Study in Survival, A

Study in Survival, A

Conan Doyle Solves the Final Problem

From Arthur Conan Doyle comes a unique form of evidence to show that we, like Sherlock Holmes, can never die. Arthur Conan Doyle died in 1930 but returns to offer evidence for survival beyond the grave.


Here is dramatic new evidence for the survival of our individual personalities after death. Providing this is an astonishing series of recent communications from a man who died in 1930 and whose mission, when alive, was to bring just such evidence to the notice of the widest possible audience - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This study in survival describes in vivid detail the intriguing twists and turns of an investigation worthy of the immortal Sherlock Holmes himself, whose legendary return from apparent death uncannily foreshadows that of his famous creator. The novel and ingenious method of communication and actual content of many of the messages are shown to be characteristic of Sir Arthur, reflecting his colourful personality, and demonstrating paranormal knowledge of major news events. Evidence steadily mounts with Conan Doyles last surviving direct descendant revealing hitherto undisclosed information and playing a vital role in the unfolding story. Readers are invited to assess for themselves the case for survival that is presented in this book, and to reflect on its wider spiritual and religious implications.


This is one of the most fascinating books bearing on the survival question to be published in the last 10 years.... This book, written by a university teacher, offers a completely novel method of communication.... There are many striking cases in the book where questions are answered in a very direct manner.... The reader will want to know what proportion of 'hits' are involved - around 50%, which is pretty astonishing.... Towards the end of the book, it becomes apparent that Conan Doyle seems to be playing a more active role in shaping of the book, consistent with his passion for spiritualism while he was alive. No book can offer knockdown proof of survival, but this study makes a very persuasive case for survival of consciousness over a long period. ~ David Lorimer, Network Review, Journal of the Scientific and Medical Network

What a delightful little volume! Not so much the New-Age-Get-In-Touch-With-Your-Inner-Crystal-Angel section of your local occult bookstore; more the Tweedy Tea-In-An-English-Cottage-Garden-With-Madame-Arcati-and-the-Reverend segment. Conan Doyle was a true Victorian/Edwardian Renaissance Man of Action and Letters and Sport and everything else type and appears to have had the wonderful idea of communicating with a sympatico soul down on the Mundane Plane here in order to carry on his truly noble self appointed task of proving Life after Death to the mass of ordinary people. What better choice could he have made than a retired Doctor of Philosophy with a long career of Education behind him and a list of published tomes with titles like `Improving Nature? The science and ethics of genetic engineering' and `Can we teach Children to be Good? Basic issues in moral, personal and social education.' Conan Doyle appears to have risked a veritable fortune, possibly some years of lifespan, even friendship and reputation in the cause of his mission to prove survival, but what an excellent cause. There is no goodness inherent in allowing people to wonder whether their beloved dead, people or animals, are utterly extinct and that they will never meet them again, and then will become extinct forever themselves. No ennobling suffering there. So, via nearly six feet of bookshelf volume (the Victorians crammed more writings and actions into their lives than we could do in several) the contacts start with startling reassurances about the fate of deceased pets, cover every topic from the current state of English Cricket, Tony Blair (a particularly dazzling assessment here) and so on to the more profound questions of Life and Death. Conan Doyle, as his indomitable daughter(Commander of the WRAF, ADC to the Queen,, OBE, DBE etc) pointed out to the author, brought his children up to stand on their own two feet. The quest for the proof of Survival is not an escape option. Towards the end of the book, Straughan writes ` His ambitious aim was to use his fame . . to bring his message of hope and consolation to as many people as possible across the world, always backed by the evidence of survival which he saw as conclusive. If faced with the objection that `mere survival is not enough', he would probably have replied, `No doubt, but we shan't get much further without it!' With its very British concern for the welfare of animals, too, this is all of a piece - a sort of innately civilised sub-sub genre, along with Muriel Lady Dowding's supernatural classic `Beauty, Not the Beast.' This got me onto reading the Holmes oeuvre very late on, too, for which unalloyed pleasure, many thanks. ~ Guy Reid-Brown, Amazon

Overall, this was a very interesting and intriguing read. ~ Michael Tymn, Journal of Spirituality and Paranormal Studies

