Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle (May 22, 1859 – July 7, 1930) was a British author most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes and friendship with Houdini. He was a prolific writer whose other works include science fiction stories, historical novels, plays and romances, poetry, and non-fiction.
After the death of his wife Louisa in 1906, and the death of his son Kingsley, his brother Innes, his two brothers-in-law and his two nephews shortly after World War I, Conan Doyle sank into depression. He found solace supporting Spiritualism and its alleged scientific proof of existence beyond the grave.
His book, The Coming of the Fairies (1921) shows he was apparently convinced of the veracity of the Cottingley Fairies photographs, which he reproduced in the book, together with theories about the nature and existence of fairies and spirits. In his The History of Spiritualism (1926), Conan Doyle praised the psychic phenomena and spirit materialisations produced by Eusapia Palladino and Mina "Margery" Crandon.
Conan Doyle was friends for a time with the Harry Houdini, who himself became a prominent opponent of the Spiritualist movement in the 1920s following the death of his beloved mother. Although Houdini insisted that Spiritualist mediums employed trickery (and consistently attempted to expose them as frauds), Conan Doyle became convinced that Houdini himself possessed supernatural powers, a view expressed in Conan Doyle's The Edge of the Unknown. Houdini was apparently unable to convince Conan Doyle that his feats were simply magic tricks, leading to a bitter public falling out between the two.
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