I want to briefly (ha!) follow up on yesterday's theme of Spiritualism, psychic mediums and reincarnation, then I should give these a rest for awhile. I don't want to get back into the habit of daily blogging.
Very early in this project, in March and December of 2010, respectively, I engaged the services of two psychic mediums. One I had used before, both for myself and for Jeff Keene (who has his own reincarnation case); the other was Lily Dale certified. Both turned out to be genuine, beyond any reasonable doubt. These were both phone readings, and I took real-time notes, though they were not audio recorded.
What just struck me, this morning, is how accurate they were regarding Abby's personality. Abby, for anyone unfamiliar with this project, was my past-life soul-mate, Abby Poyen, and also my first wife in that lifetime, as Mathew Franklin Whittier. I haven't realized just how accurate both of those readings were, because the historical information about Abby came in, in dribs and drabs, over the next several years. I found poems about her, and to her, by Mathew; I found her own poetry, and short-stories; and I found veiled references to her in various of Mathew's own stories and ostensibly humorous sketches. With all of that, a clear picture of her gradually emerged--and it fit the mediums' descriptions hand-in-glove.
Not all of their information was accurate (mediums aren't 100%); the first medium apparently misunderstood what Abby was conveying to her at the outset. Abby was Mathew's tutor, beginning when she was as young as 11 or 12 years old, and he was 15 or 16. It was she who came from an aristocratic background, and he whose family was poor. But the medium seems to have gotten both of these things backwards, assuming it would be the man--who cut a noble-looking figure in the (unlabeled) engraving I had sent her--who had the aristocratic background. The second medium, also, made a few mistakes, like seeing Abby in her "30's or 40's," and feeling that she died of a stomach ailment, possibly childbirth. In fact, Abby died at age 24, of "consumption," or tuberculosis. He also thought they had had children (true) who had lived to carry on the family name (false). But the medium said he might be putting in his own thoughts at that point. Mathew appears to have died with stomach pain; Abby could choose to be in her 30's in the astral realm. Mathew had a boy and two girls by a second, arranged marriage, but his son never married. The first medium kept insisting (as John Edward sometimes does) that she was hearing a reference to the "five children." I kept telling her they only had two children, until I remember that Mathew had had five altogether, in two marriages.
Some details in the second reading couldn't be confirmed. "John around her" could easily have been her protective brother John, whom I had remembered blocking Mathew from seeing her at one point; "Henry" could have been Mathew's little cousin, Henry Moses, whose miniature portrait (as I have concluded) showed up at auction along with Abby's, and who may have been a favorite with them in their early marriage, before they had children. (I got the sense that they called him by his middle name, "Moses.") "Randall," in that same reading, could have been a mis-hearing of Abby's middle name, taken from her extended family name, "Rochemont" (otherwise it didn't come up in connection with her in my studies). The medium had said he didn't know if it was her first of last name. Abby was born as "Abigail Weld Poyen," but had taken the middle name "Rochemont" by the time she married.
For the record, the second medium was also a psychic artist, and rendered a portrait of Abby. Assuming I subsequently identified her miniature portrait correctly, I would say his drawing is plausibly similar, but hardly a direct match--despite the fact that he says his "pencil moved on its own." However, I would also reluctantly admit he didn't strike me as an exceptionally talented artist. Perhaps he has improved since that time. The image is included in my first book.
Both mediums described some kind of crisis in Abby's life, where she got in trouble with authorities--the first told of a public trial, as though she had been accused of witchcraft; the second, that she had used (or held) a rifle in defense of a black couple, whom he drew, at the outset of the reading, in front of their cabin. Abby's poetry, and a brief humorous series by Mathew, both suggest that something caused her to be shunned by all but a couple of closest friends or family, but there's not enough information to know what it was. There were, however, definite indications that Abby was persecuted, as young women were throwing stones at their windows in Amesbury, Mass. Our first psychic said that women would say behind Abby's back, "She's got the devil." There is plenty of evidence, both in Abby's work and in Mathew's, that she was conversant with the occult from a young age; as well as that she strongly supported the abolitionist position. Clearly, both she and Mathew were advocates for the disenfranchised and unfortunate (as you can also see in "A Christmas Carol"). My notes say: "All people equal, get into some scraps. Educated. Willing to get dirty, do gardening, shoe the horse. Most women of her class not allowed to do it." That all people were equal to her, that she was educated, and that she came from an upper-class background, are all historically-verified hits.
