Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini were friends at one point, however Doyle refused to accept Houdini performed using trickery and believed he had supernatural powers. Their friendship ended after Houdini exposed séance mediums who claimed to have powers to talk to the dead.

Arthur Conan Doyle

“Conan Doyle” redirects here. For the rugby player, see Conan Doyle (rugby union).

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle KStJ DL (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a British writer and physician. He created the character Sherlock Holmes in 1887 for A Study in Scarlet, the first of four novels and fifty-six short stories about Holmes and Dr. Watson. The Sherlock Holmes stories are considered milestones in the field of crime fiction.

Doyle was a prolific writer; other than Holmes stories, his works include fantasy and science fiction stories about Professor Challenger and humorous stories about the Napoleonic soldier Brigadier Gerard, as well as plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction and historical novels. One of Doyle’s early short stories, “J…. Continue Reading (24 minute read)

9 thoughts on “Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini were friends at one point, however Doyle refused to accept Houdini performed using trickery and believed he had supernatural powers. Their friendship ended after Houdini exposed séance mediums who claimed to have powers to talk to the dead.”

  1. SkylarAV

    Let’s not forget the fact Doyle’s wife pretended to communicate with Houdini’s dead and very beloved mother. A scam he immediately saw through and was forever offended by

  2. ISayISayISay

    ACD was a bit of a wackjob, really, for all his clever Sherlock stuff. He believed in fairies at the bottom of his garden – for real.

  3. liquidtelevizion

    Another fun fact!

    One of the spiritual mediums that Doyle championed—and Houdini questioned—was named Laura Carter (née Pruden), based in Cincinatti, Ohio.

    Her séance featured a gimmick she invented, called the ‘Syco Slate’—a small chalkboard and a bit of chalk in a closed box. Her customers would ask questions to the spirits, sounds of chalk on slate were mysteriously heard emanating from the box, and once it was opened, a message from the spirits was revealed, written on the chalkboard.

    Her son, Albert Carter, took her idea of this ‘Syco Slate’ and created a marketable product that allowed users to ask questions to a device containing a floating die—upon shaking the device, the die would resolve on one side, giving you an answer imprinted on it.

    After a few failed iterations, Brunswick Billiards contacted the company that Carter (who by then had passed away) cofounded to market their Syco-Slate device, commissioning them to produce the device—in the recognizable shape of a billiards eight-ball.

    And that’s how the Magic 8-Ball was invented.

    edit: tangentially related, but I’m starting up an animated series explaining the history of oddball things like the Ouija Board, the Loch Ness Monster, ectoplasm, and so on. The first episode explained [the history of the Jack O’Lantern](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJkmNXT9qDk), and the Magic 8-Ball’s actually next!

  4. RedKings1028

    Despite success with Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle was never really committed to the character despite what fans tell us. Doyle created Holmes because detective stories were a hit and Doyle needed money and a means to get his name known. Doyle put in more effort in his Historical Novels than any Holmes stories after The Hound of the Baskervilles

  5. bertiek

    And of the medium in question wasn’t Arthur’s wife and the dead person his wife tried to contact wasn’t Harry’s mother it might have gone down another way.

  6. lusciouslou91

    Doyle: You use magic! Amazing.

    Houdini: No, it’s just a trick. Magic isn’t real. See these handcuffs I made myself, and I designed them to be escapable. There’s no tri…

    Doyle: MAGIC!!!!

    Houdini: No. What? I am literally telling you how I did the trick. Magic isn’t real.

    Doyle: You sir are a authentic magician.

    Houdini: We can’t be friends anymore.

  7. skyline_kid

    There was a short-lived tv show based on their friendship a few years ago called [Houdini & Doyle](https://m.imdb.com/title/tt4539954/). Other than their friendship it was fiction but I saw a few episodes and I thought it was a fun show

  8. championkid

    How does a guy who creates the most effective art of deductive reasoning in literature not apply the same techniques in his own life?

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