Who knew that there may actually be a Sherlock Holmes Separation Anxiety Society. Unofficially, they’ve been dealing with the separation for 125 years as opposed to most of us that have been at it for only a little over 2 years now, ever since the premiere of the BBC’s Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Officially, they are called the Sherlock Holmes Society with a current membership of almost 1,200 people from all over the world and that they recently traveled to Reichenbach Falls, Switzerland.
Many of them spend their free time re-enacting the key moments of the world’s most famous consulting detective’s life. Their most recent travels, in September of this year, took them to Reichenbach Falls, Switzerland. As Sherlock fans worldwide are keenly aware, there is no moment more key than, perhaps, the most famous scene in the Sherlock Holmes stories which occurs in Switzerland, where Holmes fans gather to re-enact the detective’s tussle with his nemesis, Moriarty.
This past September, BBC News followed over 70 ‘fans’ of Sherlock Holmes who went on an annual pilgrimage to Meiringen in Switzerland, home of the Reichenbach Falls, and scene of the final struggle between Sherlock Holmes and his arch enemy, Professor James Moriarty.
“I think they are marvelous, and slightly bonkers,” says British journalist David Leask, who went along on the pilgrimage. “These are serious people who are able to really let their hair down. Essentially, they are playing a game, they’re being silly, they are having fun like children. Yet these are barristers, architects, business people, doing this in their spare time just for the sheer love of silliness. We could all learn something from that.”
The highlight of this love of silliness is the re-enactment of the infamous moment when Sherlock Holmes meets his nemesis, Professor Moriarty, at the Reichenbach waterfalls. After a violent struggle, both men apparently disappear. After the final scene of “The Final Problem” is re-enacted, the pilgrims treat themselves to some Swiss cheese and wine, enjoying the autumn sunshine and the stunning alpine scenery.
For Moriarty character Peter Horrocks, it’s a dream holiday. ”This holiday has everything,” he says. “It has the beauty of the Swiss mountains and, it has the background of the Sherlock Holmes stories.”
Remembering that it was in the BBC’s 21st century Sherlock that Holmes fell from the roof of St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the final episode of series 2, “The Reichenbach Fall”, I wonder when the pilgrimage to St Barts will be this year? Although one has to wonder if Sherlock Holmes purists are as accepting of the 21st century version….