History of where Paranormal Worlds meet: by Mindy Hardy
Fact or Faked? Spiritual accounts of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, creator and author of the fictional tales of “Detective Sherlock Homes” was born this week in the year of 1859 on May 22nd. As well as being well known for the books that he has written, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a self proclaimed Spiritualist and he had a passion for delving into the afterlife, supernatural, psychic phenomenon and communicating with friends and relatives that have passed to another realm.
It is said that when his wife Louisa passed away in 1906, the death of his son Kingsley just before the end of World War I, and the passing of his brother Innes, his two brothers-in-law, and two nephews shortly after the war, that being overcome with depression, he found comfort in Spiritualism and searching for proof of existence beyond the grave. He became a member of a renowned supernatural organization called “The Ghost Club” which focused on the scientific study of supernatural activities to prove or debunk the existence of supernatural phenomena.
Conan Doyle was often questioned about his beliefs in the supernatural and was thought by many to be dillusional with his proclaimed discoveries and studies. He was an avid believer of Spiritualism and never backed away from his beliefs although at times phenomena that he backed up was proven to be a hoax, not by him but by others. He always stood behind what he believed to be psychic phenomena and the paranormal.
One of the stories that he is known by is the case of the “Cottingly Fairies”. The stories happened in 1920 when a friend of Conan received a letter from a friend by the name of Felicia Scatcherd. She told Sir Doyle of some photographs that she had which proved the existence of fairies in Yorkshire. The photographs were taken in July and September of 1917 near the Yorkshire village of Cottingley by two female girls, Elsie Wright and her cousin Frances Griffiths.
They claimed to have seen fairies on an earlier occasion and had gone back to take pictures of the said fairies.
Elsie Wright’s father did not believe the photos were real and banned his daughter and niece from using his camera in the future. Elsie’s mother however was a believer of all things impossible based on her belief and participation in the “Theosophical Society” founded by Madame Helena Blavatsky.
Doyle’s friend , Edward L. Gardner, also a Theosophist claimed that the photo’s were genuine and made copies for his friend Arthur Doyle. The photographs received notoriety with the media and the “City News” was quoted as saying, “It seems at this point that we must believe either in the most incredible mystery of the fairy—or in the most incredible wonders of faked photographs”.
Conan Doyle published articles about the fairies in 1920 for “Strand Magazine” and soon others sent him photos of the fairies that they claimed to see. He later wrote a book in 1922 called “The coming of the fairies” detailing the entire affair.
Being a true gentleman and believing that if he treated others with kindness and honesty that they would do the same. Because of this he was taken advantage of on many occasions, although in this particular case he did not doubt the authenticity of the photo’s that the girls had taken. He would never tell the girls that he questioned their honesty even if he did as that was not his way or personality.
In the early 1980’s after the girls were older women, they admitted that the photos were definitely a hoax, they made up the story to get back at all of the adults who teased them for playing with fairies, they did not realize how out of hand their joke would get and so they continued with the farce until they knew that all involved, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had passed on before they told the truth. Although the photographs were faked, they did maintain that they had in fact seen the fairies but the photos were actually cut outs from “Princess Mary’s Gift Book” 1915.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, even through the trickery that he experienced with the “Cottingly Fairies”, continued to firmly believe in communication between the two realms, and psychic phenomenon.
He became friends with Houdini although they held differences in opinion when it came to spiritualism and whether or not it was created by trickery. Doyle and his wife held a séance in which Mrs. Doyle claimed to have communicated with Houdini’s mother, the details that she reported were wrong therefore Houdini became outraged and ended his friendship with Conan Doyle.
Until his dying day Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle believed in the occult influence into an invisible world. Margaret Fox wrote a signed story that appeared in “The New York World”, October 21,1888 about Spiritualism being a fraud and a deception. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is quoted as saying,
“Nothing that she could say in that regard would in the least change my opinion, nor would it that of any one else who had become profoundly convinced that there is an occult influence connecting us with an invisible world.”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is well known in the history of the literary world being the creator of the character of “Sherlock Holmes” and he will always remain in our hearts as a part of history that will live on forever, but now we know of another aspect of his life that we as Paranormal Passionists can love and appreciate about him, and we know all too well that although we may not be able to convince some people of the reality of another world, we understand what Sir Doyle believed and we hold these possibilities close to our heart.
By Mindy Hardy 05/21/13