In my last entry--yesterday--I happened to get into the May 1, 1852 edition of the "Carpet-Bag," which was Boston's answer to Britain's "Punch" at the time. Mathew Franklin Whittier (myself in that century), was a silent financial partner, a prolific contributor under a variety of pseudonyms, and a personal friend of the editor, B.P. Shillaber (creator of the "Mrs. Partington" character). He was also a freelance reporter, covering lyceum talks and political events. Furthermore, he was an Abolitionist, reporting, as I believe, to William Lloyd Garrison.
When I began yesterday's entry, I already knew there were six of Mathew's pieces in this edition of the "Carpet-Bag" (one of which I wasn't certain about, and so put into the "possible" folder). How much time do we have--shall I briefly list them, to give you an idea of what he's contributing?
The first is written by his character, "E. Goethe Digg," a caricature of an academic philosopher and all-around "know-it-all." This was one of his spin-offs from the umbrella signature, "Trismegistus," as previously discussed in recent entries. Editor B.P. Shillaber, in his memoirs, erroneously claimed this body of work for Benjamin Drew, a career academic. (I've disproved it, though I can only speculate as to why Shillaber would have named him.) This particular piece seems to be a satire of Spiritualist mediums. But it actually contains a strong validation, and a reference to a historical validation, as well. Both Mathew and Shillaber were active Spiritualists, at the time. (I don't recall, from my study of Drew's private papers, that he had any interest in the subject.)
The second and third are from another "Trismegistus" spin-off, "Ensign Jehiel Stebbings," a caricature of the pro-military mentality. This character was made to run for the 1852 Presidential elections, and became quite popular. One of the Stebbings pieces in this edition is a prose letter; the other is poetry. Both are very subtle caricatures--Shillaber was conservative, and Mathew had to walk a very, very fine line with his radical humor. Thus, on the surface, both can be read "straight"--but they are actually scathing lampoons. The dynamic of this friendship is that Shillaber didn't realize just how much radical content Mathew was publishing through his paper; while Mathew didn't realize that Shillaber didn't really respect him or believe in him, personally, as much as he appeared to. I won't say that Shillaber used or betrayed Mathew--I would say that he was fond of him, humored him, and made light-hearted fun of him. He (Shillaber) was ethical enough to list himself as the "editor" of those books they collaborated on, for example--and, presumably, Mathew was paid for his contribution. We have seen a similar attitude taken (at least, publicly), by one of Mathew's earlier editors, Joseph T. Buckingham, in his memoirs.*
The fourth piece is a satire on the Maine Liquor Law, written as a speech given in dialect by a native Kentuckian against its introduction, there.
The fifth I have presented in a recent entry--it has to do with a caricature of a bleeding heart, called "Philanthropos," which seems to be alternately written by Shillaber about Mathew; and sometimes (as in this instance) written by Mathew, poking fun at himself. This one has "Philanthropos" rescuing someone's hat which has blown off in the wind, by stepping on it, and finding that the owner is surprisingly ungrateful.
The one I wasn't sure about, is a brief report of international negotiations between the "Secretary of State and the British Minister in regard to Central America," giving Ensign Stebbings' opinion on the matter. Written from Washington, it is signed "Patchwork Peep." I have explained that throughout his career, and from the earliest days, Mathew has used variations on a double "P" signature. I probably hadn't yet come to that realization at the time I initially went through the "Carpet-Bag" and categorized it as "possible."
This morning, I noticed that Mathew--who is apparently freelancing, at this time, in Washington as a reporter--writes a private letter to Shillaber about traveling with Lajos Kossuth, the Hungarian reformer, who was visiting the U.S. at the time.** Shillaber saw fit to print a portion of the letter, but left it unsigned and unattributed. Mathew mentions seeing author Grace Greenwood (Sarah Jane Lippincott, a fellow-Abolitionst) there; he also mentions that "Senator Seward" (presumably, William H. Seward), was accompanying Kossuth. Seward was also anti-slavery. His portrait, which I saw, as I believe, for the first time this morning, is strongly familiar. I don't consider after-the-fact recognitions as proof--but I do know, by this time, the inner workings of my own mind. I can pretty-much tell when it's a genuine past-life recognition memory. (Some of them have been validated properly.)
