Materia Medica Course on Shameless Remedies with Dr Manish Bhatia
Case Quizes Clinical Cases

Revisiting: What Remedy Is Columbo?

Another one of our famous person Quizzes. Did you guess the constitutional remedy of famous TV dectective, Lt. Columbo?

 Shana Lewis

Mom, I have very important announcements to make before we start the Quiz.  Good news and bad news, as they say.

Hi, Shana!  What’s the news this time?

The inductees for the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame 2024 are out!  And guess what?  Dionne Warwick got in…

Dionne Warwick: Don't Make Me Over' HBO Max Review: Stream It or Skip It?

Really?  You mean at 88, the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame has finally noticed Dionne Warwick?  Dear God!  What a bunch of morons!

…as well as Kool and the Gang.

Playlist Kool & The Gang - Streaming Hi-Res - Qobuz

There’s only one left; bass player, Robert “Kool” Bell.

It also looks like The Temptations producer/songwriter, Norman Whitfield, got in.

Norman Whitfield: Ten to Tempt | The Adios Lounge

Well, what a shame Norman died 15 years ago!!!!!

I wonder what award he’ll be given?  His spot should really be interesting because he wrote a lot of hit songs for Motown!  For example, Bernie Taupin (Elton John’s songwriter)…

Oh geez!  Elton John again???  How is it that Elton John makes his way into every issue of the Hpathy Ezine?!

As I was saying…. Bernie Taupin got inducted last year in a non-performer category.

I’m sure everyone cares!

Also, can I just say, it’s nice that Foreigner got in?

Official Foreigner "Original Band" Fan Page | Facebook


Mom!  Need I remind you that Foreigner engaged Junior Walker to play the sax solo on their hit, “Urgent”?

Junior Walker

Oh, that was Foreigner?


 Well, that’s different.  Never mind!

 I know it’s a little shocking that Junior Walker is not in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame….

Shocking???  It’s utterly mind-boggling!

But back to Kool and the Gang, I believe we announced the passing of Robert “Kool” Bell’s brother, Ronald Bell, in 2020, right?


Kool and the Gang, in case anyone is not familiar, was an R&B/Soul/Funk Group.

You might want to add Disco to that.

Apparently in 2021 we also lost Dennis Thomas, their saxophonist, at age 70.  And last year we lost George “Funky” Brown, another member of Kool and the Gang who played drums, keyboards and percussion.  Now I know you always say that no one cares about the drummer but it turns out George “Funky” Brown also wrote some of their singles like “Ladies Night” and “Too Hot”.

Really?  Those are two of my favorites.

Apparently he was there since the very beginning, their first album was in 1969 which blew me away because everyone knew them for “Celebration” which came out, like, 10 years later.  My favorite comedian, Conan O’Brien, actually made a joke, albeit a kind of stupid one, that probably hasn’t aged well, about “Celebration”  being the most overplayed song ever.  Also, it was hilarious to me that one guy in Conan’s band thought “Jungle Boogie” was Kool and the Gang’s biggest hit…

I hate that song.

“Celebration” was the biggie.


Conan’s band did a great job with that!  Conan had the best late-night band on TV!

I would also be remiss…


…if I didn’t mention the passing of Arthur (“Pooch”) Tavares, a member of the R&B/Disco group by the same name which featured him and his brothers.


Oh geez, he was my favorite one!  OK, I was very lucky to find this.  It’s an interview with Dick Clark on American Bandstand (did I mention I was on Bandstand 3 times?)


Tavares covered a song (“More Than A Woman”) by another group of brothers (The Bee Gees) and it’s interesting to me that both versions ended up in “Saturday Night Fever”.  Also you know what’s insane?

Um…don’t tell me…I should know this….

Apparently, for whatever reason, the Bee Gees’ version of “More than a Woman” was never released as a single.

No way!  I can’t believe that!

I just can’t believe it because they were like royalty back then and the other songs from the film were singles.  But “More Than A Woman” was a single in Italy for some reason (and Australia too, according to what I read.)  Where is Peter Dunseith from Wales when you need him?  Didn’t he move to Italy?  He should know this.  Because seriously, the Bee Gees fan who wasn’t born yet but still loves them, would like an explanation.

What Bee Gees fan?

Me!!!!  Also, in case no one knows what I’m talking about, a “single” is a 45 rpm record.

You mean people don’t know that?  Geez.  Maybe they don’t know what a “record” is either.

Mom, in case you haven’t noticed, you are really old.

Well, that explains a lot!

Below, this Kool and the Gang “B-side” appeared n our favorite movie, “Ruthless People”.  And in case anyone is confused, the “James Taylor” in the writer’s credits on the label is not the “Fire and Rain” James Taylor I’ve seen in concert five times.