Indeed, many of the details in both readings were precisely correct, even to the second medium giving Mathew's first name out of the blue, and tying it to Methuen, Mass. I subsequently proved, with no small amount of difficulty, that Mathew and Abby almost certainly lived, for a time, with his second cousin Richard Whittier in Richard's farmhouse, in the fall of 1838, in Methuen. This was something that neither I nor the medium knew, which shows that he was not simply reading my mind, or my aura. I proved it by inference, or circumstantial evidence--I could possibly have proved it outright, if a Methuen historian had cooperated with my request to have him look through Richard Whittier's personal journal for references to Mathew and Abby living there in 1838. The results for reincarnation research are typically weaker than they could be, because of people's refusal to cooperate with it.
I never properly emphasized just how strong this particular hit was, because the evidence that they lived in Methuen came in the form of a humorous story signed "Quails," in the Boston "Weekly Museum"--the first piece of Mathew's work I discovered in that paper (though I had read that he had published "Ethan Spike" in it). The back-story of this sketch is given in my book--suffice it to say that that town of "M----" is Methuen, "P----" is Abby (Poyen), and "W----" is Mathew (Whittier.) They were grieving the loss of their young son, and Mathew didn't dare leave Abby alone, so neither were working. Here, years later, Mathew is exacting his humorous revenge on the townsfolk of Methuen, who must have spread the gossip that they were lazy. He must have left the initials accurate, so that those the message was intended for, would get it. But it took me months of intensive work--and the equivalent of a normal-sized book, within my first book--to prove that it was Mathew who wrote the "Quails" letters, and not entertainer Ossian Dodge, as the historians (and the editor of the paper) would have it. So much so, that I was exhausted at the end of it, and lost sight of the original significance of the thing.
Note, for the record, that I could show you dozens and dozens of humorous sketches written in this style by Mathew Franklin Whittier, whereas Ossian Dodge couldn't write his way out of a paper bag. Instead, he used his money to buy stories, by running contests, when he took over the paper in mid-1852 (at which time Mathew cut his association with it, and "Quails" stopped appearing therein).
I have many times observed that when Mathew wrote secretly about Abby, he would arrange for a tribute poem to be placed directly above his story, or below, or sometimes both. These poems could either have been written by him, or, selected from the works of another poet. When I say "many times," I would estimate I have discovered this at least 10 times. So now, look directly above this story, and you will see a poem by well-known 19th-century author Mrs. Sigourney, written in tribute to famous singer Jenny Lind, regarding Lind's charitable donations. Mathew, himself, as "Quails," appears to have approached her for donations for Abolition work, in 1852 (one of his last "Quails" letters). But here, I believe Mathew has requested the poem to sit atop his story, as a secret tribute to Abby--because she, also, had a beautiful singing voice (based on Mathew's own tributes to her), and was heavily involved in charitable activities. And she had passed on almost 10 years earlier, so the close of the poem would be particularly relevant.
Now we have two strong triangulated clues that this story was indeed written by Mathew, about the months they spent with his cousin, Richard, in Methuen, Mass., just as Lily Dale-certified medium Joseph Shiel had inferred in Dec. 2010--when neither he, nor I, knew anything about it.
If my second medium could nail Mathew's first name, and correctly place him in Methuen, Mass. (the only town of that name in the United States), there is, logically, increased confidence in eveything he said about Abby's personality. And he described her in some detail. Again, he said--without knowing that her father was a marquis--that she was the type who was willing to get dirty gardening, or shoeing a horse, even though normally someone of her class would have someone else do it for her. That was another "hit," at least as regards her class status. I was careful not to give him anything to go on. And that's not all. He mentioned her high intelligence four times in the reading, which is clearly seen in her poems and stories. He also mentioned her social conscience and inferred her social activism, which is also self-evident (one of her poems, against slavery, was published in William Lloyd Garrison's newspaper, "The Liberator").
