|BELIEVE IT OR NOT - SHERLOCK HOLMES FOUND IN AMERICA!|
There lives a man in America who has the same name as the Great Detective! Unbelievable but true! Far from the hustle and bustle of Baker Street, Mr Sherlock Holmes of America is a devoted Sherlockian whose hobbies include collecting Sherlockiana & Victoriana, and finding ancient Heraldic, Celtic, and clan custom jewelry.
Museum Society Member Raffiel Alexander
finally caught up with Sherlock after many weeks of being on the scent. Raffiel managed to
spend some time in his gracious company to conduct the following interview:
Mr. Sherlock Holmes, May I call you Sherlock Holmes? How is it that you have the same name as Sherlock Holmes the consulting detective from London?
Please, call me "Holmes" - that's what my friends and family call me. My parents were great fans of the original Conan Doyle stories -- I guess they were Sherlockians before they had even heard the term -- and they both LOVED the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce movies of the 1940's. Both parents, my father, especially, could sit by the hour reading the adventures to me - even as an infant - so I'd develop a love of reading - and they were successful. When I was born, they discussed a number of first names. My parents were the type that instilled individuality into my sister and me and we were always taught to withstand peer-pressure. So they were not afraid to give their son a name that was uncommon - but represented something special.
They didn't take long to decide on "Sherlock Holmes" as it was their favorite literary figure - and, as they told me later, they knew no one would forget me once they had heard my name. And boy, were they right! I never have to show my I.D. more than once in any bank or shop - once I convince them initially that the name isn't a joke!
My first favorite book (and movie) was always the Hound. I can remember hearing it from a really young age and my Dad chose that one to get me to read so I wouldn't develop a fear of "horror" or ghost stories the way some little kids do. As an adult, my favorite short story now is "The Second Stain."
Naturally, I collect anything related to Sherlockiana - but, to be honest, I have very few pastiches. I don't get much enjoyment reading stories with Holmes & Watson written by others. It's rarely of the quality and "flavor" of the Conan Doyle cases. Don't get me wrong, I don't turn down the chance to add one to my collection, but I don't actively seek pastiches out.
I don't have a spare room where I live now, but I have been collecting the items necessary to re-create "my" sitting room from 221b Baker Street - for the day when I move into a larger house.
People around here are pretty much like people anywhere. I get all kinds of reactions - everything from the usual "Where's Dr. Watson" type jokes to people thinking my name's a joke. I must have to show my Driver's License at least a couple of times a week, sometimes even more. I like the times I'm asked if he was my father or grandfather. I once even had a librarian ask me how I was related to "the real Sherlock Holmes." (I told her I "was real" and not a projection or hologram.)
The BEST reaction was when I was in San Francisco, California (my FAVORITE city in the whole world - after LONDON, of course!). I went into an electronic store to buy a VCR. The clerk behind the counter was a young lady about 18 or so. When she looked at my credit card she did a triple take and stared at it for about 10 full seconds. She slowly lifted her face to look at me and said, in all sincerity, "I didn't know you were real! Oh my God, wait 'til I tell my friends I saw the real Sherlock Holmes!" You could have knocked her over with a feather. The expression on her face was as if she had seen the Lord Jesus Christ himself. It was quite amusing.
But, mostly, people usually say that I've got a great name and that they love the stories - or read them in school - or ask "Did you see those Sherlock Holmes stories on PBS?" (The Granada Television series starring Jeremy Brett.) I tell them how much I LOVE those episodes and that Jeremy called me at Christmas the year before he died. "Being" Sherlock Holmes is great fun, it really is.
I think it is safe to say that everyone encounters their own mysteries and adventures in life - Do you feel inclined to solve these mysteries since your name is Sherlock Holmes? Please feel free to give any examples of mysterious events you have been involved with, or if people have come to you to resolve their problems.