I was wondering how “James Taylor” would work his way into the May issue of the Hpathy Ezine!

One more thing before we start the quiz.  Richard Tandy, ELO keyboardist, passed away at 76. 

From what I could tell, he was responsible for the orchestral arrangements in the group.  I cannot imagine ELO without the string section: “Telephone Line”, “Sweet Talkin’ Woman”, and “Livin’ Thing” (with a strings intro) are just some examples.  Also, Mom, remember the time you had a flip-phone and your ringtone, for some reason, was “Strange Magic” by ELO?

I like “Strange Magic”!


Oh and famous guitar player, Duane Eddy, passed away at age 86, but I only know him for “Rebel Rouser”.

Then you know more than anyone else your age!  Even your cousin Jon doesn’t know who Duane Eddy is.

He does so!  And speaking of which, let’s check in now with our Maryland correspondent, Jon Gillespie, for his thoughts on the passing of Richard Tandy of ELO and the induction of Foreigner into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.  P.S. ELO is an acronym for “Electric Light Orchestra” but at some point, they just became ELO.   My cousin Jon used to be the lead singer in a band called “Electric Sky”

  Jon Gillespie

and my Dad produced them.

 Richard Lewis

Mom, do we have a picture of the Electric Sky banner?

Oy vey!

Wait a minute, here it is.  The guys are standing in front of it though.  Jon is third from the left.

I bought him that shirt!

And it’s a real fashion-statement, Mom.

It is, that’s exactly what it is, a fashion-statement!

Can we possibly stop talking about Jon’s very attractive shirt?

I believe my Cousin Laura, aka Jon’s sister, painted the banner.

She did.  The super-talented Laura Gillespie.  

And now, over to Jon in Maryland!

Hi Elaine!  Aw, so sad to hear about Richard Tandy.  I love ELO and so many of their songs.  I would definitely not call myself an expert…


…but I have so much respect for ELO.  Richard Tandy’s keyboard playing was so integral in their music.  Their collaborative songwriting was brilliant, with a lot of obvious inspiration from The Beatles.  I’m actually going to see ELO at Capital One Arena here in DC this September.  I’m sure he will pay homage to these fine musicians in one form or another.  I will let you know how the show was, I’m sure it will be epic!

As fate would have it, I’m going to see Foreigner this summer also!  It’s hard to believe that they are just now getting into the Rock Hall of Fame. Lou Gramm is a great vocalist and actually one of my influences.  They had lots of hits, my favorites are “Jukebox Hero” and “Hot Blooded”.  They could also do mellow, softer tunes such as “Waiting For A Girl Like You”.  Really versatile!  Unfortunately, Lou Gramm hasn’t sung with them in years so hopefully his replacement does him justice.

A replacement?  I don’t like the sound of that! 

Say hi to my cousin, Shana.   🙂


And that was Jon Gillespie reporting from Maryland. 

And now for the…

Hpathy Quiz!!!!

Who knows who Columbo is?

You know, the actor who played Columbo, Peter Falk, was on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson once and he came out dressed as Columbo and the audience went wild!


Note that Johnny asks Peter Falk why do people like Columbo so much and he says:

“I think they like Columbo because he’s unpretentious; he’s polite, he’s a decent man…I think they like him because he likes his job, he’s involved in his job… he’s not concerned about his clothes, he’s not concerned about his car, because he’s so much involved in his work, and I think people respect that.”

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to do a Quiz on Columbo!

Some people reading this might not understand what a “remedy” has to do with a “person”.  “What Remedy Is Columbo” sounds really weird!  I can relate to that, because, on the face of it, it sounds ridiculous!  But here’s the explanation:  Most of our remedies in homeopathy have what’s known as “Pictures”, or “images” and it includes a personality.

The personality stems from the substance the remedy is made from.  For example, one of our remedies is made from salt.  Table salt.  It’s called Natrum muriaticum (Nat-mur, for short), it’s Latin, all our remedy names are in Latin.

What personality would emerge from salt?  Salt is a drying agent.  How would that show up in a person?  A “dry” wit, perhaps?  A tremendous thirst maybe?  But, biggest of all, Nat-mur has Dry Eyes and can’t cry!  They’ve suppressed their feelings for the sake of appearing dignified.  In England, suppression of feelings seems to be mandatory!  The whole country needs Nat-mur!

So, the question is, what remedy does Columbo “act” like, what substance explains his behavior?

He’s a homicide detective from LA.  So what does that mean?  It means he has to solve a puzzle, put together disparate clues and have them all make sense.

