Historical Figures Who May Have Never Existed

Sherlock Holmes

It doesn’t take the world’s greatest detective to deduce that Sherlock Holmes never existed. The fictional private detective made his first appearance in text in 1887, and has seen countless revisions since then. The reimagining of the Sherlock — while still staying true to the original works — seems to have paid off as he remains a popular fictional character to this day. Some of the most famous actors in all of Hollywood have taken on the role of Sherlock Holmes over the years — including Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Will Ferrell, Peter Cushing, Ian McKellan, and Christopher Lee.

Sherlock Holmes wasn’t the first ever detective depicted in fictional works, but he is arguably the most well-known. Over the years, Holmes has been given mounds of backstory that has interwoven with the character. In reality, author Conan Doyle based the character off of a surgeon named Joseph Bell. Holmes may be based off a real person, but it’s clear that he does not exist in real life. It’s elementary, my dear Watson!

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