It's early on the morning of the 18th, and I have not yet received the work-product of my researcher's final day at the historical library. For those who have just stumbled on this page, and have not been following the latest series, at the 11th hour in my research, I had discovered yet another source of my past-life literary work in the 19th century, as eccentric and reclusive author Mathew Franklin Whittier. And while I had the researcher in there, I was also having him investigate a couple of other leads, which means, a couple of other bound period newspapers.
So while I was waiting for the latest round of results, yesterday, I took the opportunity to key in what he had already sent me. This was a series of letters to the editor in 1837, responding to an earlier pro-slavery series by someone signing "Alpha & Beta." I am pretty sure that it was Mathew, in tandem with his wife, Abby--who I know were living in this small New England town at the time--responding as "Kappa, Lambda & Mu." My reasoning for this attribution doesn't concern us here, but the clues are multiple, and I feel comfortable claiming this response-series for them. I have other samples of Mathew's style. "Kappa" is a legendary Japanese water sprite (Abby grew up overlooking the Merrimack River); "Lambda" is a Spartan shield (Mathew was typically guarded in his emotions, and admired the ancient Greeks); and Mu is their firstborn son, Joseph, who was born while the series was in-progress. The very fact that such a playfully responsive set of pen-names was used, points to Mathew, who, when he wasn't debating publicly like this through the newspapers, was a humorist.
Now, I have to give a little background. But hang in there with me, because I'm sharing some evidence for reincarnation, and for my past-life impressions being actual.
A couple of years ago, I think it was (I nail down dates in my book, but am more conversational in this blog), I ran across a fiery anti-slavery sermon given by one Rev. David Root, a Congregationalist minister, in Mathew and Abby's hometown a couple of days before they eloped across the border to a small town in New Hampshire. They were married by the local Congregationalist pastor, James Cushing; Rev. Root presided over the church in the town they eloped to. Subsequently, Mathew's more publicly prominent brother, poet and aspiring politician John Greenleaf Whittier, requested that the sermon be published.
Reading this sermon, I was deeply impressed with the writing, and in particular with one passage:
If a man take my cloak clandestinely, I would call him a thief; if he takes it away by violence, I would call him a robber; but, if he takes my cloak and me, body and soul in it, and reduce me to a chattel I would call him a SLAVEHOLDER!
Now, when I react intuitively and emotionally to writing like this, sometimes it's because I am remembering it subconsciously. I have said that I have access to Mathew's subconscious mind--his feelings, essentially--and I can viscerally recall bits of his writing that he was especially pleased with. But in this case, I missed it, consciously, because it was attributed to Rev. Root. So I assumed that Root was a visionary, and that Mathew would have both admired him, and known him personally.
For this reason, when I discovered that there was a portrait of Root squirelled away in a historical library, I saw an opportunity to test myself. I prevailed upon Dr. Jim Tucker, successor to reincarnation research pioneer Dr. Ian Stevenson, to run the test. The digital image of the portrait would be sent directly to him; he would then mix it with a few other period portraits, and send them, unlabeled, to me. I would record my reactions.
The link to the portrait was mistakenly e-mailed to me, instead of to Dr. Tucker, but I duly reported it and didn't open the attachment. Dr. Tucker created the set, using decoys of minor public figures from that era (and one from a previous generation), and sent them to me. One of the six (I think it was) images contained a name embedded in the file, and had to be disgarded for the purposes of the test.
I reacted to two portraits. One I felt might be Rev. Root. He struck me as the right kind of visionary. A second I felt I might recognize to a lesser extent, but in some other context, as I didn't feel he was a visionary type.
When Dr. Tucker sent me the results of the test, I saw that I had failed to identify Rev. Root. Instead, I had reacted most positively to one Gaspard Monge, a French mathematician and revolutionary from the previous generation.* He did, however, look vaguely like Root. The other man was a British ornotholigist. But this was before I learned that Mathew had, in fact, been in London; and given that he was an enthusiastic attendee and reporter of lyceums, he could conceivably have seen this scientist lecture.
There the matter was left, and with it, my one shot at impressing Dr. Tucker. I duly reported the entire fiasco in my book, as I had promised to do.
Gradually, however, it dawned on me that Mathew, himself could have ghost written that sermon, and with it, the passage I most admired. This sounds like a self-serving, desperate explanation, but there was some evidence to support it. First of all, I know that Mathew would re-use bits from his writing that he was especially pleased with. I have multiple examples. We will see the relevance of this, shortly. He was also scrupulous about acknowledging other people's work, if he borrowed from it. In 1843, for example, a poem by Harry Klapp entitled "Little Night Owl" was published in a literary paper which Mathew also contributed to. He responded with his own imitation, and directly under his title, "The Great Cat Owl," he states: "In imitation of Harry Klapp's 'Little Night Owl'."
