Stunning ‘Devil’s Dyke’ Under Threat in Britain

Stunning ‘Devil’s Dyke’ Under Threat in Britain

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In Britain, a mysterious monument has become the subject of controversy. There are claims that the ancient Devil’s Dyke, a vast defensive earthwork, has been damaged by walkers and has been fouled by their dogs. This monument is both a site of scientific and historical importance. The latest controversy highlights once again how hard it is to achieve a balance between the preservation of historic monuments and the rights of walkers and hikers.

The Devil Dyke is a man-made artificial linear earthen bank which runs in a straight line for over seven miles in Cambridgeshire in the south of England. It consists of a wall of earth and a ditch. At its highest point, it is 34 feet (11 m) high. The landmark is one of several similar dykes in Cambridgeshire. It has been designated a Special Area of Conservation, because of “the internationally important areas of chalk grassland that make up much of its slopes,” according to the Devil’s Dyke website. It is also a Scheduled Monument, protected by the British government, because of its historic importance.

The Devil Dyke is a man-made artificial linear earthen bank which runs in a straight line for over seven miles. Despite many investigations, the origin and reason for the great ditch still baffles many experts. (Rob Mills / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

Defensive Anglo-Saxon Ditch Which Baffles Experts

The Dyke was once of great strategic value and it was probably built by gangs of workers. Some experts believe that it was built during prehistoric times given its similarity to other ancient henges and dykes. But archaeological evidence suggests that it was most likely built by the Anglo-Saxons in the 6 th or 7 th century AD. The earthen bank may have been used by Celtic tribes for defensive purposes. Despite many investigations, the great ditch still baffles many experts.

Some believe that the ditch was not only used for defensive purposes. They point to its proximity to the historic Icknield Way, one of Britain’s oldest roads. Ancient Origins reports that “various researchers propose it was used as a ‘toll’ for travelers upon the Icknield Way, as this ancient track had multiple pathways along its length, not just a single track.”

The Devil’s Dyke landmark is popular with locals and visitors who enjoy hiking. It is a protected monument due to its historic importance, as well as its flora and fauna. (Rob Mills / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

Was Devil’s Dyke Built by Achaeans Wanting to Invade Troy?

During the Middle Ages , it was known as St Edmund's Dyke, after a monastery that was once located in Bury St. Edmunds. The feature was only named Devil’s Dyke in the Early Modern period, because it was believed that only supernatural forces could construct such a monumental earthen bank. In Where Troy Once Stood , author Iman Wilkens proposed that this part of England was the site of Troy, the ancient city made famous by Homer. According to Ancient Origins , the writer argues that the ditch was “built by the Achaean invaders coming in from northeast coast preparing to invade Troy.”

Naturally, the stunning landmark is popular with locals and visitors and this is causing a problem. “Habitat degradation is occurring, particularly through trampling of vegetation and soil enrichment from dog excrement,” explains the local East Cambridgeshire District Council on the BBC website. Litter is another issue, as are dogs who are being left off the leash and are a risk to local livestock. These problems came to light in a report by the council that aims to persuade developers to establish wildlife sites along Devil’s Dyke.

Protecting the Devil’s Dyke

The local council believe that they must protect the important scientific and historic site. Any planned developments in the vicinity of the landmark must meet conditions that “protect the natural environment,” explains the local council in a planning document published on the East Cambridgeshire District Council website. The Dyke is owned mainly by private landowners, but is supervised by English Heritage, Natural England and local councils.

  • Was the Devil’s Dyke in England once Part of the Legendary City of Troy?
  • Vandalism at Ancient Sites, Who Really Cares Anyway?
  • Mindless Vandals Churn Up Bronze Age Burial Site

Chief Executive of the British Wildlife Trusts, Craig Bennett, told the BBC that it is “important we build understanding about what are right ways to behave on these very precious nature sites.” However, there is tension between members of the public who enjoy the landmark and its heritage and those who want to protect it. To put it simply, there is a need for fewer walkers on the Dyke to ensure that it is preserved. Bennet told the BBC that “ultimately we need more space for nature, which would reduce numbers visiting protected sites.”

The latest controversy surrounding Devil’s Dyke is another example of the tensions over how best to protect important landmarks. No one has yet come up with a fair solution to the problem of providing access for members of the public and tourism, while still protecting areas of special significance. This is not a problem that is confined to Britain but is an issue affecting landmarks around the globe.

  • The old coastguard cottages on the white Seven Sisters cliffs feature in films
  • The hamlet has stood for 200 years near Cuckmere Haven, East Sussex
  • Environment Agency no longer has responsibility for shoring up sea defences
  • Erosion is not being slowed as plans for a sea wall are 'held back by bureaucracy'

Published: 23:30 BST, 15 February 2019 | Updated: 13:10 BST, 16 February 2019

It is one of the country’s most famous views, attracting millions of visitors from across the world each year.

But it could soon be lost for ever unless action is taken to shore up sea defences.

These old coastguard cottages in front of the white cliffs have featured in dozens of films including Atonement and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. And this month the sight was recognised as Britain’s Best View in a competition in the Daily Mail.

But the land on which the hamlet of cottages has stood for 200 years near Cuckmere Haven, East Sussex, is slowly disappearing due to coastal erosion.

Britain's Best View under threat? The Coastguards Cottages at Cuckmere Haven in Sussex are on land which is quickly eroding

For decades the descendants of the original coastguards have worked with officials to maintain the sea defences and stop the cottages being swept away.

But in 2011 a new policy of managed coastal retreat was introduced by the Government, which meant the Environment Agency no longer has responsibility for shoring up sea defences. Residents have lodged a planning application with the South Downs National Park Authority to extend a sea wall but say they are being held back by bureaucracy.

Readers' Comments

We are not adding any new comments to this page but you can still read some of the comments previously submitted by readers.

Roger Evans
We found your piece on swifts captivating. So much to say about such a tiny and beautiful bird. The birds seem like miniature peregrine falcons - no doubt to the insects they seem far more lethal! We would love a swift box as we could watch them wheeling through the sky above our house, hunting insects for their brood and rarely resting. With our own young brood we can relate to the incessant work rate and feeding demands. It would be great to provide a box for future generations of swifts who will in turn provide aerial entertainment for both our children and others.

Hilary Durkan
I love swifts, as a child growing up in Winchester they were always a sign of summer, I would watch for their coming every spring and know that summer was here. I watched them nest under the eaves of local houses and loved to see them swoop and dive in the sky along our back road as we played coming really close to us. i was always amazed at the fact that they did not land again from fledging to nesting and thought they must be tired. I love to hear their shrill cry as they fly and this attracted my cat to them unfortunately. In the summer she would sit on the roof tops of the garages and catch the swifts out of the sky as the screamed past her. Once caught they were silent and so of no interest to her and she used to hand them over to us readily. I would carry them upstairs to my bedroom window at the top of our house (4 stories high) and release them. Watching them swoop down low to the ground before managing to flap and gain height and control again. I was so lucky to be so close to these beautiful birds, marvelling at their beautiful eyes and tiny legs, but such sharp gripping claws. Only one ever died and i was heartbroken. When I grew up I moved to Plymouth and swifts did not live near our house but I still looked for them over the city. I now live at Lee on the Solent and again the sky is filled with the sound of swifts every summer. It is a sound which evokes my childhood memories and I would love to be able to provide a home for these magnificent little birds, though I doubt I will ever be as lucky as to be so close to them again. To me swifts, more than any other bird, means summer.

Alex Quick - Aged 12
I would love a swift next box but I just can't find one anywhere. In-fact it would be ideal because every summer we have groups of 50+ flying around catching insects and going to nest near-by in a barn. So it would be a great thing for us to have a nest box and it would help them too, and I would love to see those magnificent birds flying arond and nesting in my house!

Peter Sheppard
I was very pleased to see your item on the swift and enjoyed it very much. It is such a beautiful little bird which most people dont know much about. It brought back to me an incident which occurred when I was a serving Policeman in Brighton some years ago. I was working in the Lewes Road, and got a call to see a lady who had a problem with a bird that had flown into her home and she was frightened of birds. I went to the house which fronted onto the main road, and was taken by the lady to a front room where the windows were wooden sash windows. She had opened the window to allow air into the room and so the top and bottom windows overlapped. I immediately saw the problem. This small black scimiter shaped bird had flown into the bottom window and slid up between that and the top half and got itself trapped. It did not appear to be hurt and was trying to free itself. Fortunately, I was able to reach with my fingers far enough in to get hold fo the lower body and by careful manipulation to slide the bird out into my hand. I then put this perfect little piece of nature into a more comfortable hold and was able to make sure that it was not injured in any way, its magnificent oily blue green plumage and bright eyes a delight to see. I felt very privileged. I tried to persuade the caller to examine it close up telling her why the bird was so special, but she declined. There was nobody else around at the time to share this once in a lifetimes experience. The only thing left for me to do was to clean the birds vent because it was a bit soiled and to let it go. That few minutes were very special to me but I had no-one who was interested to share it with, So I let the bird go and watched it start its ascent into the sky and to dissappear until breeding time again. A small incident in my life which I shall never forget.

Love anything about birds, that man had made an amazing research project in his roof. Thank goodness for people like him and that he contacted you.

Steph Tarling
The item on swifts - Inside Out, 7th March - made me think of the heralds of summertime that we enjoyed for twelve years in Winchester (we moved in 1998). Our house, which was on three storeys, faced north and the swifts used its height and that of the slope on which it was built, to race around and around, screaming madly throughout the season. Following the insects, they flew high on cool days and suicidally low on sultry evenings, seeming to scrape past the window of our lounge on the top floor of the house. We miss their joyful chorusing. Whether or not they nested in the roof, we could not tell for sure, but it seems likely. Bit late for the nest box, but we would have loved it back then!

Simon Boswell
Hi Chris, The house opposite me used to be owned by a woman that was passionate about swifts. She had kept records of their breeding progress since the 1960's and blocked up the eaves in early spring to stop starlings using the nest sites beofre the swifts arrived. Unfortunately the woman passed away recently. The details of all the swift breeding records and instructions on how to block up the eaves were passed on to the new owners. However they have completely renovated the property and made it unsuitable for swifts. It would be really wonderful if I could try and tempt them across the road to my house so they could continue breeding in the area. The sound of swifts careering around the skys in May is stunning and it would be brilliant to have them nesting on my house.

For the past 3 evenings i have been planning and making a bird box form my garden after school. I have had trouble getting the hole in the front panel, the wood keeps splitting and my dril bit broke i would love a swift box and to lear more about different birds.

Brian Bushnell
I would love to have a 'swift box' because I have fond memories of my childhood. I was born and brought up in Up Somborne nr Winchester and the house next to mine was thatched and swifts always nested in the thatch. I can remember when I was 7 to 9 years old finding one that had grounded but knowing even at that age that they could not lift up off the ground because of the length of their wings I picked it up and through it into the air. Unfortunately I now live at Earley, Reading and have never seen one in this area.

Thomas Robinson
my little brother is a bird fanitic and has just started bird watching. he borght two bird boxes and realy wanted to get hold of a swift box but we couldn't find one:-( he made me sit through rain and snow to make him a bird table.

Stunning ‘Devil’s Dyke’ Under Threat in Britain - History

Before we consider the role of the Devil in Sussex folklore, we must first look at the origins of Christianity in Sussex. Sussex was the last Saxon county to be converted to Christianity, mostly due to it's inacessability with the forests of the Weald to the north and marshes either side. Travel was difficult, Sussex being noted for the muddyness of it's roads. Nevertheless, around 680AD, St. Wilfrid, bishop of York, landed at Selsey after being driven from his homeland and proceeded to convert the county. Old pagan sites became the sites of the new churches that the followers of St. Wilfrid put up in villages throughout Sussex and some of those that weren't converted and still held on to the Pagan past in the minds of the populace perhaps became associated with the Devil, knowledge of which is preserved in folklore. Christianity wasn't popular in Sussex to begin with but eventually went on to becoming one of the most fervently Christian counties in the country, much to the annoyance of the Devil of course.

The folklore of the Devil is the folklore of Distance and connections between places. He moves churches, throws lumps of earth vast distances and jumps about the county like a spring lamb. He is also a great victim. It is rare story which credits the Devil with a win. Even the most simple of peasants can best him!

In fact the Devil got so annoyed at all the churches springing up in the weald that he decided that he was going to dig a channel through the South Downs to let in the sea water and drown the population of the Weald. So one night he started digging near Poynings, throwing clumps of earth around that landed and became such features as Chanctonbury Ring, Cissbury Ring, Rackham Hill, Mount Caburn. Fortunately for Sussex, an old woman saw the Devil in his work and held up a candle behind a sieve and knocked a cockerel off his perch. The Devil hearing the cockerel crowing and seeing the light which he mistook for the sun rising, fled the scene, the job half done. The ditch he managed to dig in the downs, just south of the village of Poynings, in now known as the Devil's Dyke and has an associated farm and road. Two ancient earthworks at the northern entrance to the dyke, most probably ox stalls like those found north of Mount Caburn, are known by folklore as the Devil's Grave and the Devil's wife's Grave, some say that the Devil was buried there when the fake light caused him to perish. If you run around the Devil's Grave 7 times holding your breath, the Devil will appear. The earthworks are also known as Giants graves.

Some say that the Isle of Wight was actually a clod of earth fallen from the Devil's hoof as he fled over the channel from the coming daylight, some say he bounded away into Surrey and landed just over the border where the force of his landing created the Devil's Punch Bowl. It is also said of this bowl that the Devil burnt his lips drinking boiling hot punch from his bowl and flung aside his spoon which formed Torberry Hill in West Sussex, the Iron Age fort on top of which is in the shape of the profile of a spoon.

Other variations on the Devil's Dyke story include the saving of the weald by a saint rather than by an old woman. One such story says the weald was saved by St. Cuthman and a nun called Ursula de Braose who used the candle trick and gave the Devil cramps by means of prayer. This story also suggests the GoldStone in Hove was thrown there by the Devil after it landed on his foot during the excavation of the Dyke. Another story gives the credit to St. Dunstan who made the Devil finish the work in one night and by means of prayer, made all the cocks in the Weald crow early, stopping the Devil's work.

St. Dunstan, who lived until 988CE, is also noted for other encounters with the Devil, the first in Mayfield where he worked as a blacksmith though at the time he was the Archbishop of Canterbury. One day when he was working in his smithy, making either a horseshoe or a piece of metalwork for a church, the devil came to him disguised as a beautiful girl who began talking about spiritual matters but then fell to flirting. St. Dunstan seeing a cloven hoof under the girl's skirt, picked up his red hot tongs and clamped them round the Devil's nose who shrieked and changed shape through various hidious monsters before turning back into his real form as the Devil at which point St. Dunstan released him and he fled to Tunbridge Wells to cool his nose in the waters there, giving the iron rich waters their characteristic red colour and making it notably warmer in the process. One version of the story says that St. Dunstan landed on a bridge, which still bears his name and walked to Tunbridge Wells where he cooled his tongs in the water to produce its red colouring. The tongs still reside in Mayfield, hanging on the wall above his anvil and hammer. One writer considered only the hammer to be of any freat antiquity.

Other claims for the place where the Devil cooled his nose include Roaring Spring near Mayfield itself and Tongdean near Brighton (or Patcham) where he removed the tongs which were still attached to his nose. It is thought by some that this tale occured at Glastonbury, but Sussex people firmly believe this to be not the case. The story is further remembered in this short verse :

"Saynt Dunstan (as the story goes),
Caught old Sathanas by ye nose.
He tugged soe hard and made hym roar,
That he was heard three miles and more.

The second legend regarding the Devil and St. Dunstan also occured in Mayfield when the convent there had just been built. The Devil appeared to St. Dunstan and said that he was going to knock down all the houses in the village. St. Dunstan bargained with the Devil and got him to agree to leave standing any house with a horseshoe on the outside. At that time, the custom of nailing horseshoes to dooe for luck wasn't well known so the Devil agreed but St. Dunstan managed to nail a horseshoe to all the houses in the village before the Devil could get to them so the village was saved.

The Devil managed to get some measure of revenge against St. Dunstan but repeatedly setting Mayfield church, then built of wood, off it's normal East-West axis, leaving St. Dunstan to repeatedly correct it. He then proceeded to hinder the building of the new stone church.

Another church is involved with yet another St. Dunstan story. This time is is the steeple of the church in the village of Brookland, just over the border into Kent. The Devil took the steeple and was chased by St. Dunstan who caused the Devil to drop the steeple near Hastings by application of the tongs mentioned in the Mayfield story. St. Dunstan then cooled his tongs in a spring in the Silverhill region of Hastings, which became chalybeate. The Devil And Churches

As has been noted above, the Devil doesn't like churches, according to one legend regarding Hollington Church near Hastings, he was powerless to stop it being built so he moved it a distance away into some woodland to make it difficult for people to find it. Another version tells us that priests were summoned to banish the Devil after he had undid the work of the workmen when they were building the church. The Devil agreed to desist if the church was erected at a spot he chose, the priests agreed and the church was built, after which a thick woodland sprung up around it.

At St. Nicholas church, Brighton, the Devil tried other more subtle means to destroy the church. St. Nicholas was trying to root out the worship of Diana in the area so the Devil disguised himself as a pious woman an gave pilgrims who came by a vase of oil with which to annoint the church. The liquit the vases contained would actually burn stone walls. The bishop however met with the pilgrims and thwarted the Devil's plan.

Elliot Curwen, who did a talk on the Devil in Sussex says that he also tried to prevent the building of Waldron church, there being a Church Field 2 miles away, and the legend regarding the building of Alfriston Church has also been ascribed to the work of the Devil.

Yet another church moving tale doesn't mention the Devil but is included here for completeness. When the church at Udimore was being built, the days work was spoilt by the stones being carried to another place whilst a voice shreiked "O'er the mere". This episode is credited as giving the village of Udimore its name.

Churches in out of the way places may be an indication that they are built on old Pagan sites, the struggle actually being between the existing pagans and the Christians who want to build. Certainly the sites of some churches boggles the practical mind and legends such as these may be a means to explain their location.

