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4430Re: SHSI Doyle and King Tut's Tomb

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    18 Jan 11:14 am
      Dear friends and fellow Sherlockians,
      Dr. Pinaki Roy has raised an interesting topic about  the two contadictory facets of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's literary output 
      On the one hand we have " a man so precise in advancing scientific hypothesis of investigation " and his emphatic dismissal of the supernatural : 
      " The more outre and grotesque an incident is , ........ , when duly considered and scientifically handled, the one which is most likely to elucidate it ." 
       " it proved conclusively to my mind that we were dealing with a real hound "
      Sherlock Holmes-" The Hound of the Baskervilles"

       "Let me tell you then , the train of reasoning which passed through my mind in Baker Street . The idea of a vampire  was to me , absurd "
      Sherlock Holmes - " The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire "

      These are But two examples of many in the Canon .

      In some of his  other stories however , Doyle has done a U turn .
      To quote that great Sherlockian /Doyleian scholar , Michael Dirda, 
      " Four or five of Doyle's works of the grotesque and supernatural are asthonishingly  original , providing far more than just careful plotting , a mesmerising narration , or a schocker ending ...... ' , the stomach churning chiller ,' The Leather Funnel ' ( 1903 ) , the gruesome climax of ' The Lady Sannox ' ( 1893 ) ,
      ' The Terror of Blue John Gap ' ( 1910. ) and ' The Horror of Heights ' . .... " 

      I admit that I have read none of these , being a Sherlockian rather than Doyleian .
      But Doyle's conviction about spiritualism, the occult , the after-life is indeed well known and seemed to have overflowed into his 
      " Other" works .

      On Thursday, 16 January 2014, pinaki roy <monkaroy@...> wrote:

      Dear Sherlockians,

      I cannot but wonder how a man could be so precise in advancing scientific hypotheses of investigation and yet be a staunch believer in the occult and apparitions - these contradictions make Arthur Conan Doyle. After the discovery of the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun (p.o.r. c. 1332 B.C. - c. 1323 B.C.) in A.D. 1922 by Howard Carter (1874-1939) and George E.S.M. Herbert - 5th Earl of Carnarvon (1866-1923), and following Lord Carnarvon's death in Cairo because of a mosquito bite infected by a razor-cut, Doyle tried to explain his death and also some of the deaths that followed. At first he speculated that deadly fungus which had had grown inside the Egyptian pyramids had infected people entering the tombs. He believed that ancient Egyptians had placed the mold deliberately to punish grave-robbers. However, as James Hamilton-Paterson and Carol Andrews write in "Mummies: Death and Life in Ancient Egypt" (London: Collins, 1978, I.S.B.N.
      0-00-195532-2), Doyle later suggested that Carnarvon's death had been caused by 'elementals' created by Tutankhamun's priests to guard the royal tomb (p. 196). Tushar Ghosh, in his "Mythology, History, and Mysteries of Ancient Egypt" (Kolkata: Pandulipi, 2012. I.S.B.N. 978-81-922449-4-5), attests to Doyle's belief in the 'curse of the pharaoh', referring to his belief that 'a malevolent spirit may have cuased Lord Carnarvon's fatal illness' (p. 427). Such science-superstition dichotomy characterises many of Doyle's later-day writings, though, unlike Byomkesh Bakshi of Saradindu Bandyopadhyay, Holmes never faces or believes in apparitions. Would some of you, most kindly, initiate a discussion on Doyle's credo?

      (Pinaki Roy),
      Assistant Profess of Englsih,
      Malda College,
      Rabindra Avenue, Malda - 732 101,
      West Bengal, India

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