Well, I will say that having such a name does incline people to turn to me if anything unusual happens. Even if I'm watching TV with a friend or family member - if a magician comes on and does an illusion, all eyes turn to me to explain how it's done. I'm frequently told, by family & friends, about "Mystery Weekends" that are advertised locally. The kind that offers a package of entertainment over a dinner or weekend stay at a hotel. They put on a "murder" and ask the guests to solve the crime. I've been to a few, but the expectation to solve it quickly doesn't always translate into a correct answer on my part. More often than not, I'm not the winner.
Two years ago, I had an old family friend suddenly disappear from work with about $7,000.00 and his mother hadn't heard from him for days. Even though we hadn't been in touch for years, she called me after the local police told her that they couldn't do anything for her except to issue a warrant over the missing funds from his work. To keep her calm, I met her at her son's house - went through the ritual of putting on latex gloves, pulled out my flashlight and magnifying glass, and slowly went through the house "looking for clues."
Very intersting! According to Author Conan Doyles stories, the Holmes of Baker Street London also maintains a certain ritual in his investigative ways. But, in Victorian times I dont think they had the benefit of latex gloves to avoid disturbing fingerprints or chemical evidence. Please do continue, and tell us more...
Fortunately, he had left some of his E-mail messages un-deleted in his computer system. Once I deduced his user name & password, it was easy enough to pull up his "trail." They suggested he deliberately took the money to skip town and live in a warmer climate. In the end, he realized that he couldn't really start a new life on seven grand and returned to face the justice system. So, that time I was right.
There's one aspect of my life experience that really doesn't have anything to do with my name, but it is strange. My mother, sister and I are very sensitive to the phenomenon most people call "Ghosts." Time and time again, one or more of us has entered a home or business and "felt" or even seen the faint, shadowy, transparent-like figure of a man or woman and been able to know things about the history of the place that we couldn't know otherwise. I've lived in homes that were "haunted" when I moved in, but as I am an ordained minister, I've found that prayers for the soul trapped there always proves effective in helping them "move towards the light" and leave this plane.
You probably won't
believe this, but I was pulled over by a police officer late one night. I WAS
speeding as I was on my way to a hospital emergency department to say prayers over a
family member who was dying. When I handed the officer my driver's license, he
looked at it and started laughing. Laughing quite hard! It was an emotionally
difficult night, so I was not amused and asked him what "was so funny?" He
pointed his flashlight at his name plate on his jacket pocket -- believe it or not, it
read "T. Watson." I suggested "Watson wouldn't give Holmes a ticket,
now would he?" Fortunately, he agreed and sent me off with a verbal warning to
Is he (A) real, or (B) fictional?: YES TO BOTH!
Unfortunately, I only passed through very quickly once, so I didn't get to all the places I'd love to see. Back when I was about 21 or 22, I decided that "Sherlock Holmes" should live in London! So, I called the British consulate in Washington, DC and announced my intention to move to London and live there (as if they would automatically throw down the "Red Carpet" and tell the Prime Minister that I had finally returned home. The woman who took my call - she was very patient with this guy who swore his name was Sherlock Holmes, not that she believed it, I could tell - and she told me that I would have to have a Work Permit BEFORE I left the USA in order to get a job over there. AND, she told me, I couldn't get a permit without having a job to go to first.
So, I said, "O.K., how do I become a UK citizen? I move there permanently." She explained that I would need sufficient funds to live there "without condition" for a minimum of three years. "What's 'without condition'?" "It's living here without a job, so you'd better have enough savings to live there independently, without having any kind of job at all. Only then can you apply for citizenship." Well, I didn't have that kind of money, so I moved instead to San Francisco. After all, they have some beautiful Victorian homes and I had to settle for that.
Have you been to 221b Baker Street?
Unfortunately, I didn't have the time when I was there. Next time, however, I'm making a bee-line straight to "my" home.
Perhaps readers are not aware, but you are in fact the owner of The Sherlock Holmes Family of Websites which can be found at SherlockHolmes.com. What can we find at that site? And what do you have in store for us in the future?