Television police heroes are usually “tough guys”.  I guess you’d have to call Columbo an “anti-hero” because he doesn’t fit the image at all!  He has a favorite khaki raincoat that he wears everywhere he goes, winter, spring, summer and fall.  He wears the same beige suit and brown shoes every day.  He takes notes, puts them in his pockets and then loses them.  He won’t carry a gun.

He drives an old French car, a 13 year old Peugeot, and often has his dog with him, a Basset Hound, whom he’s named Dog (it’s a temporary name until he thinks of a real one).  

Because he doesn’t look the part, he is often mistaken for someone who doesn’t belong at a crime scene; and yet, Columbo has figured out who the murderer is within the first few minutes of his being there, usually as all the other detectives have finished their perfunctory questioning and are leaving.

Columbo will surmise that the murderer is a pipe smoker because of something he’s found in the carpet (it could be a flint from a pipe-smoker’s lighter) or that the murderer is left-handed because of a bruise on the left side of the victim’s face that has a ring mark…and then when that person shows up at the scene of the crime (to try to be “helpful”, of course), Columbo immediately knows this is probably the perpetrator!  And then because Columbo seems so “ordinary”, the murderer thinks it’s safe to allow Columbo into his personal space—up to a point!  Because at some point they figure out that mild-mannered, distracted Columbo, is really a genius!!!!

In this episode….well, first of all, let me say, that due to copyright issues, it’s hard to find a full episode of Columbo on Youtube.  So, I have found 8 short videos from an episode called “Double Shock”.

The idea in this episode is that twins, who don’t really like each other—as one is a banker (Norman) and the other (Dexter) is a playboy who has a cooking show on TV—are about to lose their rich uncle’s inheritence because he is about to marry a young lady who is presumed to be a gold-digger!

They figure they have to murder him before he marries her, while they are still his heirs!  They have a very clever plan: No one will suspect that they did it because they don’t even speak to each other!  Much of the time you will see Norman insulting Dexter for being an idiot or Dexter pointing out that Norman has a gambling problem.

Columbo has been called to the victim’s house in the middle of the night.  The victim is found dead by the housekeeper on one of those stationary bicycles—a piece of gym equipment, in other words.  The presumption is, he has over-exerted himself and had a heart attack.

Columbo is so sleepy when he arrives, he carelessly drops cigar ashes on the victim’s spotless floor.  The housekeeper is distraught, asks him if he does that at home, and Columbo tries to wipe up the ashes but Mrs. Peck, the housekeeper, becomes livid, “You’re making it worse!” she says; he backs away, knocks over a glass pitcher, and breaks it.  “Get out!” cries Mrs. Peck.  “Get out!”


Columbo tries to make amends.  He says the following:

Mrs. Peck, I made a very poor introduction to you, I know that.  I’m a stranger in your house that you love, and I’m here to do something that’s not very pleasant, so I don’t expect you to like me; but, I have feelings too, Mrs. Peck.  Now, I’m sorry about being untidy, that’s something that I can’t control, that’s a fault of mine that I, I just can’t correct; I’ve tried many years, I’m just very untidy, that’s my nature, but, I’ve never been rude to you Mrs. Peck.  And if you keep treating me like an enemy just because I’m trying to find the murderer of the man you worked for, for 30 years, well, then, I think you’re a very unfair person.

Mrs. Peck replies:

Lt. Columbo?  I know you’re a very hard-working officer, and I’d like to offer you a plate of Mr. Paris’ favorite health cookies and a glass of milk.

Columbo replies:

Thank you!  I’m extremely fond of health cookies.


While Columbo is eating his cookies, he’s asking Mrs. Peck if she can remember anything unusual that happened that night.  She says that her TV went blank for about 15 seconds and then it came back on.  This tells Columbo that the murderer blew a fuse and also replaced it rather quickly!

Mrs. Peck went on to complain that since the fuse-blowing incident, her TV is making everyone’s face look purple.  Columbo assured her that he knew how to fix that!  But he pulled the knobs off the TV by mistake.  “Now Mrs. Peck, remain calm,” he said; “I will pay for this.”  “Get out!” cries Mrs. Peck.  “Get out!!!!”


Columbo is checking how long it takes to change a fuse and realizes it’s impossible to kill Mr. Paris and run downstairs to the basement and change the fuse in the 15 seconds that Mrs. Peck’s TV went blank.  He has to assume that the murderer had an accomplice, that the accomplice was standing right there at the fuse box as soon as all the lights went out.  And what would cause a fuse to blow?  That’s what Columbo had to figure out.  And, of course, he did!

