At the time the Sherlock Holmes stories were first written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the detective’s street address of 221B Baker St. was the literary equivalent of a “555” phone number in a movie today. In other words, it didn’t exist; even then, creators presumably knew that not all their fans had a grasp on reality, and might come calling on a fictional character.
In the 1930s, however, the street numbering changed, and the address became real. And yes, as you’d expect, people have kept writing letters, only now they actually get delivered. So what happens to them? It’s not quite a mystery to try every neuron of Holmes’ intellect, but it was certainly something we didn’t know until now. But thanks to the YouTube channel matter-of-factly known as “Today I Found Out,” well, today we…you know.
Fittingly, it’s not quite as simple as “there’s this guy who gets them.” There’s a bank involved, a museum, a power struggle, and a London government that frankly never wanted to be bothered with the whole thing. If you were hoping Benedict Cumberbatch would write back to you, forget it. But as we learn, responses of a sort are not entirely out of the question. What kind? You’ll have to watch the video and see.
So now that that’s solved, I want to know what happens when you write to Homer Simpson at 742 Evergreen Terrace in Springfield. Any state.
What would you ask Sherlock Holmes if you could write to him? Write it to us in comments instead.