One particular place related to the Devil in most ancient churches is the north door, otherwise known as the Devil's Door. Several legends, not limited to any particular part of the county, account for this connection. Some people say that the north door was where the Pagan population entered the church to worship at the old Pagan site that the churches had taken over. The use of the north door was either one of deliberate segregation by the Christian population or a way for the Pagans to secretly let eachother know of their bias by the use of the Door. The connection with the Devil in this case is the connection that the Christian population made between the Devil and the old religions. The secret entrance legend has also been applied to the Templars who were forced underground after being persecuted and outlawed. Sompting, one of their churches has a blocked north door. Another legend relates that when a baby was baptised and the spirit of the Devil exorcised, the north door was briefly opened to let the spirit of the Devil depart before being quickly closed to stop him re-entering the church and the baby. In general, the north door of the church was kept closed at all times, apart from certain ceremonies such as Christenings, Baptisms and Communion. Some Sussex people believed the Devil waited outside the north door for anyone foolish enough to use it. The Victoria County History of Sussex lists some of the north doors it describes as "Priests Doors", though this seems to only apply to a relatively modern door cut into the original building of the Chancel. Examples of this occur at Hamsey, Chithurst and Appledram.

Whatever the original connection between the north door and the Devil, most of the ancient north doors are now blocked up, for reasons unknown to this author. Despite the quantity of churches with doors blocked up in this manner, the author knows of only a few churches with a definate connection between their north door and the Devil. The first is Worth church, an ancient Saxon church which has connected with it the legend of the baptism mentioned above. A similar story is told of the north door of St. Giles in Horsted Keynes. The doorway is Saxon but was removed from the nave in 1885 and put into the North Aisle. The door is not blocked but is known as the "Devil's Door" because, like at Worth, the Devil escapes through this door during baptism.

Another is Jevington church which has a Saxon tower. There is a record in the manor rolls for 1576 which which tells us that some mortgage money was repaid "At the North Door of Jevington Church" which was blocked up and then replaced with a window in a later restoration. This door was known as the Devil's Door according to a local guide. Bosham church, a pre-conquest church with a 13 th century north aisle which had an open north door known as the Devil's Door which was not to be used under any circumstances. The door was removed and replaced quite recently. The church at Birdham which has a blocked up north door in the north of its 14 th century nave. The Victoria County History of Sussex tells us : ". the ancient north door, now blocked, of the same design as the south door, but narrower, and so much lower that it can hardly have had any but a ritual use for the exit of the Devil." and provides a reference to a manuscript dated 1602 which says : "The north door is clene dammed" .

Some texts refer to a blocked north door in a sense that all north doors go by that name rather than it being a local name for that particular door. Two examples are a guide to Folkington calls the north door to that church a Devil's Door and a description of the north door at Pevensey which has some crosses inscribed on it states ". the three crosses, each of a different type, on the north (or Devil's) door at Pevensey are curious" . Perhaps the three crosses are protection to stop the Devil getting in through that entrance. Just to buck the trend, Lindfield church has a blocked door facing west which is known as a Devil's Door.

Interpretation of the information available can be confusing as so much is lost as old parts of a church are destroyed or another building added to the north side, such as a transcept, ailse or vestry, may obliterate any evidence of blocked north door or stop the need for blocking in the first place. Some north doors are replaced by a window, such as at West Itchenor and Guestling. North doors which seem to have been built after the first phase of the building of a church may be a replacment for an older north door which has since been demolished. Such is the case in the Chancel at Ditchling, which also had a blocked north door in the Nave, before the whole lot was replaced in the 1863 restoration. This may blur the data concerning when these doors were first built. Even more confusing is when original doors are moved to a newly built section of building such as in Patcham where the 12 th century north door is moved and replaced in the relatively modern north Aisle before being blocked up, though this is still known as a Devil's Door. In Hamsey church, the original north door in the nave is still open but there is a blocked up north door in the chancel, called a "Priests Door" by the Victoria County History, built in the 15 th century and blocked in the 16 th . The blocking of some doors can be accounted for, such as at Etchingham, where a north door to a chapel was blocked when that chapel was destroyed. At Ford, a blocked north door was unblocked to allow access to a new vestry on the north side of the building. As to their bricking up, excavations at Lullington Church may provide a clue. Lullington Church has been mostly destroyed giving the opportunity for archaeological excavation which hay throw more light on the matter than standing churches. The north door in this church was bricked up during the 16 th century which is the time of the Reformation when the protestants were busy stamping out any form of superstition. Whether this bricking up is a reaction against a perceived connection between the north door and the old religion or against a Catholic ritual that was deemed too pseudo-magical is unclear, though it is interesting to note that in the same phase of building that the door was bricked up, a large Sarcen stone, probably an old Pagan relic from the village of Alfriston below, was inserted into a wall of the church when it was being thickened, indicating perhaps the stones were still viewed as a threat and were being destroyed or used as building material. It may be that the Christianised version of the legend followed on from the Pagan one, reuse of Pagan places and ideas being quite popular during the early days of the church.

Architecturally, most of the north doors in existing churches were built from pre-conquest times to the 12 th century and mostly in the nave or north aisle. When they were bricked up is not conclusively known by the author, the Victoria County History being particularly vague and listing the blockages as "Modern", which could mean the many changes made to parish churches in the Victorian period.

Two church plans in volume 116 of the Archaeological Journal however are more forthcoming. The first is for the church of St. Nicholas in Old Shoreham which had a north door in the pre-conquest tower which was blocked in pre-14 th century Norman times, though a door was opened in the south wall at the same time, so this may be a red herring. The other is the church of St. Mary in Rye, originally a mid 12 th century cruciform church which had two aisles and two chapels added to make it roughly rectangular. The blocked north door is in the late 12 th century north aisle and was blocked in the 14 th century. An earlier church plan for West Hoathly church in SAC 76 says the original 11 th century north door was blocked around 1200 and mostly erased by a later window around 1400. Similarly, the north door in the early 12 th century north aisle of Guestling church was replaced by a window in 1886.

Combining these dates with the date from the Lullington excavation gives a very broad timespan for the phenomena, perhaps indicating some sort of general tradition for blocking the north door of a church after a certain period of time rather than a sudden and blanket dislike for north doors due to a particular change in religious attitude. The author would appreciate any information regarding bricked up north doors in Sussex, especially any specifically known as a Devil's Door. Below is a list of churches that have or have had such doors or a Devil legend :

  • Worth
  • Jevington
  • Bosham
  • Birdham
  • Alfriston
  • Lullington
  • Ditchling
  • Clapham
  • Battle
  • Fairlight
  • Mountfield
  • Milland Old Chapel
  • East Chiltington
  • Alciston
  • Selmeston
  • Sompting
  • Hamsey
  • Folkington
  • Patcham
  • West Hoathly
  • Beckley
  • Guestling
  • Hooe
  • Hangleton
  • Kingston
  • Piddinghoe
  • Ovingdean
  • Rottingdean
  • Chithurst
  • Trotton
  • Balsdean Chapel
  • Peasmarsh
  • Icklesham
  • Pevensey
  • West Dean
  • Appledram
  • Birdham
  • Slaugham
  • West Itchenor
  • Rye
  • Old Shoreham
  • Ore (Old)
  • Udimore
  • Etchingham
  • Ford

You don't need to be a man of the cloth to outwit the Devil, a smuggler by the name of Mike Mills once raced the Devil through St. Leonards forest, the wager being his soul against being left alone forever. He won the race and so became immortal as Heaven wouldn't touch him either because of his crimes. The avenue along which the race was run is still known as Mike Mill's Race.

A similar challenge to the Devil has a less fortunate outcome. A poacher in the village of Northchapel was even more drunk than usual and would not leave the pub and go home, claiming "may the Devil burn me if I do". In the end, he was left asleep on the floor in an adjoining room. In the morning, the landlord found a large pile of black ash in the centre of the room and a smell akin to Brimstone.

In the 19 th century, a gentleman from Hastings was said to have made a pact with the Devil. Apparently, he could enter a house through the keyhole, sit on pins without feeling any pain and even tried to convice his daughter to become a witch. The Devil In Place-Names

Apart from Devil's Dyke mentioned above, the Devil has given his name to many places, through legend and Pagan association. We have the Devil's Book near Mount Caburn, a six mile long earthwork in West Sussex called the Devil's Ditch, the Devil's Bog in Ashdown Forest, a stretch of Stane Street called the Devil's Road, Several fields called Devil's Race (such as near Cradle Hill, Alfriston, in Eastbourne and on Tilton Down near Alciston) and the same name applied to a wood near Ditchling, a group of barrows on Bow Hill called the Devil's Humps and a similar group on Treyford Hill called the Devil's Jumps, so called because the Devil once decided to amuse himself by jumping between the barrows and disturbed Thor who was sleeping there. The Devil only laughed and jeered as Thor got angry so Thor threw a large stone at him and caught him mid-jump in the midriff. The Devil decided not to stay any longer. There is a Devilsrest Bottom near Seaford and just along the coast, there used to be a pinnacle of rock near Beachy Head which was called the Devil's Chimney, probably by rock climbers because of how hard the climb was. Moulscoomb Pit, just east of Hollingbury hillfort is also known as the "Devil's Footprint", which was created when he stepped over the hill. The valley is in the rough shape of a footprint. Hell, the Devil's abode is also mentioned in "Hell's Corner", the name for the place in Horsham churchyard where Felons were buried.

Some people in Sussex used to refer to the Devil as "He" since it was bad luck to speak the Devil's name. For those who didn't hold this superstition, there were several names that the Devil went by. An old name for part of the ramparts of Devil's Dyke Camp is the" Poor Man's Wall", Poor Man being one of many names for the Devil, others include Old Nick, Old Scratch, Old Man, Old Harry, Naughty Man, Old Grim and Mr. Grimm. These names echo the ridicule the Devil has to suffer in the legends associated with him. In addition to these, the name Beelzebub is used in the Sussex Mummers Play and there may be a link with the name Puck, more readily associated with fairies. A companion for Satan also gets a mention, going under the name of "Dame Dark".

One way to keep children out of trouble is to threaten them with scary stories to stop them doing certain things. The Devil is known as the frightening force in two such Sussex superstitions, the first tells us that on the night of October 10 th the Devil goes around and spits on all of the blackberry bushes. Breaking this particular taboo is sure to bring death and disaster, or at least a tummy upset as the berries rot and become flavourless and mushy due to frost. Another similar taboo concerns the collecting of nuts on a Sunday, if you were to do so, the Devil would come and hold the branch down for you. The purpose of this taboo may have been to stop children ruining their Sunday clothes or to stop a pastime considered far more serious a sin, as "going nutting" was once a euphemism for going to see your sweetheart in the woods for some serious hanky-panky, very much frowned upon at the time. This last superstition has coined the term "As black as the Devil's nutting bag". The Devil is also noted in a superstition relating to tree felling. It is said that it is easier to strip the bark from the tree in the spring when the sap is rising because "The Devil cannot creep between the oak and its bark".

An ancient method for summoning a spirit or force, probably predating Christianity, involves moving round certain sacred spots in a certain manner. As the old pagan places fell out of use, good Christians were warned away by legends of the Devil haunting these places. The most famous of these places in Sussex is also one of the most haunted, Chanctonbury Ring. It is said that if you run or walk forwards/backwards at a certain date/time or not the Devil will appear and offer you soup or porridge or steal your soul or both. A similar, though less complicated peramulation can be used to summon the Devil at the group of barrows on Bow Hill known as the Devil's Humps or King's Graves. The relatively simple task of running around the barrows six or seven times without further restriction is enough to perform the summoning. Other sites of summoning include a tree by the old Rectory at Kingston Buci, an old Unitarian Chapel and various old tombs such as the oldest tomb in Broadwater Churchyard in Worthing, perhaps a smugglers stash, the story invented to keep people away. Another site of supposed smuggling involvement was the Miller's Tomb on Highdown hill. If you run around the tomb 12 times backwards at midnight you will raise the Devil who will jump out and chase you, though running 7 times forwards will summon the ghost of the miller who will promptly do the same as the Devil would. A similar story is told of the pyramidal tomb of Mad Jack Fuller, the eccentric Georgian squire who lived at Brightling. If you run backwards around his tomb seven times, you will summon the Devil or the ghost of the squire himself. This is despite the squires efforts to keep the Devil away from his tomb by having broken glass sprinkled on the floor inside.

A more occult form of raising the Devil was performed by a "Cunning Man" near Crowborough Green. Once the Devil was raised and his task performed, the man had trouble getting rid of him, but his son scattered a sackful of clover seeds on the floor and set the Devil the task of picking the seeds up one by one. By means of this distraction, they found the time to find the right spell to send the Devil away again.

As well as Summoning, it is well to keep the Devil away. One author links the removal of the Devil with the Howling of the apple trees at new year. It is said that the minions of the Devil made their homes in the uppermost branches of apple trees and would blight crops around. The wasailing ceremony not only removed these demons but encouraged good spirits to move into the tree.

If you cut your nails on Sunday, the Devil is sure to chase you all week and having horse brasses in your house will also attract him. Salt and sunlight are means to keep away the Devil, who is also said to dislike a plant that goes by the name of Blue Scabious because of it's healing properties. It is said "The greater part of the root seemeth to be bitten away old fantastick charmers report that the Devil did bite it for Envie, because it is an herb that hath so many good virtues and is so beneficial to mankinde". Other plants that have a nickname relating to the Devil are the Puff-Ball Fungus which is known as the "Devil's Snuff Box", the nettle which is known as the "Naughty Man's Plaything" and Field Concolvulus which is known as the "Devil's Weed" due to the difficulty in eradicating it. On Easter Sunday morning in Sussex, it is said that the sun dances, but the Devil always manages to put a hill, some trees or a cloud in the way. The Devil's dislike for the housewife of a Sussex farmer is recorded in a folk song sung to the tune of "Lilliburlero", ascribed to Purcell. The chorus consists of whistling a short tune, giving the song its name of "The Whistling Song". The words of the song were unfortunately edited for coarseness, but are recorded as follows :

There was an old farmer in Sussex did dwell,
(Chorus of whistlers)
And he had a bad wife, as many know well.
(Chorus of whistlers)

Then Satan came to the old man at the plough,
'One of your family I must have now.

It is not your eldest son that I do crave,
But 'tis your old wife, and she I will have.'

'O welcome! good Satan, with all my heart
I hope you and she will never more part!'

Now Satan he got the old wife on his back,
And he lugged her along like a pedlar's pack.

He trudged away till he came to his gate,
Says he, 'Here, take an old Sussex man's mate.'

Oh! then she did kick all the young imps about
Says one to the other, 'Let's try turn her out!'

She spied seven devils, all dancing in chains,
She up with her patterns and knocked out their brains.

She knocked old Satan against the wall,
'Let's try turn her out, or she'll murder us all!'

Now he's bundled her up on his back again,
And to her old husband he's took her again :

'I've been a tormentor the whole of my life,
But I ne'er was tormented till I took you wife!'

The Devil is referred to as 'He' with a special emphasis in a story relating to Buried Treasure at the Trundle hillfort near Goodwood, the story goes thus :

"In the Downs there's a golden calf buried people know very well where it is - I could show you the place any day. Then why doant they dig it up? Oh, it is not allowed he would not let them. Has anyone ever tried? Oh, yes, but it's never there when you look, he moves it away."

Another tale tells of someone actually trying to dig it up :

"You know, there's many a one that tried. My dad used to say as his grandfather got up early on Holy Sunday an' went along to the place an' started digging. An' he actually ketched sight of a lump o' gold, an' then he was almost deafed by a clap o' thunder, an' when he looked again, the gold was gone."

A similar story is told of Clayton Hill, which has barrows rather than a Hillfort and is also protected by The Devil.

Tottington Manor: Sussex WWII Auxiliary Units HQ

Tottington Manor viewed from the east in 1949

One of Britain’s best kept secrets of World War II was the Home Guard Auxiliary Units, which used the status of the Home Guard as a cover for their true activities. Tottington Manor became the regional headquarters for the Auxiliary Units in Sussex. For those not familiar with the Auxiliary Units and their objectives, some brief background is required.

The Auxiliary Units were, in effect, created to be the ‘British Resistance’ in the event of a German invasion of this country. Colonel Colin Gubbins was given the task of forming this resistance in June 1940, a time when the threat of invasion was very real. He gave them the deliberately nondescript title of ‘Auxiliary Units’ often shortened to ‘Aux Units’. They were provided with the best available weapons, including plastic high explosives, without regard to expense. The Aux Units were formed into small localised patrols all around the country. Each county was given an Intelligence Officer, holding the rank of Captain, whose initial task was to create these patrols. Although potential members of the Aux Units existed within the regular Home Guard, not all the men were recruited there. It was essential for members to have an intimate knowledge of their area, consequently farmers, game keepers, market gardeners and people of similar occupations joined their ranks, many being in reserved occupations.

Everything about their existence was kept highly secret. Each patrol required an underground hideout, known as an ‘operational base’. These bases were well hidden and purpose built to house the patrol in the event of an invasion. The operational base also contained food, water, ammunition and explosives. In the event of invasion, each patrol was to secrete themselves in their operational base and wait for the Germans to occupy their area. Emerging only at night, the patrol would then have conducted acts of sabotage. Roads, bridges and railway lines would have been targeted for destruction and lines of communication or supply would have been severed.

Coleshill House, the national headquarters and training base for the Aux Units

All patrol members were initially given an intensive training weekend at Coleshill House, the Aux Unit national headquarters in Highworth near Swindon, Wiltshire. This weekend course covered how to use all the available equipment effectively, especially the plastic high explosive. Further training was delivered in their own locality by regular army personnel known as ‘Scout Patrols’.

