From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Spookery is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle published in the Daily Mail on 7 february 1917.


Daily Mail (7 february 1917, p. 4)

Sir, — Does Mr. Kipling Common show either wit or reason in heading his comments upon spiritualism in a letter to the Daily Mail as above?

Whatever his personal opinion may be he must be aware, if he has made the most superficial examination of the subject, that the conviction of the continuity of the individual and of the possibility of communication has been forced upon a great many minds of the first order by a careful and prolonged study of the evidence.

Men of the highest character not only in this country but in America, France, Germany, Russia, and Italy have confirmed each other's observations, and many a materialist has for the first time received a broader philosophy of the universe by way of psychical research. Some arrive at such results by faith, but as there are many faiths summoning one in various directions, one finds it hard to know which to follow, unless one is self-complacent enough to believe that one chanced to be born in the right one.

Personally I know of no valid argument for life beyond the grave — the whole analogy of Nature seems against it — save only in the experiences attained by psychical study. The calling of such study by foolish or vulgar means is not really helpful.

Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex.

The serious study of psychical phenomena may be quite a respectable pursuit, but the mercenary traffic of more or less illiterate "mediums" is undoubtedly disreputable. The dividing line between these two things, is not always very strongly marked, and it is lamentably true that all the eminent men to whom Sir Arthur Conan Doyle refers have not succeeded in observing it. Some of them indeed, infatuated by the growing fascination of their studies, have lost their uncertain footing in the sublime and tumbled headlong into the ridiculous. But the authority of their names is still a sufficient shelter for an increasing multitude of harpies who ought to be locked up. — Ed. D.M.