Greenwood's young portrait looks somewhat like Mathew's first wife, Abby. I notice that it's an etching of a daguerreotype, and as such is a mirror image. I have learned to discern mirror images, by a method I briefly disclose, in my book. Here it is put back in its proper perspective. An older portrait seems more familiar, so I think Mathew didn't know her in her youth. The older portrait, by the way, confirms my conclusions about the correct orientation of the daguereotype, though admittedly this could have been inferred from my knowledge of her age and the photographic process.
Yesterday, I noticed that the piece directly above Samuel Clemens' first effort, in this same edition of May 1, 1852, was also written by Mathew. It simply has to do with the discomfort of wearing tight boots. Mathew also writes about wearing tight boots, when he tells the story of a fall party at which he first danced with Abby, when she was only 15. Here, he talks about attending lectures, which I know was a significant part of his reporting duties.
In my first hypnotic regression, in 2008, the hypnotist started out by asking what I was wearing on my feet. Unfortunately, the recording volume is so low at this point, it wasn't possible to transcribe most of it. However, I got this much:
First part of regression low volume, microphone is too far from subject. Induction, instructed to go to “safe, happy time.”
S: It's Christmas time, and I'm married and have a family....
T: So, these boots that you're imagining, are they dark, are they black, are they brown...
T: (laughs) [?]
What I distinctly remember, is that I was seeing myself taking off the boots. I had rather large, pale, sweaty feet, and I'm pretty sure I felt relieved to get the boots off. I think this is what occasioned the therapist's subsequent chuckle. I probably knew, from the little bit I'd studied by this time, that Mathew and his brother were both tall. Therefore, I could have assumed that he had large feet, so this in itself has no evidential value.
However, I also mentioned that I wasn't wearing socks. Just before these lines, I hesitated and said something to the effect that I didn't want to make anything up, because I really wasn't convinced I was "under" at the time. Still, I wondered about this particular detail. I am in the habit of always wearing socks with any kind of footwear (except slippers) in this lifetime, so it would have been a strange detail for me to generate out of the blue. Was this normal, in the 19th century? I still don't know. (There is an indication he didn't wear socks to the fall party, inasmuch as he soaps up his feet to get the boots on--something I discovered long after the hypnotic regression session.) So when I realized this humorous essay was written by Mathew, I wondered if there would be any clue, at all, that he either was, or wasn't, wearing socks with these boots.
There is no mention of socks in this piece, which would be consistent with not wearing them; but which isn't proof that he wasn't wearing them. Likewise, when he takes them off and slips his feet into cool slippers, the inference is that he's not wearing socks at that point. But that doesn't prove he didn't wear them with the boots--only that he didn't wear them, apparently, with the slippers.
This is just a matter of curiosity--the thing is so generic, that it wouldn't stand as strong proof, either way.
On the other hand, what soon follows in that hypnotic session did comprise very strong proof. Maddeningly, once again I don't have the entire memory on the recording--this time, because the hypnotist, who was by profession a therapist and not accustomed to using hypnosis for research, moved the discussion on to another topic before I had a chance to fully articulate what I was seeing. What I had the chance to say, was this:
T: So now take a deep breath, just something you've worked, that's going on in [?] .
S: Alright, there's a public event. I'm watching some kind of public event, in a crowd.
T: So, as you stand there, what kind of situation is this?
S: I don't know if it's political? (sigh) I can't quite read it. (chuckles) I don't know what's...it's not threatening but there's a sense that it's important. There's a sense that there's big changes afoot, and that it's being announced--it's being announced. Something like that. Like a public announcement. You know, there's no television, there's no radio, so when something big hits, you know, somebody will get up and make an announcement. So there's an announcement.
T: So everyone's gathered around...
S: And, it's important, and I don't know how important it's going to be, that it's important.