Sussex had two scout patrols, one covering the East and the other covering the West of the county. Each scout patrol had twelve men with a Lieutenant commanding them. The eastern scout patrol was made up of men from the Queens Royal Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant William Ashby and the western scout patrol comprised men from the Royal Sussex Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Roy Fazan. Weekend training of the Sussex patrols took place at Tottington Manor. Practical work was undertaken by the scout patrols with lectures being delivered by the Intelligence Officer.

An aerial photograph from 1946 of a section of the Edburton Road, showing Tottington Manor and Tottington Manor Farm

During the war years Tottington Manor was owned by the Ricardo family who had operated an engineering works in Shoreham. They moved the works and themselves up to the Oxford area, leaving Tottington Manor empty.

The manor’s central position in Sussex along with its isolated location made it ideal for a regional base for the Aux Units and it was duly requisitioned. The Intelligence Officer and his personnel were based at the Manor. They included a couple of drivers, a cook, a clerk in charge of paperwork, a Lance Corporal from the Royal Corps of Signals as a radio operator and a Corporal from the Royal Engineers.

Corporal Frank Mayston of the Royal Engineers

The Manor had its own underground hideout. It was built by the resident Royal Engineer, Corporal Frank Mayston, a builder by trade who lived in Henfield. He built the hideout with a few of his men “in their spare time”, as he put it. On invasion, the men based at Tottington Manor would have become a patrol themselves, using the hideout as their base. The idea was to leave the Manor looking like it had been abandoned. In fact, there were various booby traps set — such as trap wire connected to cupboard doors and inside drawers that would detonate small explosive charges when opened. Cut down green bottles were filled with explosive and a candle placed in the bottles neck. The candle once lit would become a fuse to blow the charge. Hand grenades were disguised as coal and left in the coal bucket next to the fireplace.

Plan of the Auxiliary Unit hideout beneath the grounds of Tottington Manor

Entrance to the underground hideout was gained through a sliding hatch in the Manor’s cellar floor. Short corridors and a set of steps led one into the main room and adjacent store. These rooms contained bunk beds, food stores, ammunition and explosives. A further short passage led to a cooking area and terminated in an emergency exit that took the form of a two foot diameter concrete tunnel. The tunnel is forty three feet long and runs out under the Manor’s garden with its exit disguised as a drain cover. The hideout had electric lights and a water supply, both were tapped from the Manor above. A primus cooker was built into one of the walls and there was a wash basin next to it.

Two interior photos: the entrance hatch (marked as 1 on the plan) and the main room (marked as 2 on the plan) looking toward the steps and corridor leading back to the entrance hatch

Tottington Manor was not only used for weekend training of Sussex patrols, but also regularly staged inter-patrol competitions. An assault course for night-time training was constructed in the grounds. This course proved to be very popular with all the patrols.

Another view of the main room (marked as 2 on the plan) looking toward the adjacent explosive store (marked as 3 on the plan) with the corridor leading to the exit tunnel on the left

Supplies of plastic high explosive were brought down from Coleshill House each month to be stored at the Manor. These were then issued all over Sussex to each patrol as they were required. One unofficial use for the plastic explosive was pond fishing. Only a small piece about the size of a golf ball was needed. After the explosive was thrown into the water, the shock waves from the explosion would stun the fish, making them rise to the surface and allowing them to be harvested with a net.

A close-up of the area immediately surrounding the entrance to the emergency exit tunnel showing a glazed air vent pipe, a tap, and a telephone wire that was once connected to a lookout on the Downs

Two underground lookouts were also constructed on the Downs by Corporal Mayston and his men. One of the lookouts was half a mile to the south of the Manor, and gave a good view of the Manor and its grounds. The lookout was only big enough to house one man but had a direct telephone link to the hideout under the Manor. This would have been used to inform the men in the hideout of all the German troop movements taking place around them. The other lookout was three miles to the east, and looked out onto the roads around Poynings.

Sussex was in the front line of a German invasion and as such would have played a key role during the hours and days following the initial landings. The men within the Aux Unit patrols were all volunteers, highly trained and ready to do what they had been trained to do unseen after nightfall. Thankfully, they were never needed. It was predicted that the patrols would have had a life expectancy of just two weeks after the start of their campaign.

Stewart Angell

Further reading:

  • Stewart Angell (1996) The Secret Sussex Resistance. Midhurst: Middleton Press.
  • David Lampe (1968) The Last Ditch. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.
  • John Warwicker (2008) Churchill’s Underground Army. Barnsley: Pen & Sword.

A formal group photo of Corporal Frank Mayston’s Auxiliary Unit Platoon outside the porch at Tottington Manor in September 1943. Frank is standing at the back on the far left. Seated, third from right, is Captain Roy Bradford, the Intelligence Officer for the unit. He spoke French and was recruited by the SAS in 1944 to fight with the French Resistance. He parachuted into France that year and died in a firefight with German forces.

Indulge In Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea has been becoming more and more popular in recent years, it seems to be a bit of a craze. But I for one, hope this craze is here to stay.

Afternoon Tea began in England thanks to the seventh Duchess of Bedford, Anna, in 1840. In the household, dinner was served late, at 8 pm, which was fashionable at the time. Unfortunately, as this meant there was a long gap between lunch and dinner, Anna usually became hungry at around 4 pm. So to sate her hunger she would ask for a tray of tea, bread and butter. As this became a habit, she started inviting friends and it soon became a fashionable social event.

In recent years, more and more places in England offer Afternoon Tea. Pubs, cafes and restaurants, and even a bus in London. The tradition, I think, is now firmly established. You can now have Afternoon Tea at pretty much any time in the afternoon, but you will normally need to book. Some places will even have themed afternoon tea, to put a different spin on it and get really creative.

I Found This Afternoon Tea At The Old Fire Station Cafe In The Small Town Of Malpas

I would say though, although you can find Afternoon Tea in most places across the country, make sure you find somewhere that allows you to partake in this tradition properly. There should be three tiers of food – sandwichs/savouries, scones and, lastly, dessert, with a choice of tea, coffee, or sometimes, Prosecco. You should also be allowed at least two hours to sit and enjoy your Afternoon Tea, these things are not to be rushed!

For something a little different, have Afternoon Tea On A London Bus or whilst Cruising The Thames


New Sherlock Holmes stories fall into many categories, including:

  • Additional Sherlock Holmes stories in the conventional mould
  • Holmes placed in settings of contemporary interest (such as World War II or the future)
  • Crossover stories in which Holmes is pitted against other fictional characters (for example, vampires)
  • Explorations of unusual aspects of Holmes' character which are hinted at in Conan Doyle's works (e.g., drug use)

Print Edit

In 1913, the Greek novel Sherlock Holmes saving Mr. Venizelos (Ο Σέρλοκ Χολμς σώζων τον κ. Βενιζέλον) was serialized in the magazine Hellas. Written by an anonymous author, it describes Holmes' attempts to save Eleftherios Venizelos from a Bulgarian organization's assassination plot during the London Conference of 1912–13. It is considered the first detective novel of Greek literature. [ citation needed ]

In January 1928, the short story "My Dear Holmes" was published in Punch, or the London Charivari. The sub-title of the story was: "His positively last appearance on earth." Written from the point of view of Holmes, it starts out in the usual way, and then ends rather lamely with no mystery presented or solved, but Holmes dead of incautiously (and improbably) sniffing excessively at a bottle of an anesthetic ("A.C.E.") he has asked Watson to bring with them on an errand. [ citation needed ]

Arthur Conan Doyle's son, Adrian Conan Doyle, wrote—in a joint effort with John Dickson Carr—12 Sherlock Holmes short stories that were published under the title The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes in 1954.

Using his alternate name of H.F. Heard, Gerald Heard wrote three novels about a reclusive beekeeper in the English countryside who goes by the name of Mycroft he is clearly intended to be Sherlock Holmes, but the books were written before the Doyle estate gave permission for other writers to use the name. The three stories are A Taste for Honey, Reply Paid and The Notched Hairpin. A Taste for Honey was adapted for American TV in 1955 as "Sting of Death," with Boris Karloff as Mr. Mycroft. [1]

American novelist and filmmaker Nicholas Meyer wrote three Holmes novels: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1974), The West End Horror (1976), and The Canary Trainer (1993). In 1977, the novel Exit Sherlock Holmes: The Great Detective's Final Days by Robert Lee Hall was published and featured an exploration of Holmes' origins with a science fiction twist. In this account Holmes and Moriarty are revealed to be from the future. [2]

Randall Collins published in 1978 The Case of the Philosophers' Ring, under the pseudonym Dr. John H. Watson, with Holmes' services requested at Cambridge, around 1914, by Bertrand Russell, and meeting the Cambridge Apostles (Moore, Hardy, Keynes. ) Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey, Annie Besant and of course, Aleisteir Crowley as a perfect villain. [3]

Michael Dibdin's novel The Last Sherlock Holmes Story (1979) confronts a somewhat psychopathic Sherlock Holmes with the crimes of Jack the Ripper, whom Holmes suspects to be none other than James Moriarty. Raymond Smullyan wrote The Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes (1979), in which Holmes (with Watson) applies retrograde analysis to solve chess problems. [4]

The detective novelist Loren D. Estleman wrote several short stories and two novels featuring Holmes the novels pit the detective against Count Dracula and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, respectively. The former was adapted for radio by the BBC. [5]

Cay Van Ash wrote the novel Ten Years Beyond Baker Street: Sherlock Holmes matches wits with the diabolical Dr. Fu Manchu (1984), set in 1914, in which the apparently retired detective comes into conflict with Sax Rohmer’s villainous master criminal. [6]

Canadian writer Ron Weyman published three novels between 1989 and 1994 which imagined Sherlock Holmes as being sent to Canada at the behest of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and investigating crimes there. [7]

Holmes aficionado Stephen Fry wrote a short story featuring Holmes, "The Adventure of the Laughing Jarvey", in which Holmes and Watson encounter a great Victorian writer and are engaged on a mission to recover a lost manuscript. It includes introductory text claiming the tale itself to be a long-lost manuscript, which modern analysis has shown to use linguistic style and grammar typical of Watson. The story appears in Fry's collection of journalism and early writings, Paperweight (1992). In Stephen King's short story "The Doctor's Case" (1993), Holmes's alleged allergy to cats prevents him for once from solving the problem quicker than Watson. Barrie Roberts penned a series of Holmes pastiches, including Sherlock Holmes and the Man from Hell and Sherlock Holmes and the Railway Maniac from 1994 until his death in 2007. O Xangô de Baker Street (1995) tells the comic story of Sherlock Holmes's visit to Brazil, invited by the Emperor Dom Pedro II, to solve the disappearance of a Stradivarius violin which becomes a hunt for a serial killer. [ citation needed ] Larry Millett has written six books and a short story featuring Holmes solving mysteries in Minnesota. [8] Michael Mallory has written more than two dozen short stories and two novels featuring "Amelia Watson," the second wife of Dr. Watson. These are not pastiches so much as original detective stories that view Holmes and Watson from a different, somewhat humorous, point of view. [ citation needed ] Colin Bruce's The Strange Case of Mrs. Hudson's Cat: And Other Science Mysteries Solved by Sherlock Holmes (1997) and Conned Again, Watson!: Cautionary Tales of Logic, Maths and Probability (2001) are books of Sherlock Holmes stories in which Holmes uses scientific and mathematical approaches, respectively, to solve mysteries. The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes: The Missing Years (1999), by Tibetan author Jamyang Norbu is an account of Holmes's adventures in India and Tibet where, posing as Sigerson, he meets the Dalai Lama and Huree Chunder Mookerjee, a character from Rudyard Kipling's novel Kim.

Italian conservative Catholic author Rino Cammilleri published in 2000 a novel with the title Sherlock Holmes e il misterioso caso di Ippolito Nievo ("Sherlock Holmes and the Mysterious Case of Ippolito Nievo") set in London, Turin and Naples.

The collection Shadows Over Baker Street (2003) contains 14 stories by 20 authors pitting Holmes against the forces of the Cthulhu Mythos. Among them is Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald", which won the 2004 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. The title is a play on A Study in Scarlet. The narrator, never named (but whose initials in the end point him to be the criminal henchman of James Moriarty, Sebastian Moran his tour in Afghanistan point to this as well), meets the protagonist (who is also never named, but likely James Moriarty himself, in a surprising role-reversal, making him the detective and Holmes the criminal) under similar circumstances to the meeting of Holmes and Watson in A Study in Scarlet, even down to the deduction that the narrator has recently been in Afghanistan. The protagonist is tall and thin, a detective, chemist, and master of disguise. However, as the narrator and his friend investigate a murder of one of the Royal Family (shown to be the Great Old Ones of the Cthulhu Mythos) the murderer is revealed to be a tall, thin, pipe-smoking man, going by the name Sherry Vernet (a reference to the first name Sherlock, or possibly Conan Doyle's earlier "Sherrinford", and the last name of Holmes' grandmother). He is assisted by a "limping doctor", later tentatively identified as John (or possibly James) Watson. "Vernet" also had gone by the name Sigerson. Inspector Lestrade also appears in the story. [ citation needed ] Gaiman has also written a short story called "The Case of Death and Honey", which was featured in "A Study in Sherlock" and "Trigger Warning."

Michael Chabon wrote The Final Solution in 2004. This book, that received favorable reviews, [9] [10] deals with an elderly Sherlock Holmes, referred to only as 'the old man,' solving the case of the missing parrot belonging to a nine-year-old Jewish refugee boy from Germany. While readily solving the mystery, 'the old man,' as well as the rest of the characters in the novella, fail to see what the parrot's incessant muttering of random German numbers really means. [9]

Caleb Carr was approached to pen a tale for the anthology Ghosts of Baker Street. [11] Carr's short story grew to become a full length novel [11] which became 2005's The Italian Secretary. [11] An example of a Sherlock Holmes pastiche is found in The Curse of the Nibelung: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery (2005) by Sam North, which is currently in reprint. It finds Holmes at the very end of his career, together with a geriatric Watson, sent by Winston Churchill to Nazi Germany to help uncover a terrible secret. [ citation needed ] Elemental, querido Chaplin, by Rafael Marín (2005, Minotauro, Barcelona, ISBN 84-450-7542-X), is presented as an unpublished manuscript in which Charles Chaplin tells how, as a London poor child, he helped Sherlock Holmes in an adventure against Dr. Fu Manchu. [ citation needed ] Nick Rennison's 2006 Sherlock Holmes: The Unauthorized Biography is a "biography" of the detective much like William S. Baring-Gould's earlier Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street: A Life of the World's First Consulting Detective.

Mitch Cullin's novel A Slight Trick of the Mind (2005) takes place two years after the end of the Second World War, and explores the character of Sherlock Holmes (now 93) as he comes to terms with a life spent in emotionless logic. Now old and frail, his once-steel trap mind begins to fail him as he loses items and forgets whole parts of his day. The story follows Holmes both at his home where he now tends bees in quiet retirement, as well as a vacation in Japan where he observes their post-war society first-hand. The novel is also interspersed with chapters of Sherlock's own book which reveals a fleeting moment of love that even he does not yet realise. [12] It was adapted into the film Mr. Holmes starring Ian McKellen. The film released in 2015.

Manly W. Wellman's Sherlock Holmes' War of the Worlds combined the elements of Holmes canon with H.G. Wells's science fiction classic and describes Holmes' and Watson's adventures in the Martian-occupied London (in passing, the book also asserts that Holmes had a long-lasting romantic relationship with Mrs. Hudson, but the puritanical Dr. Watson never noticed it). Laurie R. King recreates Sherlock Holmes in her Mary Russell series (starting with The Beekeeper's Apprentice), set during World War I and the 1920s. Her Holmes is (semi-)retired in Sussex, where he gradually trains a teenage Russell as his apprentice. The series includes 11 full length novels and a short story tie-in with a book from her Kate Martinelli series, The Art of Detection. Repercussions is a short comic story by Dwight Baldwin and J. M. DeSantis in the literary trade paperback Iconic (Summer 2009) by members of the Comicbook Artists Guild. In it, Holmes and Watson are on the trail of the legendary Jack the Ripper. [ citation needed ] Another story which pits Holmes and Watson against Jack the Ripper is Lyndsay Faye's Dust and Shadow (2009). In Robert Wilton's 'The Adventure of the Distracted Thane', Holmes investigates the assassination of King Duncan I of Scotland, previously explored by William Shakespeare in Macbeth (which itself, according to this interpretation, featured Dr. Watson).

For younger readers, Shane Peacock has written The Boy Sherlock Holmes series. Andy Lane begun a young adult series of Sherlock Holmes adventures with the publication of Death Cloud in 2010. This series is the first authorized series of teenage adventures. [13] Alberto López Aroca wrote "El problema de la pequeña cliente", a short story included in the book Nadie lo sabrá nunca (2004), where Sherlock Holmes meets Mary Poppins. [14]

The Conan Doyle estate commissioned Anthony Horowitz, author of the Alex Rider novels The Power of Five and TV's Foyle's War, to write a new, uniquely authorised Sherlock Holmes novel. Published by Orion Books in 2011 under the title The House of Silk, the content and title were a "closely guarded secret" before publication. [15] [16]

Japanese mystery author Keisuke Matsuoka published Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Japan in 2017, exploring the time between Holmes' alleged death at Reichenbach Falls and his reappearance three years later. [17]

TV Edit

The Granada TV series 1984 - 1994 Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett) Dr. John H. Watson (David Burke) (Edward Hardwicke). So far the only film or TV series to accurately feature Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories and words. Jeremy Brett proved that Mr. Doyle's words could be spoken dramatically and as written on film. His Sherlock Holmes is still considered definitive by most if not all of the world's Sherlock Holmes Societies.

The BBC's TV series Sherlock re-imagines Holmes and Watson (played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman) as contemporary figures, with Watson publishing his accounts of Holmes' exploits online.

The US TV series Elementary features a modern Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) who lives in the United States, where he is assisted by Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu).

The 2014 NHK puppetry Sherlock Holmes is set in a fictional boarding school "Beeton School" and Holmes and Watson are pupils who live in 221B of Baker House. There is no murder and the same characters appear many times.

