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Sherlock Holmes is one of the most famous fictional characters of all time. The crazy witted detective won over the world with his razor-sharp wit and staggering insights into the human psyche.

His distinctive charm, complete with the magnifying glass and borderline superpowers, has thrilled us over the years.

He has been in books, comics, plays, movies, and tv shows. Pop culture always has a place for him.

But did you think that the most famous detective ever was born from just a fragment of imagination?

Nope. His creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, had pretty solid, real-life inspiration.

It is a topic of debate among many people of whether or not the character of Sherlock Holmes was actually a real-life person.

The creator of Sherlock Holmes, author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, has himself mentioned that the character of Holmes was inspired by a surgeon named Joseph Bell, a physician and lecturer at the medical school of the University of Edinburgh.

Back in 1877, Doyle was a student at the university. He was immediately mesmerized by Dr. Bell’s lectures.

Just like Holmes, Bell used to draw broad conclusions from minute observations, but Bell used these conclusions to aid his medical career.

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He could tell a stranger’s profession or what he/she had done recently just by looking at them from a distance during a diagnosis.

He could study body language, appearances, and habits in a jiffy, giving the correct feedback and facts, leaving onlookers in awe and shock.

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He could recognize an Army man from the way he walked or a laborer from the condition of his hands.

He was able to tell from the tattoos of sailors where they had sailed, could discern a man’s origin from their accent.

He could also apparently tell with great reliability that someone had lied to him by observing their behavior and mannerisms.

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History has no evidence that a man like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes ever lived on this Earth. 

In the book Teller of Tales : The life of Artur Conan Doyle author Daniel Stashower illustrated Bell’s observation skills.

Doyle studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh Medical School in Scotland. Few years after that, he opened a small office and consulting room at Marylebone, London as an ophthalmologist. He had no patients according to his autobiography and his efforts as an ophthalmologist were a failure.

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So he created fictional characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson and started writing stories on them and thus Sherlock Holmes is created.

In fact, Sherlock Holmes was originally going to be called Sherrinford.

The name was altered to Sherlock, possibly because of a cricketer who bore the name. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was a fan of cricket and the name ‘Sherlock’ appears to have stuck in his memory.

Doyle was also a keen cricketer himself, and between 1899 and 1907 he played ten first-class matches for the Marylebone Cricket Club — quite fitting since Baker Street is situated in the Marylebone district of London.

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source: 1,2


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