This entry sort of wrote itself while I was trying to get back to sleep. In my past life as Mathew Franklin Whittier, I also reported battling insomnia, and it appears that my literary output was truly prodigious--in one of the many pseudonyms I used, then, to remain incognito, I even remarked on it, calling myself "Grapho Mania."
We are now in the middle of a series, as I am exploring, through researchers, one last source of Mathew's work, roughly three years of a Portland, Maine literary newspaper. If you haven't been following this, I learned of it accidentally when I discovered that Archive.org has added a new feature, whereby you can search through the interior text of its collection. There, I found a footnote in an obscure book, in which the author mentions he had been the editor of this paper, listing the main contributors, among whom was Mathew.
This points up just how powerful the internet is for research. Sitting here in my chair off the coast of South Carolina, I am as powerful as a team of well-funded historians of pre-internet days. But there are still some sources I can't access in this way, and so I am sending in an actual historian to a historical library. He will be making his second foray into their copy of this newspaper today, beginning where he left off in Feb. 1842.
While I wait, I had in mind to muse a little bit about what I anticipate, which brings me into what I experience as Mathew's reincarnation.
I actually have no idea what to expect, based on past-life memory or intuition. I can make educated guesses, having studied the work that Mathew submitted to other papers (chiefly, another Portland paper, the "Transcript") during these years. This paper has a somewhat different emphasis. They were both literary newspapers, and intended for family reading. This one, however, was more along the lines of being a good Victorian influence for young men. Encouragement, upbraiding, good examples, moral tales, that sort of thing. The "Transcript" was more liberal, and more eclectic. So here, the only thing Mathew has contributed so far, five months out from the deaths of his infant daughter and his beloved wife, Abby, is one brief essay on death, as shared in the previous entry.
But Mathew was not a Puritan, or a Calvinist, but rather a Spiritualist (and, at least as of the following year, a Swedenborgian). So he has woven Spiritualist themes into his essay, such that any Christian might agree with them--but, still, there is more.
This is what we can expect from Mathew when writing for any conservative publication. It will seem to fit in--but there will be "hints and portents" of a greater understanding. Whether Mathew was dealing with political, psychological or metaphysical themes, there will be a deeper layer.
I have no memory, whatsoever, of either this paper, or what Mathew may have written for it. In order to trigger those kinds of complete memories, I would have to be Mathew, now. In normal waking consciousness, this only happens--at least, to me--in rare bursts, typically where there was very strong emotion attached to the memory. I have been able to verify one such memory, historically, with virtually zero chance of there being any normal explanation. That, of course, is discussed in detail, in my book.
I know what Mathew was feeling during this time. Contrary to appearances, including what I can find of his correspondence during these first few months after Abby's death, he was in deep despair; and he was bringing every weapon of intellect and faith to bear on the situation, at the same time. You see this in the essay I shared in the previous entry; and in the poem that he presumably sent in along with it, by one Mrs. Hemans, which appears (as he must have requested) directly above it. Everything reminded him of Abby; and yet, apparently, he was divesting himself of all her belongings, in a manly display of Stoicism. But even when all the clothing, and the combs, and the jewelry, and even her portrait had been given away, there were the songs they had loved--which orchestras maddeningly insisted on playing, and even passersby on the street insisted on humming.
It was a mighty battle, to wrestle with the yawning chasm of terror, the crushing weight of grief, wielding as his weapons the beliefs that he and Abby had shared and studied together.
So his writing was not trite--but how to fit it into a form acceptable to a publication which typically featured trite material? It had to look very much the same--but unlike this flowery Victorian stuff, it had real substance.
This, by the way, is how I know that my intuition is probably correct, that Mathew was the true author of "The Raven," rather than Poe. Mathew brought not only the philosophy of Stoicism to the battle with grief, and his study of esotericism (as Abby taught it to him, and as gleaned from old books they had studied, together)--he brought his humor into the fray. This is what makes "The Raven" unique--it is essentially a humorous poem about real grief. Poe, who was not grieving at the time, was incapable of writing it--and his explanation of how and why he wrote it--essentially as an academic exercise--is nothing less than lame. But the poem fits Mathew, at this period of his life, like a glove.
So this is what I am expecting--but really-speaking, I have no idea. In the other paper he was writing for, we see him churning out a series of lengthy, extremely well-written adventure stories. Perhaps he submitted some of these to this second paper, as well. But I think that serious political commentary, like the one about the profligate white New Yorker who rapes the Indian chief's beautiful young bride, will be absent, here. Whatever he submits to this paper, which was avowedly apolitical, will have to make its points around-the-corner.
