorious example was the case in Great Britain of the “Cottingley Fairies”.
A series of photographs, purporting to show five fairies, had fueled the public imagination, and Conan Doyle entered the fray with The Coming of the Fairies (1921) in which he made it abundantly clear that he believed the photographs were genuine. In the work, he expounded on the nature of fairies and the existence of spirits. Many decades later, the Cottingley Fairies photographs were decisively proved to have been a giant hoax. However, much later, Sir Arthur’s belief of the idea of spiritual, nature based fairies would be redeemed with the mysterious happenings with fairies at Findhorn, Scotland.

The Sherlock Holmes character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has recently had a resurgence. Sherlock Holmes has been ‘modernized’ in two new TV shows in both Britain and the U.S. (the show Sherlock in the UK and Elemental in the U.S.). It seems only right to discuss what the author of Sherlock Holmes deeply believed: That there is an afterlife and spirit contact is possible. Perhaps Sherlock Holmes put it best, "…when you have eliminated all that is impossible, whatever is left, however improbable, must be the truth". Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was not just one of the best detective novelists of all time, he also assured his place in the annals of modern spiritualism. His two-volume treatise, The History of Spiritualism, published in 1926 is still considered a seminal work on the topic today.

Curious about getting your own, personal psychic reading with a psychic? I’d suggest talking with Psychic Misty, who is somewhat of a more traditional psychic medium. I also have a found Psychic Ricky very impressive. You will also find a number of good, psychic mediums at Ask The Spirits.