T: So as you take a deep breath, we're going to move forward in time, just a little bit. And you're going to find, notice your emotional reaction to the announcement.
T: What's the first impression?
S: I think it might be the Emancipation Proclamation, I'm not sure. Because...
T: How are you feeling?
S: Well, I'm feeling that it's not going to affect anything right in my immediate vicinity, but it means big, big changes elsewhere.
T: Um-hmm. How do you feel about it?
S: I, I think I'm cynical. I think I'm not sure I believe it, or, “Wait and see.” Yeah, wait and see. Yeah.
T: [?] in time, and go to your place of work. What's the first impression?
What I was seeing was quite a bit more detailed, and it is clear in my mind, even today (this session was conducted in 2008). I was in a large, open area in a city (I knew that Mathew had lived in Portland, Maine, so I was in a town square). I was in a restless crowd of mostly men, dressed in black coats and top hats, who where milling about. At the far end was a man standing on a platform (probably, a farm wagon), speaking to the crowd through a megaphone.
All of this is in my book, and it took some effort to research and analyze it. This is not the Emancipation Proclamation, which took place on Jan. 1, 1863, when Mathew had already moved to Boston. But the long and short of it is, this matches a unique event in Portland, Maine, which took place on Jan. 26, 1861, called the "Great Union Meeting." It was a city-wide meeting of voters, at the City Hall, called in response to news that the South was threatening to secede from the Union. Voters, at that time, were men. The City Hall held 2,500 people, and it was said to be packed to overflowing. The entire adult male population of the city (having been invited) was much, much larger than that. Therefore, men would have been spilling out into the two Portland city squares--Market Square (now "Monument Square"), and Congress Square. Both squares are on the same main artery, Congress Street, on which the City Hall was located.
Before I identified the event, itself, I recognized a photograph of Congress Square as the location I had seen, in my vision. Two of the buildings in that period photograph would, in fact, have stood there in 1861. There are, thus, several triangulating and mutually-supporting idiosyncratic details in this memory--that it was mostly men, that they were wearing coats (in January), that they were milling around, and my subjective thoughts and feelings. But what about my distinctly skeptical thought, "Well, we'll see," and the speaker on the farm wagon attempting a "stump speech," but not being listened to by the entire group?
It so happens the meeting in City Hall was stacked in favor of conservatives, who were, with one voice, urging conciliatory measures to appease the South. That means the liberals were somewhere else; and presumably, they would be gathered, along with everyone who couldn't fit into the City Hall, in the town squares. That there would have also been conservatives scattered amongst them, accounts for the fact that not everyone was listening to the speaker. Mathew, himself, lampooned the situation at the City Hall in the Portland "Transcript," with his "Ethan Spike" character.
It isn't air-tight, because there were "Great Union Meetings" being held in other cities. I, however, had never seen or heard of such a thing. (Were I to make up a city-wide meeting with a speaker standing on a farm wagon, I'm certain I would have had everyone listening with rapt attention; and I would have had men, women and children in the audience.) Mathew did write a parody of one of these meetings in his fictional town of "Hornby," as "Ethan Spike," about a year before this event--and whether there had been such meetings this early, or whether Mathew was being prescient, I don't know. I may have read this Spike letter before the regression session in 2008, though as I write this I don't think so--but in any case, as I had no idea what a "Great Union Meeting" was, it didn't influence me. I thought "Great" meant "important," rather than city-wide. Nor did I realize that the sketch was, in fact, a parody of actual city-wide meetings being held in places like Washington and Portland. Here's the opening of that letter, published in the Jan. 7, 1860 edition:
Letter from Hornby
Correspondence of the Portland Transcript.
The People in Convention!!
Gret Union Savin Meetin in Hornby!!
I do suppose that ef this ere blessed old country of aourn has bin onct on the very varge an pint of etarnal smash sence I fust wore trowsis, it has bin in that alarmin sitovatin at least fifty times. An toe the intent an eend that honor may be gin whar honor is dew--I want it kept afore the people as a everlastin remembrance--perpetooal suvener an momentus moses--that in all cases whar the union has bin gin over, when perlitical docters elsewhar hev pronounced it in extremis-mortar, an not likely toe live afore mornin--Hornby has ollers kim toe the rescue, an never failed to put the critter on its legs agin.