I was going to write about my subjective experience of having "woken up" Mathew within me, so that I am, in a sense, two incarnations at once. But I think I have about worn out the reader's patience. It is very difficult to describe, anyway. I have re-awakened Mathew, within myself, at the level of my subconscious mind; but not my conscious mind. In order to do that, once again, I would have to be Mathew, in the sense of having his life-experiences and mental associations; and, at least subjectively, I would have to be in his world. My personal history, as Stephen Sakellarios, has its own bed of associations; and those associations don't lead to Mathew's cognitive memories. I can visually gaze at an image of a place I knew he visited, or even occupied for some years, and I get nothing--and that is because I can't associate to what Mathew would have associated to. I associate to what I have experienced, in this life, instead. So, for example, when I view a steamboat he once traveled on, I associate to what I have read about steamboats in this life, say, in connection with Mark Twain, or riverboat gamblers, or something I saw on PBS.
Mathew's cognitive memories--or rather, a brief snippet thereof--can be triggered, in rare instances, if there was very, very powerful emotion associated with the stimulus. Thus, when I saw Abby's gravestone, and the inscription on it, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord," I remembered something. Now, that may not even be the original tombstone--but dollars to doughnuts, it's the original inscription. What I remembered was that I obsessed over that inscription, like a dog gnawing a bone. It was oxymoronic--and it symbolized my own lack of faith, my own struggles with my faith. "If they are dead, what does it matter whether they are 'blessed' or not, they're dead!" Like that.
That's all. I didn't remember the physical situation (maybe my knees were wet?), or the time or year, or anything of that sort. Just the feeling of the mental struggle, the anguish of it.
Such things are very difficult to prove, via the historical record. But many years later, Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the lyrics to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," and was a secret supporter of John Brown), published a book of poetry entitled "Words for the Hour." Since her husband was at that very time negotiating to fund John Brown's raid, quite likely she hoped to raise funds for the venture with this book. The poetry was rather forced, and the ideas expressed poorly thought-through, so indeed it may have been slapped together as a fund-raiser, i.e., "for the hour." Mathew, who had his finger on the pulse in Abolitionist circles and was in league with William Lloyd Garrison, may have thought it his duty to pan it, publicly, so as to reduce its sales and with them, her revenue. Or so I speculate.
But there is one stanza in this book of poetry that Mathew--signing as a single asterisk, which I discussed in the previous entry--took special umbrage at. I feel that here, he was hearkening back to that epitaph on Abby's tombstone, which had given him so much trouble. This is how he analyzed it, in his critique:
"Not each for each, can live, but each for other,
Only the dead in God are isolate,
He shall accord me Patience for my fate
Whose holy rest doth gather thee, my brother.
Consoling, that, very! Very edifying too. Great comfort to know the dead are isolate! But this is too solemn. Take a different strain!
Hardly proof, by the skeptic's standards. But it is just one small piece of evidence, among many. Intuitively, I feel that these things are tied together--and that aside from his duty to try to defund John Brown's violent scheme, this one passage is what motivated Mathew to write the entire scathing critique. The one line reminded him of that damned epitaph that somebody saw fit to engrave into Abby's tombstone.
This, by the way, wasn't immediately apparent to me. It sort of dawned on me after I had worked with the critique for awhile, photographing it, digitizing it, and editing the section where I present it. It gradually worked its way into my consciousness, until there was an "ah hah" moment. There have been several such insights regarding Mathew's work, which leave me feeling embarrassed that I didn't see them right away. My only tentative explanation is, that my current-life preconceptions, as Stephen, are getting in the way, causing a delayed reaction. But an outside perspective might come up with a different theory (i.e., a respectful one that isn't reductionistic).
I have often expressed frustration that my work, as a reincarnation researcher, is so little appreciated. I would add "in my time," but it sounds grandiose, as a phrase. It's just the way of things, I suppose. Both psychics I used said I and Abby were ahead of our time; the same holds true, today (given that society really has not made much progress, or has even slipped, where it counts, despite massive technological advancement).