HBO Asia's 2018 series Miss Sherlock is set in modern-day Japan, starring Yuko Takeuchi as the titular character, with Shihori Kanjiya as 'Wato'.

Radio Edit

Bert Coules penned The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes [18] starring Clive Merrison as Holmes [19] and Michael Williams/Andrew Sachs as Watson. [19] The episodes of The Further Adventures were based on throwaway references in Doyle's short stories and novels. [18] He also produced original scripts for this series, which was also issued on CD. [20] Coules had previously dramatised the entire Holmes canon for Radio Four. [18] [21]

BBC Radio 2 also broadcast in 1999 a more ribald six-episode spoof series featuring Holmes and Watson titled The Newly Discovered Casebook of Sherlock Holmes [22] starring Roy Hudd as Holmes ("the brilliant detective, master of disguise and toffee-nosed ponce"), Chris Emmett as Watson ("contributor to the British Medical Journal, Which Stethescope Magazine and inventor of the self-raising thermometer") and June Whitfield as Mrs. Hudson. Titles in this series included "The Case of the Clockwork Fiend", "The Mystery of the Obese Escapologist", "The Case of the Deranged Botanist", "Sherlock Holmes and the Glorious Doppelganger", "Holmes Strikes a Happy Medium" and "The Demon Cobbler of Greek Street", and usually turned out to have Holmes' mortal enemy Moriarty (Geoffrey Whitehead) behind each mystery. This series has since been re-broadcast on BBC Radio 7, later BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Starting in 1998, U.S. radio producer Jim French was given permission from the Conan Doyle estate to produce new, original Sherlock Holmes stories for radio in North America. [23] These are presented within the Imagination Theatre program on radio stations and XM satellite radio. The new stories are also broadcast under the banner The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. John Gilbert played Holmes until 2000, when John Patrick Lowrie took over the role. [23] Watson is played in all shows by Lawrence Albert. [23] Scripts are by Jim French, M. J. Elliott, Matthew Booth, John Hall, Gareth Tilley, J R Campbell and Lawrence Albert. In 2005, with adaptations written by M. J. Elliott, French and his company began a new series based on Conan Doyle's original tales called The Classic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Many episodes are available on CD as well as downloadable from the Imagination Theatre website.

Film Edit

Holmes has been an inspiration of both serious and comedy films.

Serious films Edit

A series of fourteen Sherlock Holmes films starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. John Watson were released between 1939 and 1946. Many are loosely based on the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and some are original stories. Those that pit Holmes and Watson against the Nazis, made during the Second World War, were in the spirit of Conan Doyle's patriotism, and indeed the quintessential "His Last Bow" describes Holmes and his connections with British Intelligence on the eve of the First World War.

A Study in Terror (1965), directed by James Hill starring John Neville as Holmes and Donald Houston as Watson, connected Holmes with the Jack the Ripper case, and was later novelised by Ellery Queen.

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) was directed by Billy Wilder and stars Robert Stephens as the famous sleuth. In this film, Holmes travels to Scotland in search of the Loch Ness Monster.

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976), based on Nicholas Meyer's very successful novel, concentrates on Holmes' cocaine addiction and stars Nicol Williamson and Robert Duvall as Holmes and Watson, respectively. Professor Moriarty (Laurence Olivier) is characterised here as an inoffensive mathematics tutor, his villainy a fantasy of Holmes's drug habit.

Sherlock Holmes in New York (1976 TV movie) starred Roger Moore as Holmes and Patrick Macnee as Watson.

Murder by Decree (1979) portrays Holmes (played by Christopher Plummer) and Watson (played by James Mason) tracking down Jack the Ripper, and dealing with the violent political situation of the day. The theory of the Ripper murders presented in that film is similar to that portrayed in the comic book and film From Hell. Both are derived from Stephen Knight's book Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution (1977).

In 1985, director Barry Levinson made a film called Young Sherlock Holmes (a.k.a. Young Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fear) with a story about the youth of Holmes and Watson as Secondary School students and their first great adventure, even before A Study in Scarlet. [24] There are a lot of references about Holmes canon such as the violin, the pipe, "elementary, my dear. ", the clothes and the reason why Holmes never married, and it includes the first meeting of Holmes and Professor Moriarty. The film was produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Chris Columbus the novelization was written by Alan Arnold.

In both The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1987 TV movie) and Sherlock Holmes Returns (1993 TV movie) a cryogenically frozen Holmes is awakened in the present day.

Hands of a Murderer (1990 TV movie) sees Edward Woodward playing Holmes and John Hillerman (of Magnum, P.I. fame) as Watson, in a plot involving Mycroft (Peter Jeffrey) and Moriarty (Anthony Andrews) battling for control of government secrets.

Sherlock: Case of Evil (2002 TV movie) has James D'Arcy as a youthful, bed-hopping Holmes, meeting Roger Morlidge's Watson for the first time while pursuing Vincent D'Onofrio's Moriarty, whose opium-trading schemes have left Mycroft (Richard E. Grant) physically and mentally scarred.

The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire (2002 TV movie) stars Matt Frewer and Kenneth Welsh as Holmes and Watson investigating reports of vampire attacks in Whitechapel, East London. The film was preceded by adaptations of The Hound of the Baskervilles (2000 TV movie) and The Sign of Four (2001 TV movie).

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking (2004 TV movie), has Holmes (Rupert Everett) and Watson (Ian Hart) searching for a killer with a foot fetish. The production was an original story written by Allan Cubitt. This was preceded by The Hound of the Baskervilles (2002 TV movie) with Holmes now played by Richard Roxburgh and Ian Hart returning as Watson.

Sherlock Holmes (2009) was directed by Guy Ritchie for Warner Bros. and stars Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson. It also features Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler. The film explores Holmes and Watson's most complex adventure in which the antagonist Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) seemingly rises from his grave after being executed and draws plans to control the British Empire. The sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) pits the original cast against Professor Moriarty (played by Jared Harris).

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes (2010) was directed by Rachel Lee Gondenberg and produced by low-budget direct-to-DVD film company The Asylum. It stars Gareth David Lloyd as Watson and new actor Ben Syder as Holmes. The film placed a younger Holmes and Watson in a steampunk science fiction story set in 1881, in which Holmes and Watson investigate the crimes of a mechanical genius known as Spring Heeled Jack, who creates mechanical monsters to terrorise London.

Comedy films Edit

Holmes' talents have sometimes been inverted for comic effect, as in Gene Wilder's 1975 film The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother. Here Holmes' younger brother Sigurson (Wilder), who is jealous of 'Sheer Luck' as he calls him, is manipulated by Holmes into solving one of his cases.

1988 brought Thom Eberhardt's role-reversal comedy Without a Clue. The film depicts Dr. Watson (Ben Kingsley) as the real detective genius and Holmes (Michael Caine) as a bumbling idiot who is merely an actor and a front man for Watson, [25] with a plot which cleverly mirrors the real life circumstance of Conan Doyle (also a physician) who eventually tired of his creation, Sherlock Holmes.

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly starred as the eponymous characters in the 2018 mystery comedy film Holmes & Watson.

Animation Edit

The 1999 animated series Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century was set in the year 2103 and involved Beth Lestrade, a direct descendant of Holmes's associate Inspector Lestrade, reanimating the cryogenically preserved corpse of Holmes to battle Moriarty-later revealed to be a clone of the original-who was believed to be responsible for a series of crimes in New London. Watson was long dead, but a robotic counterpart was made to physically resemble him after downloading Watson's stories-and essentially his personality-into his databanks by accident, and the three solved a number of cases patterned on the original Holmes stories for instance, a retelling of The Hound of the Baskervilles took place on the moon and involved werewolves. The series was created by DIC and Scottish Television, and ran for approximately two seasons. It was unique in Sherlockiana for a number of reasons, including the fact that Holmes, who is canonically described as having black hair and grey eyes, was depicted with blond hair and blue eyes.

Sherlock Hound (名探偵ホームズ Meitantei Hōmuzu?, lit. "Detective Holmes") is a 1984 anime television series based on Conan Doyle's work where almost all the characters are depicted as anthropomorphic dogs. The show featured regular appearances of Jules Verne-steampunk style technology, adding a 19th-century science-fiction atmosphere to the series. It was coproduced by Japanese and Italian companies and animated by TMS. Some episodes were directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold featured an episode in which Holmes and Watson are acquaintances of Jason Blood and end up summoning Batman back through time in order to aid him when he is framed for the crimes of the future Gentleman Ghost. Upon encountering Batman, Holmes is able to deduce much about his nature, but is then baffled when Batman recognizes him immediately he comes to see the Caped Crusader as something of a rival as they attempt to unravel the plot of Gentleman Ghost. After the villain's defeat, Holmes and his Victorian era allies see Batman off, and as Batman departs he acknowledges Holmes as "the World's Greatest Detective."

The 2015 anime film, The Empire of Corpses, features a younger, re-imagined Holmes and Watson, the latter actually the protagonist, in a steampunk world where the dead are reanimated and used as a labor force.

Comics Edit

In the Italian comic book Martin Mystère and spin-off series Storie di Altrove/Stories from Elsewhere Holmes is a historical character. [26] In the late 1880s, he worked on the case of Jack the Ripper and met Professor Richard Van Helsing, a vampire who destroyed Count Dracula. Along with Professor Challenger, Holmes visited a secret valley of dinosaurs in South America in 1896, which became the basis for Doyle's novel The Lost World. The same year he worked with the American Secret Service "Elsewhere" to stop paranormal threats from another dimension. In 1910, he discovered a life extension serum. At the beginning of World War I, he had a final confrontation with Professor Moriarty. After the war, he moved to Ukraine, giving Arthur Conan Doyle the task to convince everyone that he was just an imaginary character. With the help of his serum, Holmes prolonged his life for several decades. In the 1990s, he indirectly helped Martin Mystère to capture a villain who found a formula of his serum.

Ian Edginton wrote the 2010 Wildstorm comic book limited series Victorian Undead which pitted Holmes against zombies. [29]

New Paradigm Studios in August 2012 debuted "Watson and Holmes" digital comic on iVerse ComicsPlus digital app. "Watson and Holmes" is a modern re-interpretation of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson as African-Americans in present day Harlem, NY. "Watson and Holmes" is in limited print black and white comics of the first three issues. Issue #1 will be in wide release July 2013. [ citation needed ]

The Korean manhwa series, Lizzie Newton: Victorian Mysteries, is set in the Sherlock Holmes universe, but in an earlier period in history. Set in the year 1864, it features younger versions of characters in the series. These include Inspector Lestrade as a junior police officer [30] and Professor Moriarty as a student. [31]

Video games Edit

Sherlock Holmes has taken the starring roles in a number of video games, officially licensed or not.

Text only Edit

    released an interactive fiction adventure game for Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum called Sherlock in 1984. [32] in 1984 published a Sherlock Holmes computer interactive novel Another Bow.
  • Ellicott Creek Software in 1986 published Sherlock Holmes: The Vatican Cameos for ZX Spectrum and Apple II. [33] released a text adventure game, Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels, in 1987. The plot revolves around Moriarty's theft of the Crown Jewels days before the celebration of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Holmes rightly senses that a trap has been set for him and allows Watson to investigate the case. [34] released in 1987 Young Sherlock: The Legacy of Doyle for the MSX, mostly a text adventure with some graphics. It is based on the 1985 film Young Sherlock Holmes, but the plot is different.
  • Slovakian Sybilasoft (Michal Hlavac) created a text adventure for ZX Spectrum called Traja Garridebovia in 1987. [35]
  • British Creative Juices (David Court) in 1988 created a text adventure for ZX Spectrum called Sherlock Holmes: a Matter of Evil. [36]
  • British 8th Day Software in 1988 published a text adventure with some additional graphics created by Stephen Kee and Alan Bolger called The Raven for ZX Spectrum. [37] Software released two text-only adventure games for the ZX Spectrum: Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Beheaded Smuggler in 1988 [38] and Sherlock Holmes: The Lamberley Mystery in 1990. [39]
  • Mycroft Systems published a text-only adventure for DOS in 1990 called The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes set in London and featuring Dr. Watson, Mrs. Baker and Inspector Lestrade. [40]
  • Yestersoft in 1991 published PC-Sherlock: a Game of Logic and Deduction, with very little graphics and focusing on logic aspects. [41]

Graphic adventures Edit

  • Datasoft released a graphic adventure game called 221B Baker St in 1986. [42] released three action-adventure games called Sherlock Holmes: Hakushaku Reijō Yūkai Jiken in 1986, Meitantei Holmes: Kiri no London Satsujin Jiken in 1988, and Meitantei Holmes: M-Kara no Chousenjou in 1989 only in Japan for the Nintendo Entertainment System. in 1987 published a graphic adventure called Loretta no Shouzou: Sherlock Holmes ("The Portrait of Loretta") exclusively in Japan. [43] released Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, a multimedia CD-ROM adventure game for PCs in 1991 and later for the Sega CD system 1992, TurboGrafx-16 and Apple computers. One of the earliest multimedia titles, it was to become a series of three games, each with three cases. Each game in the series uses full motion video clips. A collected edition followed in 1993. A re-mastered version for iOS, Microsoft Windows, and OS X was released in 2012.
    • Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. II, ICOM, 1992.
    • Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. III, ICOM, 1993.

    Apps Edit

    • SecretBuilders Games has released in 2013 a game called Sherlock Holmes: The Blue Diamond the same year another game was released called Sherlock Holmes: The Norwood Mystery and in 2014 two games for iOS and Android were released called Hidden Object Valley of Fear 1 and Valley of Fear Mystery 2, featuring Holmes and Watson.
    • Hidden Object World has released an app called Hidden Object - Sherlock, basically a casual game with hidden objects search.
    • Another plain hidden object app has been released in 2017 by Lory Hidden Object Games and called Hidden Objects Sherlock Holmes.
    • In recent times, Crisp App Studio has released two apps inspired by Sherlock Holmes: Detective Holmes: Hidden Objects and Sherlock Holmes: Trap for the Hunter. Although mainly targeted at smartphones and tablets, the second one has been released also on Steam.
    • DikobrazGames has released an app Sherlock Holmes Adventure Free inspired by Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock.

    Print Edit

    According to The Alternative Sherlock Holmes: Pastiches, Parodies, and Copies by Peter Ridgway Watt and Joseph Green, the first known period pastiche dates from 1893. Titled "The Late Sherlock Holmes", it came from the pen of Doyle's close friend, J. M. Barrie, who was to create Peter Pan a decade later. The police are apprised of the death of Holmes and believe that Dr. Watson has killed him because of a disagreement about money. However, Holmes turns out to be alive and, although it is not made clear, Watson is presumably released.

    In 1902 Mark Twain painted an unflattering portrait of Holmes and his methods of deduction in his A Double Barrelled Detective Story. In the short story, set at a mining camp in California, Fetlock Jones, a nephew of Sherlock Holmes, kills his master, a silver-miner, by blowing up his cabin. Since this occurs when Holmes happens to be visiting, he brings his skills to bear upon the case and arrives at logically worked conclusions that are proved abysmally wrong by an amateur detective with an extremely keen sense of smell which he employs in solving the case. Perhaps this ought to be seen as yet another piece where Twain tries to prove that life does not quite follow logic.

    In 1905 the French writer Maurice Leblanc pitted his gentleman burglar Arsène Lupin against Holmes in a story called Sherlock Holmes arrive trop tard (Sherlock Holmes Arrives Too Late), the first of four in the Lupin series. Copyright concerns at the time forced Holmes to be renamed "Herlock Sholmes" or "Holmlock Shears", and Watson to be renamed "Wilson", in subsequent appearances. However, in many modern editions, the names have reverted to the original.

    In 1910, the French writer Arnould Galopin teamed up his detective Allan Dickson, the Australian Sherlock Holmes with an aging Holmes renamed Herlokolms who had been much impressed by the young man's early exploits in L'Homme au Complet Gris (The Man in Grey). Allan Dickson may have been the prototype for Harry Dickson (see #Successors of Sherlock Holmes, below).

    Another French writer, Théodore Botrel, wrote the play Le Mystère de Kéravel in 1932 in which Holmes, travelling incognito in Brittany, solves a murder at the request of local police, who know his true identity. He is referred to as L'étranger in the list of characters, but named in the text.

    In 1967, a The Man from U.N.C.L.E. novel, "The Rainbow Affair" by David McDaniel, features a cameo by an elderly bee-keeper named William Escott (Holmes in his retired identity). [47]

    Several characters from the canon appear in Alan Moore's comic book series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in which various characters from Victorian fiction are recruited to serve the interests of an alternate-history British Empire. Holmes himself appears only in a flashback during the first series, as he is still presumed dead. Mycroft has a more substantial role in the second series. References in the series suggest Sherlock was a member of an earlier iteration of the League. Moriarty also figures into the first series and the film adaptation. Holmes also makes a minor but significant appearance in Warren Ellis and John Cassaday's comic book series Planetary.

    Michael P. Hodel and Sean M. Wright presented a mystery-adventure Enter the Lion: A Posthumous Memoir of Mycroft Holmes (1979) in which Sherlock's older brother prevents a conspiracy involving a return of the American "colonies" to Great Britain. Sherlock makes appearances with Victor Trevor (from "The Adventure of the Gloria Scott"), Professor Moriarty and Moriarty's father.

    Carole Nelson Douglas has written a spin-off series centring upon Holmes' nemesis Irene Adler. The first book is titled Good Night, Mr. Holmes and takes place concurrently with A Scandal in Bohemia. While Irene Adler is the main character, Sherlock Holmes plays a role in every book in the series.

    Michael Mallory has written a series of short stories and one novel (Murder in the Bath) about the second wife of Doctor Watson, here named "Amelia Watson." Holmes appears in several of the stories as a semi-antagonistic foil for Amelia—a detective who is in reality slightly less than infallible, but who has been made to appear so to the public through Watson's writings.

    In Kim Newman's alternate history novel Anno Dracula, set in a world where Dracula becomes the monarch of Britain, Holmes is one of the prominent "warms" to protest against the new order. The vampire government of Lord Ruthven in turn imprisons him in a concentration camp in Devil's Dyke, Sussex.