While he was in Mr. Paris’ bathroom, he found a wet towel in the clothes hamper.  Mrs. Peck told him there are never wet towels in the clothes hamper, ever.  Columbo is now assuming the towel is part of the murder, that something wet had to be dried.  He’s suspecting the bathroom is the crime scene.  If the bathtub had to be dried, it would suggest that the murder took place in the bathtub.  Strangling someone in the bathtub wouldn’t make the electricity go off; but electrocuting someone in the bathtub would.

In the end, we find out that what happened was, the twin who had the cooking show, Dexter, threw a plugged-in portable mixer into the bath water while Mr. Paris was taking a bath.  He was killed instantly.  The mixer incident blew a fuse.  The other twin, Norman, standing at the fuse box, put a new fuse back in, it took 15 seconds.  Then the two of them had to dress Mr. Paris and put him on the exercise bike.  The tub had to be dried.  That’s how Columbo knew that the twins were in it together, because: 1) If only one were involved, and he had to run down from the bathroom to the basement to change the fuse, it would have taken 67 seconds, not 15 seconds; and 2) one person couldn’t pull a body out of the bathtub, it would take 2 people to do it.

So listen, here are the videos below.  Watch them and then write to me at [email protected] and tell me, what remedy is Lt. Columbo?  The answer will be in next month’s ezine.  But, just one more thing…. Actor, Dabney Coleman, is in this episode.  He’s playing the other detective.  In the first video below, he’s seen escorting the fiancee to her car and asking Columbo if he has a hankerchief because the lady is crying.  Dabney Coleman just died.



You might want to run the next one forward to 3:25.







Who wants to go first today?

Hi Elaine.  Looks like a sulphur to me.  The ragged philosopher….not an early morning person.  Clinging to old clothes and stuff, not concerned with looks…

Mind, untidy SULPH

Mind, reason,  increased power

Sulph  bold italics

Mind, conscientious about trifles (focused on details) SULPH

Mind work, amel. business,  SULPH


Absolutely right!  I liked the elements you picked out: conscientious about trifles, work amel, clinging to old clothes (Delusion: rags as fine as silk).  So true!


Oh look, it’s Pam!  

Elaine, I haven’t read the quiz yet, BUT, judging from Columbo’s appearance, he looks like a Sulphur.  Not my actual guess…unless I’m right…in which case, tell me I won!


Ok, going to read it now.  I loved that show, but he drove me a bit crazy with how he seemed so unkempt, and with how he hounded the suspects in his passive-aggressive way.  Lol

Pam, thanks for your comments; but I’m not sure if you want the answer now or if you were going to say more?

My answer is definitely SULPHUR!! because he is a genius, but very unkempt in his person and in his way of dressing….he looks scruffy….messy.  He seems as though he is so disorganized as to not be able to possibly solve a case, but his mind is actually highly organized.  He is only a mess in his outward appearance and demeanor.

Am I correct???

Yes, you are correct, madame!!!

And,  btw, is Mrs. Peck a Lachesis?

No, she’s an Arsenicum!  Very particular, spotlessly clean and neat, prim and proper, not much of a people-person (I think Lachesis would be more out-going, talkative, engaging.)

That is pretty much how frustrated I get when you-know-who leaves a mess!  Lololol

Also……”you-know-who” is messy because he is always doing things in a big rush.  He is a bull in a china shop!  He is very clean, neat, stylish, well groomed in his appearance,  but a mess in the kitchen  and other areas of the house.  It is like cleaning up after a 4 year old. So, what remedy is clean and stylish in his looks, highly intelligent and organied mentally, but careless and messy in his surroundings?

Pam, we already know that you-know-who is a Lachesis! 

Is anybody else here today?  Oh look, it’s Lori D from NYC!


Elaine, I’m moving again!  And I’ve packed all my homeopathy books.

Lori, there is nothing to repertorize in this month’s quiz.


You are so corret!   Good luck on your move!

Oh look, the gang from Slovakia is here!


Hi Elaine and Shana,

 Hello Miroslav and Jitka!

As promised, I am sending our solutions to the remedy picture of Columbo.

Miroslav’s answer is as follows:  Hyoscyamus.

Miroslav says:  I didn’t watch the videos, but based on the description and what I watched on TV, I would list the elements of the case as:

Mind, crazy behavior

Mind, crazy behavior, grotesque behavior

Mind, bad taste in dressing

Mind, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Remedy: Hyoscyamus niger.  (I  also thought about Sulphur but maybe he would be more extroverted…?)

Jitka’s answer is as follows: Sulphur

When watching the detective series Columbo, I always thought of the analogy of the “ragged philosopher”, as a well-known homeopath called people with a sulfurous constitution.