When aour folks fust heern that Seward an Garrison had committed a reserection in Virginny an killed John Brown, an that the Ossywattimies an n--rs had tuk Harper's ferry bote, we was considerably struck I allaow, but we didn't lose aour presence of mind. It dont take longer to raise the spirit of '76 in aour people's buzzums than it duz to get up steam in your new fire ingine.--Thars only one pesky n--r lives into aour taown. Let alone his beein a n--r, I do suppose he is abaout as clever an old critter as ever lived, but then he's a posterity of Cane and Abel wich slew aour fust parients with the jaw bone of an Ass, an consequently is agin both scripter an the Constitootion. Afore an haour had rolled away among the things as never was, we'd tore his haouse all toe smithers, an the black cuss hisself only escaped by leavin part of his skulp an wool enough for pair of mittings, in the hands of Zoorobabel Peabody. Arter we hed thus acted in accordance with the pervisions an compermises of the Constitootion, we adjourned to meet agin into the meetinus the next nite, whar a meetin on the state of the Union was appinted.
Ef I live till I die (an I umbly trusts that Providence will continue me to that time) I shall never forget the imposin appearance of aour meetinus on this momentus occasion.--Right over the pulpit hung one of aunt Kyer's best linning sheets, wite as its owner's head, and a darned site more spotlesser than her carakter, on wich, in caracters of imperishable lampblack, was the patriotic sentiment of the immortal McDuffe of South Carolina: "The Constitootion--wot is it but a darned old rag!!"
I own a physical copy of this edition--this is from the Resolutions of the meeting.
Keep in mind that Mathew has been an agent for William Lloyd Garrison, whose motto was "No union with slaveholders." Mathew, in short, was a secret "disunionist"--not from conservative motives, but from radical ones. Of course, I wouldn't learn this until many years after the hypnotic regression. I did know that he was an Abolitionist. Mathew had been "outed" as the writer of "Ethan Spike" by mid-1857, and at the time he wrote these sketches in 1860 and 1861, he was being blacklisted in Portland. Ironically, he was also publicly listed in William Lloyd Garrison's paper, the "Liberator," as an attendee of Garrison's convention in the fall of 1857, which no-doubt didn't help him much, either. I don't know what Garrison was thinking.
It is in the Feb. 2, 1861 edition of the Portland "Transcript" that Ethan Spike reports the secession of his ultra-conservative town of Hornby. ("Mean," in this era, meant cheap, or perhaps poor, not cruel. The word is still used that way in Australia, I was interested to learn.)
Resolved. We are a poor daown trodden, long-sufrin', despised, injured, miserable, meek, mean, innocent, irrepressable, ill-begotten, individooal people.
Resolved. That the demand of the State, callin on us to tell wot aour grievances is, an what we want, is insultin to aour feelins. Just as though anybody with one eye put out an' t'other bunged couldn't see that the election of Isril Washburn was a permeditated insult to Hornby.
Resolved. That we are opposed to Koertion--except when exercised by aourselves.
Resolved. That the okerpation of Baldwin Lightus by a State keeper is a irritatin circumstance. An, onless he is withdrawn, aour army be instructed to take possession of the same in the name of the taoun.
Resolved. That aour esteemed an patriotic feller citizen, Ethan Spike P.B., is hereby appinted Commissioner and minister plenty pertentious to treat with the furrin paowers naow assembled at Orgusty for the runin of a line commencin at 54° 49 East by Northe an Northe by Souwest to parts unknown, to intersect with the 467th paralell long metre. Aour minister aforesaid is also instructed to present to an collect of the aforsaid paowers aour bill of expenses in this ere secession movement. An ef said paowers refuse--that he be furder instructed to declare war agin said paowers.
