I have stayed out of my sequel, and nothing further has occurred to me to add to it or revise in it, so I think the research, writing, and editing phase of my project is complete. The first book comes in at, what is it, something like 2,270 pages. The sequel, with the controversy surrounding Mathew's work that is claimed for Margaret Fuller, expanded to about 370 pages. This business of wresting a historical attribution from a long-dead writer, especially when they gained fame through that claim, is tedious and time-consuming. Fully half, or perhaps even two-thirds, of my first book is taken up with the same issue, regarding past writers both famous and obscure. It had to be done. Had I simply asserted my conclusions, I would only be laughed at.
It continues to fascinate me that I can actually prove that Mathew Franklin Whittier was the real author of "The Raven," and nobody believes me or cares to look into it. But here's the thing--eventually, it will be obvious. And when it is obvious, these long books will be deemed worth reading. Nobody has an objection to a long book, if it is interesting enough. I think that I have bought my ticket, so to speak, by discovering the real, common author of "A Christmas Carol" and "The Raven." Once that is accepted as reality, these books will not only not be overly long, they will not be long enough, and people will expand on them with their own treatises.
They are only absurdly long, now, because nobody would believe me. This is, of course, a Catch-22. If you don't believe me, you won't study the evidence with an open mind. If you don't study the evidence with an open mind, you won't believe me.
Now, I thought it might be interesting, being at the end of the editing phase, to look back at what I've accomplished. Often, as I look back at my professional life, and think about my video production business, I view it as a failure. But it was a success in certain respects. I was able to boot-strap a one-man business which competed, at least to some extent, with much bigger, better-funded companies in a major city (Atlanta). I produced some excellent videos, given the budgets and equipment I had to work with; and I promoted some worthwhile causes. In my spare time, and on a donated budget of $1,300, I produced a very credible documentary on reincarnation. I also created this website to support it, which has reached tens of thousands of people. I have touched a great many lives. So that venture was a failure, in the worldly sense; but it was, perhaps, a success in ways which are far more difficult to measure.
Mathew's life was the same, especially as he published almost all of his work anonymously. But let's look specifically at what I accomplished, with this decade-long project. I'll just hit broad categories, so this won't be tedious to read.
First of all I added to the number of reincarnation cases which have been strongly and rationally proven. It's a done deal, I was Mathew Franklin Whittier in the 19th century. I don't care about irrational skeptics and cynics, I'm not addressing them, here. I have a very keen sense of what is honest, rigorous and logical, and I proved it far beyond a reasonable doubt. If this was a football game, I beat the opposition by 69 to 7. The only way this wouldn't prove reincarnation to anyone, is if they were in irrational denial. Period.
I did that by recording over 90 paranormal perceptions (by myself, and also by two psychics), and then confirming them to various degrees in the deep historical record, after having recorded them. These results are set out explicitly in the "Scorecard summary" in the Appendix of my first book. I didn't even include the sequel, though there were a few minor confirmations in that second phase of the study, as well.
Although I didn't rely on trait comparisons in proving the case, I found them with bells on. When I first saw Mathew's engraving, the sum total of the information I had was that he was John Greenleaf Whittier's brother; that he was somehow in writer Sarah Orne Jewett's social circle; and that he was an author. I could also see that he looked about 85% like me. I was not looking for such a man; rather, I was idly poking about the internet for a female writer of the early 20th century. I had forgotten that in 2003, I'd written in a public interview, that I felt I had been an author in the 19th century, peripherally connected with the Romantic poets. It's something I have always felt since childhood, especially as regards the poet Novalis and the poem "The Raven," both of which triggered deep, confusing feelings of grief for a lost soul-mate. (Novalis lost a young fiance to consumption, just as Mathew lost Abby.)
Every other similarity came after I had the experience of recognizing Mathew as my past-life self, from seeing that engraving. These similarities are both deep and numerous. In fact, they are so deeply interwoven with my own nature, it's inexpressible. I understand far more deeply who I am, today, because I see the entire spectrum from Mathew, to myself.