Here are some other insights I’ve seen in  Columbo:

Indifference, external things, to clothes.

He is unkempt he sees no need to wear an ironed collar and shirt; it doesn’t bother him.

Inventive genius – when he gets an idea in his mind he is unable to get rid of it.  He follows it until finally things fit into a whole.

He has a lot of abundant ideas, therefore, he is distracted and sometimes his behavior seems crazy.

Jitka, very well-explained!  Yes, “ideas abundant” would make him distracted and unable to focus his attention on unimportant things like how he looks or what kind of car he’s driving or whether he’s making a mess.  Isn’t there a saying about the Sulphur child: takes things apart and tries to put them back together again?  Like in solving a puzzle?  This is what a detective has to do, fit clues together so that they make sense.  It requires total concentration. 

And what else do they say about Sulphur?  “Thinks rags are riches”?  He clearly has the highest regard for his rumpled raincoat and his out-of-date car.  I’m sure he’s very attached to them.

As for Hyoscyamus?  Bad taste in dressing, yes, that’s true.  I once had a Hyos. case where the child wore the same coat every day regardless of the temperature or whether it was appropriate to wear it or not.  But other than that, Miroslav, you described a crazy person.  But Columbo is not crazy.  He is just distracted, living in his head, putting clues together.  Remember the Beethoven quiz?  Remember people thinking Beethoven was crazy because he seemed so distracted walking down the street, humming to himself, “conducting” with an absent wand, writing music in his head as he strode forward.  He was very much into his work.  As Jitka said, “When he gets an idea, he can’t get rid of it, he follows it until things finally fit.”  Beethoven was a Sulphur.  Anyway, Jitka was right. 


Hi Elaine and Shana,

Hi Maria!

for this month’s quiz my vote goes to Carcinosin mainly because I can’t imagine any other remedy dedicating himself in this kind of job.  It is also under grade 1 in “untidy”.

And what is under grade-3?

Sulphur, but I cant see any other characteristics.  As I see it, someone must be a real humanitarian to do this underpaid job.

You shouldn’t look at it that way.  What does Columbo need money for?  He only has one suit, one coat, one pair of shoes, he drives a 13 year old car….  A job like Police Detective is a challenge to the intellect, which is what Sulphur is all about: Ideas, theorizing, gathering information…and of course, in the end, when they solve the puzzle?  This is what Sulphur lives for, they will be praised and admired!  This means more to them than a higher salary. 

Here’s what Catherine Coulter says about Sulphur in Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines, “His restlessly creative and ever-questioning mind is inventive and original, bursting with insights, generating theories about the knowable and the unknowable, like a volcano erupting in all directions.”  She also says, “The classic image of Sulphur is the ‘ragged philosopher’ (Hering), the unkempt…scruffily dressed, absent-minded professor, his mind lost in great thoughts—to the exclusion of everything and everyone else.  He lives in his own world of ideas and abstractions….”

So you see, who could possibly be better suited to detective work than Sulphur?  Anything that’s mentally challenging is what they thrive on.

I’ll wait for your article, to see your rubrics.  You are so good at it!

No rubrics necessary.  All you have to do is look at him.  And he summed it up perfectly himself, “Columbo is involved in his work, he has no time to fuss over what he’s wearing or what he’s driving.”  And that’s it.  His work is all-consuming, he’s totally involved in it, to the exclusion of all other things: people, nourishment, personal appearance, his surroundings; yes, “absent-minded” and “distracted”.  They say Einstein used to show up to his classes at Princeton in his bedroom slippers because he didn’t realize he had them on, no doubt planning something brilliant in his head.

You are so right!  I havent watched it ever, but now that you describe him, I can see it clearly!

You nailed it!


I think it’s time to congratulate our winners! 

Edina, Jitka, Lori D and Pam, come on down!  This gold star is for you!

I can’t leave without giving a shout-out to Junior Walker and the All Stars, who keep getting snubbed by the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame!  Yeesh!  What is wrong with these people?!

See you again next time!



Elaine Lewis, DHom, CHom

Elaine takes online cases.  Write to her at [email protected]

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About the author

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine is a passionate homeopath, helping people offline as well as online. Contact her at [email protected]
Elaine is a graduate of Robin Murphy's Hahnemann Academy of North America and author of many articles on homeopathy including her monthly feature in the Hpathy ezine, "The Quiz". Visit her website at: and

About the author

Shana Lewis

Shana spices up the Hpathy Quiz with her timely announcements and reviews on the latest in pop culture. Her vast knowledge of music before her time has inspired the nickname: "Shanapedia"!

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