Resolved. That, ef aour reasonable demands is not complied to, that we will take possesion of, an hold for aour own use, the States Prison and the Insane Asylum.
Resolved. That aour Suvrin Sister, South Kareliny, be invited to jine with us in the stand we take agin oppression.
Resolved. That all lutters an peppers naow in the Post Office here be returned to the Portland Office an that the Postmaster there be informed that the sending of more here will be construed as an act of war.
Resolved. That if any man shall speak agin secession--or be suspected of thinking agin it, any good law abidin citizen may knock him down and empty his pockets--the proceeds to be appropriated--under the direction of the Committee on Ways and Means, for a general treat.
But it is specifically this Jan. 26th event which Ethan Spike refers to in an addendum, included in this same edition of Feb. 2, where he lampoons the conservative Portland City Hall meeting:
February 2, 1861
Postscript from Hornby!
After our outside was printed off we received the following postscript to Ethan Spike’s letter, which we insert here, as it is of too much importance to be altogether omitted.
P.S. Post Scripter.—Since the foregoin a telegramic despatch from Portland has bin received, wich alters the feed.
Sich of the Convention as was in workin order was got together under a post-mortem writ, and the following Preamble an Resolution added to the Constitution:
Wheras, Notwithstandin, information havin bin received that the Aristocracy of Portland has held a regular constituted meetin and resolved to do us justice: And whereas this being the beginning of the eend—therefore
Resolved, That ef the Wide-Awakes, Garrisonian Abolitionists, Sumner Blues, Douglass Phalanx, Society for the diffusion of Useless Knowledge and the Clear Grits of that rebellious city shall fraternize and confirm the action of the aforesaid aeristockracy, then the Constitution adopted by this Convention is nullified and as tetotally kerflumexed as though it had never bin—otherwise to remain in full effect an vartoo. E. SPIKE, Sec’y Pro tem.
For the record, I didn't discover this P.S. until after I learned about the Jan. 26, 1861 Great Union Meeting in Portland. I had read the "Hornby in secession" piece, but my copy was reprinted from another paper, at a later date. I didn't have access to the Feb. 2, 1861 edition of the "Transcript" at that time.
In my opinion, taking all factors into account and being as honest and objective as I know how to be, I was remembering a unique event which occurred in Portland, Maine on Jan. 26, 1861, which I had no normal way of knowing about, and was never exposed to in any book or film. The details are too specific to invoke "chance," here. Try as I may, I can come up with no satisfactory normal explanation. This is a verified past-life memory glimpse. It doesn't directly prove that I was Mathew Franklin Whittier, but it does mean that I was personally in attendance.
Not long ago, by e-mail, I attempted to give Dr. Jim Tucker, successor to Dr. Ian Stevenson, three of the most strongly-verified past-life memories in my study, since he didn't have time to read it. We had been acquainted since 2007, when I videotaped an extended interview with him, and we had kept up an occasional e-mail correspondence since then. Specifically, I would notify him when I had found a case mentioned online which had an element of xenoglossy, though I would share other interesting cases from time to time (as, for example, cases of "foreign accent syndrome"). I would occasionally argue certain fine points of reincarnation theory with him, and he never once agreed with me, that I can recall. Sometimes he correctly pointed out a logical flaw in my argument; at other times, I thought he was just being stubborn. He had graciously agreed to hold an early edition of my e-book, against the day when someone might question when I first wrote down certain memories; but he never expressed any interest in reading it, or in my study as a whole. Finally, I confronted him about his reluctance, and this was his grudging compromise. What I've given, above, was one of the three validated memories I shared with him. He blithely dismissed it, along with my documented, public assertion, in year 2003, that I thought I had been peripherally associated with the Romantic poets (which turned out to be correct). Of the three validated memories, he only considered one of them to be of possible merit. That one I won't go into, here, but I have discussed it in previous entries. (You could look for it, but this blog has now become as large as my book, so you might as well read the book.) Note that this memory was obtained through hypnosis, whereas the third one, which Dr. Tucker admitted might have some validity, was not. Dr. Tucker is prejudiced against past-life memories obtained through hypnosis. But prejudices have no place in the scientific process.
