Spirit Humorists

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Spirit Humorists is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle published in the Daily Mail on 23 january 1920.

Spirit Humorists

Daily Mail (23 january 1920, p. 6)


To the Editor of The Daily Mail.

Sir, — Spiritualists generally are in agreement with Mr. Kipling Common's statement in a letter to The Daily Mail that automatic script is often the product of the unconscious mind. Mr. Percy Street, a considerable practical authority upon this and other psychic matters, has emphasised the point.

It is only where the style of the script has very extraordinary characteristics, or where it is mixed with matter which the normal person could not have known, or when it is produced upside down or looking-glass fashion, like much of the script of "The Seven Purposes," that the question of outside control becomes urgent.

Then, again, there is always the humorous entity out of the body to he taken into consideration, for he has preserved the character of the humorous entity in the body, To shock the timid or to humbug the self-sufficient may be a source of amusement to him.

Such a person does not deserve the title of an evil spirit, unless we are prepared to admit that very large numbers of evil spirits are living in the flesh around us. In the instance quoted by Mr. Kipling Common one could not but admire the veracity and humbleness of mind of the entity who described himself as an "evil spirit," presuming that the message was a true one.

But what is continually overlooked by our opponents is that in these days of negation and materialism actually to prove the existence of an evil spirit would be the greatest possible boon to the cause of religion. The philosophy of materialism is founded upon the idea, that death ends all. Prove that there is any life, good or bad, outside the body, and you have brought this whole scheme to the ground. For this purpose the proof of an evil spirit is really as effective as that of a good one.

Mr. Kipling Common and his friends may say truly that they already get these things by faith, but an ever-increasing proportion of the public do not, and it is for them that proof is needed.

Arthur Conan Doyle.
Hotel Metropole, Blackpool.