After a recent semi-scandal regarding Zoom membership applications, the topic of Peoria's numerous Sherlockian societies came up at tonight's meeting of the Harpooners of the Sea Unicorn (not a Peoria society). As the discussion went on, the number of Peoria groups just kept growing until the word "millions" was heard, and with that I felt it was probably time to address this issue in a objective and factual manner.
So let us begin.
Number One: The Hansoms of John Clayton
Founded in 1977, the Hansoms was Peoria's original Sherlockian society, which did all of the traditional scion things: Monthly meetings, a monthly newsletter called Plugs & Dottles, a journal called Wheelwrightings.
Number Two: The Montague Street Incorrigibles
Founded in 1985, the Incorrigibles was a corresponding society that met fictionally at a bar on Montague Street in 1895 (always 1895) called "The Dangling Prussian." The Incorrigibles recently hosted a pub night at the Prussian and inducted its largest membership numbers to date.
Number Three: The Reichenbachian Cliff-Divers
Also founded in 1985 in the Peoria suburbs because a foot-note citation was needed for an article in The Baker Street Journal. (Read The Rise and Fall of an Eighties Sherlockian for the full story.) Reports of the scion came out of Peoria for very many years, and is still quietly being run in the Sherlockian underground out of Peoria.
Number Four: Doylebusters!
A mid-eighties society that had a cool logo but no membership records to betray its secrets.
Number Five: The Midwest Scion of the Four
Founded in 1987 in Peoria as "a barter/shop quartet" of traveling Sherlockian shoppers, it wasn't really a Peoria group, it just got started here.
Number Six: The Dangling Prussian Amateur Press Association
Founded in 1991, the Sherlockian APA group was an idea suggested by Peter Blau and run out of Peoria.
Number Seven: The Reichenbach Lemming Society
Founded in 1994 around its deerstalkered mascot, Reichy the Lemming and run out of Peoria, this group only met in Lansing, Michigan on Memorial Day weekend in 1994 and possibly 1995.
Number Eight: The Dark Lantern League
Founded in 2002 out of Peoria, the Dark Lantern League was an internet-based Canonical role-playing society.
Number Nine: The Sherlockian Chronologist Guild
Founded in 2021 and running a monthly Sherlockian chronology newsletter out of Peoria.
Number Ten: The Bovestrians of Ragged Shaw
Founded in 2021 with two human members and a bunch of Canonical animals, the group has had four trading cards and one recorded meeting.
Number Eleven: The Untasted Breakfast Club
Founded in 2022, this Zoom Sherlockian group meets the Saturday morning after the BSI dinner.
Is that it?
Is that every Sherlockian society out of Peoria, Illinois?
I have to wonder. There were rumors of a dozen Sherlockian societies sponsoring the Dangling Prussian Pub Night zoom on January 14th, but it was mainly just the Montague Street Incorrigibles and the Bovestrians of Ragged Shaw. The Untasted Breakfast Club met the next morning. And Peoria groups have a very bad habit of not applying for official Baker Street Irregular scion status, so they might get an asterisk in some folks' records for that, if they even exist in anyone's records. Secret societies have to stay secret and . . . whoa . . . there could be more Peoria societies that are so secret I didn't even blog about them here. And if they secretly co-sponsored an event, well, mind blown!
I think I have a deadline for Baker Street Almanac 2022 to meet, so I will stop here before another Sherlock Holmes society pops up. As a great man once almost said: "Indeed, I cannot think why the whole population of Peoria is not one solid mass of Sherlockian societies, so prolific the creatures seem"