Arthur Conan Doyle, had been born to the poor relations in a prosperous Irish Catholic family in Edinburgh. He was sent to a Jesuit school and studied medicine at Edinburgh University, courtesy of the richer members of the family. He worked as a Surgeon on a whaling ship for a year before graduating as a physician and surgeon in 1881. He took on the role of army surgeon after being rejected as a soldier in the Boer war at the age of 40 and was rejected again at the age of 55 for the First World War.
Arthur worked and played hard, and as a result suffered from ill health on occasions While doctoring in the Boer War he was writing a ‘Pamphlet’, published in 1890, of 500 pages justifying involvement in the war, which earned him his knighthood.
At first Doyle combined writing with his medical career, but he found he could give up medicine when his creation of Sherlock Holmes became popular. He did try to ’kill off’ Holmes to concentrate on other writing but was forced to bring him back by popular demand. Altogether he wrote over 200 novels, plus short stories, poems and nonfiction books and pamphlets.
Doyle wrote a number of books on Spiritualism, including ‘The History of Spiritualism’ which records the beginning of the movement and the work of all the great mediums of the 19th Century.
Doyle joined the Society for Psychical Research, having witnessed some table tilting and other physical phenomena while sitting in a group. He was privileged to sit with several of the most gifted mental and physical mediums of the day and was convinced of spirit communication and survival.
In 1918 he publicly proclaimed his belief in Spiritualism but was ridiculed in the press a few years later when he accepted a fake photograph of ‘fairies’ as a true picture.
In his later years, Doyle toured the country promoting Spiritualism to large audiences
everywhere. When he passed in 1930, the movement lost a great champion. In appreciation, the SNU made him their Honorary President in Spirit.