As for my 2003 statement, it's rock-solid, but it depends on the match being verified by other memories (I don't only have these three). The match has, in fact, been verified; so then, this 2003 statement is nothing short of astounding. Of all the things I could claim in the world, this is not one that would readily come to mind. There is not really a very large pool of historical figures who would fit the description. The Romantic poets were a small group. The people peripherally associated with them, i.e. moving in the same circles, were obviously a larger group, but still relatively few. We might be talking some hundreds, at most--perhaps dozens. Keep in mind that I said I was a writer, but "not any of the famous ones," which excludes contacts like relatives, spouses, and friends who are not, themselves, writers. Thus, it is not as though I had the entire population of the United States to pull from. And the second powerful element of this memory, is that the interview, in which I made this statement, is independently archived online in Archive.org's "Wayback Machine." That means it can be independently accessed, to prove that I could not have altered it. It is an independent public record, for as long as it remains on the "Machine." As I mentioned recently, I wasn't trying to confirm this statement when I discovered Mathew Franklin Whittier's etching, and recognized it as myself. But even if I had been, it doesn't matter. All that matters is I was able to prove, by other verified memories, that I was, in fact, that person. I did not guess that I was in a certain category, and then, some years later, go pick someone in that category. Anybody could do that. Perhaps this is what Dr. Tucker was thinking, and indeed, it would have no scientific value or predictive value. But if so, he wasn't paying close attention to what I was saying. What I did, was to express something I had known, at some level, since grade school--and then, having stumbled upon that person in the historical record while looking for something else, I proved I had been him. This is a whole different kettle of fish.
Try finding it on the Wayback Machine yourself--I just did, and the page came up okay. The URL is there in the image. Incidentally, the page of this blog in which I announced my discovery of MFW, in 2005, is also archived on the Machine. Dr. Tucker downloaded it for safekeeping at his Division, upon my request, but since we are on the outs, I don't know whether he'll save it, now. Of course, I have downloaded both web pages in their entirety.
I will say in Dr. Tucker's defense--sort of--that he was so busy, and so dismissive, that he didn't give me time to share all the details that I have shared with you, above. Had he taken it more seriously, and considered all these details, he might have come to a different conclusion. But recently I shared with you my father's saying, "If a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his ass every time he jumps," and that principle probably applies, here.
I'm not sure where I'm going, with this. As I discovered these additional pieces by Mathew in the May 1, 1852 Carpet-Bag--the same edition that is only known, among academics, as the place where Samuel Clemens' 16-year-old first humorous effort is to be found--one thought led to another. Do you know what struck me, personally? That in the piece about tight boots, Mathew was identifying with that body--its aches and pains, its annoying eccentricities--and that a few weeks ago, I knelt on the soil about six feet above what's left of it, in my present body. Which has its own pecularities--not so far different from those of the previous body.
It seems so real to us--this life in the physical body. But look at what the NDE experiencers tell us. They look down on their body, and it's not them. It's a "thing." Furthermore, they loath the idea of going back into it. They get "slammed" into it, and it's heavy, and it hurts (if they had been injured).
Those feet and toes, that hurt when I wrote the article as Mathew, are now just bones lying under that marker, in Union Cemetery. I stood over them with my own feet, in shoes that I've since had to stop wearing, because they were giving me an ingrown nail.
I can't explain what it feels like to resurrect a recent past life of my own, and to sort of "superimpose" myself on it. It is endless--I mean, reaching into that lifetime, clue-by-clue-by-clue. Think of all the experiences and nuances of a single lifetime. I have only just scratched the surface of it. Were I to uncover every fact, every action, every experience, every acquaintance, it would fill a museum the size of the Smithsonian. As much information as I have on Mathew's life, now, it must be a fraction of a percent of the total.