But I also feel regret that I am so under-utilized as a reincarnation subject. I have achieved what seems to be a complete blending of my re-awakened past-life subconscious mind, meaning, my feeling, intuitive mind, with that of my 19th-century persona. And yet, even the prominent reincarnation researchers of this era don't take me seriously. As reported last entry, Dr. Jim Tucker--mindful, I suppose, of my efforts to promote his work through grassroots media--agreed to one informal, and I would say somewhat half-hearted, test. A test which I seemingly failed, and which he expressed no further interest in, after gratifying my request for it. Another, lesser-known researcher purchased an earlier version of my e-book, seemingly with the only object being to cite it as an example of something I really wasn't doing, i.e., using psychics for past-life research. Or so I gathered. My repeatedly emphasizing that this was only one element of a multi-pronged approach, appeared to fall on deaf ears, as he was using it for what he already intended to use it for. I doubt he ever read it.
That was kind of amusing, because I have been revising this e-book on an almost daily basis for years, and the only indication is the actual file name, which reflects the date. He couldn't figure out how to cite such a monstrosity. (At least there was that satisfaction in it, for me.)
The others don't have time, or don't write back. Oh, Dr. Rupert Sheldrake did write back, briefly, as a courtesy. Dr. Chris Bache was in town visiting a late acquaintance of mine, and never bothered to even ring me up, even though we had previously corresponded, and he had expressed gushing admiration for my documentary when it was initially released.
I think the joke will be on them, but for the field of reincarnation studies, it's kind of a shame. I'm here--I will candidly answer any questions, or, within reason, submit to any tests. My book is there; my blog is on this website; my self-shot video interview is likewise here. My documentary, in which I introduced several of these people (some of whom have passed on, now) has been seen, in its various substandard viral forms on Youtube, over half a million times. And yet I languish here, like Elmer P. Dowd and his Pooka, with my imaginary astral wife--a sad figure, who once produced a fairly decent indie film about the real reincarnation researchers, until he imagined he was one, also, and got into this strange business of claiming he had discovered and proven a past life of his own.
Well, Mathew was similarly ignored in his time. Even though all his personal effects seem to have been lost, his published work allowed me to piece his legacy back together. Perhaps the same will be true for this lifetime.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
P.S. Last entry, I mentioned the anti-slavery article in the Oct. 31, 1838 Dover "Enquirer" which I felt might be Mathew's; but as of that date, I didn't have the entire article, and I didn't know how it was signed. This was a response to a pro-slavery writer who signed as "Alpha & Beta." So this morning I got a note from the seller, that the signature is "Kappa, Lambda and Mu." This falls into the realm, now, of speculation--unless, that is, I can find some identifying passage in the article, itself. Looking up these Greek letters, I find that Kappa is used in the scholarship of comparative textual analysis, as well as being a mythological Japanese river sprite; Lambda is a Spartan shield, or a Spartan city; while "Mu" is simply the 12th letter of the Greek alphabet. I could speculate that Mathew and Abby wrote these responses, together; such that "Kappa" is Abby (who has grown up overlooking the Merrimack River, and is probably a scholar of ancient texts in her own right); "Lambda" is Mathew, who has obviously studied the ancient Greeks, such that his knowledge of their philosophy is his "shield"; and "Mu" is, perhaps, his first initial, as Mathew. Their first child, Joseph, had just been born at this time; so alternatively, "Mu" could be their new child. Abby was a musician; "Mu" is a major chord with the second added. If you go to Abby's journal's home page and play the music which she inspired me to attach, there, you will see that the lingering tones form precisely this chord (I just learned this meaning on Wikipedia, this morning). I am feeling from Abby, now, as I write this, that the addition of the second is the vibration of creation, as it tries to resolve and thus raises the energy of the chord. It would also simply be playful, probably thought up by the two of them on the spur of the moment--and we must admit, it does have a comic ring to it, like "Winkin', Blinkin' and Nod." This is hardly proof, but it is entirely consistent. After my researcher photographs the entire article at the library, today, I should have more to go on for tomorrow's entry. I have literally hundreds of Mathew's works for comparison purposes, and I know what key phrases to watch for. I will say that this signature points to Mathew, inasmuch as it is playful. In order for it to be someone else, you have to put together this kind of intellect and writing ability, place them in the Dover area, and then have them also be humorous and playful. Rev. David Root is ruled out, because, being already a public figure who has come out against slavery, he would have simply signed his name. William Lloyd Garrison, as fine a man as he was, was essentially humorless, if my past-life impressions serve. George Bradburn could have done it--John Greenleaf Whittier would have signed his own name, as he typically did. So already, I can say with some degree of certainty that this is probably MFW.
Music opening this page: "Gem" by Eric Johnson, from the album, "Up Close"