I suppose I owe you at least one concrete example. Here, I will triangulate it with three sources. The first source I can't locate in black and white, on short notice. It is alluded to, along with the second source, in my first book; and it is in my novel about Mathew and Abby's relationship, "Twin Stars Descending," as well. I remembered that Mathew might have a dinner guest, say, a business associate, and that some of these guests might talk down to Abby, about politics or other "male" subjects, as though she were a child. She would gravely take it all in, but I, as Mathew, would be rubbing my hands in anticipation, because I knew he was in for it. When he had quite finished, Abby would then calmly rip his arguments to shreds! I can't remember when this memory came to me, whether it was before the second medium's reading, or afterwards. If afterwards, the memory wouldn't necessarily be invalidated, it just couldn't be confirmed, because of the possibility that I imagined it based on what I had heard in the reading.
The medium said (per my notes), in Dec. 2010:
Sweet. Intelligent. Woman before her time. Quick. Sass to her answers. Calls it like she sees it. Doesn't bowl people over, give them rope, then levels with logic and sense of humor. Very intelligent. Dry wit.
The third source in our triangulation is a story written by Abby, and published posthumously by Mathew nine years after her death, entitled "Master Palmer." I discovered it several years after the reading. This story seems to roughly follow the events of Mathew's own childhood, including that his father subscribed to a belief in "toughening training" for his boys, and suggests, along with several other sources, that Mathew ran away to sea around age 14, ending up for a time in Cuba. But we want to look specifically at a scene wherein Jane, the daughter, is trying to convince their father to be less severe with her brother, Charles. I couldn't get the pdf to display properly online, so I copied the relevant dialogue from my digitized version. Here, "Jane" neatly out-debates her father, just as I remembered Abby doing with our disgruntled dinner guests, and just as my second medium described it.
Note that this is written by one of the real co-authors of "A Christmas Carol."
Meantime, the story had been gathered from the school-boys as they passed, and no one was surprised that Charles appeared, at noon, sullen and silent, his hair shading his eyes, and face resolutely cast down; the only wonder was, his father was so unusually cast down. In school that afternoon he was absent and forgetful, making strange mistakes and even unobservant of some whispering and a great deal of play. The boys attributed this to the prolonged absence of their favorite, Charles; but, however, he stalked home at night at an unusual pace, and shut himself in his study. Jane had a long conference with Constant that night, from which the latter turned to his work with a troubled face, and Jane stole up the stairs and disturbed her father by her peculiar tap, and "may I come in, father?"
"Yes, dear." The voice was faint and husky.
The petted Jane, unlike her brother, entered boldly and going close to him put her arm fearlessly about her father's neck.
"Dear papa, do you know where Charley is?"
"No, my dear little one; I fear Charley is a very naughty boy, and will make our hearts all sad."
"Oh, but, papa, don't we know what will make him good?"
"Love, papa; he is always good to me, and oh, you don't know how much I love him; Charles says you put him down in school when he don't deserve it, papa, and don't treat him so kindly as you do the other boys, and--"
Hush, hush! not another word of that, Jane. Charles is my own son, and if I kept him in the highest places, other boys would think themselves put down, and their fathers would accuse me of partiality, and then I should lose their countenance; and then, perhaps, their influence might forfeit me my place; and then, then, my little darling Jane, what should we all do for bread to eat and a roof to cover us?"
For a moment Jane seemed lost in thought. "And that is what you call policy, isn't it, father? Well, it seems to me like acting what isn't truth. But now you are at home, father, do let Constant and me go and look for him."
"No, Jane; if Charles is guilty of playing truant he must not be coaxed home."
"Oh, father! but why not try coaxing once? you know you never do; who knows but it is just the thing to do him good? Why, if you hadn't always been good to me, there is no telling what a wicked, vengeful thing I should have been."