So that's personal. The second thing is not really an achievement, but a blinding blast of good fortune, which a man or woman might hope for once in a dozen lifetimes. I found my soul-mate, Abby, still not having reincarnated after her death in 1841; and she still loved me as always. She became my collaborator on the project, and "sent" evidence my way which I would never have found, or recognized, without her. This was definitely a team effort, and it is as powerful as it is, largely due to her contributions.
I am not concerned, here, about any skeptial readers. I have, obviously, already lost them. So we will forge ahead.
I uncovered something like 1,500 of Mathew Franklin Whittier's unpublished works, ranging from 1827, when he was 14 years old and writing for the "New-England Galaxy," to 1875, where he wrote as "Ethan Spike" for the Portland (Maine) "Transcript." I learned that he had more-or-less powered several major newspapers with his anonymous contributions. I would say that the "Galaxy" could have succeeded without him, as could the Portland "Transcript." But it was Mathew who made the New York "Constellation" and the New York "Transcript" in the early-to-mid 1830's; and arguably, he drove the popularity of the New York "Tribune" in 1845-46 (not Margaret Fuller, as claimed). Certainly, he drove the Boston "Weekly Museum" from mid-1848 to its demise in mid-1852; and the Boston "Carpet-Bag," from 1851-1853. He was definitely a prominent feature of the radical Boston "Chronotype" from 1846 to the time its editor, Elizur Wright, was forced out. Ironically, Mathew's talent drove these papers; but his radicalism destroyed them, because he was too far ahead of his time. In the case of the "Carpet-Bag," the conservative editor(s) apparently tried to tame him; not being successful, the other writers attempted to replace him with imitations. When Mathew's contributions dropped off, the paper became insipid and died. Historians blame Benjamin Drew with having written material that was too radical, which helped to bring down the paper. But Drew didn't write that material, it was Mathew--and it wasn't his work that sunk the paper, so much as forcing him out that did it, in my estimation. Keep in mind that Mathew used dozens and dozens of pseudonyms in the course of his career. Often, they were one-offs, or used for brief series.
So these papers and their editors loved his talent, but hated his radicalism. Elizur Wright was an exception. He gave Mathew a free hand, and still kept the "Chronotype" afloat for some years, despite stiff opposition. Only moderately liberal Edward Elwell, editor of the Portland "Transcript," was able to hold a rein on Mathew, while still benefitting from his talent. When Mathew got too radical--as, apparently, advocating "disunion" (a la Garrison)--Elwell refused to print it.*
The first published letter from "Old Casual" was Mathew adopting a new character, to comment on his public exposure as the writer of his "Ethan Spike" series. "Prent"--here quoted by the editor--is one of Mathew's typical intentional misspellings, which was also used in "Ethan Spike."
But beyond simply discovering and archiving 1,500 of MFW's published works, I found that the quality of this body of work is exceptional. I won't elaborate on that; but one can get a sense of it, by looking at the list of scam artists who achieved some measure of fame by stealing portions of it. Charles Dickens is remembered chiefly for "A Christmas Carol," the original treatment of which was written by Mathew and Abby. "The Raven," as well as "Some Words with a Mummy" and "Annabel Lee," were Mathew's; as were 98% of the star-signed reviews, essays and reports claimed for Margaret Fuller in the New York Tribune (i.e., before she left for Europe). It appears that the "F."-signed reviews and essays in "The Dial" were also Mathew's--the "F." standing, not for "Fuller," as historians believe, but for "Franklin." The story read aloud by Mark Twain at John Greenleaf Whittier's 70th birthday party, was an edited version of a story written by Mathew (that one got Twain in hot water--it was essentially a vengeful practical joke by Mathew, using Twain as the mouthpiece). At least two poems published in 1844 by Elizabeth Barrett (the future Elizabeth Barrett Browning), were apparently sent to her by Mathew: "Lady Geraldine's Courtship," and "The Lost Bower." And there were numerous lesser-lights. The list is too long to go through, here.
Then, I discovered a great deal about the historical Abby Poyen, Mathew's first wife and true love. I found the poetic tributes Mathew had written to her (including "Lady Geraldine's Courtship"), and I also uncovered Abby's own poetry and short stories. And, I found her historical portrait, a miniature painted by Mathew's cousin, Ruth Whittier Shute.
