I Believe in Sherlock Holmes

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Date Started: January 15, 2012
Related: Frodo Lives!, Star Trek Lives!
See Also: Sherlock (BBC), Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock character), Jim Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes
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I Believe in Sherlock Holmes is a Sherlock meme that developed shortly after the second series finale, "The Reichenbach Fall", first aired on January 15, 2012. It is a reference to the ending of the episode where Sherlock's credibility is questioned by the media. It was started by a Swedish fan of the show, Mika Hallor, who was then known as Earl Foolish on Tumblr. Hallor proposed starting a movement supporting Sherlock Holmes, as if fans lived within the show's universe:


Imagine being a Sherlock fan in the show universe. You’ve been following John’s blog, stalking Sherlock a bit at crime scenes, try to be within earshot so you can hear him do his deductions. You’ve got cutouts from the papers. Then the news reach you. What do you do? Some would believe the papers, but not everyone would buy it. And they would do what they could to clear his name.

This is my take on what I would like to propose as a tribute campaign, to show our love and support. Yes, in real life. We put ourselves in the mindset of the in-show fans, and we take a Bad Wolf/Who Killed Amanda Palmer twist on it. Guerilla art/campaigning...

Let’s scribble on cubicle doors, back of bus seats, lamp posts. I won’t tell anyone to do anything illegal, but graffiti like in the pictures would be amazing. Paint on t-shirts, make buttons, go to the beach and write in the sand. Take photos of what you’ve done, put on twitter or tumblr and tag it![1]

The post went viral quickly, garnering more than 10,000 responses on Tumblr within the first few days[2]. Although it originated and has been most active on Tumblr, it quickly spread to various websites such as Twitter, LiveJournal, and into RL: fans have created graphics and flyers, painted on walls, printed t-shirts etc. saying "I believe in Sherlock Holmes" or one of its variations. The #BelieveInSherlock Tumblr has a Google map on which fans could mark the locations where they had posted flyers and graphics together.


Common variations of the meme include:

  • Moriarty was Real
  • I Believe in Jim Moriarty
  • Richard Brook is a Fraud
  • Fighting John Watson's War
  • #BelieveInSherlock

A tongue-in-cheek counter to the meme is "Richard Brook is Innocent," or "I Believe in Richard Brook," suggesting that the person believes that Sherlock Holmes is a fraud just as Moriarty made him appear to be.

Similarities with Past Holmes Fandom

In her blog post "The Affair of the Black Armbands" Diane Duane pointed out the similarities between the current Holmes movement to how Victorians reacted in the late 1800s when Holmes was first killed off by Arthur Conan Doyle:

"The public responded with a massive uproar that amazed everybody, especially Doyle. Twenty thousand people canceled their subscriptions to the Strand. Hate mail arrived at the magazine’s editorial offices by the sackload. Thousands of people wrote Doyle directly, begging him to reverse Holmes’s death. Many people took to wearing black armbands in the street, in mourning for Sherlock Holmes. The death of the world’s first consulting detective was taken up by the wire services and reported all over the world as front-page news. Obituaries for Holmes appeared everywhere. Petitions were signed and “Keep Holmes Alive” clubs were formed. Not since the demise of Dickens’ Little Nell had a literary death had such powerful effect right across the whole language area of its readership, and not since then had a fandom made itself so obvious in its grief. The like would not be seen again until the deaths of Spock and Dumbledore."[3]



Meta/Further Reading


  1. ^ |"So I guess you all have heard/read/seen the news"by Earl Foolish, dated January 16, 2012.
  2. ^ | "Mika Hallor from Sweden started the movement #believeinsherlock"by Mattias Boström, dated March 11, 2012.
  3. ^ "The Affair of the Black Armbands" by Diane Duane, dated January 17, 2012.