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IT IS well known that after his struggle with Professor Moriarty at Reichenbach Fall, Sherlock Holmes had a two-year sabbatical in Tibet. Dr. John H. Watson chronicles the Reichenbach aspects in “The Final Problem” and Holmes’ return to London in “The Adventure of the Empty House.”
My own modest Reichenbach adventure is recounted at http://wp.me/p2ETap-c8. Here, I share information about Holmes’ Tibetan hiatus, documented not by Dr. Watson, but rather by Hapi.
Hapi is listed as the Registrar of the Assembly of All Souls Academy, Lower Egypt; Curator of the Baker Street Collection, the Museum of On; Director of the Ankh Press. Quite a letterhead, but only hinting at his erudition in everything from the Holmes Sacred Canon to the subtleties of Buddhism.
My appreciation of non-Canonical Holmes chronicles is directly related to the accuracy and details of their reporting. “Reichenbach Fall,” for instance, not “Falls.” Plus, Hapi’s recountings of Holmes and Tibet, (abetted, I am confident, by Alex Jack) are a hoot.
Upon his return from the Far East, Holmes tells Watson, “I travelled for two years in Tibet, therefore, and amused myself by visiting Lhassa, and spending some days with the head Lama. You may have read of the remarkable explorations of a Norwegian named Sigerson, but I am sure that it never occurred to you that you were receiving news of your friend.”
In the first of Hapi’s chronicles, “The Jewel in the Lotus,” Holmes/Sigerson is invited to a special lecture by the Head Lama.
Other guests include Colonel H. Bably Holland-Bennett, famed explorer; Cornelio “Balkan” Dimitrier, master spy; Horst Hummel, professor of metaphysics; Julio Chavez, copyright law authority; Rick Weaver, rich American in search of truth; and an orangutan akin to the one in Poe’s The Murder in the Rue Morgue.
But is each of these whom he—or it—claims to be?
Enhancing this are Buddhist beliefs of reality being merely a series of illusions and the Tibetan concept of tulpas, creatures created by acts of imagination.
“The Head Lama told how once he created a holy little chap who started out chanting Om mani padme hum, the Tibetan sacred mantra, but ended up reading all sorts of smut and calling the Dalai Lama a pretentious idiot.”
Plus, in puzzling out who’s who, there are clues, deductions and red herrings a’plenty.
The Head Lama warns, “two of the gentlemen are tulpas… Both are characters of fiction drawn by a great artist and believed by a public that loves myth.”
Sigerson responds that Professor Horst Hummel’s simple demeanor gives him away as one of the tulpas, the proverbial Father Brown.
Displaying his own deductive tendencies Professor Hummel later observes, “No Englishman would refuse yak milk in his tea. Our erstwhile Colonel is, alas, a Frenchman. I am convinced that he is Auguste Dupin, the tulpa detective of the American poet Edgar Allen Poe.”
(Holmes/Sigerson should have been suspicious when Hummel says “Allen” when it’s really “Allan,” but I’ll let this pass. Besides, I had to look it up.)
Sigerson has reason to suspect Chavez is really Hercule Flambeau, Parisian master thief and Father Brown adversary. He tells Hummel of this and adds, “Although you both are mere wills-o’-the-wisp, I cannot bear to witness the non-existent French dandy triumph over a little immaterial English priest.”
“As for being a tulpa,” the simple metaphysician counters, “I am every bit as real as yourself.”
But who in the lecture group is really Moriarty? ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2014