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Uncommon Knowledge: Was Sherlock Holmes fictional?

What You See Paperweight | UncommonGoodsIn 1877, a young man named Arthur Conan Doyle became a clerk at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. One of his duties was to conduct intake interviews for new patients of pathologist Dr. Joseph Bell—who had a gift for deducing much of the same information simply by observing the details of a person’s dress and behavior. He was legendary for predicting a person’s birthplace, habits, recent actions and more without a word of explanation from the person. And while Dr. Bell was not Sherlock Holmes to the letter, he was periodically called in by the police to consult on criminal investigations, including the Jack the Ripper murders. Sometimes, however, life can also imitate fiction. In 1890—three years after Sherlock Holmes first appeared in prints—Dr. Bell went to assist on a particularly scandalous murder of a student by his tutor. Helping Dr. Bell was a ballistics expert who just happened to be named Dr. Watson.

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Written by Nathan

Nathan is a copywriter, who helps create our product descriptions as well as our weekly emails. He is also a nationally award-winning musical theater writer, whose work includes an adaptation of Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver. Nathan has also been a classical violinist, tutored Kazakhstani jewelers in entrepreneurship, created large-scale games played across entire city blocks, served as a missionary in South Korea, conducted experiments in sonoluminescence, co-founded an exotic fruit-growing business, was a theater critic for Tucson Weekly, and as a teenager composed a women’s jazz quartet that is currently performed around the world.

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