Sherlock Holmes

19th Century Seance in Urbana

In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, spiritualism, the belief that the dead could communicate with the living, especially through a medium, gained popularity and renown. It was a movement that garnered ardent enthusiasm from its followers, including author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and psychologist William James, among others; and was lambasted by its detractors, such as novelist Mark Twain and magician Harry Houdini.

Internet Archive Book Image of the Davenport Bros. Trumpet Seance

Sherlock Holmes Society of Champaign-Urbana

Sherlock Holmes is in the news once again with the release of the theatrical trailer for Mr. Holmes. Based on the 2005 novel, A Slight Trick of the Mind, the movie will feature Sir Ian McKellen as a long-retired version of the famous sleuth.

Can’t wait until this summer? How about engaging in some local fan fiction from The Double-Barrelled Tiger Cubs, a Sherlock Holmes society based at the University of Illinois from 1975-1986. They produced a newsletter, Afghanistanzas, full of parodies, pastiches, beautiful cover art, comprehensive Christmas guides and pre-Internet memes - movie stills with added word bubbles.

The Champaign County Historical Archives has the following issues in our Local Organizations Newsletter collection.


Afghanistanzas Vol. 7, No. 3, Issue 53 (December 1983) The Christmas Gift Issue

Vol. 7, No. 3, Issue 53 (December 1983) The Christmas Gift Issue (Editor: John Wyman)
The gifts may no longer be available from listed sellers but there is always eBay.