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Watch Arthur Conan Doyle Explain How He Invented Sherlock Holmes

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

There were two questions that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle couldn’t seem to avoid being asked ad nauseum: 1.) What inspired you to write the Sherlock Holmes stories? 2.) What got you so interested in spiritualism?In this wonderful little video, Doyle responds to both queries with his signature acerbic wit and an amazingly posh accent. He also exhibits disdain for his own creation, calling Holmes a “monstrous growth” that emerged from a “comparatively small seed,” and Watson “his rather stupid friend.”  (No wonder he killed Holmes off by throwing him over the Reichenbach Falls.) And he explains why a brilliant man like himself spent much of his adult life courting the advice and clairvoyance of psychics, mesmerists, and other charlatans.