Summary: This chapter begins as Christopher explains he likes the character Sherlock Holmes, but not the author of the series, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. His dislike is because of Doyle’s belief that one could communicate with the dead. Doyle’s belief in the supernatural stems from the loss of his son during the First World War (of influenza-speaking of, it’s time to get those shots!) and his desire to communicate with him. Later in life, Doyle joined the Spiritualist Society in order to reach beyond the grave. Christopher goes on to relay the 1917 tale of The Case of the Cottingley Fairies. Two cousins claimed to play with fairies by a stream and captured their images on camera. It was later revealed, by an expert in fake photography, that the cousins had drawn them on paper and set them up with pins. Christopher says the expert, Harold Snelling, was being “stupid”. He stated Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was also being “stupid” because he came out in support of the faries being real. When the twins were interviewed in 1981, they shared conflicting information regarding the pictures. One stated they were all fake, while the other claimed 4 out of 5 were fake. Christopher believes this shows that sometimes people want to be stupid and they do not want to know the truth. It further illustrates a principle known as Occam’s razor, which means, “No more things should be presumed to exist than are absolutely necessary.” Christopher ends with a statement about this book/chapter relating to Occam’s razor, “a murder victim is usually killed by someone known to them and fairies are made out of paper and you can’t talk to someone who is dead.”
Application: It seems logical (to me) that Christopher doesn’t buy into the “talking to the dead, supernatural mumbo jumbo.” I could see where that would be an unbelievable concept to someone with ASD. In further exploring Occam’s razor, I found an explanation that was more simply stated, “the simplest solution tends to be the right one.” Sometimes, I feel our students choose the most complicated route to solve a problem, when there is actually a much easier solution. It IS true a murder victim is usually killed by someone they know (l listen to a lot of true crime podcasts!). We learn Wellington is murdered by someone he knew (cue sinister music). The tone I felt from this chapter is that Christopher is a little fed up…”you’re stupid and you’re stupid. Can’t you just see the truth (i.e, my way)!” I know I have had students on the spectrum who feel they are always right and everyone else is wrong. They are often unable to see the “gray” and only in black and white. Have you seen the same with your student’s who are on the spectrum?