A Study in Survival puts forward a very coherent account of Roger Straughan’s experiences. But for me, a real gem came in the last chapter The Wider Picture: Survival and Beyond. As a retired university teacher of philosophy, Roger sketches his superb views on Conan Doyle’s “vital message”. From his original position of skepticism, he clearly states that the evidences presented to him convinced him that death is not the end. Having established this, he then considers the question “So what?” Is survival good news? And if it doesn’t look so rosey, how might it change one’s outlook – so that one may nurture one’s own soul-being in preparedness for the transition from a material world into the world of spirit. He introduces thought provoking matters such as the nature of reality and the Ultimate Reality – and leaves the reader to ponder their own religious and philosophical views. ~ Garth Willey, Editor, WOODLAND WAY, A Path to Spiritual Enlightenment

How many of us have opened a book at random and found therein a meaningful message which has, perhaps, ‘spoken to our condition’ at that time? Certainly some people will have had this happen to them, and it may have meant something quite profound or even enlightening. But I feel that very few will have received messages similar to those which came to Roger Straughan, the author of this fascinating book. Roger is a Quaker, a writer with many books to his name, a doctor of philosophy, teacher and lecturer, and a long-time researcher into the paranormal. He is a man of integrity and not likely to succumb to anything ‘woolly’ or ‘airy-fairy’! So when he eventually realised, after much heart-searching and deliberation, that he was in direct spiritual contact with a well-known author, who had died eleven years before Roger was born, it took quite a bit of accepting on his part. For anyone seriously wondering about the possibility of life after death, here is positive and gentle proof. And there is an extensive reference section which adds to this proof. ~ Rosalind Smith, Author and editor of Towards Wholeness

It first has to be said that this book is a thoroughly good read! Roger is a professional, and the narrative is ecxellent, the style fluent and the detail fascinating. For sheer enjoyment, read this book. ~ Colum Hayward, Stella Polaris

The reader will find this book a most enjoyable conundrum. ~ Leslie Price, Light

This is an enjoyable and, at the same time, very worthwhile book.  The author's easy style of writing and gentle humour carry the story forward smoothly, while deepening one's understanding of the many-faceted talents of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle..... His aim was to overcome the scientific materialism of the culture of his time, and it is obvious that the same need is prevalent today, and that Roger Straughan's motives and testament are obviously as altruistic..... In the text itself there are references to several classic psychical research studies, reports and authorities, and the book list at the end offers rich reading for those coming newly to the subject.

~ Barbara Bunce, Vice President of the Churches' Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies, Quarterly Review, Autumn 2010, CFPSS

As a contribution to the question of human survival beyond bodily death, Roger Straughan's extraordinary book is both novel and perplexing.....this remarkable and charming book is in no sense a failure. ~ Editor, The Christian Parapsychologist

Roger gives us a real page turner in his bringing together of a series of significant events in his personal life, and his ongoing research into the matter of post-mortem survival.....  Do read this book which not only has the appeal of a whodunit, but also adds significance to the ongoing enterprise of survival research.

~ Revd. Kevin Tingay, Churches' Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies, Recommended Recent Books

I thoroughly recommend this book. It tells an intriguing story and ends with thoughtful and thought-provoking reflections on its wider implications.

I enjoyed the book for many reasons. It was easy to put myself in the author's shoes and imagine having his reactions to and thoughts about the coincidences or more-than-coincidences he describes. The book is a page-turner: I wanted to know what happened next as the story unfolded, to interpret the quoted passages for myself and to see where the author's interpretations and questions were going to lead him. It was interesting to learn more about the life and beliefs of Arthur Conan Doyle (ADC) whom I have particularly admired since reading Arthur and George. And If ACD was really communicating in the way suggested, then the thought of this was quite appealing up to a point: the messages were meant to be helpful and, except at the very beginning, they were only given when sought; and there was nothing alarming or ridiculous-seeming about the method of communicating - unlike for example in poltergeist cases or séances where objects appearing from nowhere etc. are interpreted as the work of discarnate beings.

