This, once again, is an addendum to the previous entry, so I'd suggest reading both. Then, I mentioned that I had purchased, but had not yet received in the mails, a letter I once wrote as Mathew Franklin Whittier, in 1863. I received it, yesterday. I was inclined not to share my personal reactions, but I feel Abby's inner prompting to "go ahead." As usual, I will be completely candid about it.
This is not the first item which Mathew owned that I have held; but as I indicated previously, it is the first that I am 100% sure was his. I should take some time to set the scene.
In 1861, when the Civil War broke out, Mathew was a resident of Portland, Maine. He had published anti-slavery humor and essays in the Portland and Boston papers for many years; but his identity as the author of one of his characters, "Ethan Spike," had been outed by someone in 1857; as had his involvement in William Lloyd Garrison's "disunionist" movement that same year, in a list of convention attendees in Garrison's own paper, "The Liberator." So, perhaps not coincidentally, he was hard-pressed to find work. Against all his principles, he permitted his publicly prominent brother, John Greenleaf Whittier, to use his influence in obtaining an "office" (an appointed government job) at the Boston Custom House. So as of Nov. 1863, when this letter was written, Mathew finally had job security. However, it was also just about this time that he discontinued his "Ethan Spike" series. I have recently heard it said that online political comedian Lee Camp (you must check him out if you haven't heard of him) is "Jon Stewart with teeth." Just so, "Ethan Spike" was like Archie Bunker with teeth.
I had long felt that pressure was being put on him to stop writing it. One of the last installments contained an open letter to President Lincoln, chiding him for being "skairt" to free the slaves, and to allow black men to fight in the Union army. I bought two copies of that magazine; someday, I hope that the funds from selling one of them may go toward the little museum I foresee being built in Mathew's memory.
Here in this letter, Mathew is writing to a local woman, one "Mrs. N." He is writing from work, with a "villainous" cold, and he is "in haste." He says:
My dear Mrs. N.
I intended to see you to day--but a most villainous cold prevents. Just as soon as I feel well enough, I shall call on you, and consult with you about removing to Washington. My present impressions are that it would not be a wise step--
In haste always yours
From this we know that "Mrs. N." is a personal friend (hence the term of endearment, appropriate to a married woman); we know she, or her husband, must have connections, to be able to arrange a job in Washington. We know that Mathew is reluctant to go. I, also, knowing my personality and his, see that he is being strictly honest with her. He has already basically made up his mind, and it's only fair to tell her so; but he will keep enough of an open mind about it to at least hear her arguments.
There are two reasons he might not want to move to Washington. The first is that he finally has job stability in Boston; the second is that Washington, before the war, was a pro-slavery area, practically in the South. One of his literary friends, John Trowbridge, almost sunk a paper, while sitting in for the absent editor, when he wrote a mild editorial against the Fugitive Slave Law in the early 1850's. So if he was experiencing persecution in Boston, he might be going from the frying pan into the fire, in Washington. Perhaps Mrs. N. had connections in Washington such that he could get a better job; or, perhaps, a reporter's job instead of a mere clerical job; but she was unaware of the threats which (as I have speculated) may have caused him to retire "Ethan Spike."
So now, I receive this letter in the mail. There it is, left by the post-person on the astro-turf outside my sliding glass door, on the porch. (I had, of course, been peeking out there every five minutes.) I take it upstairs to my office, gingerly cut open the envelope, even more gingerly rest it lightly on my hands, and close my eyes.
I don't get any flashes of memory. I don't get anything about being uncomfortable with a cold, or being in a hurry, or feeling threatened. Nothing about the identity of "Mrs. N." Nothing about my surroundings, my desk at the Custom House. What I do feel, is a deep calm, a deep sense of solidity, of confidence, of knowing who I am. Compared with that feeling, I am "at sea" in this lifetime. I realize that in this life, I have never felt I knew who I was. Then, apparently, I had a strong sense of it. The world was real, too--brass, wood, glass, dirt streets, horses. There were machines, but they had not taken over the world. They were interesting things people used, and that you might encounter, but they were not "the world," itself. So that may have been part of it.