    Holmes and Watson appear briefly in George MacDonald Fraser's short story Flashman and the Tiger (1999), which appears in the collection of that name. The events there are consistent with those of the canonical story The Adventure of the Empty House, which takes place in 1894. Holmes sees Flashman disguised as a tramp and draws a series of conclusions about him which are all wrong.

    Holmes and Watson also appear in Alan Coren's children's books, Arthur and the Great Detective and Arthur and the Bellybutton Diamond. The titular Arthur is an erstwhile Baker Street Irregular.

    In 1993 the psychologist Keith Oatley wrote The Case of Emily V., a novel in which Sigmund Freud, Watson and Sherlock Holmes turn out to be investigating the same person. This book won the 1994 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel. [48] In Oatley's book the reader finds out the "real truth" behind Freud's case notes on Emily V.

    In the Doctor Who Virgin New Adventures novel All-Consuming Fire by Andy Lane the Time Lord meets Holmes and Watson while investigating a recent theft from the Library of St. John the Beheaded, revealed to be the work of Holmes's unknown eldest brother Sherringford (sic), Holmes in the end being forced to kill Sherringford (sic) to save Watson. They are later amongst numerous characters from the series who attend Bernice Summerfield's wedding in Happy Endings by Paul Cornell. Holmes also features in the Faction Paradox novel Erasing Sherlock by Kelly Hale and in the novelette The Shape of Things by Stuart Douglas in the Iris Wildthyme collection Miss Wildthyme and Friends Investigate. Mycroft Holmes, Dr John Watson and Professor George Challenger also appear in the same book.

    Boris Akunin's short story The Prisoner of the Tower, or A Short But Beautiful Journey of Three Wise Men in the Jade Rosary Beads compilation describes Holmes and Erast Fandorin's race to thwart a devious extortion plan by Arsène Lupin.

    Author Nancy Springer writes a series of novels of the adventures of Enola Holmes, the much younger teenage sister of Sherlock and Mycroft. Upon their mother's disappearance, Enola discovers that she in fact left of her own volition according to a carefully devised plan to live independently and raised her daughter with the skills to do the same if she chose to. Finding the resources her mother carefully hid for her, Enola decides to run away rather than be forced into boarding school by Mycroft. She eventually comes to London where she secretly sets herself up in business as a private investigator when she realises she is equally as talented at the profession as her older brother even as she is determined to elude his notice.

    Holmes cameos at the end of Detective Comics #572, the comic series' 50th anniversary issue, helping Batman, Robin, The Elongated Man, and Slam Bradley tie up a case involving the descendants of both Dr. Watson and Professor Moriarty. Well over a century old now, Holmes attributes his longevity to "a proper diet, a certain distillation of royal jelly, developed in my beekeeping days, and the rarified (sic) atmosphere of Tibet, where I keep my primary residence." He apparently gave up tobacco, too, indicating that his pipe was now "purely for show these days." [49]

    Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series is set in a world in which magic and psychic powers are real. Holmes and the Watsons appear in three of the books Dr Watson is a Water Master, Mary is an Air Master, and Holmes is at first skeptical, dismissing their talk of magic as superstitious twaddle.

    In Theodora Goss' 2017 novel, The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, the protagonist Mary Jekyll meets Holmes and Watson, and they help each other solve their respective mysteries, which happen to converge. [50]

    TV Edit

    In Star Trek: The Next Generation, a Sherlock Holmes mystery was one of the programmes on the Enterprise-D's holodeck. In the episode Elementary, Dear Data, Data, after memorising all of the Sherlock Holmes books, is challenged to use deduction in an original mystery created by Dr. Pulaski. However, the programme goes awry when Geordi La Forge, in response to Pulaski's challenge, asks the computer to create an adversary capable of defeating Data, resulting in the hologram of Professor Moriarty (played by Daniel Davis) gaining full sentience, kidnapping Dr. Pulaski and taking over the ship's computer. In a later episode, Ship in a Bottle, the holodeck Moriarty again takes control of the ship, insisting that a way be found for him to experience life beyond the confines of the holodeck, until the crew manage to trap him in a permanent simulation. The first Holmes-based episode was produced with the understanding that Sherlock Holmes was public domain, but a protest from the Doyle estate indicated otherwise (and, it is rumoured, prevented a plan for Data-as-Holmes to become a recurring character).

    An elderly Holmes and Watson appear in a sketch of comedy show That Mitchell and Webb Look, where Holmes is portrayed as an increasingly senile old man whose flawed deductions are merely humoured by Watson to try to make his old friend feel better the sketch ends on a tearful note as Holmes, his mind briefly clear, admits to Watson that he knows that his powers are failing him but simply cannot think clearly enough to get past his age.

    Animation Edit

    • Disney's The Great Mouse Detective (1986), also known as Basil of Baker Street, was a relatively successful theatrical feature animated film based on the books of Eve Titus, featuring a miniature subworld of London with mice, rats and cats in the lead roles. The title character is a mouse who lives in 221B Baker St and models his own detective career on Holmes, who lives at the same address and makes a cameo appearance.
    • In one episode of The Fairly Oddparents Holmes is portrayed in stereotypical attire he starts every sentence with "elementary, my dear (whomever he is addressing)" and will always know the answer to every single question posed to him about the asker.
    • In the VeggieTales episode, Sheerluck Holmes and the Golden Ruler, Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato portray vegetable versions of Holmes and Watson, respectively, in order to teach a lesson on friendship.

    Video games Edit

    Everett Kaser has published a series of free reflection games (puzzles) with names referring to Sherlock Holmes stories: Sherlock: The Game of Logic, Dinner with Moriarty, Watson's Map, Baker Street, Scotland Yard Inspector Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, Reichenbach Falls, Queen's Gambit, Mycroft's Map. Sherlock Holmes, however, does not appear in the games, except some very small icons. [51]

    In Midnight Mysteries: Haunted Houdini a hidden-object/puzzle video game released in 2012 by MumboJumbo, Sherlock Holmes is on the suspects list.

    In Fate/Grand Order, released in Japan in 2015, Holmes briefly appears in the Camelot singularity. Then he appears in the Shinjuku singularity as an ally. He is a Ruler class servant.

    In There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension, the second chapter sees the player trapped in a fictional adventure game based on Sherlock Holmes. The player must alter the game's user interface and environment in order to manipulate Holmes and Watson into solving specific puzzles so that they might escape.

    These stories treat Sherlock Holmes as an historical character but concern themselves with one of his successors — biological or spiritual — who usually take after him in some way, e.g. being good detectives.

    Film Edit

    In the 1977 spoof The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It, John Cleese plays Arthur Sherlock Holmes, grandson of the famous sleuth, alongside Watson's grandson, played by Arthur Lowe.

    TV Edit

    The Adventures of Shirley Holmes is the story of the teenage Anglo-Canadian grandniece of Sherlock Holmes, Shirley, who after discovering some of Sherlock Holmes' effects (which he had concealed to ensure that only a fitting successor of similar intellect would find them), goes on to solve many crimes and mysteries with the assistance of her male Watson-like friend, Bo Sawchuk. She also has a Moriarty-like arch-enemy in the form of Molly Hardy.

    Manga/Anime Edit

    In Hidan no Aria series, the character Aria Holmes Kanzake is the descendant of Sherlock Holmes. Tantei Opera Milky Holmes has four protagonists named after famous literary detectives, and they even adopt the iconic deerstalker into their uniform.

    Print Edit

    August Derleth's Holmes-inspired sleuth Solar Pons is an obvious and early homage to Holmes. Derleth began to write the stories in 1928 after asking permission of Arthur Conan Doyle to continue the series of Sherlock Holmes stories (it was denied). The first collection of Pons stories was published in 1948, and Derleth's stories are contained in 13 additional books, several published after his death in 1971. Basil Copper continued the Pons series with an additional eight books, the most recent published in 2005.

    The protagonist of Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose. Friar William of Baskerville and his novice Adso (who, like Watson, is the narrator), are patterned on Holmes and Watson. William of Baskerville is physically similar to Holmes, has the habit of addressing his companion with "My dear Adso" and the story itself is about a strictly rational brain following a path of investigation of a seemingly inexplicable chain of violent deaths.

    Poul Anderson wrote several stories in which characters modelled themselves on Holmes, including "The Martian Crown Jewels", "The Queen of Air and Darkness", and "The Adventure of the Misplaced Hound".

    In Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966), one of the characters is a computer, a model "HOLMES IV", which adopts the name Mycroft, after Sherlock Holmes' brother.

    Julian Symons created a character named Sheridan Haynes, an actor immersed in the role of Holmes for an epic project to adapt the entire canon for television (almost ten years before Jeremy Brett took up a similar challenge), in the 1975 novel A Three Pipe Problem. Haynes finds himself confusing his own identity with Holmes', and becomes involved in a mystery. The character returned for a 1988 sequel, The Kentish Manor Murders, and Symons also wrote a Holmes short story pastiche.

    Thomas Brace Haughey wrote a series of six novels "in the best tradition of Holmes and Watson" from 1978-1986 with Geoffrey Weston as the Sherlock character (and a descendant of Mycroft Holmes) and John Taylor as his Watson, living at 31 Baker Street. These stories, The Case of the Invisible Thief, The Case of the Frozen Scream, The Case of the Maltese Treasure, The Case of the Kidnapped Shadow, The Case of the Hijacked Moon, and The Case of the Unbolted Lightning, are all deeply imbued with an Evangelical Christian outlook.

    Charles Hamilton under the pseudonym Peter Todd wrote almost 100 short parodies of the Holmes short stories from 1915 onwards. The characters became Herlock Sholmes and Dr Jotson, living in a Shaker Street apartment and the sophisticated deductive reasoning of the original became absurdity in the spoofs, which were mainly published in a range of boys' comics of the period (The Greyfriars Herald, The Magnet, The Gem, etc.). Although satirical and often mocking contemporary mores (and World War I shortages), the stories had a real feel for the dialogue and structure of the originals. They were all reprinted in The Complete Casebook of Herlock Sholmes (Hawk Books 1989).

    Michael Chabon's novella The Final Solution (2004) features an unnamed protagonist that is likely a retired Holmes. The story takes place during World War II, and features the Holmes character investigating the appearance of a mute boy with a parrot who repeatedly calls a string of seemingly random numbers in German. References to Holmes are plentiful: the protagonist is a bee keeper, is familiar with detectives in London, and smokes a pipe. The title simultaneously refers to the Nazi plan for genocide hinted at in the book and mirrors one of Doyle's own shorts, "The Final Problem".

    Transposed in an alternative London with angels and werewolves, Sarah Monette wrote The Angel of the Crows in 2020, where Dr Watson is portrayed as a field surgeon injured during the Second Anglo-Afghan War instead of India, and Sherlock Holmes as an angel. The work tries to be an anthology of several Holmes cases.

    Leilehua Yuen, under the pen name of Fevronia H. Watkins began a series of novellas, The Adventures of Kamaka Holmes in late 2020. It begins with He Huli ʻUlaʻula—A Study in Scarlet. The first books are set in Hilo, Hawaiʻi in the final years of the Hawaiian Monarchy. It features two teenage cousins of Sherlock Holmes (3rd cousins, once removed), Kamaka Holmes and Fevronia Watkins. To date, there are no plans for a Sherlock Holmes cameo, though the girls are avid readers of Dr. Watson's writings on the great detective. The mysteries are written as historical fiction.

    Film Edit

    Douglas Fairbanks played a cocaine-addicted Holmes spoof named "Coke Enneday" in The Mystery of the Leaping Fish (1916). Many of this "scientific" detective's possessions are checkered in the Holmes manner, including his detective hat, jacket, and even his car, and whenever he feels momentarily dejected, he nonchalantly extracts yet another syringe from a bandolier on his chest and quickly injects himself with cocaine, laughing in merriment as an immediate result.

    In 1924, comedian Buster Keaton made Sherlock Jr., about a film projectionist who dreams of becoming a great detective.

    The 1971 film They Might Be Giants, adapted from James Goldman's 1961 British stage play of the same name, featured George C. Scott as a widowed judge named Justin Playfair who imagines himself to be Holmes. When his brother seeks to have him committed, he is brought to Dr. Mildred Watson (Joanne Woodward).

    In The Return of the World's Greatest Detective (1976 TV movie), a rather ineffectual Los Angeles cop, and avid fan of Sherlock Holmes, named Sherman Holmes (played by American actor Larry Hagman) suffers a brain injury when his parked motorcycle tips over and falls onto his head (he was lying beside it, reading). He wakes with both the unshakeable delusion that he is Sherlock Holmes and that he possesses all of Holmes' incredible deductive abilities. His friend and case-worker, Dr. Joan Watson (Jenny O'Hara), moves him to Apartment B of 221 Baker Street, where he becomes involved in the murder of an embezzler. Nicholas Colasanto also stars as Lt. Tinker, Holmes' former superior, who is in charge of the murder investigation. Reviewers of the day pointed out parallels to They Might Be Giants.

    The 1986 Soviet comedy My Dearly Beloved Detective features two women (Shirley Holmes and Jane Watson) opening a private detective agency in London, to the displeasure of Scotland Yard at the competitors. Sherlock Holmes is fictional in the setting.

    Zero Effect, loosely based on the Sherlock Holmes story "A Scandal in Bohemia", features Bill Pullman as Daryl Zero, a neurotic detective who is only in his element when on a case, and Ben Stiller as Watson-like assistant Steve Arlo. Set in modern Portland, Oregon, the search for a shady businessman's lost keys reveals a plot involving murder, blackmail, and secret identities. Instead of cocaine, Zero's occasional need for mental stimulation leads to experimentation with the drug Mescaline. In the film, Zero indicates that he has mastered his technique of "Observation and Objectivity" – or as he calls them, "The Two Obs".

    Sherlock Holmes also inspired Satyajit Ray, an Indian film maker, to create the character Pradosh Mitter. Mitter, affectionately called Feluda, was immensely popular in Bengal. Feluda used the method of deduction to solve his cases, most of which were set in Calcutta. Ray even made some movies with Feluda as hero, including Sonar Kella (The Golden Fortress). Additionally, the Bengali writer Saradindu Bandyopadhyay also had a detective named Byomkesh Bakshi, which had some resemblance to Doyle's Holmes. [52] In many ways Bakshi was different from the "drug-addict" bachelor image that Holmes had. Bakshi was married and had few addictions except that of a cigarette. In many ways, Byomkesh's character was distinctly different from that of Holmes. However both used deductions and were astute observers. In their character portrayal though the biggest difference lies. The frequently brooding trait in Holmes' character was not found in the cheerful portrayal of Byomkesh Bakshi. The adventures of Bakshi was later developed into a television series that was aired in Doordarshan, India's premier TV channel during those times, in the early 1990s. The series featuring Rajit Kapoor as Byomkesh Bakshi, telecast on the Doordarshan, inspired a lot of Indians to read the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and re-read the works of Saradindu Bandyopadhyay.

    TV Edit

    Sherlock Hemlock is a muppet character based on Sherlock Holmes, who appears on the American children's programme Sesame Street.

    The highly popular CSI: Crime Scene Investigation featured an entire episode circling around the death of a man who held 'mystery nights' with a group of friends in which they roleplayed as Holmes characters and solved invented crimes his basement was an exact replica of Sherlock Holmes' 221B Baker Street parlour, and he emulated everything Holmes did in the books – from his smoking to his cocaine addiction. The episode was called "Who Shot Sherlock?" CSI is also notable for the lead character, Gil Grissom, whose personality and methods often parallel those of Holmes.

    The pilot episode of the well-remembered series, Murder, She Wrote, starring Angela Lansbury, aired on 30 September 1984. The story had to do with her character, mystery writer Jessica Fletcher, searching out the murderer of Caleb McCallum (played by Brian Keith) who is killed at a masquerade party where he is dressed in deerstalker cap and cape-coat. It was titled "The Murder of Sherlock Holmes".

    Andy Breckman, head writer of Monk, admitted to copying Adrian Monk from Conan Doyle "almost as if I used a Xerox machine". [53]

    The characters Dr. Gregory House and Dr. James Wilson in the TV series House M.D. have been described as parallel to Holmes and Watson, as well as their relationship. References to Holmes also appear throughout the series. [54] The resemblance is evident in House's reliance on deductive reasoning [54] and psychology, even where it might not seem obviously applicable and his reluctance to accept cases he finds uninteresting.

    Animation Edit

    In Warner Bros. long-running Looney Tunes cartoon show, Daffy Duck did a turn as "Dorlock Holmes" in the episode "Deduce, You Say", [55] first shown in 1956. In this episode, Dorlock Holmes (festooned in deerstalker cap and residing on Beeker Street) and his assistant Watkins (played by Porky Pig) must track down the Shropshire Slasher.

    Several Dick Tracy animated cartoons centre around a white bulldog, helmeted like a London bobby, named Hemlock Holmes.

    Sherlock Holmes is extremely popular in Japan, and was an inspiration for the Japanese anime and manga, Case Closed (Detective Conan in Japan), where the main character, Jimmy Kudo (Shin'ichi Kudo), takes his pseudonym, Conan Edogawa, from two detective fiction authors, Edogawa Rampo and Arthur Conan Doyle. Incidentally Edogawa Rampo took his name from Edgar Allan Poe, the American writer known as the 'Father' of detective fiction.

    Video games Edit

    The Other Guys has released in 2016 an app called Sherlock Holmes: Lost Detective. Divided into two seasons, the main character is a young Scotland Yard agent in this game there is a professor of English literature claiming to be Sherlock Holmes. Originally for iOS and Android, at present time can be found only on iTunes. [56]

    Doctor Watson: Mystery Cases (also Doctor Watson: Treasure Island) and Doctor Watson 2: The Riddle of the Catacombs are two casual games (hidden object games with 3D capabilities) released by German software house UIG in which the main character is loosely inspired by the original Watson. Holmes himself, however, does not appear.