We recently redesigned the entire site. For starters, we opened an online book & gift shop at that site. We are still adding to the product line as we speak, but our main products include a variety of different editions of the original Sherlock Holmes stories; we just added a line of foods and drinks under the brand name "Mrs. Hudson's Pantry - Sherlock's Tea-Time Favorites" include such "British" treats as tea, coffee, scone mix, orange marmalade, and, as Holmes did retire to Sussex to keep bees, this spring we're going to carry honey. We also carry a beautiful line of heraldic, Celtic, and clan custom jewelry. Our goldsmiths can custom design and create rings, pendants, tie-tacs, etc., with your coat-of-arms or clan badge deeply carved into them. Also, there's a line of Celtic Knot rings and wedding bands - all available in silver, gold and platinum. Coats-of-arms, crests, or any logo can also be custom-made into genuine Italian Marble Wax Seals - just like Holmes & Watson would have used to seal envelopes.
We are also going to add Heraldic Scrolls, Wall Plaques, Key Fobs, and Souvenir Spoons featuring the coat-of-arms/crest historically used for a particular family name (or other personal image). We'll be offering Family History Scrolls that details the history of your family surname - and we are happy to add - scrolls with the history of any customer's Scottish tartan colors. They really are beautiful and I'm sure will be popular with Americans who love the idea of arms and family crests. (Naturally, no genealogical connection is implied.)
As I have long been seriously interested in the ill-fated ship R.M.S. Titanic, we carry books and postcards featuring the ship and will now carry a "Titanic" Board Game - suitable for the entire family. We are just now adding genuine Toledo Steel Swords of all types. There are some beautiful weapons for display purposes and I hope it'll be a popular line. (You can also buy them directly from our swords-only site - TrueToledoSwords.Com)
Our Sherlockiana includes books, some wonderful postcards (with everything from Jeremy Brett's photos as Holmes to the original Paget illustrations), wall posters, rubber stamps, key fobs, software, the board game "221b Baker Street", and, this summer (2002) we are going to offer a Limited Edition, Numbered Custom "Signet Ring", featuring the bust of Sherlock Holmes carved into it. We have made arrangements with our goldsmiths to offer only 60 rings - the same number as the number of original stories by Conan Doyle - with a small number in 18k gold, some in 14k, and the remaining in Sterling Silver. Once the 60 are custom made for each individual who has ordered one, I will personally destroy the custom die and there will never be another one made, ever.
Finally, "The SherlockHolmes.Com Family of Websites" includes other non-Sherlockian websites. We offer quality web hosting (starting at $1.99/month) at 199Hosting.Com; for those customers located at your end of the Atlantic, SherlocksBooks.Com is a full-featured online bookstore offering publications in all areas, not just Sherlockiana. Anything your local bookstore would have, we carry. Our warehouse is based in East Sussex, so we offer Courier Home Delivery in the U.K. and regular postal service to the rest of the world. Harry Potter is popular right now and we sell quite a few Potter books as we offer a Full 10% Discount on most publications in all topics. Starting in April, we're adding our line of Sherlockian postcards & other stationary to that site.
We're always adding to our family of websites so I suggest everyone drop by SherlockHolmes.Com, as that's our primary site. We also "own" SherlockHolmes.Info and we are going to offer sub-domains to any Sherlockian who wants to have a site connected with SherlockHolmes.Info. For example, their URL would be http://theirname.sherlockholmes.info so they can manage their own, full site as part of this famous name.
Thank you Sherlock Holmes for lending us your time - This interview was most enjoyable! Please give my regards to Doctor Watson and Mrs. Hudson!
Thank you so very much for letting me babble on! And may I wish you and yours all my best - And may God bless everyone reading this! I'll say "Hello" to Watson and Mrs. Hudson - take care...
Sherlock S. Holmes
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