Sherlock Holmes Trivia:

15 Uber-cool Facts About the Master Detective!

Sherlock Holmes is cool. And so are some mind-blowing facts about him.

Here are the best not-so-common Sherlock Holmes trivia bits I could find. 

All of them made me say, "Ah! Now that's interesting..."

They might make you say, "What, come again?

In fact, this picture says it best when it comes to these fascinating Sherlock Holmes facts:

Sherlock Holmes - Amazing Facts/Trivia

Intrigued? So, here goes the first one...

1 Sherlock Holmes Did Not Know That the Earth Revolves Around the Sun!

Yes. You read that right.

And no, don't take my word for it. Here's a conversation between Sherlock Holmes and Watson from A Study in Scarlet. Take a peek:

That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to be to me such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.


"You appear to be astonished," he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. "Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it."


"To forget it!"


"You see," he explained, "I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose..."


"But the Solar System!" I protested.


"What the deuce is it to me?" he interrupted impatiently; "you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work."

Sherlock Holmes quote on the Solar System

There you had it from the horse's er... I mean Watson's mouth. Sherlock Holmes didn't know - and what's more - didn't care to know that the earth revolves around the sun!

He was like: I'll be an expert at what I'm interested in. The rest of the stuff doesn't matter. Period.

I definitely was surprised when I read that interesting piece of Holmes trivia. :-)

2 Sherlock Holmes' IQ Is 190 According to John Radford

Now this fact is sort of at the other extreme compared to the first fact, isn't it?

John Radford has written a book called 'The Intelligence of Sherlock Holmes and other Three-pipe Problems.' In that book, he's applied three different methods to guess Sherlock Holmes' IQ.

You can't get Holmes to come and attempt a test, but you can try, right?

So his conclusion is that Holmes' IQ is 190. That's superb - considering that the average person's IQ is around 100-110. Einstein's was around 160. 

I'd say, way to go Holmes! 

By the way, here are some IQ estimates of some other cool people:

Sherlock Holmes' IQ and the IQs of Einstein, Newton and Lincoln.
Thanks to Early Mental Traits of 300 Geniuses by Catherine Cox and this site for the IQs I've mentioned above. They're all estimates of course. No one can be 'completely' sure!

Just in case you didn't figure it out, that's Einstein, Sherlock Holmes, Isaac Newton and Abraham Lincoln in that picture above.

3 Sherlock Holmes Is a Real Honourary Fellow of The Royal Society of Chemistry

The Royal Society of Chemistry is this cool society for chemical scientists with its headquarters in London. It's got 46,000 members worldwide.

The RSC issued a news release on October 14, 2002 to announce an extraordinary fellowship for Sherlock Holmes.

So just like those other fellows of the society, Sherlock Holmes is also a real fellow. He himself maybe imaginary, but the honour is real.

What was even more more interesting was this part of the news release about Sherlock Holmes:

The award will be presented at the statue of Holmes outside the entrance to Baker Street station at 11.00am on Wednesday 16 October. 


Present to mark the occasion will be a modern Dr John Watson, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.


Also present will be a Mastiff cross-breed hound as a reminder

of the dog which haunted the Baskerville family through two centuries on darkest Dartmoor.

Ahem. So basically, not only did they give Holmes a superb fellowship, they also ensured a hound was present, and so was a certain Dr. Watson!

Curious to know more? Take a peek at the actual news release document here.

4 Sherlock Holmes' 'So Called' Girlfriend Irene Adler Never Sees Him As He Is!

The media is gung-ho about an affair between Holmes and Irene Adler. Almost every other movie and TV show gives her special status. 

One would think Sherlock Holmes and Adler must have met properly altleast a couple of times in the stories, right?

They haven't.

Irene Adler never sees Sherlock Holmes dressed as Sherlock Holmes in the stories. Not even once!

She appears in exactly one story - A Scandal in Bohemia - and whenever she sees Holmes, he is in disguise. He is disguised as a clergyman and as a drunkard...

Only once does Irene Adler come close to seeing Sherlock Holmes in his usual outfit: when he's about to enter his apartment and she is in disguise, watching him.

But even at that time, Holmes is still disguised as a clergyman.

 So they don't even talk face to face once - with each person in their usual attire!

Irene Adler sees Sherlock Holmes like this in the stories.

5 The Way We Think of Sherlock Holmes Today Is Quite Different From How He Is in the Stories!

Take a look at this interesting picture that shows what is described in the stories and how we visualize Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes - in the stories and how we see him.

Thanks for the Victorian cap picture to Longago.com!

When I first learned this piece of Sherlock Holmes trivia, I was quite...well, surprised.

For instance, Sherlock Holmes doesn't wear that cool looking deerstalker cap in the stories. Nor does he smoke that noticeable calabash pipe. Nor does he ever say, "Elementary, my dear Watson!"

All that was added later by actors, artists and other writers!

6 There Are Quite a Few People Named 'Sherlock Holmes' in the World!

We know that Sherlock Holmes fans are everywhere. But are there people fan enough to name their kids Sherlock Holmes?

Apparently, there are!

According to Whitepages.com, there are 34 people named Sherlock Holmes in the USA.

