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"this insignificant-looking man inspired me" [GREE]


[Editor's note: we're pleased to welcome another contributor to our site. "Athenae" shares her own insights and opinions on Sherlock Holmes at Finding Sherlock. If you would like a chance to be considered as a contributor, please see our Who We Are page above.]

Sherlock Holmes is a myth, a demi-god; a fictitious, heartless, blindly intelligent, insightful and confident √úbermensch. Everything we want and need to be in a rapidly changing technologically-driven world. He could never be real.

Or could he?

When Conan Doyle was attending the University of Edinburgh as a medical student he attended a class with Dr. Joseph Bell. According to Doyle’s 1892 Interview with The Bookman:
[Bell] would sit in the patients’ waiting-room with a face like a Red Indian and diagnose the people as they came in, before even they had opened their mouths. He would tell them their symptoms, he would give them details of their lives and he would hardly ever make a mistake…His great faculty of deduction was at times highly dramatic. ‘Ah!’ he would say to another man, ‘you are a soldier, a non-commissioned officer, and you have served in Bermuda. Now how did I know that, gentlemen? He came into the room without taking his hat off, as he would go into an orderly room. He was a soldier. A slight authoritative air, combined with his age, shows that we was an N.C.O. A slight rash on the forehead tells me he was in Bermuda, and subject to a certain rash known only there.’ So I got the idea for Sherlock Holmes.

Bell was well known for more than just being the original Sherlock Holmes.  He was also considered to be an expert witness, who often took the stand at some of the more sensational murder trials during the latter half of the century.

For more information on the Bookman and the origins of Holmes, see our recommended reading below. - Ed.

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