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Day after tomorrow, I'm thinking of taking another trip into my past life as Mathew Franklin Whittier in the 19th century. The plan is to visit two places associated with his life. My explorations so far have indicated that in order for past-life memory to be triggered when visiting some scene of that lifetime, two factors need to be present. First, it must be as little changed as possible; and secondly, there must be strong emotion associated with it. The first of these places I want to visit is more changed, but should have very strong emotion connected with it. The second should be relatively unchanged, but won't carry so much emotion. I'll briefly provide some background on both.

After Mathew and Abby tragically lost their first child, who was almost a year old, to scarlet fever, they stayed for awhile with a distant relative of Mathew's in a nearby small town. Or so my research indicates. It was a two-story stone farmhouse, and this was the fall of 1838. Today, that house remains, though it has been added onto. Ironically, it has become the local historical museum. A portion of that museum, as I read the website, remains dedicated to that earlier period. I don't expect to find any historical trace of Mathew and Abby's short visit, though it's possible. Whether past-life emotions--or even a full-fledged flashback--might be triggered by stepping into the old portion of that farmhouse, I don't know. But I want to give it a chance to happen. Much depends on whether it is just the shell of the structure which remains authentic, or whether they have been able to restore the interior to its original farmhouse appearance, as well.

The second location has a very different meaning in Mathew's life, and is from a much later period. It appears that in his final year, after he had been forced to retire due to illness, he took a trip for his health from Boston, to Lynn, Massachusetts. He was with a friend and former co-worker, one Frank Harriman. They visited a place called Dungeon Rock, which has a very odd history. A man who believed he was getting instructions from the spirits of pirates, began tunneling into a large granite rock in search of the pirates' treasure. His son continued the quest, so that it went on for two generations. However, they never found anything.

Now, by the time Mathew took this trip, in 1882 at age 69 or 70, he had become somewhat cynical about Spiritualism. He had once believed in it; and perhaps he still did, but he looked askance at its more foolish and dishonest adherents. So what he did, was to write one final article describing this visit with his friend. However, he never published it; and, in fact, his friend, Frank Harriman, published it under his own name, about a year and a half after Mathew's death.

Earlier on in my research, I was sent a list of Mathew's co-workers. I picked out Frank's name from the list, as someone I recognized as a friend. Then, some months later, my researcher sent me the same list again. I had forgotten she had sent it before, but I picked out the same name. Then I found this article (searching on his name); and as I read it, I felt that Mathew had written it. Still later, I found Frank's photograph, and it was indeed quite familiar (though this isn't evidence per se). But in that early stage of my research, I didn't understand how crafty Mathew was at hiding his authorship. I simply didn't feel I could assert his authorship of something signed by someone else, so I concluded my initial impression was mistaken. When I saw that Mathew's trademark humor appears toward the end of the piece, I reasoned that Mathew must have accompanied Frank, and that Frank was reproducing Mathew's remark.

Much, much later, I read the entire article, and saw that the closing is definitely Mathew's.* Let me reproduce it, here:

The legendary lore of Dungeon Rock is eclipsed by the dominant impulse of lives absorbed in an idea, based upon supernatural agency. While it is an evidence of a misguided zeal, unequaled by anything the whole world has heretofore probably known, in and of itself it is no mystery.

The mystery is that there ever lived human beings to undertake such an unpromising work, where such hardship and perseverance were required, and where the folly of any hope of success must have been apparent to an intelligent person every day, from the commencement to the close of the twenty-seven years of servile toil.

Mathew had done this, himself, in his literary career for roughly 27 years, from 1830, when he began writing and editing for the New York "Constellation," until 1857, when he was publicly "outed" as the writer of "Ethan Spike."**

At this time, in 1882, he is dying; and seemingly nothing has come from all this work. He is leaving the earth a has-been humorous writer, whose legacy he so successfully hid, that it will never succeed him. All was seemingly for naught. His work for the cause of non-violent Abolition ended in the obscene tragedy of the Civil War (and then, oppression of blacks resumed under other guises, when it was over, despite Emancipation). Spiritualism, once bright with such promise, had become a laughing stock.

This last piece would be published under his friend's name. No-one would even know he had written it.

But now, in year 2018, he has cheated death. He is back, and not only is he back, but he has restored most of his literary legacy, including this final piece. His life has been ferreted out and reconstructed from his coded, anonymous autobiography, which he had secretly embedded, piecemeal, in all of his published works. He will now be physically revisiting the scene described in this last sketch, in a new, healthy body, which is only five years younger than his was at the time he was dying. One hundred and thirty-six years later.

In hindsight, the influence he had is actually incalculable; but in any case the guidance he was getting from Abby was quite real. Today, he continues to get that guidance, and not only that, he has had very clear proofs from her. It was she who helped him recover a great deal of his lost legacy.

He returned to Portland, where he and Abby had once lived; he even attended a few sessions of the local Spirtualist Church, finding it more watered-down than he had left it in the 1860's. So it was not the fault of Spiritualism, per se, nor of the guidance he had been receiving. It was merely the fault of people who attempted to use it for personal gain, and were fooled thereby; or people who dabbled in it, having so little discernment that they couldn't tell the lower manifestations from the higher, or the false from the real.

At the same time, today, at age 64, I am seemingly in much the same boat as Mathew was at 69. For the last 21 years I have been trying to present this concept of reincarnation to the public. Seemingly, as I write this, today, it has all been for naught.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The mountain of ignorance is massive; and we, the workers of Light, are seemingly armed with little plastic shovels. But there are unseen forces behind us; and it turns out we must not fall into the error of measuring success by the results of a single lifetime.

I think I am not so concerned about whether I have past-life memories at Dungeon Rock. I think this one is more about just the brazenness of the thing; the triumph of it--whether anybody else acknowledges what I've done, or not. It's thumbing my nose at defeat, standing up, and saying: "I was right, after all, and I'm back."

Best regards,

Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.

*I later found that there is historical evidence, in a letter, indicating that Mathew was convalescing in the area. Based on this, we can pinpoint the time that the visit to Dungeon Rock would have occurred within a month or so. There is no mention in the letter of Harriman accompanying him there. However, I got a fairly clear past-life impression that Harriman went out of his way to take Mathew to various specialists, so that's what they may have been doing in Lynn.

**He continued to publish sporadically, but these were the years when he was most active as a reformer. There were exceptions, as for example a clever open letter to President Lincoln chiding him for not emancipating the slaves, and not permitting black men to serve in the military, published by the ultra-conservative "Vanity Fair" in New York. The letter is written in irony as the ignorant, conservative character "Ethan Spike," and the question arises as to how he slipped it into this paper. He had been writing for "Vanity Fair" for several issues in 1862, and those stories would have been relatively unoffensive (lampooning deserters, and such). It's possible that this one slipped by because the editors didn't realize it was written tongue-in-cheek, and only saw superficially that it was critical of the President.


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Music opening this page: "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts,"
by Nancee Kahler and Open the Sky, from the album, "Songs Without Words"



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