UK PSYCHICS REPORT - 9 Sept 2005
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's will, released recently at the National Archives in London, reveals the legacy Sherlock Holmes creator left to the cause of Spiritualism.
When Conan Doyle died in 1930 the Spiritualist Alliance of London, the National Spiritual Union and The Spiritual Community were each bequeathed £100 in the author's will, while the Psychic College received a gift of £200 - a considerable sum at the time. A number of individual Spiritualists were left smaller sums of money.
Other documents from the 1920s, also held at the archive, testify to his belief in the supernatural and his opposition to heavy-handed governance.
In 1925 Conan Doyle took up the cause of a clairvoyant known as "Madam Estelle", whose case was described by the prosecutor as "an ordinary squalid, vulgar case of fortune telling... which a gipsy might tell to some ignorant country girl on Epsom Downs."
"Madam Estelle" had allegedly promised a gentleman client that he would meet a "rich lady". When the prediction failed to materialize, "Madam Estelle" was charged with fraud. Conan Doyle claimed that the clairvoyant had been deliberately and unfairly entrapped by two female police officers.
In a letter to the Daily Express he wrote: "Is it not time that the prosecution - or rather the persecution - of clairvoyants and mediums should cease? The whole proceeding is repugnant to one's sense of justice, and is foreign to the spirit of British law, which has never encouaged the "agent provocateur".
And in a handwritten letter to the Home Office on "Psychic Bookshop and Library" notepaper (of which Conan Doyle was proprietor), he wrote: "Granting that the public need some protection against impostors should it not be left to the public to invoke the law?"