The Spirit of Dickens

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

The "Spirit" of Dickens is an article published in The Glasgow Herald on 5 september 1927.

The Spirit of Dickens

The Glasgow Herald
(5 september 1927, p. 13)


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle told an audience at the Grotrian Hall, London, last night that the real truth of the Spiritualist movement had been overpowered by a cloud of nonsense, and when the cloud was dissolved the whole fabric of materialism and Bolshevism would be dissolved with it, for the knowledge of life after death would destroy the whole Bolshevist platform.

"Look at the British Association," said Sir Arthur, "they are talking about how many legs a beetle has got, and every kind of trivial and foolish question, and this subject is taboo."

Sir Arthur also related an experience he had with the spirit of Charles Dickens when it came through at a seance. He realised the presence of Dickens when a medium spelled out backwards the words — "Box is buzzing about." Answering the question — "Was Edwin Drood dead?" the spirit said — "No, he was not. I was sorry to go across before I got him out of his troubles. The poor chap had a hard time." Asked if the American medium who finished "Edwin Drood" in 1873 was inspired, the spirit replied:— "Not by me. Wilkie C. (Collins) would have done it better. Edwin is alive, and Cris (the Rev. Crisparkle) is hiding him." The comment — "We like friends to be friends" — was also made by the spirit.

Joseph Conrad also came through and said he would like Sir Arthur to finish his book "Suspense." "On inquiry I found the book had been publish in an incomplete form," said Sir Arthur. "That has settled the question of my obeying the spirit's demand."