I qualified my last reason by saying `up to a point'. That is because it was one thing for the author to ask ADC to answer a question in his mind or comment on a particular matter he wanted his views on, but another for ADC (if this was what happened) to take it upon himself at the beginning to read the author' mind uninvited and direct his arm and gaze etc. This is an example of the `invasion of privacy' reason many of us have for preferring not to believe that anyone - dead or alive - can read our minds or guide our actions just because they choose to.

If the author has not forgotten quite how many misses he had compared with hits, or in other ways misled the reader, then he makes a strong case for concluding that the surviving personality of ACD has been communicating with him via his books. But to do this, the disembodied ACD would not only have had to know what questions and concerns were in the author's mind; he would also have to be able to `see' the arrangement of all his books on the author's shelves, to `see', or know through extraordinary memory recall, every line of every page in these books, and then somehow be able to lead the author to his choice of book, page and lines.

The author concludes that it is more likely that ACD was able to do these things than that the number of hits in his readings could be accounted for by coincidence or unconscious memory and selection. Maybe - what about other possible explanations that don't depend on the idea of survival? I am not at all sure myself what to make of Roger Straughan's story but am very pleased to have read it and will almost certainly want to read it again.


~ Ted Dixon, SPR member, Amazon review

(Extract from Foreword): 'This remarkable and challenging book..... When daring authors like Roger publish a book like this, they do so with the hope that others will continue where they left off. This book is not simply Roger's research journey; it points the way to exciting new possibilities for future discovery. What you are about to read is a great adventure.' ~ Prof. Gary Schwartz, Professor of Psychology, Surgery, Medicine, Neurology, and Psychiatry, University of Arizona. Authority on mediumship and survival research

(Extract from Foreword) I have very much enjoyed Roger's book not only for its theme and content but also for its clearly written and logical deductive style - as one would expect from a philosopher. It also displays an engaging sense of humour. I therefore can recommend it whole-heartedly as an intriguing good read. ~ Prof. Archie Roy, authority on survival and afterlife issues; established author; past President of the Society for Psychical Research

All those interested in psychical research or in the life and work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will find this a fascinating book. It is of course for the reader to decide whether or not the spirit of Conan Doyle was behind the extraordinary series of literary coincidences that Roger Straughan describes, but there is no doubt of the author's transparent sincerity in presenting his material, or of the critical scrutiny that, as a professional philosopher, he brings to bear upon it. ~ Professor David Fontana, former President of the Society for Psychical Research, and author of Is There an Afterlife?

Here's a mystery which might puzzle even Sherlock Holmes - how could an English philosophy lecturer receive meaningful answers in what psychical researchers call book tests, using only a set of books by and about Holmes's creator, Arthur Conan Doyle. This is an engaging personal story which begins with the loss of a family dog, and ends by raising the astounding possibility that Conan Doyle himself, who sought survival evidence for many years, might be implicated in an unusual attempt to convey his own survival. ~ Leslie Price, founder of Psy-pioneer (electronic journal) and authority on the history of psychical reearch and spiritualism

Whether you are a believer or not, I have no problem recommending this amazing book - it does ask questions. ~ Brian Pugh, author and Curator of the Conan Doyle Establishment

This is a well-written, courageous book. Arthur Conan Doyle's conviction that the soul survives death, and the energy and intensity of his spiritualist campaign should make it no great surprise that he would still try to carry this on even into modern times. His younger daughter, Dame Jean Conan Doyle, was clearly convinced of Dr. Straughan's unusual powers of communication with her father. ~ Georgina Doyle, widow of Conan Doyle's nephew, Brigadier John Doyle

Sherlock Holmes once cautioned that The world is big enough for us. No ghosts need apply. However if he could consider all the 'clues' in A Study in Survival even the master detective himself might deduce that his creator could still be communicating from beyond the grave. This is a wonderful book that every Sherlockian/Doyle devotee should ponder as a three-pipe problem! ~ Robert J Stek, Ph.D., University of Arizona; investitured member of the Baker Street Irregulars

Roger Straughan
Roger Straughan Roger Straughan’s career has been spent teaching in schools, colleges and universities, culminating in his holding the post of Reade...
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