Perhaps I am reluctant for him to die, such that he disappears from the world entirely. He certainly deserves to be known. Should we go on forever thinking that Charles Dickens wrote "A Christmas Carol," or that Edgar Allan Poe wrote "The Raven" and "Annabel Lee"? Or that Samuel Clemens wrote that story that got him into such hot water, at John Greenleaf Whittier's birthday party in 1877? Or that Mathew only wrote a handful of "Ethan Spike" spin-offs for the "Carpet-Bag"? Or, that it was con-artist Ossian Dodge who was the author of the delightful travelogue signed "Quails," in the Boston "Weekly Museum"?
Millions and millions of people disappear into history and are never known after their deaths. Why should I want to be different? But that's not, strictly speaking, true. People have hundreds of ordinary lifetimes, but as they built up karmic power, sooner or later they achieve greatness in some field or other. Sooner or later, they attain public prominence, and it is that particular lifetime which merits preservation in the historical record. This, by the way, is what people are saying when they claim a famous lifetime: "I've had hundreds of nondescript lives, but this is one in which I excelled." If a student aced an important exam, wouldn't you expect her to recount that day, skipping over all the ordinary class days that led up to it?
Mathew achieved greatness in his chosen field (and in his efforts at social reform, as well as his philosophical prowess); but he kept his light under a bushel. To some extent it was necessary to avoid persecution, but as a result of this habit, he was misunderstood and underestimated; excluded, used, duped, and ripped off. Lesser persons were credited with his work, which mistakes were entered into the historical record, becoming "fact." Mathew seems to have committed "legacy suicide" by destroying what was left, excepting for a few letters and the work he had published over the years. As his "Ethan Spike" character was the only one he was ever identified with, the remainder of his work, mostly published anonymously in newspapers, was lost.
Everyone achieves greatness sooner or later, in one incarnation or another. Should Mathew's achievements go unrecognized? I think it is toxic for his work to be associated with people like Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Ossian Dodge, and Samuel Clemens, who were of lesser spiritual development. It is demeaning and misleading, and it hinders the public's ability to discern true spirituality from worldliness.
The work of any truly spiritual person is often suppressed; and false attribution is one way of suppressing it. For example, "The Raven" is a deeply spiritual grief poem, along the lines of C.S. Lewis's book, "A Grief Observed," but with Mathew's trademark humor mixed in. It is not a horror poem. But being associated with Edgar Allan Poe, the 19th century Stephen King, it is taken as a horror poem, so that worldly people entirely miss--and disrespect--its spirituality.
Well, I must get on with my day. I am writing, apparently, to a handful of people who don't get it--inasmuch as they are barely interested enough to read my free blog, but not enough to pay the equivalent of a fast-food meal or two for my e-books. And don't give me this nonsense about not liking to read on devices. You are reading this blog on a device, and you probably read Facebook on devices for hours. If you quit Facebook for a month and devoted the same amount of time to my books, you'd have plenty of time. As for money, some people are legitimately strapped for cash. I know I am (not selling any books). If someone wrote me and said, "I am fascinated by your work, and I desperately want to read your books, but I'm hand-to-mouth right now," of course I would send him or her a free copy.
I do hope there's an audience reading this after I'm gone. I want to set things right--my past-life idea of hiding my light under a bushel, in order to avoid the pride of fame, was a mistake. You don't roll over and let people steal your work, as though it is the spiritual thing to do. You don't let the thief break into the cathedral, steal the statue of the Virgin Mary, dress her in gawdy clothes and beads, and parade her around in the back of a hot rod, for all to see. You don't let people kidnap your children. You protect them.
Is it too late, now? Maybe not.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*It appears to have been a different story with Mathew's personal friend, Elizur Wright, the ultra-liberal editor of the Boston "Chronotype." He and Mathew had deep respect for each other, and understood each other quite well. For that paper, Mathew could pull out all the stops and still get his work printed, so he didn't have to hide anything except his identity.
**Mathew's position as a reporter would have given him direct access to Kossuth, as a liaison for William Lloyd Garrison.
Music opening this page: "Desert Rose," by Eric Johnson,
from the album, "Ah Via Musicom"