It happened again, today...I found another instance where somebody stole my past life writing. This makes at least 11 different authors (or in this case, a publication) who did this, and there are two more for my soul-mate, Abby. I could regale you with examples, but I feel like I've already given too much of the book away. The significance of reclaiming this work for Mathew Franklin Whittier, is that these published pieces contain the bulk of my evidence. All writers project themselves into their work--but Mathew really used his as a sort of veiled autobiography.* In particular, he used it as a tribute to Abby, after she died. A great many of his humorous sketches are actually veiled anecdotes about that brief marriage. So I could deconstruct them, and compare the decoded anecdotes with my past-life impressions. But first I had to establish that all of this was, in fact, Mathew's own work.
I've never asked anyone, but whenever I claim that Mathew's work was so extensively plagiarized and imitated, I always feel that people's skeptical response is that I'm claiming these pieces for Mathew without justification. In other words, that it's largely wishful thinking, or that I'm being sloppy. When the truth is, I'm being as rigorous as I possibly can.
I don't know if being rigorous is really appreciated much in this day and age. I wish I had a nickle for all the well-meaning friends and acquaintances who advised me to turn my study into a reincarnation novel.** People want to be entertained; they want to go into an alternative world where anything is possible. Then, when they come back to mundane reality, they want to leave it behind. They apparently don't want to investigate a case with strict and careful logic, so that when they put the book down, the alternative reality leaps off the page and remains with them the rest of their lives. In short, people don't want to be transformed.
But this is what I've always wanted to do. I want to create things that are transformative. In order to create a transformative book about reincarnation, it has to be real, and it has to be so honestly and painstakingly researched, that there is no wiggle-room. When I prove reincarnation, it stays proven.
So, likewise, when I prove, or attempt to prove, that someone stole Mathew Franklin Whittier's work, I do it right. And when I say this occurred to him at the hands of at least 11 different people, I mean, I researched it and I brought it as close to absolute proof as I possibly could.
One of them, a theft of Abby's poetry, I proved 100%. I can't prove it was hers 100% (though how many people writing like that, in that era and part of the country, with the initials "A.P.," could there have been?). But I can 100% prove that it wasn't the man who claimed it.
Several of the others, by a preponderance of the evidence, I can take to about 99% certainty. That means, for all intents and purposes, it's a done deal, but I don't have that smoking gun I have in the previous instance. In a few cases, I have what you might call a "warm gun." It's not actually smoking, but it might as well be. Example? Again, with another of Abby's poems, which was claimed by a male publisher, the poet describes dancing around among the streams and flowers. Well, if Mr. Publisher wants us to believe he hops around among the streams and flowers, okay, but he's not gay and it's probably very, very unlikely. So that's what I call a "warm gun" as opposed to a smoking gun. In another instance, a travelogue writer says he saw a "Boston boy" perform in Rochester, NY. Long story, but the gist of it is, the man who claimed to have written this travelogue was, himself, the "Boston boy." He could not have seen himself perform. It was just a matter of proving that the claimant did, in fact, perform during this time, in Rochester. I finally found it--Frederick Douglass saw him there. Now, Mathew Franklin Whittier was a radical Abolitionist, using that travelogue to communicate, as I gather, with the other agents of William Lloyd Garrison. This was just before Douglass and Garrison had a falling out. So Mathew would have attended the concert, in Rochester, with Douglass; except, based on a brief comment Douglass made (this is in his own newspaper), they weren't permitted to sit together. Still, Douglass attended both nights; and that's because Mathew was traveling with the entertainer.
It's not quite as strong as a personal letter in which Mathew says, "I wrote that travelogue," but it's pretty close. And again, we can count out the guy who claimed it.
I was able to take most of the 11 thefts that close. Remember, I have been researching this case for seven years, now.
When I catch re-runs of the TV show, "Bones," I keep thinking, "The sophistication of my own research is really not less than what they portray on that show." Even though I have no "blood and guts," one would think that people who like detective work, would be interested. That is, unless they're scared that I've really done my homework--which I have.
The discovery I ran into today involves one of the most popular parodies of "The Raven" ever written. I can take it to about 99% certainty that Mathew was the original author. Since Mathew's version precedes this one, there's little question that this wasn't the original, even though it is cited as such in a late-19th century compilation.
Well, I think it's fascinating. I have found over 600 of Mathew's published works, now; and that doesn't count quite a few I'm not as sure about. No doubt I don't have them all. But there's a body of really exceptional work, there. I'll say it again; Mathew was a dark planet circling the 19th century literary solar system. Because he kept himself hidden, people would claim his work for themselves, and several of them launched their careers doing that. Nobody has any idea the degree of influence he wielded, but I can prove it. And I'm not being sloppy.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*This in itself is evidential, because when I first read a few examples of Mathew's work, I had that immediate impression, i.e., that he embedded far more of his personal history in them, in a sort of code, than anybody would ever guess. This was when I had four or five examples; it was borne out in spades by the time I had collected over 600.
**I actually am writing up Mathew and Abby's courtship and marriage as a novel, but I doubt I'll ever publish it as it is, because a disproportionate number of my memories are sexual (not surprising, given that one tends to remember the most emotionally intense experiences). At least one of those memories has to stay in, however, because it was one of the two most strongly evidential in the entire study.
Music opening this page: "Did You Steal My Money,"
The Who, from the album, "Face Dances"