Sherlock Holmes is undoubtedly one of the most admired fictional characters of all time. He might not be the first fictional detective in history but is arguably the best.
Holmes is known for his proficiency in human anatomy, chemistry, acute observational skills and logical reasoning, which he bring into play during his investigations.
Sherlock’s fame and popularity has led many to believe that he is a real person and not a character of fiction. From the truth about his hat to his flawed understanding of our solar system, we have covered 15 most interesting facts about Sherlock Holmes.
15. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Legacy
Apart from Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is known for his literary works on science fiction, fantasies and stories about wars, romances, poetry, plays and other historical novels. One of his short stories, “J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement” helped immortalize the mystery of Mary Celeste.
Doyle was professionally a medical practitioner and also had a brief sporting career. Many might not know, but he also had a knack for architecture, as he helped design many structures in the early 20th century.
14. His IQ
According to the British author John Radford, Sherlock Holmes has an IQ of 190. In his book, ‘Intelligence of Sherlock Holmes: And Other Three-pipe Problems’, Radford used the stories as data, applied three different methods to measure the IQ of Sherlock Holmes. Considering the average IQ of a human being is 70-110, his IQ is remarkably high.
13. The Name “Sherlock” is Popular among Parents
Since its first publication in 1887, a total of nine people has been named Sherlock Holmes across England. In 1911 Census of Britain and Wales data shows that a family had two members named Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes living in Yorkshire. From 1996 to 2011, the name didn’t appear in any list of popular baby names, however, in 2012, five babies were named Sherlock.
12. Sherlockian Societies
According to Sherlockian, there are more than 70 societies currently operational in almost every corner of the world dedicated to the life and works of Sherlock Holmes. Another source, however, suggests that there have been more than 900 of such societies all over the world since the time of its inception and among those 900, only 279 are still functioning.
11. The Great Hiatus
Many say that Arthur Connan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes during his initial run due to boredom, while others indicates that it was due to his interests in historical novels. Whatever the reason may be, Arthur killed Sherlock in the battle with Professor James Moriarty in “The Final Problem” (published in 1893).
However, due to increasing pressure from the fans, he wrote “The Adventure of the Empty House” in 1903, where Holmes reappears, after a long break to explain that he faked his own death to fool in advisories.
10. Holmes Never Says ‘Elementary, My Dear Watson’
Throughout the original Conan Doyle Series, Holmes says ‘Elementary!’ and ‘my dear Watson’ at different points, but the idea of putting them together was a meme, that was first recorded in a P. G. Wodehouse novel of 1915. It effortlessly conveys Holmes’ superiority to his ‘dear’ friend.
9. Sherlock Holmes Didn’t Wear a Deerstalker
The image of him wearing a deerstalker hat gained popularity after it was first appeared in the Strand magazine from 1891 onwards, but do you know that the hat was never mentioned in any of the original Sherlock Holmes books.
It was Sidney Paget, who illustrated Sherlock with a deerstalker hat and an Inverness cap and it became an instant hit. It was so effective that the hat became a must of distinguished detectives of that era.
8. Agents of Sherlock Holmes
Before Dr. Watson’s arrival, Sherlock mostly worked alone on the cases. However, every now and then he recruits agents or a network of agents from the city’s underclass. Some of these agents are Langdale Pike, which Holmes describes as his “human book of reference upon all matters of social scandal,” and “Porky” Johnson or Shinwell Johnson.
But, perhaps the most famous of Sherlock’s agents are homeless street children, who he likes to call “the Baker Street Irregulars.” They appear in multiple cases such as The Sign of the Four and A Study in Scarlet.
7. Money Matters
Illustration of A Scandal in Bohemia, by Sidney Paget in 1891
We all know that Holmes needed to share rent with Dr. Watson for their residence at 221B Baker Street, but is there any chance that you know Sherlock was already rich by then? In “The Final Problem”, Sherlock revealed that his services to the Royal House of Scandinavia and French Government had left him with a load of money, enough for him to happily retire without doing any further work.
Actually, the famous sleuth is known for charging huge amounts of money to his clients. For instance, in “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet” Sherlock received a handsome pay from a rich banker for his stolen gems. In “A Scandal in Bohemia” he charges a hefty amount of fee to the king.
However, in cases where his clients are poor, Sherlock only requests for the amount that he might sustain during the investigation, like the one in “The Adventure of the Red-Headed League” or “A case of Identity.”
6. The Truth about Sherlock Holmes Museum
For those who don’t know, the Sherlock Holmes Museum is a private museum situated in London. Though it bears the official address of ‘221B’, the museum actually lies between 237 and 241 Baker Street. The museum holds various items related to the famous character, including the recreations of different scenes from the Granada Television series in 1984.
5. Holmesian Abductive Reasoning
We all love Sherlock Holmes for his logic and intellectual prowess. The logical reasoning applied by him is called abductive reasoning and not the deductive reasoning, contrary to popular beliefs. The deductive reasoning is based on available pieces of evidence and data, which is almost always true, however, in abductive reasoning, the conclusion is derived from observation.
4. He is the Most Filmed Human-Fictional Character
Yes, Sherlock has been the most filmed character ever, but there is a catch. According to the Guinness world records, Sherlock Holmes has appeared on-screen on 254 different occasions, way more than any other literary human character.
Since 1887, the character has been successfully played by astonishing 75 different actors, some of them are Charlton Heston, Christopher Plummer, Peter Cook, Roger Moore, Peter O’Toole, Robert Downey Jr and Benedict Cumberbatch.
The character who has outranked him on the screen, however, is Dracula, first appeared in the 1897 horror novel, who has appeared 272 times.
3. Influence on Forensic Investigation
Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventure of the Abbey Grange”
The Sherlock Holmes cases and investigatory techniques helped many forensic science techniques to develop in their infancy. Holmes’ acute observation of small clues, uses of trace evidence (such as shoe and tire impressions), ballistics, fingerprints, and handwriting analysis to evaluate his theories and those of the police, help forensics to reach the level we see it today.
2. Sherrinford Holmes
Before settling to the now-iconic name of ‘Sherlock’, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle considered his sleuth to be named Sherrinford Holmes instead. The name was nevertheless changed to Sherlock most possibly due to the influence of two British cricketers Sherwin and Shacklock on Arthur.
As a youngster, Authur was keen to become a cricketer himself and also played quite a few matches for the Marylebone Cricket Club situated in London.
1. His Knowledge About the Solar System
In A Study in Scarlet, Sherlock stated that he is completely unaware of the fact that the Earth revolves around the Sun, after hearing it from Dr. Watson since knowledge of such things is unrelated to his work and he said that he will do everything in his will to forget it.
Sherlock further explained to Dr. Watson that the human’s mind is an empty place and has a finite capacity to store information, and it’s up to us to decide which information is worthy to gain. Upon further protest from Watson, his exact words were
“What the deuce is it to me? “You say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.”
However, this notion in The Valley of Fear, where he says that every piece of knowledge is important to a detective. He also calls himself “an omnivorous reader” in one of the 56 short stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.