2. Have you ever wondered what is the inspiration behind an author’s work? Before writing his famous detective stories, Doyle served as a clerk at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to Dr. Joseph Bell . Dr. Bell served as personal surgeon to Queen Victoria, and he is the brilliant doctor who inspired the creation by Doyle of the brilliant detective, Sherlock Holmes. When Doyle attended medical school, he was astonished by Bell’s spectacular gifts of observation , analysis , and inference in identifying the cause of a patient’s illness in making a diagnosis. To illustrate his ability, Dr. Bell would often choose a stranger and, by observing him, deduce his occupation and recent activities. Dr. Bell was a pioneer in forensic science in a time when science was not often used in the investigations of crimes. Dr. Joseph Bell Sherlock Holmes
3. The Origins of Doctor House One interesting side note here is the current TV character Doctor Gregory House played by actor Hugh Laurie. Doctor House is seen by many as “ medicine’s most brilliant mind .” Doctor House arose reportedly from the fictitious detective Sherlock Holmes who is based upon Dr. Joseph Bell. Doctor Bell is the originator of the phrase “elementary.” Doctor House’s side-kick is Wilson, Sherlock’s is Watson. In fact, Hugh Laurie and his stage partner, Stephen Fry, tried for years to play Holmes and Watson. Hugh Laurie as Doctor Gregory House
8. HOUND SIGHTINGS Sightings have been reported all over England since the early 1500’s up until the present day. Sighting the black hound was suppose to be an omen of death . Christopher Marlowe , the dramatist and contemporary of Shakespeare, supposedly saw a “demon dog” in the 1600’s near the Stiffkey marshes. Marlowe died soon afterwards under mysterious circumstances. Most sightings of the “ ghost dogs ” were points that acted like boundaries such as gates, fences, hedges ( the yew alley ) , bridges, roads, paths, and burial grounds. Black hounds traveled along “ leylines ,” paths that the spirits supposedly traveled. There was an incident of a “ hell hound ” tearing into St. Mary’s Church on August 7, 1577 in southern England. Legend has it that it left scorched marks upon the old, oak doors of the church. In 1933 the doors were cleaned revealing burned marks.
9. Inspiration for the Setting The mythic moor around Dartmoor also enhanced the creepy setting for the story. The soil there is poor, and the weather is harsh. Fox Tor Mire is a bog with swampy land lying beneath much of it. It is especially treacherous after heavy rains. It became for Doyle the Grimpen Mire of his novel.