Of course I have read all his Sherlock Holmes stories – many two and three times – but that is just scratching the surface of the works of this most prolific author.
For example, I have read his STARK MUNRO LETTERS, his TALES OF TERROR AND MYSTERY, and a small hint of many other works titled A LIFE IN LETTERS. There is also a Reader’s Digest-type book out there that grabs a couple of chapters from this, that, and the other of his works. Those last volumes just whet the appetite for the complete and original source material.
One of those original books is his HISTORY OF SPIRITUALISM, volume I and II. If you are as addicted to the writings of Doyle as I am, I cannot stress strongly enough that you do NOT read this book. Holmes would toss it in the trash bin as “totally irrelevant.”
I’m going to back up a minute.
At one point of my life, I was close to the paranormal community. The more I studied, the more disappointed I became. If all these different phenomena were so plentiful to so many others, why couldn’t “I” experience any of them? Not even a reassuring nudge from my deceased mother to tell me, “Everything is alright.”
A neighbor told of a relative who had been visited by a deceased parent. The parent appeared in complete and recognizable form – from top to bottom – gave a short message and then left. Exactly right. In my mind, that is what a spirit visit SHOULD be. No such thing as a haunting. No objects being thrown about.
Having items thrown about was a common occurrence to the people Doyle studied. So were rappings, visions, knocks, table movement, table levitation, medium levitation, and ectoplasm. This ectoplasm was given credit on more than one occasion for producing “a long rod of a substance having certain properties which distinguish it from all other forms of matter.” (p. 113)
Oh, and did I mention bell ringing, spirit orations, healings, spirit photographs, clairvoyance, passing wood through wood, and the many forms of playing different instruments such as a trumpet, a tambourine, and an accordion.
THE HISTORY OF SPIRITUALISM is so horribly biased, it defies imagination. How could the same genius that created forensic science one hundred years before the first CSI office, be duped by these tricks?
When hoaxes were shown to Doyle, he excused them all. “. . . as always, it is the positive result which counts.”
Oh, my dear friend.
Your portrait now makes you look like a pompous fool.
Doyle died a Spiritualist, clutching his beliefs to the end.
As the incredible list of “phenomena” grew longer during my own study, a single question formed in my own mind. “Why on earth wouldn’t spirits settle on ONE way to communicate and be done with it? Why all these variations?”
A spirit visitor should make an appearance for a specific reason, state that reason, and go back to improving their mind and body on the other side. If there is such a thing.
Doyle’s work on Spiritualism, and many other influences, have discouraged me. I’ve tried to have an “experience,” but failed every time.
Others have warned against a Ouija Board. “Once you invite the spirits in, you cannot get them to leave, especially the evil ones.”
Well, I have been alone for FAR more years than I have been married or part of a family. I am a 68-year-old senior with many ailments. I would welcome a spiritual visitor to talk to.
Even a bad one.