And according to Findmypast.co.uk, there are 9 people named Sherlock Holmes in the UK.

And well, talking of super-fans, there's actually a family that named two of the family's children Sherlock Holmes and Mycroft Holmes.

Take a look at this fascinating image from Britain's 1911 Census:

A page from the British Census 1911 - showing a family named after Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes must have been extremely popular in those days when Holmes stories were still being written

I'm wondering how it must feel to be named Sherlock Holmes...

It might sound cool, but I think - after a while - it would get a bit frustrating. There would just be too much attention everywhere!

And then - every new TV show or movie about Holmes would mean - well - more embarrassment. Yes, life would definitely be quite extraordinary with a name like Sherlock Holmes.

7 Here's Where the Name 'Sherlock' Comes From and Here's What It Means!

Here's an intriguing question: Why did Conan Doyle name Sherlock Holmes that?

When I searched for the answer to this question, I was struck by way too many answers. So there's no one single answer that says 'here's the reason.'

Some people say that Sherlock Holmes' name may have come from Alfred Sherlock, a famous violinist. Others say it may have come from combining the names of two British cricketers: Sherwin and Shacklock. 

And what does the name 'Sherlock' mean? Combining what many different dictionaries say:

Sherlock means a bright-haired, fair-haired or short-haired (person).

The name doesn't really have anything to do with how brainy a person's head is, but rather how hairy a person's head is ;-)

I've written more about the name 'Sherlock' in detail here.

The name doesn't really have anything to do with how brainy a person's head is, but rather how hairy a person's head is ;-)

I've written more about the name 'Sherlock' in detail here.

8 There Have Been More Than 900 Sherlockian Societies in Existence So Far...

Sherlock Holmes is very, very popular. 

So popular in fact, that since the time of his creation, there have been 911 Sherlock Holmes societies across the world.

Of course, these are just the known ones - there might be many other informal Sherlock Holmes fan groups too.

Peter E. Blau is a famous Sherlock Holmes scholar who's compiled a list of all of these Sherlock Holmes societies. Take a peek at the list!

Not all of them are active, of course. According to Peter Blau, around 279 of them are still quite functional. These societies organize trips, dinners, and events to celebrate Holmes and the stories.

Some Sherlock Holmes societies have really intriguing names. For example, the one in Kolding, Denmark is called The Common Loafers of Kolding. The one in Akita, Japan is called Three Irenes and Two Moriartys. :-)

Here are some more interesting Sherlock Holmes society names:

Interesting Sherlock Holmes society names

9 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Didn't Exactly Love Sherlock Holmes...

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Holmes' creator - didn't hate Sherlock Holmes. But he didn't love him too much either.

He always felt Sherlock Holmes was nice as a money-spinner, but there were deeper pursuits he'd rather apply his mind to.

Here are some of his 'not so happy with Holmes' quotes:

"I was in danger...of being entirely identified with what I regarded as a lower stratum of literary achievement."

(He didn't like being identified with Sherlock Holmes - it was a 'lower stratum' of literary achievement.)


"(I wanted to kill Sherlock Holmes) even if I buried my banking account along."


"...I have sometimes been inclined to (be) weary of him (Sherlock Holmes)...because his character admits of no light or shade."


"I think of slaying Holmes in the last and winding him up for good and all, He [sic] takes my mind from better things."

All of these quotes are from Conan Doyle's autobiography - so they're about real feelings he felt

In fact, Conan Doyle killed off Holmes at the end of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes because he had had enough of him. He was like: Yeah, the stories are great, but that's about it. 

Protests, tons of fan mail (including a letter that said, 'You Brute') and quite some money - finally convinced Conan Doyle to bring Holmes back to life in The Return of Sherlock Holmes. 

I'm glad it did! :-)

10 Sherlock Holmes Is the Most Portrayed Literary Human Character on Film and TV

The Guinness Book of World Records offers an interesting piece of Sherlock Holmes trivia.

This book says that Holmes has appeared in a total of 254 movies and TV shows. IMDB goes a step further - it says Holmes has appeared in 292 movies and TV shows.

Which one's correct? Well, both are - in different ways - but the point is:

Sherlock Holmes is definitely the most depicted human character on screen! 

He's apparently been depicted by at least 90 different actors! 

(I'm just referring to TV shows and movies - if we talk about the stage, shows on the web and radio shows - the number will easily cross 1000.)

Some actors who have portrayed Sherlock Holmes on screen.

By the way, any guesses who #2 is? Well, it's Shakespeare's Hamlet. Hamlet is the second most depicted literary human character on film and TV.

And the most depicted character on film and TV, that's not human, is Dracula.

Dracula has been portrayed 272 times on film and TV according to the Guinness Book of World Records and a whopping 404 times according to IMDB!

While we're talking about films, here's an interesting quiz to find out which on-screen Sherlock Holmes YOUR personality is the most similar to.

11 Sherlock Holmes Comes Up With a Completely Wrong Theory in Exactly One Case

Now we all know Sherlock Holmes is a genius, right? Of course he is.

He's almost always right with his deductions which seem perfectly logical. There's only one Sherlock Holmes' story in which what Holmes thinks is the solution is not the solution.

