Doyle was born into an Irish Catholic family in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1859. At age eleven, he was sent to a Jesuit school, Stonyhurst College, in which he was said to have spent “five unhappy and lonely years”. After obtaining his Bachelor of Medicine and Master of Surgery from Edinburgh University, Doyle developed a great interest for spiritualism . In an article appeared in MQ (the official Journal of the United Grand Lodge of England), Freemason Yasha Beresiner explains Conan Doyle’s interest for spiritualism and Masonry:
“He first set up a practice with a fellow student Dr Budd, but soon parted company having been accused of not pulling his weight, and moved, with his newly wedded wife Louise Hawkins, to Southsea near Portsmouth in Hampshire where he established himself as an eye specialist. It was here that between 1885 and 1888 he attended a number of table turning sittings at the home of General Drayson a teacher at Greenwich Naval College, who was one of his patients. These sessions were experimental and Doyle was critical both of the procedures and the ritual involved, which he called a farce. He also questioned the intellect of the sitters. But he was hooked. In 1887, the year he became a freemason, he joined the Society for Psychical Research, this was a public declaration, as it were, of his interest and belief in the occult.
It was in this state of mind, exceedingly curious and now seriously delving into the world of spiritualism, that on the 26th of January 1887 Arthur Conan Doyle was initiated into Freemasonry at the Phoenix Lodge No 257 in Southsea, Hampshire. He was 27 years old.”
-Yasha Beresiner, Arthur Conan Doyle Spiritualist and Freemason, MQ, July 2007
It was the Phoenix Lodge no. 257 where Doyle befriended a certain Dr. James Watson, who became the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes’ trusty sidekick. Beresiner continues:
“It would be logical to presume that Doyle came into Freemasonry expecting, maybe hoping, to discover elements of the spiritualism that now occupied his mind. He was certainly well recommended. His proposer was W. D. King, later Sir William David King, Deputy-Lieutenant for Hampshire, a most prominent public man in Portsmouth who was elected Mayor of the borough on four separate occasions. His seconder was Sir John Brickwood an equally respected and successful Brewer in the city. Doyle rose rapidly through the degrees. On 23 February 1887 he was passed to the second degree and a month later, on 23 March he was made a full-fledged Master Mason.”
Doyle then resigned from Freemasonry only to rejoin several times during his life. Masonry was sometimes mentioned in Doyle’s writings, which were not all focused on Sherlock Holmes. In The Land of Mist, published in 1926, Doyle describes the character Weatherby:
“… that is a pompous ass named Weatherby. He is one of those who wander about on the obscure edges of Masonry, talking with whispers and reverence on mysteries where no mystery is. Spiritualism, with its very real and awful mysteries, is, to him, a vulgar thing because it brought consolation to common folk, but he loves to read papers on the Palladian Cultus, ancient & accepted Scottish rites and baphometic figures. Eliphas Levi is his prophet.”
Throughout his adventures, Sherlock Holmes (who was not a Mason) has proved to be quite knowledgeable of Freemasonry, spotting Masonic rings and other clues with ease.
Things are not what they seem....WAKE UP!