The Paranormal World of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
by Christine B.
Famous for being the inventor of Sherlock Holmes, and gifted author of The Lost World, Tales of Terror and Mystery, and Through the Magic Door among other flights of fantasy, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was also an avid spiritualist. He became interested in spiritualism after the deaths of his wife and many other family members within a short period of time in 1906. Spiritualism became Doyle’s refuge and his life’s passion.
Aside from the burning desire to communicate with his love ones who had passed over, Doyle also had a few personal paranormal experiences of his own, which solidified his beliefs. Doyle wrote about his experiences in his book, The Edge of the Unknown, published in 1930.
His first paranormal experience occurred one night is his bedroom. He was awakened in the middle of the night by the strong feeling that he was not alone in his room. Doyle recounts that he was lying on his side facing the wall with his back to the room. He soon discovered that he could not move. He then heard footsteps walking toward him. They stopped at the edge of his bed. Doyle then heard a whispered voice tell him, “Doyle, I come to tell you that I am sorry.” Although Doyle could not see the entity, he recognized the voice of a man he had attempted to comfort with his spiritualistic beliefs after the death of the man’s wife. The man rejected Doyle’s efforts and passed away himself soon afterward. Doyle believed the reason he was paralyzed when the entity was in his room was because the entity had to draw his energy in order to materialize. (Since we know that entities will draw energy wherever they can find it, this makes sense. Remember that in the early 1900s there weren’t many electronic devises available to draw energy from. )
Doyle always had an interest in the supernatural. A church in Doyle’s neighborhood had the reputation for being haunted. Doyle decided that it would be a great family adventure to check it out. Doyle, his wife, two sons, a daughter, and two friends visited the church one evening and were all left there in the dark for a few hours. They sat in the choir section on hard wooden benches. Two hours after they arrived, Doyle and his companions noticed a luminous fog appear not far from where they were sitting.
Doyle wrote: “Roughly twenty feet from me there was a dull haze of light, a sort of phosphorescent cloud, a foot or so across, and about a man's height from the ground. The light glimmered down and hardened into a definite shape - or I should say shapes - since there were two of them. They were perfectly clear-cut figures in black and white, with a dim luminosity of their own. The coloring and arrangement gave me a general idea of cassocks and surplices [the vestments worn by priests and altar boys]."
Doyle’s wife, Louisa, called out,"Friends, is there anything which we can do to help you?" The apparitions disappeared before their eyes. Talking to some of the parishioners about his experience, Doyle discovered that the apparitions had been seen by others in the church on several occasions.
Doyle actually became a paranormal investigator of sorts after these experiences. He went to many homes to investigate claims of unexplained activity and reported his findings to the Society for Psychical Research, (of which he was an active member). He devoted his life to gathering evidence of the paranormal and to spiritualism. Being the inventor of the greatest detective of all time, [Sherlock Holmes], how could we expect anything less?