Reichenbach Quasquicentennial

"The Great Falls of the Reichenbach" - Turner, 1804

“The Great Falls of the Reichenbach” (Turner, 1804)

… upon the afternoon of the 4th we set off together with the intention of crossing the hills and spending the night at the hamlet of Rosenlaui. We had strict injunctions, however, on no account to pass the falls of Reichenbach, which are about half-way up the hill, without making a small detour to see them.

It is, indeed, a fearful place. The torrent, swollen by the melting snow, plunges into a tremendous abyss, from which the spray rolls up like the smoke from a burning house. The shaft into which the river hurls itself is an immense chasm, lined by glistening, coal-black rock, and narrowing into a creaming, boiling pit of incalculable depth, which brims over and shoots the stream onward over its jagged lip. The long sweep of green water roaring for ever down, and the thick flickering curtain of spray hissing for ever upwards, turn a man giddy with their constant whirl and clamour. [FINA]

Sherlock_Holmes_plaque

Plaque marking the location of the final struggle between Holmes and Moriarty, placed by the Bimetallic Question of Montreal and the Reichenbach Irregulars of Switzerland

 

The fourth of May is a date well known to Sherlockians and Watsonians the world over. On this day, 125 years ago, Holmes and Moriarty fought a final, apparently fatal struggle at the edge of the Reichenbach Falls. What really happened there has been the subject of a number of essays and pastiches over the years.

Today, there are a number of memorial sites one can visit in and around Meiringen. A life-size statue of Holmes, sculpted by John Doubleday, was unveiled by the Sherlock Holmes Society of London in 1988. Nearby, a Sherlock Holmes Museum opened in 1991.

Also in 1991, in honour of the centennial, the Bimetallic Question of Montreal and the Reichenbach Irregulars of Switzerland erected a commemorative plaque near the Falls. There are a few other plaques to be found in the area, including one noting the location of the “Englischer Hof” (otherwise known as the Hotel Rössli, Meiringen).

The Sherlock Holmes Society of London has arranged several journeys (or “pilgrimages”) to Meiringen and the Falls, most recently in 2012. The Reichenbach Irregulars have announced plans to host a conference called “Reichenbach and Beyond” in 2017.

Have you visited the Falls, either with a group or on your own? Share in the comments!

(The closest your “Selena Buttons” has been is the Geneva airport, but one day, who knows?)

Sherlock_Holmes_and_Professor_Moriarty_at_the_Reichenbach_Falls

Paget illustration for “The Final Problem”, 1893

 

Weekly Forum: Collector’s Corner

The Dealer Room at 221B Con was exceptional this year, and I came home with quite a few fun items. One was this Detective Mickey Mouse figurine:

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It is not just a figurine. Oh, no. It is, in fact, a bobble-head! As soon as I discovered this, I knew it had to be mine, and it had to come home to live on my bookcase:

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For this week’s Forum, please share an interesting item from your own collection. What is it, where did it come from, and why did it appeal to you?

The Beacon Society’s Jan Stauber Grant

With thanks to Donald Yates “Pal” for sharing the news with me, I’m happy to inform you that applications are available for the The Beacon Society’s Jan Stauber Grant!

Many of you are well-aware of the wonderful efforts of the Beacon Society when it comes to education, as well as reaching out to young people to share our interest in Sherlock Holmes and our love of reading, so if you happen to be an educator or know of one who would be interested in this opportunity, please spread the word!

 

Weekly Forum #6

1020167(The location of the Empty House, as deduced by Bernard Davies
and introduced to me by Roger Johnson “Count”)

I’m back from my trip to New York City and England. The jet lag has mercifully passed and I’m starting to get back into the swing of things. I’d swamp you with vacation photos and stories of the incredible Watsonians I’ve met this past month, but this certainly not a personal blog, so let’s keep the focus on who we really enjoy talking about: Dr Watson.

I went to the Sherlock Holmes Museum and, although I felt quite hesitant, I was too curious not to at least go in and see the contents of the museum. This may be my only visit to London, after all, so why not at least once? I had heard about it (not all particularly positive impressions) and I felt oddly curious about the mixed reactions I’d hear from others.

After, I walked out of the museum feeling dissatisfied, though perhaps not for the same reason as others might (such as due to the high price or the over-reliance on wax figures). The reason for my dissatisfaction was this: despite having the room available of two additional floors in the building, why do we not see Dr Watson’s bedroom? There is Sherlock Holmes’ room and the famous sitting room and… that’s it, the rest of the floors display other things, but no bedroom for Dr Watson?

As far as I’m aware, Dr Watson never spares time to describe his own room at 221B Baker Street, though he took time to describe Holmes’ room and their sitting room. So, my question is: What do you think Dr Watson’s bedroom would look like? What do you think we might find in his bedroom? Could you describe how it might look?

Weekly Forum #5

You may remember some lovely fellows I spoke to about Sherlock Holmes on the radio: Lawrence Albert (JHWS “Bertie”) and John Patrick Lowrie, who play Dr Watson and Mr Holmes in Imagination Theatre.

I’m happy to mention that our dear friends and their clever cohorts have accomplished quite an astounding feat! The Imagination Theatre is the first North American English speaking audio drama company to perform every story in the Canon! They’ve collected their long, impressive project in a complete set, found HERE.

So, do you ever listen to Holmes and Watson on the radio? Do you have any particular Sherlockian productions or portrayals of Dr Watson that you personally enjoyed listening to as an audio drama?

Weekly Forum #4

I’m in London right now! For the very first time in my life!

(Note: I’m not counting the time in my early twenties where I got rerouted through Heathrow Airport during a very hectic Madrid-to-Seattle trip, where I then got rudely yelled at, and then had my check in luggage lost for three weeks…. that one time doesn’t count. This is a proper do-over. And instead of Heathrow, I flew in through Gatwick. So there. Ha!)

If you live around London, or ever visit London, what are some of your favorite places to go?

If you’ve never been, but you want to go to London one day, what would you like to go see?