I was able to locate and visit a number of scenes connected with Mathew's life, including Abby's grave, his grave, their family homes, scenes here in Portland, the building where Mathew worked for 20 years in Boston, and the location (if not the building) where he died. And I recorded all my subjective reactions on the spot.
I've also written a large number of blog entries, often on a daily basis, for many years. I think the quality is pretty high--but this is tantamount to evidence of carried-over talents from a past life. It is no-less evidential than, say, a boy in one of Dr. Stevenson's cases who can operate a piece of machinery he used in his past-life occupation. Writing a high-quality, insightful essay every day for months and years together, is a rare skill. The likelihood that I would recognize myself in Mathew's image, and then be able to demonstrate this same rare skill to a comparable level, is extremely slim. I suspect that very few people, encountering my case, have given this evidence its due weight. Let them try it, and see what kind of a daily column they can write! I have seen some of the blogs out there, and very few can write at this level. Of those who do, most are professional columnists.
There is more--much more--including what I learned about myself, and what I have learned in this lifetime which Mathew was still lacking. It would appear that I hit a crest in Mathew's lifetime, but then fell, and had to claw my way back to where I am, today. But that is a very long story.
Looking up that image about "Old Casual" from the newspaper, I had to pull out a bunch of old volumes, and in doing so, I realized that I had the publication date wrong in my first book. It should be Aug. 29, whereas I had "Aug. 20." So that means I will have to republish all formats of that e-book just for the one character!
Then, that should be it...
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
P.S. 12/18/18--Every day I read aloud to Abby one of La Fontaine's Fables, which as Mathew I translated from the French as part of Abby's curriculum when she was tutoring me. I've discussed these, before--these translations are claimed for Elizur Wright, who apparently published them for Mathew after Abby's death in 1841. At any rate, the one I just read this morning, "Phoebus and Boreas," triggered a strong sense of past-life recognition. This was one that Mathew was especially proud of. You may have read his poem about the Autumn winds, an allegorical protest of plagiarists, which I presented in a recent entry. You may also recall that I have said, numerous times, that Mathew often returned to his best ideas. That poem about the winds of Autumn was a return to this poem. It's the strongest past-life "hit" I've gotten so far about the La Fontaine Fables. By way of caveat, I must say here that I know Mathew appreciated this translation, because he praised it once in context of Elizur Wright; and, he quoted or alluded to these fables on numerous occasions. This was not plagiarism, it was by Mathew and Abby's expressed wish to remain anonymous; and Mathew remained very good friends with Wright. I will only point out, once again, that this is exceptionally well-written; that it is not simply a matter of translating French verse into English; that Abby was a native speaker, while Wright only claimed a passing knowledge of the French language; and that the poem is precisely in Mathew's trademark humorous style, which by 1841 he had at least 14 years of published experience in. So far as I know, Elizur Wright is not known for any poetry except this series. Of course, the theme of this fable would dovetail with Mathew's Quaker upbringing; and you may have seen his editorial, "Use All Gently," from the New York "Constellation," which I have also shared recently.
*What Mathew would typically do, is not tone down his work, but hide his real meanings in coded phrases, allegories, etc. The more conservative the paper, the more he went under cover. Here, he appears to have overestimated Elwell's tolerance, or underestimated his acumen. Mathew showed his true colors (albeit anonymously) in the radical "Chronotype"; but writing for the New Orleans "Daily Delta," he went completely under cover. His report of a New Orleans private slave auction, which he seems to have crashed somehow, was published gloves-off in the "Chronotype" under the pseudonym, "Grapho Mania." I know that B.P. Shillaber, the editor of the "Carpet-Bag," must have asked Mathew to tone it down, because Mathew wrote a piece mocking the request which had no deeper meaning whatsoever (except as a sarcastic response). That it was published, suggests that Shillaber didn't realize it was sarcasm.
Music opening this page: "Battle We Have Won," by Eric Johnson,
from the album "Venus Isle"