Why did Sherlock Holmes take cocaine? Why did A. C. Doyle fight the Boers? What do the discarnate entities say?

I am not familiar with cocaine, but Ex-Army has moved me to contemplate the importance of cocaine to the Sherlock Holmes mythos.



Various book quotations available from Google cast doubt on my initial theory – namely that both A. C. Doyle and Joseph Bell experimented with cocaine.

I apologize for the shrunken images – please open them in new tabs to see them at a readable resolution.


However, since cocaine was commonly used by intellectuals in their culture, perhaps Doyle was adding a bit of a flourish to what would otherwise have been an uninspiring fictional combination of himself and his mentor.

Doyle is a mystifying figure. He volunteered to fight in the Boer War; he criticized the police and endeavored to free wrongly accused prisoners; he communicated with the dead in seances.


And while Conan Doyle was always an agent of reform and change when it came to politics and the military, he was not always so forward thinking with his ideas. He was a stoutly old-fashioned man and while embracing movements like Spiritualism in his later years, he was steadfastly opposed to others. He detested the suffragette movement and often spoke out against the actions of the radical members of the movement, calling them “wild women”. The suffragettes responded by putting a hazardous sulfate called vitriol through the letter box of Windlesham, the home that Doyle had moved to in Crowborough in 1909. Doyle’s opposition to the suffragettes was based on the belief that it was pointless for women to have the vote, but he also felt that was very unwomanly. On the other hand, he was sympathetic to the reform of the Divorce Law, by which a husband could gain a divorce on the grounds of his wife’s adultery but a wife had to prove not only adultery but brutality or desertion as well. He campaigned hard to get the law changed but this all was placed on the back burner when war was declared in August 1914.

Conan Doyle was again galvanized into action. He said after the fighting had ended that the Great War was the physical climax of his life, a remarkable statement considering that he was 55 years-old at the time it started. Within a day or two, he had organized a Crowborough civilian group called the Volunteers. He received requests for their rules and methods from over 1,200 other towns and villages, even thought eh volunteer force was disbanded by an order from the War Office a few weeks after it was founded. It was replaced by an official body that boasted more than 200,000 men, although Doyle served in it as a private during the entire War. Most of the men were Sir Arthur’s age or older but thought nothing of marching as many as 14 miles each day, singing along the entire route.

He was invigorated by the war effort but it was not enough for him. He wanted to see action and volunteered for the Army. Needless to say, he was not accepted but he did send a flurry of ideas, many of them ingenious and practical, to the War Office. Since many of the military ships had few lifeboats, the sailors on board them had little chance of surviving if they lost their ship or fell into the sea. Doyle suggested the idea of inflatable rubber rafts that could be used and while this idea was turned down, he did suggest the development of inflatable rubber collars for seamen to carry with them in their pockets. He also came up with an idea for soldiers to be fitted with body armor but it too was rejected. Unfortunately, many of those who worked in the office agreed with his innovative notions but there was little they could do about it without approval from the high command. At the Ministry of Munitions, when he went there to argue for his body armor idea, he was told: “Sir Arthur, there is no use arguing here, for these is no one in this building who does not know that you are right!”

I have one definite point of disagreement with Doyle. Doyle was, so far as I can tell, an enthusiastic supporter of the British government, and I am a virulent, vehement critic of government in general. In particular, I believe that armed citizens should always hold more power than armed government employees. As a wise man wrote, “Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient.”

The odd thing is that the bulk of Spiritualist communications seem to be anti-war. The first World War, from my perspective, was a horrible waste of civilized human life, and it led to the second World War, which was likewise horrible, but on a larger scale. But perhaps the adventure of war cannot be resisted by vigorous men, and I am simply not vigorous. (Certainly I am neither compassionate nor tolerant – but I’m just not modern soldiering material. I think I would be put in a stockade for mutiny before I could be thrown at the enemy as cannon fodder.) For all my anti-statist objections to war, I cannot deny that Jack Churchill went to war with a certain style. Any man who uses a basket-hilted claymore on a modern battlefield has my respect.

But this post is supposed to be about Doyle’s unusual vigor, not Jack Churchill’s anachronistic fury.

Doyle was not just physically tall – he seems to have had a larger-than-life vigor. Just as the vigor imparted by cocaine can be misused, it may be that an Omniscient Judge would consider Doyle’s military enthusiasm to have been misapplied. Since I am but mortal, and very ignorant, I will leave such questions to the Higher Planes.

Doyle still appears at seances.

At our second meeting an entity materialized and claimed to be Arthur Conan Doyle. He invited me to ask him questions which I did. The questions and answers are on my website. When I asked Sir Arthur about free will in the afterlife he walked towards me, grabbed my hand and shook hands with me. I noticed that his hand was twice the size of the medium’s hand – it was comparatively very big, very firm, and as solid as my own. His voice came from immediately in front of me at the height of a man above average height.

How can all this be real? I can tell the readers that I stake my reputation that materializations are taking place, absolutely no doubt about that. I am a specialist in the admissibility of evidence and I have been systematically researching the afterlife for over sixteen years. Whilst I worked in the courts as a lawyer I am also formally qualified as a psychologist, I have three years of scientific method and have participated in séances, spiritual meetings and channeling, for sixteen years.

Naturally enough a skeptic has already attacked my report trying to raise doubt and claim fraud! Materializations give the skeptics a great deal of anxiety. And when skeptics have been skeptics for some forty years or more, the last thing they want to hear is that they could have been wrong all that time.

As most of my readers know, I can speak the language of the skeptics. The ‘professional’ skeptics claim they can duplicate any psychic experiment. So here is the challenge: to either ‘put up or shut up’! If you, the skeptic, can duplicate in toto the phenomena produced by David Thompson in our materializations experiments I will pay you the guaranteed sum of half a million dollars. But if you fail, you will have to give the medium David Thompson half a million dollars.

You can read my full rebuttal of the skeptic attack on my website where you will also see more reports about these miraculous materializations which are taking the world by storm and sound files, where you will hear the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle saying that there is no death, Louis Armstrong singing, a little of Arthur Findlay and the materialized voice of William the control.


In the end, we have various sort of inspiring fiction, but we have to do the bulk of our work in the material world of mud and iron and muscles and engines. The evidence indicates that ectoplasm is just as material as muscle. I still don’t know why A. C. Doyle wrote about cocaine, but perhaps I’ll get the chance to discuss the issue with him some day – in this world or the next.

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