What can you learn from Sherlock Holmes to use in an escape room?

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What can you learn from Sherlock Holmes to use in an escape room?

Without a doubt, Sherlock Holmes is the symbol of intelligent investigation, the high-standard model of the detectives, the predecessor of Poirot, Miss Marple, Murdock and let’s say of Mr. Bond. His cloak, deerstalker cap and pipe had become symbols of the detectives. What had been his secret of success? What kind of tools and methods had he applied to reveal the darkest mysteries? If he lived today, how much time would he need to escape from an escape room? Or, could we benefit from his toolbar to find the exit in an escape game? Let’s have a closer look at the Holmes’ style!

Detective smoking pipes at the white door in Sherlock Holmes style

The Holmes-story.

Sherlock Holmes has been with us from 1887 thanks to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who had created his well-mannered, super-intelligent, profound character. He was the detective in 4 books, 56 novels of Sir Doyle and some more short stories from the pens of other authors. 
Sherlock Holmes was a Scottish doctor, born on the 6th of January, 1854. His career as a well-known detective had been induced by the father of one of his classmates from the university. Followed by his graduation, he took a job as a detective consultant in London. After some years, he had become an independent detective and opened his private investigator office at Baker Street 221B. That place served even as a homeplace for him and his friend, Mr. Watson. Their cooperation and friendship were based on mutual respect, loyalty, and values. Despite numerous adventures and risky situations, the greatest detective could reach retirement age later in his life.

The felonies, which Mr. Holmes had investigated, occurred at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. However, the nature of today’s crimes are different; Sherlock Holmes' methods are still valued. Especially in an escape room, where the IQ is ranked higher than the physical power when it's about finding the way out.

Mr. Holmes was well-known for his observing methods, great ability for the deduction, accuracy, his smoky pipes, and … his best friend, Mr. Watson. The detective's power was hidden in his grey matter rather than in his muscles. However, he is a non-real person; he has become an exemplary model for generations of kids and young people; he was somebody for whom there was no mission impossible! 

 The desk of a detective with a violin, magnifier, compass, papers, and pipes from the 19th century

Escape in Scottish style.

We may not become real-life detectives (but you never know!). Nevertheless, in an escape room, Sherlock Holmes could inspire us. The aim of each escape game is to sort out the exit code of the room by solving logical, tricky, IQ-required puzzles. What had Mr. Holmes done all his life long? He had analyzed the cases of several crimes and worked hard to answer the questions provoked by the actual felony to find the perpetrator.

In an escape room, you have to figure out, maybe not the murder but the exit. Your tools are almost the same: the objects around you, your brain, and your friends. Good luck!

The devil is in the details!

Everything is suspicious until that point, the final answer is found. Open your third eye and never believe the other two at first sight! Examine everything at least two times! In connection with new items, firstly, try to understand their obvious meaning. Right after that: associate! The proverb is right indeed: the devil is in the details! Whether the point is hidden there or because the details are just misleading elements.

Read between the lines! Find the connections between the traces! Use various points of view! The solution might be in front of us!

One of Sherlock Holmes’s greatest skills was his empathy. Not because he would feel sorry for the murder but because he could understand the indicators of them. Let’s try to think with the brain of the perpetrator! It helps you see the objects, people, and world around you differently: Details gain meaning; it gets light in your brain, and your mind opens up in front of new ideas.

Besides the profound brain-gym, both in Holmes’s stories and in an escape room, the time is an urging factor. The Scottish detective intended to prevent further innocents; you would like to escape from the room in time. Don’t let the time management get lost in the brainstorming!

Old book under a magnifier

TFriends in need are the friends indeed.

The only things you can trust in an escape room are your friends. Even the best detectives need a supporter who can encourage the leading investigator with their simplicity, honesty, and loyalty. For Sherlock Holmes, this person was his colleague, adviser, roommate, and best friend: Mr. Watson.

In an escape room, everybody is Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Watson in one person. You are equal there: everybody can be the leader investigator for a while and the most supportive helper at another time. 

More eyes can see more! Brainstormings about issues, asking questions from each other can launch new and newer ways of thinking. Cooperation reduces the time needed for the solution, promotes unique ideas, helps to associate, encourages the silent “Mr. Watsons,” and strengthens the bonds between the players.

Sherlock Holmes knew that without Mr. Watson, he would be less successful. The first step towards being wise indeed is to respect others' ideas and accept our failures. An escape room is about IQ, time, and cooperation: the same aspects as in Holmes-time.

Two old friends walking in the park

Sherlock Holmes lived almost 150 years ago. Quite far from now to be able to identify with him completely. However, his methods, tools of investigation are still applicable today. You don’t have to smoke a pipe; wear the deerstalker cap to be the greatest detective! Nevertheless, apply the Holmes tools: detailed observation; free association, deductions; trust, and respect towards friends, colleagues.

However, these are just tips for escape gamers, and you should consider their use even in real life! Not only murder is a crime, and every game has teaching purposes. Let’s observe the world around you! Receive the signs of the universe! Use your brain! Associate, deduct, analyze and become the Sherlock Holmes of your life!