Mathew's handwriting is what my handwriting should be. My handwriting in this life is a style I stupidly copied from the girl sitting next to me in third grade. I remember the actual moment. I had been put in an advanced reading group; but the rest of the group was all girls. For some reason I started copying the looping style of a girl named Debbie who sat next to me; and now, I can't get rid of it no matter how hard I try. But Mathew's handwriting style (actually, he could adopt several) is more masculine, and more to my taste. There are a few similarities, perhaps, but only a few. The everyday skills and knowledge-base does not seem to transfer over during the process of reincarnating, with certain exceptions; though they can emerge under hypnosis, or perhaps even with certain types of brain injury, drugs, or with other exceptional influences or circumstances.* The emotional desire to write as Mathew once wrote (he knew calligraphy) persists, however; I have felt it keenly all my life, being ashamed of my handwriting. This is what it would look like if I wrote this letter, today:
Mathew's face is what my face should be, as I also feel. Mine is quite similar; but where it differs, it should look like his. I have always felt this, all my life, long before discovering Mathew's identity.
As I held that letter I had written 153 years ago, that was all I felt. This is only from holding it for a minute or two. I may try a longer meditation today; but really-speaking, the first impression is generally the true one. I just felt deeply solid, and in that depth, calm and self-assured. I knew who I was; I knew what I had accomplished, even if I had managed to keep it secret from everybody else.
This is something I struggle for, today. Similarly, I know what I have accomplished, today; but now, instead of hiding it, I'm trying to tell people, and they don't take it seriously. Everybody is concerned about the election; but what I'm doing is every bit as significant, if not more so. I have proven reincarnation; and moreover, I've shown that large numbers of people could prove it, at least to a significant standard, if they only put enough effort into it. I see people casually or even jokingly suggest a past-life match; but then, they dismiss it as unknowable. A reincarnation match is unknowable, in the same way that a violin is unplayable when you first take it out of the case. It takes years of hard work--but nobody in their right mind would say, "Those things are unplayable."
A couple of entries before this, I showed that this past-life match of mine has solid evidence behind it. Alternative explanations of chance, fraud, or magical thinking don't work here. But has anybody bought my book? No. It's entertainment, as I suppose--another website to amuse oneself with while munching one's sandwich and chips with the other hand, during lunch.
Oh, speaking of the other hand, I thought of a one-liner I think I'll put on my News and Announcements page. I like to add little jokes there as an inducement for people to keep returning to it (and because it comes naturally to me). The line is: "Reincarnation is like masturbation--everybody does it, but nobody will admit to it."
Mathew was just as bad. It's amazing what he managed to get into print, thanks to being friends, I suppose, with a sympathetic editor. He closes a lampoon of a science lecture, with an announcement of his own upcoming lecture, entitled "Orfice Seekin'."** How ironic, given that once his identity was revealed, and he was blacklisted, he was forced to take an office, himself.
Mathew published over 600 pieces (that I have been able to find) in newspapers; but he was never able to publish in book form. What happened when he tried is that people stole his work and published it under their own name. I was able to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt, though it took some research and considerable "ink" in my book.
There are two reasons why someone is unpopular--they are substandard, or they are too good. The first falls off the low end of the bell curve, while the second falls off the top end. Mathew was falling off the top end; I'm continuing in essentially the same pattern. But if you recognize this about someone, it behooves you to support them by buying their work, by promoting them via word-of-mouth, by inviting them for interviews, and such--just as I have inserted a plug for Lee Camp, above. Mathew did this for up-and-coming humorous writers, artists, and others throughout his life; I continue in the same tradition, today, but nobody does it for me. In the entire world, there appear to be one or two people who recognize where this work I'm doing is situated on the bell-curve; and a handful more who kind of like me but aren't quite so sure I haven't gone off the deep end after producing my documentary, "In Another Life: Reincarnation in America."
I didn't. I just went further out on the top end.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*There is some evidence that I was a woman in the early 20th century; so my handwriting, today, may also be heavily influenced by that more recent incarnation.
**This humorous sketch was reprinted in William Lloyd Garrison's paper, "The Liberator," in the Jan. 25, 1856 edition, sans the closing which contains the "Orfice Seekin'" reference.
Music opening this page: "Battle We Have Won,"
by Eric Johnson, from the album, "Venus Isle"