"But Charles is a boy, my little daughter, and such treatment as you receive would only make him silly and girlish. He must learn self-reliance, and not lean always on his father's love."
"But you said yesterday, father, that it was wicked to seem to reply upon ourselves; that we were leaning upon our Heavenly Father's love every moment of our lives."
"Ah, Jane, remember I am but an earthly parent, and my support may be withdrawn from him at any moment."
"Yes, but then it seems to me men are not so very independent of one another, after all," persisted Miss Jane, determined to carry the point. "Now, don't be angry, father, but haven't I heard you say that your happiness depended--oh, you could not tell how much--on those about you? Why may not Charles grow up to be like you?"
"You don't understand my meaning, Jane; you're a mere child; run away to your play, run."
Here it is in the original--I finally got it working.*
I could go on with more examples; but this is where reducing stress comes in. All of this is given in my books, and there is no need for me to reproduce it, here, from memory (although I could, with a little digging in the files). I'm just struck by how accurate these two readings turned out to be, in hindsight, now that the research is completed. The first medium confirmed that I was Mathew's reincarnation, flat-out. You can dismiss that, but the logic of the thing goes, if she was accurate about several historical points that she had no normal way of knowing, then the chances are she was accurate about this, as well. The normal explanations of chance, and cheating, don't work, here. Her hits were well beyond chance, and she had nothing to go on. She didn't get it from me, not even through the "cold reading" technique; and she couldn't possibly have gotten it from the historical record, because it took me nine years to unearth these things.
When I listed over 90 impressions, in the back of my first book, that were substantiated to various levels of "plausibility," from just plausible to definitely proven, I only counted each medium's results as one impression, each. Actually, I haven't counted them, now that the historical research is completed. I think I could safely say that in an hour-long reading, each of them got eight or nine "hits." At least as good as what you see with the most famous mediums these days, like John Edward. Lately, I have been watching the British mediums, Colin Fry and Tony Stockwell. Typically, they get four or five hits,** including names. The mediums I used did at least as well as these famous ones.
But this is someone I was married to in the 1830's. Which means, I used Spiritualism to prove reincarnation. The Spiritualists should be thrilled about this! They should be supporting me in my work, and citing me. But they don't--the whole idea of reincarnation is very touchy, as near as I can tell, in Spiritualist circles. Even the famous ones will publicly admit, with evident defensiveness, that they believe it, but they rarely mention it. It almost never comes up in their public readings--only in the occasional interview.
Let me return to what initially prompted me to write, and then I'll wrap it up. Based on Mathew's poems, and Abby's own writings, she turned out to be very much as the mediums described her. It's truly fascinating, to me. How it can fail to be fascinating to others, I don't know. This is the kind of thing I will never hype. And I will observe, once again, that this society seems to have become addicted to hype, the way it is addicted to copious amounts of salt and sugar in all its food. Without hype, people simply don't pay attention to a thing. It can't be significant, if it isn't accompanied by eye-catching graphics, superlatives, and calls-to-action.
But I will never subject Abby to such treatment. I will not hawk her. People will have to use their own discernment, to see that there is something remarkable here, and investigate the matter through their own, internal motivation. If they want to get to know my Abby, they will have to make inquiries, and have a proper introduction, so to speak, as one would with any lady. I will not put her on a box in the mall and sell her with a megaphone.
Nor would you. But the mediums' accuracy, as compared with what I subsequently came acoss in the deep historical record, is nothing short of remarkable.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*This story appears to have been unfinished; or else, it was originally written as a play. Either way, Mathew nested it in a letter written by an elderly man to his young niece, telling her the story. Thus, the introduction and the closing form the outside portion of Mathew's "sandwich." He did this with at least one more of Abby's stories in the series, but not the others.
**Though a documentary about the making of Colin Fry's show, "6ixth Sense," indicates that not all the "hits" in a reading may be included in the final edit, for lack of time.
Music opening this page, "Your Sweet Eyes," by Eric Johnson,
from the album, "Bloom"