I'm writing another brief entry on the same day as the previous one, because I'm going to initiate an experiment. Would anybody be interested to see my research process in real time? I may never stumble upon a body of my past-life work again, so this may be the last chance. I recently mentioned that I had discovered, serendipitously, that in my past life, I had contributed to a particular literary newspaper, according to a statement made in a footnote by the editor, years later, in one of his books. I have been able to arrange to send in researchers (my regular one can give a day, and I've hired another, a semi-retired history teacher), who can go through these old newspapers from 1841 to late 1844, when it changed hands.
The point is, I don't know what they're going to find. Of course you have to trust that I'm reporting the discoveries accurately. In this regard, as an aside, I have been watching History Channel's Friday offering, which consists of back-to-back episodes of the "Interstellar Beans Show," otherwise known as the "Could It Be, And If So Show." But occasionally they have evidence that stands up to the (honest) skeptical standard. Case in point, according to one of the programs, there are ancient elongated skulls which do not have the prominent suture line that all human skulls have. And the DNA isn't entirely human. Now, I don't know whether you can extract DNA from ancient skulls. And I don't know whether the absence of a suture line ipso facto means they aren't human. Or, for that matter, whether they were made out of plastic, or the image was doctored in Photoshop. This goes to the honesty of the presentation. But it seems to me that if the presentation is honest, then, they have evidence of non-human life on the ancient earth.
The point is, I am being honest. Whether you know it or not, you can trust anything I say to be true, to the best of my ability to report it.
So, should I proceed with the experiment? Whatever I discover, through my researchers, over the next week or two, I will honestly report. Whether it confirms my hypotheses, or disproves them. Is that fair enough? Is anybody interested? Will anybody be interested enough to purchase my $12 e-book when it's all said and done, if the results confirm my hypotheses, and my past-life impressions?
I'm not holding my breath on book sales. But let's go ahead.
I always do this. I always imagine that someone's interested, and then my book doesn't sell again, and I feel like Charlie Brown kicking the football with Lucy holding it, again. But, by God, I'm going to find out what it is that's turning people off about my book, if it's the last thing I do. That is, if it's not simply that it's an e-book. I'm sorry, it has too much information, and too much graphics, to publish as a physical book. Trends schmends.
Okay, so, one of my researchers, the historian, finished his first round of research yesterday, and sent me the results today. Mathew's beloved first wife, Abby, had died on March 27, 1841. This literary newspaper was launched in April, but the first issue available, at the historical library I'm using, appeared in June. What I expected, based on what I'd seen in another literary paper he published in, is nothing until a few months after her death; and then, perhaps, tributes to her, poetic or otherwise.
The only thing I can identify as Mathew's work, which my researcher found, yesterday, is a brief essay on death. His Spiritualist beliefs are clearly evident. He's honest that death is terrifying in and of itself, inasmuch as the unknown is frightening; and that we cannot know the circumstances of our own death. But he affirms that one will enter an exalted state if one is spiritually prepared. I can quote a bit of it, here:
Death is the introduction to life. What we call life is but the preparation for this introduction--the preparation to life.--We are here in the womb of our being, not yet struggled into the light of real, unfettered existence. When the freed soul enters the spiritual world, (as we may with perfect reasonableness conceive) it will be filled with a delightful astonishment, from the consciousness it will there have of its wonderful powers, and their field of exercise. What a vast multitude will be there to greet it on its entrance! Were all the number of earth's inhabitants combined in one vast assembly, they would be but a mere handful in comparison with those 'legions of angels,' and 'that multitude which no man can number,' redeemed, and gathered from each successive generation. How delightful will be the greeting of long separated and dearly beloved friends! How many recognitions will there be!
There are three interesting points about this essay. First of all, it is signed with a single asterisk. This has been Mathew's consistent pseudonym since 1832, continuing until 1873. Apparently, it symbolized a star; and this was a private convention suggested by Abby, herself, such that their souls were stars, or their souls were each representated by a star. So when Mathew uses this pseudonym, he means, he is Abby's "star"-soul.