    SecretBuilders Games has released in 2018 a casual game, Dr. Watson Mysteries - Hidden Objects Game, where the protagonist is Dr. Watson, not Sherlock Holmes, but it features many Conan Doyle's stories such as The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Valley of Fear, The Speckled Band, The Silver Blaze, The Musgrave Ritual, The Gloria Scott, and The Copper Beeches.

    Manga Edit

    Throughout Gender-Swap at the Delinquent Academy, the main character Torao Kadoki occasionally dons a fake moustache and deerstalker hat to investigate mysteries as "Herlock Sholmes".

    Audio Edit

    The Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra is a comedy album created by The Firesign Theatre featuring Hemlock Stones and Flotsam.



    Topical cocaine can be used as a local numbing agent to help with painful procedures in the mouth or nose. [34]

    Cocaine may be used for nasal and lacrimal duct surgery. The major disadvantages of this use are cocaine's potential for cardiovascular toxicity, glaucoma, and pupil dilation. [34] Medicinal use of cocaine has decreased as other synthetic local anesthetics such as benzocaine, proparacaine, lidocaine, and tetracaine are now used more often. [34] If vasoconstriction is desired for a procedure (as it reduces bleeding), the anesthetic is combined with a vasoconstrictor such as phenylephrine or epinephrine. Some otolaryngology (ENT) specialists occasionally use cocaine within the practice when performing procedures such as nasal cauterization. In this scenario dissolved cocaine is soaked into a ball of cotton wool, which is placed in the nostril for the 10–15 minutes immediately before the procedure, thus performing the dual role of both numbing the area to be cauterized, and vasoconstriction. Even when used this way, some of the used cocaine may be absorbed through oral or nasal mucosa and give systemic effects. [35] An alternative method of administration for ENT surgery is mixed with adrenaline and sodium bicarbonate, as Moffett's solution. [36]

    Cocaine hydrochloride (Goprelto), an ester local anesthetic, was approved for medical use in the United States in December 2017, and is indicated for the introduction of local anesthesia of the mucous membranes for diagnostic procedures and surgeries on or through the nasal cavities of adults. [37] [2] Cocaine hydrochloride (Numbrino) was approved for medical use in the United States in January 2020. [38] [3]

    The most common adverse reactions in people treated with Goprelto are headache and epistaxis. [2] The most common adverse reactions in people treated with Numbrino are hypertension, tachycardia, and sinus tachycardia. [3]


    Cocaine is a nervous system stimulant. [39] Its effects can last from 15 minutes to an hour. The duration of cocaine's effects depends on the amount taken and the route of administration. [40] Cocaine can be in the form of fine white powder, bitter to the taste. Crack cocaine is a smokeable form of cocaine made into small "rocks" by processing cocaine with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water. [11] [41] Crack cocaine is referred to as "crack" because of the crackling sounds it makes when heated. [11]

    Cocaine use leads to increases in alertness, feelings of well-being and euphoria, increased energy and motor activity, and increased feelings of competence and sexuality. [42]

    Analysis of the correlation between the use of 18 various psychoactive substances shows that cocaine use correlates with other "party drugs" (such as ecstasy or amphetamines), as well as with heroin and benzodiazepines use, and can be considered as a bridge between the use of different groups of drugs. [43]

    Coca leaves

    Coca leaves are legal in some Andean nations, such as Peru and Bolivia, where they are chewed, consumed in the form of tea, or are sometimes incorporated into food products. [44] Coca leaves are typically mixed with an alkaline substance (such as lime) and chewed into a wad that is retained in the buccal pouch (mouth between gum and cheek, much the same as chewing tobacco is chewed) and sucked of its juices. The juices are absorbed slowly by the mucous membrane of the inner cheek and by the gastrointestinal tract when swallowed. Alternatively, coca leaves can be infused in liquid and consumed like tea. Coca tea, an infusion of coca leaves, is also a traditional method of consumption. The tea has often been recommended for travelers in the Andes to prevent altitude sickness. [45] However, its actual effectiveness has never been systematically studied. [45]

    In 1986 an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that U.S. health food stores were selling dried coca leaves to be prepared as an infusion as "Health Inca Tea." [46] While the packaging claimed it had been "decocainized," no such process had actually taken place. The article stated that drinking two cups of the tea per day gave a mild stimulation, increased heart rate, and mood elevation, and the tea was essentially harmless. Despite this, the DEA seized several shipments in Hawaii, Chicago, Georgia, and several locations on the East Coast of the United States, and the product was removed from the shelves. [ citation needed ]


    Nasal insufflation (known colloquially as "snorting", "sniffing", or "blowing") is a common method of ingestion of recreational powdered cocaine. [47] The drug coats and is absorbed through the mucous membranes lining the nasal passages. Cocaine's desired euphoric effects are delayed when snorted through the nose by about five minutes. This occurs because cocaine's absorption is slowed by its constricting effect on the blood vessels of the nose. [11] Insufflation of cocaine also leads to the longest duration of its effects (60–90 minutes). [11] When insufflating cocaine, absorption through the nasal membranes is approximately 30–60% [ citation needed ]

    In a study of cocaine users, the average time taken to reach peak subjective effects was 14.6 minutes. [48] Any damage to the inside of the nose is because cocaine highly constricts blood vessels – and therefore blood and oxygen/nutrient flow – to that area.

    Rolled up banknotes, hollowed-out pens, cut straws, pointed ends of keys, specialized spoons [49] , long fingernails, and (clean) tampon applicators are often used to insufflate cocaine. The cocaine typically is poured onto a flat, hard surface (such as a mirror, CD case or book) and divided into "bumps," "lines" or "rails," and then insufflated. [50] A 2001 study reported that the sharing of straws used to "snort" cocaine can spread blood diseases such as hepatitis C. [51]


    Subjective effects not commonly shared with other methods of administration include a ringing in the ears moments after injection (usually when over 120 milligrams) lasting two to 5 minutes including tinnitus and audio distortion. This is colloquially referred to as a "bell ringer". In a study of cocaine users, the average time taken to reach peak subjective effects was 3.1 minutes. [48] The euphoria passes quickly. Aside from the toxic effects of cocaine, there is also the danger of circulatory emboli from the insoluble substances that may be used to cut the drug. As with all injected illicit substances, there is a risk of the user contracting blood-borne infections if sterile injecting equipment is not available or used.

    An injected mixture of cocaine and heroin, known as "speedball" is a particularly dangerous combination, as the converse effects of the drugs actually complement each other, but may also mask the symptoms of an overdose. It has been responsible for numerous deaths, including celebrities such as comedians/actors John Belushi and Chris Farley, Mitch Hedberg, River Phoenix, grunge singer Layne Staley and actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Experimentally, cocaine injections can be delivered to animals such as fruit flies to study the mechanisms of cocaine addiction. [52]


    The onset of cocaine's desired euphoric effects is fastest with inhaling cocaine and begins after 3–5 seconds. [11] In contrast, inhalation of cocaine leads to the shortest duration of its effects (5–15 minutes). [11] The two main ways cocaine is smoked are freebasing and by using cocaine which has been converted to smokable "crack cocaine". Cocaine is smoked by inhaling the vapor produced when solid cocaine is heated to the point that it sublimates. [53] In a 2000 Brookhaven National Laboratory medical department study, based on self-reports of 32 people who used cocaine who participated in the study,"peak high" was found at a mean of 1.4min +/- 0.5 minutes. [48] Pyrolysis products of cocaine that occur only when heated/smoked have been shown to change the effect profile, i.e. anhydroecgonine methyl ester, when co-administered with cocaine, increases the dopamine in CPu and NAc brain regions, and has M1- and M3- receptor affinity. [54]

    Smoking freebase or crack cocaine is most often accomplished using a pipe made from a small glass tube, often taken from "love roses", small glass tubes with a paper rose that are promoted as romantic gifts. [55] These are sometimes called "stems", "horns", "blasters" and "straight shooters". A small piece of clean heavy copper or occasionally stainless steel scouring pad – often called a "brillo" (actual Brillo Pads contain soap, and are not used) or "chore" (named for Chore Boy brand copper scouring pads) – serves as a reduction base and flow modulator in which the "rock" can be melted and boiled to vapor. Crack is smoked by placing it at the end of the pipe a flame held close to it produces vapor, which is then inhaled by the smoker. The effects felt almost immediately after smoking, are very intense and do not last long – usually 2 to 10 minutes. [56] When smoked, cocaine is sometimes combined with other drugs, such as cannabis, often rolled into a joint or blunt.

    Opioid involvement in cocaine overdose deaths. The green line is cocaine and any opioid (top line in 2017). The gray line is cocaine without any opioids (bottom line in 2017). The yellow line is cocaine and other synthetic opioids (middle line in 2017). [58]

    Delphic analysis regarding 20 popular recreational drugs based on expert opinion. Cocaine was ranked the 2nd in dependence and physical harm and 3rd in social harm. [59]


    Acute exposure to cocaine has many effects on humans, including euphoria, increases in heart rate and blood pressure, and increases in cortisol secretion from the adrenal gland. [60] In humans with acute exposure followed by continuous exposure to cocaine at a constant blood concentration, the acute tolerance to the chronotropic cardiac effects of cocaine begins after about 10 minutes, while acute tolerance to the euphoric effects of cocaine begins after about one hour. [61] [62] [63] [64] With excessive or prolonged use, the drug can cause itching, fast heart rate, hallucinations, and paranoid delusions or sensations of insects crawling on the skin. [65] Acute exposure may induce cardiac arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia, ventricular tachycardia, and ventricular fibrillation. Acute exposure may also lead to angina, heart attack, and congestive heart failure. [66] Cocaine overdose may cause seizures, abnormally high body temperature and a marked elevation of blood pressure, which can be life-threatening, [65] abnormal heart rhythms, [67] and death. [67] Anxiety, paranoia, and restlessness can also occur, especially during the comedown. With excessive dosage, tremors, convulsions and increased body temperature are observed. [39] Severe cardiac adverse events, particularly sudden cardiac death, become a serious risk at high doses due to cocaine's blocking effect on cardiac sodium channels. [67]


    Although it has been commonly asserted, the available evidence does not show that chronic use of cocaine is associated with broad cognitive deficits. [68] Some studies suggest people who use cocaine do not show normal age-related loss of striatal dopamine transporter (DAT) sites, suggesting cocaine has neuroprotective properties for dopamine neurons. [69] [70] Exposure to cocaine may lead to the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier. [71] [72]

    Physical side effects from chronic smoking of cocaine include coughing up blood, bronchospasm, itching, fever, diffuse alveolar infiltrates without effusions, pulmonary and systemic eosinophilia, chest pain, lung trauma, sore throat, asthma, hoarse voice, dyspnea (shortness of breath), and an aching, flu-like syndrome. Cocaine constricts blood vessels, dilates pupils, and increases body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. It can also cause headaches and gastrointestinal complications such as abdominal pain and nausea. A common but untrue belief is that the smoking of cocaine chemically breaks down tooth enamel and causes tooth decay. However, cocaine does often cause involuntary tooth grinding, known as bruxism, which can deteriorate tooth enamel and lead to gingivitis. [73] Additionally, stimulants like cocaine, methamphetamine, and even caffeine cause dehydration and dry mouth. Since saliva is an important mechanism in maintaining one's oral pH level, people who use cocaine over a long period of time who do not hydrate sufficiently may experience demineralization of their teeth due to the pH of the tooth surface dropping too low (below 5.5). Cocaine use also promotes the formation of blood clots. [11] This increase in blood clot formation is attributed to cocaine-associated increases in the activity of plasminogen activator inhibitor, and an increase in the number, activation, and aggregation of platelets. [11]

    Chronic intranasal usage can degrade the cartilage separating the nostrils (the septum nasi), leading eventually to its complete disappearance. Due to the absorption of the cocaine from cocaine hydrochloride, the remaining hydrochloride forms a dilute hydrochloric acid. [74]

    Illicitly-sold cocaine may be contaminated with levamisole. [75] Levamisole may accentuate cocaine's effects. [76] Levamisole-adulterated cocaine has been associated with autoimmune disease. [77]

    Cocaine use leads to an increased risk of hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes. [41] Cocaine use also increases the risk of having a heart attack. [78]


    Cocaine addiction occurs through ΔFosB overexpression in the nucleus accumbens, which results in altered transcriptional regulation in neurons within the nucleus accumbens.

    ΔFosB levels have been found to increase upon the use of cocaine. [79] Each subsequent dose of cocaine continues to increase ΔFosB levels with no ceiling of tolerance. Elevated levels of ΔFosB leads to increases in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels, which in turn increases the number of dendritic branches and spines present on neurons involved with the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex areas of the brain. This change can be identified rather quickly, and may be sustained weeks after the last dose of the drug.

    Transgenic mice exhibiting inducible expression of ΔFosB primarily in the nucleus accumbens and dorsal striatum exhibit sensitized behavioural responses to cocaine. [80] They self-administer cocaine at lower doses than control, [81] but have a greater likelihood of relapse when the drug is withheld. [81] [82] ΔFosB increases the expression of AMPA receptor subunit GluR2 [80] and also decreases expression of dynorphin, thereby enhancing sensitivity to reward. [82]

    Dependence and withdrawal

    Cocaine dependence develops after even brief periods of regular cocaine use [83] and produces a withdrawal state with emotional-motivational deficits upon cessation of cocaine use.

    During pregnancy

    Cocaine is known to have a number of deleterious effects during pregnancy. Pregnant people who use cocaine have an elevated risk of placental abruption, a condition where the placenta detaches from the uterus and causes bleeding. [84] Due to its vasoconstrictive and hypertensive effects, they are also at risk for hemorrhagic stroke and myocardial infarction. Cocaine is also teratogenic, meaning that it can cause birth defects and fetal malformations. In-utero exposure to cocaine is associated with behavioral abnormalities, cognitive impairment, cardiovascular malformations, intrauterine growth restriction, preterm birth, urinary tract malformations, and cleft lip and palate. [85]


    Persons with regular or problematic use of cocaine have a significantly higher rate of death, and are specifically at higher risk of traumatic deaths and deaths attributable to infectious disease. [86]


    The extent of absorption of cocaine into the systemic circulation after nasal insufflation is similar to that after oral ingestion. The rate of absorption after nasal insufflation is somewhat limited by cocaine-induced vasoconstriction of capillaries in the nasal mucosa. The onset of absorption after oral ingestion is delayed because cocaine is a weak base with a pKa of 8.6, and is thus in an ionized form that is poorly absorbed from the acidic stomach however, cocaine is well absorbed from the alkaline duodenum. [87] The rate and extent of absorption from inhalation of cocaine is similar or greater than with intravenous injection, as inhalation provides access directly to the pulmonary capillary bed. The delay in absorption after oral ingestion may account for the popular belief that cocaine bioavailability from the stomach is lower than after insufflation. Compared to ingestion, the faster absorption of insufflated cocaine results in quicker attainment of maximum drug effects. Snorting cocaine produces maximum physiological effects within 40 minutes and maximum psychotropic effects within 20 minutes. Physiological and psychotropic effects from nasally insufflated cocaine are sustained for approximately 40–60 minutes after the peak effects are attained. [88]

    Cocaine has a short elimination half life of 0.7-1.5 hours and is extensively metabolized by plasma) esterases but also by liver cholinesterases, with only about 1% excreted unchanged in the urine. [11] The metabolism is dominated by hydrolytic ester cleavage, so the eliminated metabolites consist mostly of benzoylecgonine (BE), the major metabolite, and other significant metabolites in lesser amounts such as ecgonine methyl ester (EME) and ecgonine. [89] [11] Further minor metabolites of cocaine include norcocaine, p-hydroxycocaine, m-hydroxycocaine, p-hydroxybenzoylecgonine (pOHBE), and m-hydroxybenzoylecgonine. [90] If consumed with alcohol, cocaine combines with alcohol in the liver to form cocaethylene. [11] Studies have suggested cocaethylene is both more euphoric, and has a higher cardiovascular toxicity than cocaine by itself. [11]

    Depending on liver and kidney function, cocaine metabolites are detectable in urine. Benzoylecgonine can be detected in urine within four hours after cocaine intake and remains detectable in concentrations greater than 150 ng/mL typically for up to eight days after cocaine is used. Detection of cocaine metabolites in hair is possible in regular users until the sections of hair grown during use are cut or fall out. [91]


    The pharmacodynamics of cocaine involve the complex relationships of neurotransmitters (inhibiting monoamine uptake in rats with ratios of about: serotonin:dopamine = 2:3, serotonin:norepinephrine = 2:5). [92] [15] The most extensively studied effect of cocaine on the central nervous system is the blockade of the dopamine transporter protein. Dopamine transmitter released during neural signaling is normally recycled via the transporter i.e., the transporter binds the transmitter and pumps it out of the synaptic cleft back into the presynaptic neuron, where it is taken up into storage vesicles. Cocaine binds tightly at the dopamine transporter forming a complex that blocks the transporter's function. The dopamine transporter can no longer perform its reuptake function, and thus dopamine accumulates in the synaptic cleft. The increased concentration of dopamine in the synapse activates post-synaptic dopamine receptors, which makes the drug rewarding and promotes the compulsive use of cocaine. [93]

    Cocaine affects certain serotonin (5-HT) receptors in particular, it has been shown to antagonize the 5-HT3 receptor, which is a ligand-gated ion channel. The overabundance of 5-HT3 receptors in cocaine conditioned rats display this trait, however the exact effect of 5-HT3 in this process is unclear. [94] The 5-HT2 receptor (particularly the subtypes 5-HT2A, 5-HT2B and 5-HT2C) are involved in the locomotor-activating effects of cocaine. [95]

    Cocaine has been demonstrated to bind as to directly stabilize the DAT transporter on the open outward-facing conformation. Further, cocaine binds in such a way as to inhibit a hydrogen bond innate to DAT. Cocaine's binding properties are such that it attaches so this hydrogen bond will not form and is blocked from formation due to the tightly locked orientation of the cocaine molecule. Research studies have suggested that the affinity for the transporter is not what is involved in the habituation of the substance so much as the conformation and binding properties to where and how on the transporter the molecule binds. [96]

    Sigma receptors are affected by cocaine, as cocaine functions as a sigma ligand agonist. [97] Further specific receptors it has been demonstrated to function on are NMDA and the D1 dopamine receptor. [98]

    Cocaine also blocks sodium channels, thereby interfering with the propagation of action potentials [99] [67] thus, like lignocaine and novocaine, it acts as a local anesthetic. It also functions on the binding sites to the dopamine and serotonin sodium dependent transport area as targets as separate mechanisms from its reuptake of those transporters unique to its local anesthetic value which makes it in a class of functionality different from both its own derived phenyltropanes analogues which have that removed. In addition to this cocaine has some target binding to the site of the Kappa-opioid receptor as well. [100] Cocaine also causes vasoconstriction, thus reducing bleeding during minor surgical procedures. Recent research points to an important role of circadian mechanisms [101] and clock genes [102] in behavioral actions of cocaine.