So note the logic, here:
1) Mathew did re-use favorite bits and phrases from his own work; 2) Mathew did not borrow from other authors without giving them due recognition
The next thing to check, is whether the sermon matches Rev. Root's other sermons, in style. It does not. His own style, as seen in his talk for the bicentennial of the church, is stuffy and pedantic. He is, indeed, against slavery--and drinking--but as for his writing, it's a very different vibe.
Now we are beginning to see why I might not have recognized Root's portrait. Mathew may not have known him very well, and may not have especially admired him other than the fact that their beliefs on slavery were sympatico. Meanwhile, I have multiple examples of Mathew using more prominent mouthpieces to give his words a larger audience. During the test, I was predisposed to look for a visionary, while Root was anything but. That's why I picked Monge--but really-speaking, Mathew may have not had a strong emotional attachment to Root at all; and this is what generally triggers the past-life recognition response. Even so, I may have vaguely recognized someone whom Mathew saw give a lecture once, in London.
That is where the matter stood for a couple of years, until this most recent research expedition. Because embedded in the letters by "Kappa, Lambda & Mu" is almost the identical phrase, to the one I had earlier admired:
If a man takes clandestinely my jack knife, or my pocket handerchief, he is to be excommunicated; but if he takes my whole self, my body and soul, forcibly and feloniously, and converts me to the purposes of his own luxury, indolence and vice; Oh, he must be tolerated, because the "scribes and pharisees" of the age do so, and they do it by law and it is according to the institutions of the country!
There are, perhaps, alternative explanations here. If one does not accept that the true authors of the "Kappa, Lambda & Mu" letters are Mathew and Abby, then one might say that a third author has simply borrowed from Rev. Root's 1836 sermon. But this is Mathew and Abby--as said, I have multiple examples of Mathew's style for comparison. This could also be Rev. Root writing as "Kappa, Lambda & Mu." But I doubt it, because he had already "come out" strongly as being anti-slavery. There would be no reason for him to hide behind a pseudonym--and from what I see in his sermon, he was anything but playful, at least in his public persona.
The letters also go into some depth in criticizing the clergy who are silent on the issue of slavery. Root could have been upbraiding his own--but unless he was deliberately hiding his identity, he would have spoken as one of them, i.e., "we" instead of "they." In the opening paragraph of the "Kappa, Lambda & Mu" series, the writer(s) uses the phrase "
Here's how I think it went down. Mathew wrote the original essay, and prevailed on Rev. Root to deliver it in his hometown just about the time he and Abby were to elope. He didn't tell anyone, not even his brother, because in his family (this is hard to explain), his older brother was the admired "man of letters," while he was considered the black sheep, the clown, etc., i.e., his own talents were not taken seriously. So even at this time, he became a kind of literary "Zorro," and he would launder his work through other, more prominent persons.
Meanwhile, Mathew urged his brother, who was publicly prominent in the abolitionist movement, to recommend that the sermon be published (at this time, it was standard operating procedure, and the request letter would be printed at the front of the booklet). In this way, Mathew extended the reach of his own work by having it published, albeit under Rev. Root's name.
Now, roughly a year later, we find Mathew and Abby living in the town they had eloped to, where Rev. Root is pastor of the Congregationalist church. But Root is no-longer in the picture, here. Some pro-slavery man, or men, signing as "Alpha & Beta," have published a 10-part series of bullshit in the local paper. Once it is completed, Mathew and Abby begin submitting their own series of rebuttals, under this playful (and, unfortunately, too-easily deciphered) pseudonym, "Kappa, Lambda & Mu." When he gets to this idea that slavery is okay because it is sanctioned by the church, he draws a favorite line from his earlier work--even to the extent of the opening line being nearly identical, i.e., "If a man take clandestinely..."
If this was the only example I had, one might chime in with the History Channel, "Could It Be, And If So..." But it isn't the only example. I have dozens. This was Mathew Franklin Whittier's MO. And if you ask me, I'd bet that the idea, itself, came from a remark Abby had made to him. That was her wry observation, originally, i.e., that everyone abhors a thief, but slavery is the worst kind of theft, the theft of an entire person--and no-one in their right mind would put up with it, if it was done to them.
Now, just how much objective evidence do I have to provide to the public, before people will start taking me seriously--seriously enough, at least, to purchase my book and see what other evidence I can bring to bear on this question of whether I have, actually, identified a real past life in the 19th century? I have much stronger evidence than this. I just wanted to share what was coming out of this research foray, as promised. I had promised to share the good, the bad and the ugly, as it were--and I have. And here we have something evidential.
We shall see what else, if anything, my researcher sends me, today.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*Since Abby's father, a marquis, was French, and it appears French was spoken in her home, and since it also appears that Abby tutored Mathew privately (even though he was four years older), Mathew might well have been introduced to Monge--including this historical portrait--during those tutoring sessions. All this simply suggests that if such a test were to be administered again, obscure figures rather than historically prominent ones should be used as decoys.
Music opening this page: "Trademark" by Eric Johnson,
from the album, "Ah Via Musicom"