People Trivia

14 Weird Facts About Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Guy Who Created Sherlock Holmes 

Tamar Altebarmakian
Updated June 14, 2019 29.8k views 14 items

You probably know Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as the famous author who created the beloved character Sherlock Holmes. But really, who was Arthur Conan Doyle? Yes, he created one of the most widely recognizable characters in the world (and may have even been responsible for the first ever fandom), but his talents and interests didn't just lie in writing.

At different points in his life he was a doctor, an aspiring politician, and a big fan of Tinker Bell. Even though he created one of the most rational fictional characters of all time, later in life the author became interested in the occult, regularly holding séances with family and friends. There are so many interesting facts about Arthur Conan Doyle that it's easy to see how he's every bit as legendary as the famous consulting detective. 

This Arthur Conan Doyle trivia will leave you sure that the author was as badass as the character he created. Now, venture forth – the game is afoot!

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He And Author George Bernard Shaw Had A Public Fight About The Titanic
He And Author George Ber... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 14 Weird Facts About Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Guy Who Created Sherlock Holmes
Photo: New York Herald/Wikimedia Commons

Shaw, the author of Pygmalion, the play which was adapted into the film My Fair Lady, had a very heated disagreement with Doyle about the Titanic. About a month after the sinking of the ship, Shaw published an article titled “Some Unmentioned Morals,” in which he criticized the press for “an explosion of outrageous romantic lying” regarding the heroics of those on the ship.

For example, many witnesses said that the captain of the ship was seen going down with the vessel, ever the sign of a good captain. Shaw argued, however, that not enough coverage of the incident examined facts, such as why the captain was speeding through an area he knew to be populated by icebergs. It was sort of their version of 9/11 Truthers. 

In response to the article, Doyle said, “it is a pitiful sight to see a man of undoubted genius using his gifts in order to misrepresent and decry his own people.” 

He Believed In Fairies
He Believed In Fairies ... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 14 Weird Facts About Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Guy Who Created Sherlock Holmes
Photo: Elsie Wright/Wikimedia Commons

Like thousands of others, Doyle came to believe in the existence of fairies after seeing the “Cottingley Fairies” pictures – a series of photographs which provided “proof” that fairies existed. 

He spent millions of pounds (not fairy dollars) circulating this “proof” that fairies existed and even wrote a book on the subject called The Coming of the Fairies. It was later revealed that the pictures were manipulated – the young girls who took the pictures admitted that the fairies in the so-called evidence were actually paper cutouts. So much for his deductive abilities. 

You Can Thank Him For The Jurassic Park Sequel
You Can Thank Him For Th... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 14 Weird Facts About Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Guy Who Created Sherlock Holmes
Photo: Arthur Conan Doyle/Wikimedia Commons

While Doyle is best known for penning the Sherlock Holmes stories, he’s also written works in other genres. Mostly, it's a lot of historical fiction, but he also (amazingly) wrote a book about dinosaurs titled The Lost World.

Hang on, you might be thinking. Isn’t that the title of another, wildly popular book about dinosaurs? Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park, has said that the title of his novel is an homage to Doyle’s book of the same name. Also, like Doyle’s book, Crichton's novel focuses on an expedition to an isolated island populated with dinosaurs. He was ahead of his time, that Doyle. 

He Was A Trained Medical Doctor
He Was A Trained Medical... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 14 Weird Facts About Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Guy Who Created Sherlock Holmes
Photo: jordangrimmer/DeviantArt

Despite being a gifted writer and creating one of the most recognizable and beloved characters of all time, Doyle didn’t actually study writing – at least not in a traditional sense. Doyle enrolled in medical school at the University of Edinburgh.

During his third year at university, he took a post as a surgeon on a whaling ship. After receiving his degree, he opened his own practice in London, but business was slow-going, as the author notes in his autobiography, “Every morning I walked from the lodgings at Montague Place, reached my consulting-room at ten and sat there until three or four, with never a ring to disturb my serenity.” Good thing he took up fiction instead of, like, opium or something.