    Cocaine is known to suppress hunger and appetite by increasing co-localization of sigma σ1R receptors and ghrelin GHS-R1a receptors at the neuronal cell surface, thereby increasing ghrelin-mediated signaling of satiety. [103] and possibly via other effects on appetitive hormones. [104] Chronic users may lose their appetite and can experience severe malnutrition and significant weight loss.

    Cocaine effects, further, are shown to be potentiated for the user when used in conjunction with new surroundings and stimuli, and otherwise novel environs. [105]


    Cocaine in its purest form is a white, pearly product. Cocaine appearing in powder form is a salt, typically cocaine hydrochloride. Street cocaine is often adulterated or "cut" with talc, lactose, sucrose, glucose, mannitol, inositol, caffeine, procaine, phencyclidine, phenytoin, lignocaine, strychnine, amphetamine, or heroin. [106] [ dubious – discuss ]

    The color of "crack" cocaine depends upon several factors including the origin of the cocaine used, the method of preparation – with ammonia or baking soda – and the presence of impurities. It will generally range from white to a yellowish cream to a light brown. Its texture will also depend on the adulterants, origin, and processing of the powdered cocaine, and the method of converting the base. It ranges from a crumbly texture, sometimes extremely oily, to a hard, almost crystalline nature. [107]



    Cocaine – a tropane alkaloid – is a weakly alkaline compound, and can therefore combine with acidic compounds to form salts. The hydrochloride (HCl) salt of cocaine is by far the most commonly encountered, although the sulfate (SO4 2- ) and the nitrate (NO3 − ) salts are occasionally seen. Different salts dissolve to a greater or lesser extent in various solvents – the hydrochloride salt is polar in character and is quite soluble in water. [108]

    As the name implies, "freebase" is the base form of cocaine, as opposed to the salt form. It is practically insoluble in water whereas hydrochloride salt is water-soluble.

    Smoking freebase cocaine has the additional effect of releasing methylecgonidine into the user's system due to the pyrolysis of the substance (a side effect which insufflating or injecting powder cocaine does not create). Some research suggests that smoking freebase cocaine can be even more cardiotoxic than other routes of administration [109] because of methylecgonidine's effects on lung tissue [110] and liver tissue. [111]

    Pure cocaine is prepared by neutralizing its compounding salt with an alkaline solution, which will precipitate non-polar basic cocaine. It is further refined through aqueous-solvent liquid–liquid extraction.

    Crack cocaine

    Smoking or vaporizing cocaine and inhaling it into the lungs produces an almost immediate "high" that can be very powerful (and addicting) quite rapidly – this initial crescendo of stimulation is known as a "rush". While the stimulating effects may last for hours, the euphoric sensation is very brief, prompting the user to smoke more immediately.

    Powder cocaine (cocaine hydrochloride) must be heated to a high temperature (about 197 °C), and considerable decomposition/burning occurs at these high temperatures. This effectively destroys some of the cocaine and yields a sharp, acrid, and foul-tasting smoke. Cocaine base/crack can be smoked because it vaporizes with little or no decomposition at 98 °C (208 °F), [112] which is below the boiling point of water.

    Crack is a lower purity form of free-base cocaine that is usually produced by neutralization of cocaine hydrochloride with a solution of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3) and water, producing a very hard/brittle, off-white-to-brown colored, amorphous material that contains sodium carbonate, entrapped water, and other by-products as the main impurities. The origin of the name "crack" comes from the "crackling" sound (and hence the onomatopoeic moniker "crack") that is produced when the cocaine and its impurities (i.e. water, sodium bicarbonate) are heated past the point of vaporization. [113]

    Coca leaf infusions

    Coca herbal infusion (also referred to as coca tea) is used in coca-leaf producing countries much as any herbal medicinal infusion would elsewhere in the world. The free and legal commercialization of dried coca leaves under the form of filtration bags to be used as "coca tea" has been actively promoted by the governments of Peru and Bolivia for many years as a drink having medicinal powers. In Peru, the National Coca Company, a state-run corporation, sells cocaine-infused teas and other medicinal products and also exports leaves to the U.S. for medicinal use. [114]

    Visitors to the city of Cuzco in Peru, and La Paz in Bolivia are greeted with the offering of coca leaf infusions (prepared in teapots with whole coca leaves) purportedly to help the newly arrived traveler overcome the malaise of high altitude sickness. The effects of drinking coca tea are mild stimulation and mood lift. [115] It does not produce any significant numbing of the mouth nor does it give a rush like snorting cocaine. To prevent the demonization of this product, its promoters publicize the unproven concept that much of the effect of the ingestion of coca leaf infusion would come from the secondary alkaloids, as being not only quantitatively different from pure cocaine but also qualitatively different.

    It has been promoted as an adjuvant for the treatment of cocaine dependence. In one controversial study, coca leaf infusion was used—in addition to counseling—to treat 23 addicted coca-paste smokers in Lima, Peru. Relapses fell from an average of four times per month before treatment with coca tea to one during the treatment. The duration of abstinence increased from an average of 32 days before treatment to 217 days during treatment. These results suggest that the administration of coca leaf infusion plus counseling would be an effective method for preventing relapse during treatment for cocaine addiction.

    Importantly, these results also suggest strongly that the primary pharmacologically active metabolite in coca leaf infusions is actually cocaine and not the secondary alkaloids. [ improper synthesis? ] The cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine can be detected in the urine of people a few hours after drinking one cup of coca leaf infusion. [116]


    The first synthesis and elucidation of the cocaine molecule was by Richard Willstätter in 1898. [117] Willstätter's synthesis derived cocaine from tropinone. Since then, Robert Robinson and Edward Leete have made significant contributions to the mechanism of the synthesis. (-NO3)

    The additional carbon atoms required for the synthesis of cocaine are derived from acetyl-CoA, by addition of two acetyl-CoA units to the N-methyl-Δ 1 -pyrrolinium cation. [118] The first addition is a Mannich-like reaction with the enolate anion from acetyl-CoA acting as a nucleophile towards the pyrrolinium cation. The second addition occurs through a Claisen condensation. This produces a racemic mixture of the 2-substituted pyrrolidine, with the retention of the thioester from the Claisen condensation. In formation of tropinone from racemic ethyl [2,3-13C2]4(Nmethyl-2-pyrrolidinyl)-3-oxobutanoate there is no preference for either stereoisomer. [119] In the biosynthesis of cocaine, however, only the (S)-enantiomer can cyclize to form the tropane ring system of cocaine. The stereoselectivity of this reaction was further investigated through study of prochiral methylene hydrogen discrimination. [120] This is due to the extra chiral center at C-2. [121] This process occurs through an oxidation, which regenerates the pyrrolinium cation and formation of an enolate anion, and an intramolecular Mannich reaction. The tropane ring system undergoes hydrolysis, SAM-dependent methylation, and reduction via NADPH for the formation of methylecgonine. The benzoyl moiety required for the formation of the cocaine diester is synthesized from phenylalanine via cinnamic acid. [122] Benzoyl-CoA then combines the two units to form cocaine.

    N-methyl-pyrrolinium cation

    The biosynthesis begins with L-Glutamine, which is derived to L-ornithine in plants. The major contribution of L-ornithine and L-arginine as a precursor to the tropane ring was confirmed by Edward Leete. [123] Ornithine then undergoes a pyridoxal phosphate-dependent decarboxylation to form putrescine. In animals, however, the urea cycle derives putrescine from ornithine. L-ornithine is converted to L-arginine, [124] which is then decarboxylated via PLP to form agmatine. Hydrolysis of the imine derives N-carbamoylputrescine followed with hydrolysis of the urea to form putrescine. The separate pathways of converting ornithine to putrescine in plants and animals have converged. A SAM-dependent N-methylation of putrescine gives the N-methylputrescine product, which then undergoes oxidative deamination by the action of diamine oxidase to yield the aminoaldehyde. Schiff base formation confirms the biosynthesis of the N-methyl-Δ 1 -pyrrolinium cation.

    Robert Robinson's acetonedicarboxylate

    The biosynthesis of the tropane alkaloid, however, is still uncertain. Hemscheidt proposes that Robinson's acetonedicarboxylate emerges as a potential intermediate for this reaction. [125] Condensation of N-methylpyrrolinium and acetonedicarboxylate would generate the oxobutyrate. Decarboxylation leads to tropane alkaloid formation.

    Reduction of tropinone

    The reduction of tropinone is mediated by NADPH-dependent reductase enzymes, which have been characterized in multiple plant species. [126] These plant species all contain two types of the reductase enzymes, tropinone reductase I and tropinone reductase II. TRI produces tropine and TRII produces pseudotropine. Due to differing kinetic and pH/activity characteristics of the enzymes and by the 25-fold higher activity of TRI over TRII, the majority of the tropinone reduction is from TRI to form tropine. [127]

    Detection in body fluids

    Cocaine and its major metabolites may be quantified in blood, plasma, or urine to monitor for use, confirm a diagnosis of poisoning, or assist in the forensic investigation of a traffic or other criminal violation or sudden death. Most commercial cocaine immunoassay screening tests cross-react appreciably with the major cocaine metabolites, but chromatographic techniques can easily distinguish and separately measure each of these substances. When interpreting the results of a test, it is important to consider the cocaine usage history of the individual, since a chronic user can develop tolerance to doses that would incapacitate a cocaine-naive individual, and the chronic user often has high baseline values of the metabolites in his system. Cautious interpretation of testing results may allow a distinction between passive or active usage, and between smoking versus other routes of administration. [128]

    Field analysis

    Cocaine may be detected by law enforcement using the Scott reagent. The test can easily generate false positives for common substances and must be confirmed with a laboratory test. [129] [130]

    Approximate cocaine purity can be determined using 1 mL 2% cupric sulfate pentahydrate in dilute HCl, 1 mL 2% potassium thiocyanate and 2 mL of chloroform. The shade of brown shown by the chloroform is proportional to the cocaine content. This test is not cross sensitive to heroin, methamphetamine, benzocaine, procaine and a number of other drugs but other chemicals could cause false positives. [131]

    Global estimates of drug users in 2016
    (in millions of users) [132]
    Substance Best
    type stimulants
    34.16 13.42 55.24
    Cannabis 192.15 165.76 234.06
    Cocaine 18.20 13.87 22.85
    Ecstasy 20.57 8.99 32.34
    Opiates 19.38 13.80 26.15
    Opioids 34.26 27.01 44.54

    According to a 2016 United Nations report, England and Wales are the countries with the highest rate of cocaine usage (2.4% of adults in the previous year). [133] Other countries where the usage rate meets or exceeds 1.5% are Spain and Scotland (2.2%), the United States (2.1%), Australia (2.1%), Uruguay (1.8%), Brazil (1.75%), Chile (1.73%), the Netherlands (1.5%) and Ireland (1.5%). [133]


    Cocaine is the second most popular illegal recreational drug in Europe (behind cannabis). Since the mid-1990s, overall cocaine usage in Europe has been on the rise, but usage rates and attitudes tend to vary between countries. European countries with the highest usage rates are the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and the Republic of Ireland.

    Approximately 17 million Europeans (5.1%) have used cocaine at least once and 3.5 million (1.1%) in the last year. About 1.9% (2.3 million) of young adults (15–34 years old) have used cocaine in the last year (latest data available as of 2018). [134]

    Usage is particularly prevalent among this demographic: 4% to 7% of males have used cocaine in the last year in Spain, Denmark, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, and the United Kingdom. The ratio of male to female users is approximately 3.8:1, but this statistic varies from 1:1 to 13:1 depending on country. [135]

    In 2014 London had the highest amount of cocaine in its sewage out of 50 European cities. [136]

    United States

    Cocaine is the second most popular illegal recreational drug in the United States (behind cannabis) [137] and the U.S. is the world's largest consumer of cocaine. [138] Cocaine is commonly used in middle to upper-class communities and is known as a "rich man's drug". It is also popular amongst college students, as a party drug. A study throughout the entire United States has reported that around 48 percent of people who graduated from high school in 1979 have used cocaine recreationally during some point in their lifetime, compared to approximately 20 percent of students who graduated between the years of 1980 and 1995. [139] Its users span over different ages, races, and professions. In the 1970s and 1980s, the drug became particularly popular in the disco culture as cocaine usage was very common and popular in many discos such as Studio 54.


    For over a thousand years South American indigenous peoples have chewed the leaves of Erythroxylon coca, a plant that contains vital nutrients as well as numerous alkaloids, including cocaine. The coca leaf was, and still is, chewed almost universally by some indigenous communities. The remains of coca leaves have been found with ancient Peruvian mummies, and pottery from the time period depicts humans with bulged cheeks, indicating the presence of something on which they are chewing. [140] There is also evidence that these cultures used a mixture of coca leaves and saliva as an anesthetic for the performance of trepanation. [141]

    When the Spanish arrived in South America, most at first ignored aboriginal claims that the leaf gave them strength and energy, and declared the practice of chewing it the work of the Devil. [ citation needed ] But after discovering that these claims were true, they legalized and taxed the leaf, taking 10% off the value of each crop. [142] In 1569, Spanish botanist Nicolás Monardes described the indigenous peoples' practice of chewing a mixture of tobacco and coca leaves to induce "great contentment":

    When they wished to make themselves drunk and out of judgment they chewed a mixture of tobacco and coca leaves which make them go as they were out of their wittes. [143]

    Coca protects the body from many ailments, and our doctors use it in powdered form to reduce the swelling of wounds, to strengthen broken bones, to expel cold from the body or prevent it from entering, and to cure rotten wounds or sores that are full of maggots. And if it does so much for outward ailments, will not its singular virtue have even greater effect in the entrails of those who eat it? [144]

    Isolation and naming

    Although the stimulant and hunger-suppressant properties of coca had been known for many centuries, the isolation of the cocaine alkaloid was not achieved until 1855. Various European scientists had attempted to isolate cocaine, but none had been successful for two reasons: the knowledge of chemistry required was insufficient at the time, [ citation needed ] and contemporary conditions of sea-shipping from South America could degrade the cocaine in the plant samples available to European chemists. [ citation needed ]

    The cocaine alkaloid was first isolated by the German chemist Friedrich Gaedcke in 1855. Gaedcke named the alkaloid "erythroxyline", and published a description in the journal Archiv der Pharmazie. [145]

    In 1856, Friedrich Wöhler asked Dr. Carl Scherzer, a scientist aboard the Novara (an Austrian frigate sent by Emperor Franz Joseph to circle the globe), to bring him a large amount of coca leaves from South America. In 1859, the ship finished its travels and Wöhler received a trunk full of coca. Wöhler passed on the leaves to Albert Niemann, a PhD student at the University of Göttingen in Germany, who then developed an improved purification process. [146]

    Niemann described every step he took to isolate cocaine in his dissertation titled Über eine neue organische Base in den Cocablättern (On a New Organic Base in the Coca Leaves), which was published in 1860—it earned him his Ph.D. and is now in the British Library. He wrote of the alkaloid's "colourless transparent prisms" and said that "Its solutions have an alkaline reaction, a bitter taste, promote the flow of saliva and leave a peculiar numbness, followed by a sense of cold when applied to the tongue." Niemann named the alkaloid "cocaine" from "coca" (from Quechua "kuka") + suffix "ine". [146] [147] Because of its use as a local anesthetic, a suffix "-caine" was later extracted and used to form names of synthetic local anesthetics.

    The first synthesis and elucidation of the structure of the cocaine molecule was by Richard Willstätter in 1898. [117] It was the first biomimetic synthesis of an organic structure recorded in academic chemical literature. [148] [149] The synthesis started from tropinone, a related natural product and took five steps.


    With the discovery of this new alkaloid, Western medicine was quick to exploit the possible uses of this plant.

    In 1879, Vassili von Anrep, of the University of Würzburg, devised an experiment to demonstrate the analgesic properties of the newly discovered alkaloid. He prepared two separate jars, one containing a cocaine-salt solution, with the other containing merely saltwater. He then submerged a frog's legs into the two jars, one leg in the treatment and one in the control solution, and proceeded to stimulate the legs in several different ways. The leg that had been immersed in the cocaine solution reacted very differently from the leg that had been immersed in saltwater. [150]

    Karl Koller (a close associate of Sigmund Freud, who would write about cocaine later) experimented with cocaine for ophthalmic usage. In an infamous experiment in 1884, he experimented upon himself by applying a cocaine solution to his own eye and then pricking it with pins. His findings were presented to the Heidelberg Ophthalmological Society. Also in 1884, Jellinek demonstrated the effects of cocaine as a respiratory system anesthetic. In 1885, William Halsted demonstrated nerve-block anesthesia, [151] and James Leonard Corning demonstrated peridural anesthesia. [152] 1898 saw Heinrich Quincke use cocaine for spinal anesthesia.


    In 1859, an Italian doctor, Paolo Mantegazza, returned from Peru, where he had witnessed first-hand the use of coca by the local indigenous peoples. He proceeded to experiment on himself and upon his return to Milan, he wrote a paper in which he described the effects. In this paper, he declared coca and cocaine (at the time they were assumed to be the same) as being useful medicinally, in the treatment of "a furred tongue in the morning, flatulence, and whitening of the teeth."