The second point is that, as you can infer from the passage quoted above, Mathew does not appear to accept reincarnation as of 1841. There is evidence suggesting he does, about a decade later. My first psychic indicated that Mathew and Abby studied esoteric books, which included reincarnation. But in 1842, about a year after this essay was published, Mathew is publicly defending Swedenborg's teachings from a detractor; and Swedenborg did not teach reincarnation. So it appears that Mathew did not accept it at this time in his life, though he may have been exposed to it. Whether they simply read about it, or Abby actually did accept it, is unknown.
Thirdly, I have many times observed that pieces which Mathew submitted to the editor of a paper, would appear together on the page. Some of them were written by himself under different pseudonyms (including the asterisk); some were pieces by other authors, which had especially appealed to him. This is perhaps the earliest example of Mathew sending in multiple pieces, so that they were printed together. Directly above this essay on death--in which he is being quite the Stoic (he had studied Stoic philosophy)--is a rather different poem entited "The Memory of Joys that are Past," by "Mrs. Hemans." This is significant, because, using a disputed pseudonym, Mathew will praise Mrs. Hemans in 1851, ten years later. We now have a direct tie-in between Mathew and the poetry of Mrs. Hemans, as early as 1841. The poem, itself, indicates that he is in full grief, in August, or five months after Abby's passing; and he is struggling with the bittersweet memories that are constantly arising for him. Mathew always hid his deeper emotions; so here, he has expressed them with another author's poem, making it look like a coincidence that it appeared together with his own essay. To give you an idea of it, the third and final stanza reads:
There is a strain--a plaintive strain,
The source of Joy, and yet of pain;
It is the song whose dying measure
Some friend beloved has heard with pleasure,
Some friend who ne'er again may hear
The melting lay to Memory dear.
Ah! then by magic spells restore
Visions of blissful days no more.
I have written extensively, in this blog and also channeling Abby in her journal, about certain songs that I feel Abby played for Mathew, or which they both enjoyed, in connection with her own musicianship, and also in connection with the Portland (Maine) Sacred Music Society. If those memories (and the research supporting them, which clearly indicates that Abby was a talented musician) are correct, then Mathew has chosen a poem which expresses his personal experience that memories of Abby surface most poignantly when he hears their favorite tunes.
All this is not too surprising. We bring every philosophical weapon in our arsenal to bear against the enemy, Grief; and if we are a man of the 19th century, or perhaps even a man of the 21st century, we act the part of the philosopher, the Stoic. But the heart is another matter, and so are the evening hours when one is alone. We all know this, if we have lost someone dear.
But where I have seen Mathew's asterisk appear side-by-side, or above or below one of his other presumed pseudonyms--or an anonymous piece which I am quite certain is his--I now have an early example of this pattern. Where I see him keep the stiff upper lip, or joke around, and then right next to it is something expressing his grief for Abby, even a decade or more later; where I see him pretend he can't write poetry, and then write a piercingly beautiful tribute to her, anonymously; and where I see, directly adjacent to his lampoon of conditional love and romantic rejection, an excerpt from a book about continuing one's relationship across the Great Divide with a late spouse, I have more evidence that these are not simply coincidences onto which I am projecting my own agenda.
I also know that he was, in fact, in such dark grief during those first few months, that he wasn't submitting anything at all; and that when he finally started to, there was none of his flippant humor. He was barely recovered enough to be able to write about it, briefly, and submit the piece for publication. This is important, because Mathew has been painted as an uncaring person, who casually remarried at the one year mark. There is even a mis-reported date, floating poisonously about in the historical record, suggesting that he remarried while his first wife and child lay dying! Nothing could be farther from the truth. I have proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, that, in fact, he was "guilted" into an arranged second marriage at the one-year mark by his family (probably, his mother); and that it was a horrific mistake. They took advantage of his guilt feelings, i.e., that he had not done enough to protect and support his family, and convinced him to marry a remarkably unattractive woman, sight-unseen, who would basically whip him into shape. He did it, believe it or not, as a kind of penance. I knew this, emotionally and intuitively, as soon as I began studying his history, over eight years ago. But it took a long time to prove it.
That's all for this first research foray; and it's all I expected. But as we approach the one-year mark in this newspaper, we may begin to see a very different story. This is a staid, avowedly apolitical literary publication; but let us see what Mathew does with it, by way of sneaking in his satire between-the-lines.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page: "First Snow," by Skywalk, from the album, "Silent Witness"