i think this is what you call ‘sonder’

I am perturbed by this man’s twisted lip, and I wonder how the craftsperson got it to look that way. Did he or she create a lip whose shape was intact and alter the curvature while the wax that made up this man’s body was still hot? Did they not take time in crafting the top lip from the beginning, knowing it must be disfigured in order to be distinguishable?

I wonder how many people it takes to the create the wax figurines that exist in the Sherlock Holmes Museum in London, England, which physically describe some of the most famous mysteries to date.

This man sits on what is supposed to be a concrete road. His legs are twisted and his eyebrows are arched. He looks quite dubious, though I am not sure if this is intentional. His overturned hat is not on his head, but positioned in front of him and empty; his hair is fire engine red. I am only vaguely familiar with his story, having recently explored it in between two other mysteries, the details of his own escape me. I suppose in this sense, I am appropriately located in a world of mystery, surrounded by untold stories that I must use context clues to unravel.

Between the retelling of The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax (three wax figures this time: Sherlock and Watson staring intently at one another with Lady Carfax between them at the resolution of the mystery) and A Scandal in Bohemia (two figures: Sherlock Holmes in disguise staring at the quick-witted and wily Irene Alder. In her extremely detailed and clenched fist is the infamous photograph that serves as the mystery’s focal point) sits a glass table where the staff has assembled a scrapbook of notes penned by visitors. Curious, I thumb through them. “I believe in Sherlock Holmes,” Timmy, age 8 writes. “Thank you for keeping London safe” writes another whose name is barely legible.

A single note takes up the entire next page, even though it was clearly ripped from a small pocket notebook. “I’ll be back ~ with my lover ♥” it reads. The note is signed Hang Jin from Korea, whose visit took place three months prior to my own.

IMG_0670My thoughts circle around mysteries solved, but quickly return to this pair. Upon return, will they discover that though the museum is labeled “221B Baker Street,” the building really resides between 237 and 241? Will they stop to ponder how The Man with the Twisted Lip’s twisted lip was crafted? Will they tell their favorite Sherlock-related memories or focus on creating new ones? Or will Hang rush to the second floor where wax models fill my peripheral vision and flip open the book glass table, eager to show the fulfillment of a promise?


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