It has no link to the solution.

This story is The Yellow Face from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. I won't spoil the surprise if you haven't read the story - but I'll tell you the crux of what happens.

Holmes says something to this effect to Watson: I'm quite sure Watson that this, this and that has happened. That's the solution to the mystery.

But - when the mystery is actually cleared up - it is so, so different that Holmes is stumped. The answer is completely different from what Holmes thought it was!

But Holmes is humble as he tells Watson:

"Watson, if it should ever strike you that I am getting a little over-confident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than it deserves, kindly whisper "Norbury" in my ear, and I shall be infinitely obliged to you."

12 Sherlock Holmes Used Many Detective Techniques Before They Were Actually Used in the Real World!

Was Sherlock Holmes indeed so cool that he used many techniques before the official police used them? Well, he did.

Take, for instance - fingerprints. He used them in 1890 before the Scotland Yard - Britain's police force - did in 1901. He used them before the first recorded case using fingerprints in Argentina in 1893.

Holmes identified a man from his typewritten letter years before any official force used the technique - in 1891. The technique was first mentioned in 1894 by a guy called Hagan during his document analysis.

What about identifying from what distance a shot has been fired by looking at the wound? Sherlock Holmes pioneered that too!

Take a peek at this interesting table that shows the year in which Holmes used a technique and the year in which the technique was really used or written about.

Sherlock Holmes used fingerprints and 'typewritten text' deductions before anyone else.

Thanks to Stanton O. Berg (Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology) for all this cool data.

13 Sherlock Holmes Is Quite Rich in the Original Stories

Here's a question that you might have mulled over atleast once: What is Sherlock Holmes' net worth?

How much money does he have in the stories?

Now Sherlock Holmes never says, "My net worth is ______ pounds!" in the stories. But a simple way to atleast estimate how much money he might have - is to add up the total money he receives in his 4 highest paying cases.

I mean we are talking about just 4 cases - so he must have more money than the sum of what he gets for these 4 cases, right?  So we can say, 'Ah, Holmes has atleast this much money in the stories.'

Here's how much he is paid in 4 very important cases:

The Priory School: £6000 (Around £566,000 today)


The Beryl Coronet: £1000 (Around £94,000 today)


The Blue Carbuncle: £1000 (Around £94,000 today)


A Scandal in Bohemia: £1000 (Around £94,000 today)

(Note: These conversions are approximations based on this interesting website)

Now, if we total up these amounts, we'll get £9000 that's worth around £848,000 today.

Wow. That's huge! And mind you: we've not added up all of Holmes' earnings - just the top 4 cases.

As you can see Sherlock Holmes had quite enough money and some more to spare. 

He deserved all of it, of course.

14 Here's How Many People Search Google For Sherlock Holmes Every Month!

I've got a thing for stats. I love them. 

So I thought: How many people search for Sherlock Holmes every month? Also, how many webpages on the Internet mention Sherlock Holmes?

And what are these stats for some other cool characters and books - like the Harry Potter series?

I found some really cool stuff! Here it is:

The number of monthly Google searches for some cool terms like Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter.

That graph above basically shows how many times 'Sherlock Holmes' or 'Harry Potter' is typed in the Google Search box every month.

It's interesting to see that there are around 6.12 million Google searches for 'Game of Thrones' and 1 million searches for 'Sherlock Holmes.' 'The Da Vinci Code,' on the other hand is searched for only 400,000 times a month.

So well, the answer to 'How many people search for 'Sherlock Holmes' on Google every month?' - is 1 million!

(By the way, just in case you're wondering exactly which month/year this data corresponds to - it represents the average monthly searches from June, 2013 to June, 2014.

And the data is from Google itself - so it's as accurate as it can get.

Edit: The number of 'Sherlock Holmes' searches increased to 1.22 million in the period: June, 2015- June, 2016.)

Here's another fascinating graph that shows how many search results are displayed when you search for a certain word.

The number of Google search results for Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, Game of Thrones etc.

When I typed 'Lord of the Rings' in Google, it displayed 122 million search results! But when I typed 'Sherlock Holmes', it displayed just 12.3 million search results.

Ah, so while Sherlock Holmes is searched for - a lot - he's not the most searched character - nor the character most written about on the net. Interesting.

15 The Speckled Band is the Most Popular Sherlock Holmes Story Ever

Yup. This is the story you just can't miss.

I still remember the thrill I felt in the climax scene. It was awesome.

Here's some more proof for why this is the ultimate Holmes story.

* Sir Arthur Conan Doyle rated it as his best story ever - in the Strand Magazne in 1927.


* Five different polls conducted by The Baker Street Journal and The Sherlock Holmes Journal in 1946, 1954, 1959, 1989 and 1999 have rated it as the best ever Sherlock Holmes story.

The Speckled Band is the most popular Sherlock Holmes story.

Well, I hope you liked these fascinating bits of Sherlock Holmes trivia.

What's another place to learn even more fun facts and interesting info about Sherlock Holmes?

The Sherlock Holmes Quiz and Holmes Quotes pages would be a great idea! See you there. :-)



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