Sunday, July 23, 2017

Rudyard Kipling and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

While reading about the lives of Rudyard Kipling and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I noticed that they had a few elements in common in addition to having lived in Southsea.

Artistic fathers
Both men had fathers who illustrated their books.

Conan Doyle’s father Charles Altamont Doyle was one of the first artists to depict Sherlock Holmes. His drawings were used for the 1888 edition of A Study in Scarlet.

John Lockwood Kipling illustrated his son’s Jungle Books.

Here is an example of each man’s work:


Sherlock Holmes is the tall man in the middle. I much prefer Sidney Paget’s depiction of the great detective!


Bereaved wives
Both Rudyard Kipling and Conan Doyle married women they met through the women’s brothers, brothers who both died young.

Conan Doyle met fellow Southsea resident Louise Hawkins when her brother Jack became a patient of his. He took the young man into his care at his house in Elm Grove, but the patient soon died. He was only 25 years old. Dr Doyle and Louise soon became engaged and then married. Unfortunately, she too died young and Conan Doyle remarried.

Rudyard Kipling met American-born Caroline Starr Balestier when her brother Wolcott, a writer and publisher who wrote a book jointly with Kipling, introduced her to his famous friend. Wolcott died two years later at the age of 29, and Kipling proposed to Caroline soon afterwards.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Benjamin Disraeli and some more unseen influences

Benjamin Disraeli the eminent Victorian, the prime minister of what was at the time the greatest power on earth, the statesman and superb orator who was also a novelist, essayist and supreme letter writer, has been extensively studied and written about.

I can’t compete with or add anything to the coverage of many aspects of his life, his brilliant political career in particular, but in any case my main interest is in the unseen influences that I believe were operating behind the scenes.

Curses, cursing and convenient deaths
I have already written about some deaths that were very convenient for Mr Disraeli. I have just read something in a review of the biography Disraeli: a Personal History by Christopher Hibbert
that gives further support to my suspicions:

"There was a streak of icy vengefulness in his temperament; even as a young man he had written down and filed away the names of those who crossed him. 'Something usually happens to them.'"

So Disraeli had a little list! So it was not only innocent people who happened to be in his way who suffered the consequences of his feelings towards them. So in the case of his enemies, the ill-wishing was deliberate.

This discovery has made me want to do a full investigation.

In the meantime, a little research exercise has found some familiar features.  It seems to me that his unsatisfactory (to Disraeli) starting position in life, his inordinate ambition combined with his creative personality and the setbacks he experienced made him someone who might well have attracted the attention of whatever it is that operates below the surface in the lives of selected people.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Arthur Conan Doyle’s witch Helen Penclosa: Part V

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short novel The Parasite has inspired a series of articles, of which this is the last.

It is being published today to mark the 87th anniversary of Conan Doyle’s death: he died on this day, July 7th, in 1930. 

Although I had never even heard of The Parasite until a few weeks ago, many elements of the story seem very familiar. They have activated memories of things I have read in other books or experienced for myself; I have featured some of them in previous articles. Here are some connections that I have noticed:

The Parasite and John Buchan
The Parasite reminds me a little of John Buchan’s story The Gap in the Curtain, in which people are trained to use the latent powers of their minds.

The volunteers are selected for their sensitive nervous systems and inability to cope well with the normal, physical world. This partly matches what Austin Gilroy says about himself: he calls himself a highly psychic, sensitive man.

The volunteers in The Gap in the Curtain are very different from Agatha Marden, whom Helen Penclosa successfully hypnotises as a demonstration of her power to control healthy, well-balanced people.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Arthur Conan Doyle’s witch Helen Penclosa: Part IV

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Parasite has inspired a series of articles. Part III described Helen Penclosa and her activities in detail. So what more is there to say about this sinister little story? There are still a few features to be highlighted, points to be made and warnings to be repeated.

Going into reverse
One feature in this and other examples of people ignoring red flags and getting carried away by exciting visions of the future is that not only do many of them not get what they want, but it all goes horribly wrong, into reverse even, and they find themselves in a much worse situation. Their ambition, scientific curiosity, gullibility, greed, arrogance, over-estimation of their powers, strength and resistance … whatever the cause of their involvement with negative metaphysical forces, they are lead to disaster.

Austin Gilroy gets the exact opposite of what he hoped for. He foresees a glorious future for himself; he thinks that his forthcoming paper on hypnotism might even get him made a Fellow of the Royal Society.  This will make Agatha accept that the game is worth the candle!  Unfortunately, it all backfires.

Instead of achieving further academic success, he loses his professorship. Instead of feeling respect and admiration for him, Agatha feels concern because he looks so worried, worn and ill.