    A chemist named Angelo Mariani who read Mantegazza's paper became immediately intrigued with coca and its economic potential. In 1863, Mariani started marketing a wine called Vin Mariani, which had been treated with coca leaves, to become cocawine. The ethanol in wine acted as a solvent and extracted the cocaine from the coca leaves, altering the drink's effect. It contained 6 mg cocaine per ounce of wine, but Vin Mariani which was to be exported contained 7.2 mg per ounce, to compete with the higher cocaine content of similar drinks in the United States. A "pinch of coca leaves" was included in John Styth Pemberton's original 1886 recipe for Coca-Cola, though the company began using decocainized leaves in 1906 when the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed.

    In 1879 cocaine began to be used to treat morphine addiction. Cocaine was introduced into clinical use as a local anesthetic in Germany in 1884, about the same time as Sigmund Freud published his work Über Coca, [154] in which he wrote that cocaine causes: [155]

    Exhilaration and lasting euphoria, which in no way differs from the normal euphoria of the healthy person. You perceive an increase of self-control and possess more vitality and capacity for work. In other words, you are simply normal, and it is soon hard to believe you are under the influence of any drug. Long intensive physical work is performed without any fatigue. This result is enjoyed without any of the unpleasant after-effects that follow exhilaration brought about by alcoholic beverages. No craving for the further use of cocaine appears after the first, or even after repeated taking of the drug. [156]

    In 1885 the U.S. manufacturer Parke-Davis sold cocaine in various forms, including cigarettes, powder, and even a cocaine mixture that could be injected directly into the user's veins with the included needle. The company promised that its cocaine products would "supply the place of food, make the coward brave, the silent eloquent and render the sufferer insensitive to pain."

    By the late Victorian era, cocaine use had appeared as a vice in literature. For example, it was injected by Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional Sherlock Holmes, generally to offset the boredom he felt when he was not working on a case.

    In early 20th-century Memphis, Tennessee, cocaine was sold in neighborhood drugstores on Beale Street, costing five or ten cents for a small boxful. Stevedores along the Mississippi River used the drug as a stimulant, and white employers encouraged its use by black laborers. [157]

    In 1909, Ernest Shackleton took "Forced March" brand cocaine tablets to Antarctica, as did Captain Scott a year later on his ill-fated journey to the South Pole. [158]

    During the mid-1940s, amidst World War II, cocaine was considered for inclusion as an ingredient of a future generation of 'pep pills' for the German military, code named D-IX. [159]

    In modern popular culture, references to cocaine are common. The drug has a glamorous image associated with the wealthy, famous and powerful, and is said to make users "feel rich and beautiful". [160] [161] [162] [163] In addition the pace of modern society − such as in finance − gives many the incentive to make use of the drug. [160]

    Modern usage

    In many countries, cocaine is a popular recreational drug. In the United States, the development of "crack" cocaine introduced the substance to a generally poorer inner-city market. The use of the powder form has stayed relatively constant, experiencing a new height of use during the late 1990s and early 2000s in the U.S., and has become much more popular in the last few years in the UK. [ citation needed ] [ when? ]

    Cocaine use is prevalent across all socioeconomic strata, including age, demographics, economic, social, political, religious, and livelihood. [164]

    The estimated U.S. cocaine market exceeded US$70 billion in street value for the year 2005, exceeding revenues by corporations such as Starbucks. [165] [166] Cocaine's status as a club drug shows its immense popularity among the "party crowd". [164]

    In 1995 the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) announced in a press release the publication of the results of the largest global study on cocaine use ever undertaken. However, a decision by an American representative in the World Health Assembly banned the publication of the study, because it seemed to make a case for the positive uses of cocaine. An excerpt of the report strongly conflicted with accepted paradigms, for example, "that occasional cocaine use does not typically lead to severe or even minor physical or social problems." In the sixth meeting of the B committee, the US representative threatened that "If World Health Organization activities relating to drugs failed to reinforce proven drug control approaches, funds for the relevant programs should be curtailed". This led to the decision to discontinue publication. A part of the study was recuperated and published in 2010, including profiles of cocaine use in 20 countries, but are unavailable as of 2015 [update] . [167]

    In October 2010 it was reported that the use of cocaine in Australia has doubled since monitoring began in 2003. [168]

    A problem with illegal cocaine use, especially in the higher volumes used to combat fatigue (rather than increase euphoria) by long-term users, is the risk of ill effects or damage caused by the compounds used in adulteration. Cutting or "stepping on" the drug is commonplace, using compounds which simulate ingestion effects, such as Novocain (procaine) producing temporary anesthesia, as many users believe a strong numbing effect is the result of strong and/or pure cocaine, ephedrine or similar stimulants that are to produce an increased heart rate. The normal adulterants for profit are inactive sugars, usually mannitol, creatine, or glucose, so introducing active adulterants gives the illusion of purity and to 'stretch' or make it so a dealer can sell more product than without the adulterants. [ citation needed ] The adulterant of sugars allows the dealer to sell the product for a higher price because of the illusion of purity and allows the sale of more of the product at that higher price, enabling dealers to significantly increase revenue with little additional cost for the adulterants. A 2007 study by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction showed that the purity levels for street purchased cocaine was often under 5% and on average under 50% pure. [169]

    Legal status

    The production, distribution, and sale of cocaine products is restricted (and illegal in most contexts) in most countries as regulated by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. In the United States the manufacture, importation, possession, and distribution of cocaine are additionally regulated by the 1970 Controlled Substances Act.

    Some countries, such as Peru and Bolivia, permit the cultivation of coca leaf for traditional consumption by the local indigenous population, but nevertheless, prohibit the production, sale, and consumption of cocaine. [170] The provisions as to how much a coca farmer can yield annually is protected by laws such as the Bolivian Cato accord. [171] In addition, some parts of Europe, the United States, and Australia allow processed cocaine for medicinal uses only.


    Cocaine is a Schedule 8 prohibited substance in Australia under the Poisons Standard (July 2016). [172] A schedule 8 substance is a controlled Drug – Substances which should be available for use but require the restriction of manufacture, supply, distribution, possession and use to reduce abuse, misuse, and physical or psychological dependence. [172]

    In Western Australia under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 4.0g of cocaine is the amount of prohibited drugs determining a court of trial, 2.0g is the amount of cocaine required for the presumption of intention to sell or supply and 28.0g is the amount of cocaine required for purposes of drug trafficking. [173]

    United States

    The US federal government instituted a national labeling requirement for cocaine and cocaine-containing products through the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. [174] The next important federal regulation was the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. While this act is often seen as the start of prohibition, the act itself was not actually a prohibition on cocaine, but instead set up a regulatory and licensing regime. [175] The Harrison Act did not recognize addiction as a treatable condition and therefore the therapeutic use of cocaine, heroin, or morphine to such individuals was outlawed – leading a 1915 editorial in the journal American Medicine to remark that the addict "is denied the medical care he urgently needs, open, above-board sources from which he formerly obtained his drug supply are closed to him, and he is driven to the underworld where he can get his drug, but of course, surreptitiously and in violation of the law." [176] The Harrison Act left manufacturers of cocaine untouched so long as they met certain purity and labeling standards. [177] Despite that cocaine was typically illegal to sell and legal outlets were rarer, the quantities of legal cocaine produced declined very little. [177] Legal cocaine quantities did not decrease until the Jones–Miller Act of 1922 put serious restrictions on cocaine manufactures. [177]


    In 2004, according to the United Nations, 589 tonnes of cocaine were seized globally by law enforcement authorities. Colombia seized 188 t, the United States 166 t, Europe 79 t, Peru 14 t, Bolivia 9 t, and the rest of the world 133 t. [178]


    Colombia is as of 2019 the world's largest cocaine producer, with production more than tripling since 2013. [179] [180] Three-quarters of the world's annual yield of cocaine has been produced in Colombia, both from cocaine base imported from Peru (primarily the Huallaga Valley) and Bolivia and from locally grown coca. There was a 28% increase in the amount of potentially harvestable coca plants which were grown in Colombia in 1998. This, combined with crop reductions in Bolivia and Peru, made Colombia the nation with the largest area of coca under cultivation after the mid-1990s. Coca grown for traditional purposes by indigenous communities, a use which is still present and is permitted by Colombian laws, only makes up a small fragment of total coca production, most of which is used for the illegal drug trade. [ citation needed ]

    An interview with a coca farmer published in 2003 described a mode of production by acid-base extraction that has changed little since 1905. Roughly 625 pounds (283 kg) of leaves were harvested per hectare, six times per year. The leaves were dried for half a day, then chopped into small pieces with a string trimmer and sprinkled with a small amount of powdered cement (replacing sodium carbonate from former times). Several hundred pounds of this mixture were soaked in 50 US gallons (190 L) of gasoline for a day, then the gasoline was removed and the leaves were pressed for the remaining liquid, after which they could be discarded. Then battery acid (weak sulfuric acid) was used, one bucket per 55 lb (25 kg) of leaves, to create a phase separation in which the cocaine free base in the gasoline was acidified and extracted into a few buckets of "murky-looking smelly liquid". Once powdered caustic soda was added to this, the cocaine precipitated and could be removed by filtration through a cloth. The resulting material, when dried, was termed pasta and sold by the farmer. The 3750 pound yearly harvest of leaves from a hectare produced 6 lb (2.5 kg) of pasta, approximately 40–60% cocaine. Repeated recrystallization from solvents, producing pasta lavada and eventually crystalline cocaine were performed at specialized laboratories after the sale. [181]

    Attempts to eradicate coca fields through the use of defoliants have devastated part of the farming economy in some coca-growing regions of Colombia, and strains appear to have been developed that are more resistant or immune to their use. Whether these strains are natural mutations or the product of human tampering is unclear. These strains have also shown to be more potent than those previously grown, increasing profits for the drug cartels responsible for the exporting of cocaine. Although production fell temporarily, coca crops rebounded in numerous smaller fields in Colombia, rather than the larger plantations. [ citation needed ]

    The cultivation of coca has become an attractive economic decision for many growers due to the combination of several factors, including the lack of other employment alternatives, the lower profitability of alternative crops in official crop substitution programs, the eradication-related damages to non-drug farms, the spread of new strains of the coca plant due to persistent worldwide demand. [ citation needed ]

    Estimated Andean region coca cultivation and potential pure cocaine production [182]
    2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
    Net cultivation km 2 (sq mi) 1,875 (724) 2,218 (856) 2,007.5 (775.1) 1,663 (642) 1,662 (642)
    Potential pure cocaine production (tonnes) 770 925 830 680 645

    The latest estimate provided by the U.S. authorities on the annual production of cocaine in Colombia refers to 290 metric tons. As of the end of 2011, the seizure operations of Colombian cocaine carried out in different countries have totaled 351.8 metric tons of cocaine, i.e. 121.3% of Colombia's annual production according to the U.S. Department of State's estimates. [183] [184]


    Synthetic cocaine would be highly desirable to the illegal drug industry as it would eliminate the high visibility and low reliability of offshore sources and international smuggling, replacing them with clandestine domestic laboratories, as are common for illicit methamphetamine. However, natural cocaine remains the lowest cost and highest quality supply of cocaine. Actual full synthesis of cocaine is rarely done. Formation of inactive stereoisomers (cocaine has 4 chiral centres – 1R, 2R, 3S, and 5S, 2 of them dependent, hence a total potential of 8 possible stereoisomers) plus synthetic by-products limits the yield and purity. [ citation needed ]

    Trafficking and distribution

    Organized criminal gangs operating on a large scale dominate the cocaine trade. Most cocaine is grown and processed in South America, particularly in Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, and smuggled into the United States and Europe, the United States being the world's largest consumer of cocaine, [138] where it is sold at huge markups usually in the US at $80–120 for 1 gram, and $250–300 for 3.5 grams ( 1 / 8 of an ounce, or an "eight ball"). [185]

    Caribbean and Mexican routes

    The primary cocaine importation points in the United States have been in Arizona, southern California, southern Florida, and Texas. Typically, land vehicles are driven across the U.S.–Mexico border. Sixty-five percent of cocaine enters the United States through Mexico, and the vast majority of the rest enters through Florida. [186] [ page needed ] As of 2015 [update] , the Sinaloa Cartel is the most active drug cartel involved in smuggling illicit drugs like cocaine into the United States and trafficking them throughout the United States. [187]

    Cocaine traffickers from Colombia and Mexico have established a labyrinth of smuggling routes throughout the Caribbean, the Bahama Island chain, and South Florida. They often hire traffickers from Mexico or the Dominican Republic to transport the drug using a variety of smuggling techniques to U.S. markets. These include airdrops of 500 to 700 kg (1,100 to 1,500 lb) in the Bahama Islands or off the coast of Puerto Rico, mid-ocean boat-to-boat transfers of 500 to 2,000 kg (1,100 to 4,400 lb), and the commercial shipment of tonnes of cocaine through the port of Miami. [ citation needed ]

    Chilean route

    Another route of cocaine traffic goes through Chile, which is primarily used for cocaine produced in Bolivia since the nearest seaports lie in northern Chile. The arid Bolivia–Chile border is easily crossed by 4×4 vehicles that then head to the seaports of Iquique and Antofagasta. While the price of cocaine is higher in Chile than in Peru and Bolivia, the final destination is usually Europe, especially Spain where drug dealing networks exist among South American immigrants. [ citation needed ]


    Cocaine is also carried in small, concealed, kilogram quantities across the border by couriers known as "mules" (or "mulas"), who cross a border either legally, for example, through a port or airport, or illegally elsewhere. The drugs may be strapped to the waist or legs or hidden in bags, or hidden in the body. If the mule gets through without being caught, the gangs will reap most of the profits. If he or she is caught, however, gangs will sever all links and the mule will usually stand trial for trafficking alone. [ citation needed ]

    Bulk cargo ships are also used to smuggle cocaine to staging sites in the western Caribbean–Gulf of Mexico area. These vessels are typically 150–250-foot (50–80 m) coastal freighters that carry an average cocaine load of approximately 2.5 tonnes. Commercial fishing vessels are also used for smuggling operations. In areas with a high volume of recreational traffic, smugglers use the same types of vessels, such as go-fast boats, like those used by the local populations. [ citation needed ]

    Sophisticated drug subs are the latest tool drug runners are using to bring cocaine north from Colombia, it was reported on 20 March 2008. Although the vessels were once viewed as a quirky sideshow in the drug war, they are becoming faster, more seaworthy, and capable of carrying bigger loads of drugs than earlier models, according to those charged with catching them. [188]

    Sales to consumers

    Cocaine is readily available in all major countries' metropolitan areas. According to the Summer 1998 Pulse Check, published by the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, cocaine use had stabilized across the country, with a few increases reported in San Diego, Bridgeport, Miami, and Boston. In the West, cocaine usage was lower, which was thought to be due to a switch to methamphetamine among some users methamphetamine is cheaper, three and a half times more powerful, and lasts 12–24 times longer with each dose. [189] [190] Nevertheless, the number of cocaine users remain high, with a large concentration among urban youth.

    In addition to the amounts previously mentioned, cocaine can be sold in "bill sizes": As of 2007 [update] for example, $10 might purchase a "dime bag", a very small amount (0.1–0.15 g) of cocaine. These amounts and prices are very popular among young people because they are inexpensive and easily concealed on one's body. Quality and price can vary dramatically depending on supply and demand, and on geographic region. [191]

    In 2008, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction reports that the typical retail price of cocaine varied between €50 and €75 per gram in most European countries, although Cyprus, Romania, Sweden, and Turkey reported much higher values. [192]


    World annual cocaine consumption, as of 2000, stood at around 600 tonnes, with the United States consuming around 300 t, 50% of the total, Europe about 150 t, 25% of the total, and the rest of the world the remaining 150 t or 25%. [193] It is estimated that 1.5 million people in the United States used cocaine in 2010 down from 2.4 million in 2006. [11] Conversely, cocaine use appears to be increasing in Europe with the highest prevalences in Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Ireland. [11]

    The 2010 UN World Drug Report concluded that "it appears that the North American cocaine market has declined in value from US$47 billion in 1998 to US$38 billion in 2008. Between 2006 and 2008, the value of the market remained basically stable". [194]

    In 2005, researchers proposed the use of cocaine in conjunction with phenylephrine administered in the form of an eye drop as a diagnostic test for Parkinson's disease. [195]

    The Grade II* listed Harwich Redoubt was built in 1808–1810 to defend the port of Harwich against a possible Napoleonic invasion. After 1910, the Harwich Redoubt became barrack accommodation, falling into disrepair from the 1920s.

    It was used during the Second World War for minor military purposes and after the war was transferred to the Civil Defence, who used the fort for atomic exercises until their disbandment.

    The Redoubt is suffering the effect of leaks with significant loss to the inner and outer moat walls. Internally there are significant signs of plant growth as a result of failing roof coverings.

    The Redoubt is being restored by the Harwich Society – it's believed to be the largest ancient monument in the country being restored by a private group.

    Stott Park Bobbin Mill

    Located next to Lake Windermere in Cumbria, Stott Park was built in 1835 and once produced 250,000 wooden bobbins, which held yarn or thread and were used in the weaving and spinning industries, every week. It is now the only working bobbin mill left in the Lake District, and visitors can still see the production process take place on the original belt-driven machinery &ndash the mill is almost identical to how it looked 100 years ago. Guided tours, which last for around 45 minutes, begin at half-past the hour, and visitors can buy a bobbin made in the mill in the gift shop.

    A hands-on family trail gives children the chance to dress up and imagine what working at the mill, which once employed 250 men and boys, would have been like. Kids can also look around the woodland surrounding the mill and there are picnic tables and a small play area.

    If you're not already a member you can join for just £27 a year.

    Start making the most of your free time with great savings for people working in the civil service and public sector and their families, including the NHS and emergency services, local government, council and postal workers. Find out more about how to join Boundless today.