I am a bit reluctant to write this so soon on the heels of the previous entry, but that is how they come to me, with a certainly urgency, as if already fully-formed.
It occurred to me to wrap up how many amazing "finds" had come my way over the last two-three months; after I thought (and declared) that my book, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words" was finally finished. I do think this is my astral wife Abby's doing. I got a sort of vision from her of a whirling "soup" of energy, like the way they picture the planets forming, and there was a book floating out there, circling, not quite close enough yet to be drawn in. I had been asking her, "Is that it, now?", and I felt from her, in a flash, "There is one more thing, a large book, that is not close enough yet to bring to you." Not in words, of course, just impressions. I have watched hours and hours, now, of skilled mediums on YouTube, mostly during my lunch hour. I try to get a sense of how they are working--I am observing them work as much as watching the content of the reading, itself. I am not arguing with myself as to whether it is real or not; I know it's real, but I want to get a sense of exactly what they are doing, and how they do it. One can watch them in the pauses, while they are getting the information; one can compare them with each other. Obviously, one must have the native ability. But Abby and I have something else; extreme rapport, as soul-mates who have lived a vast number of past lives together. This rapport can compensate, to some extent, for my lack of psychic ability.
So the last several weeks have been a very busy time for me. But since people seem to be primarily at the level of curiosity as regards this work, rather than deep interest (since almost no-one actually purchases the book), I thought it would bore readers for me to simply list the discoveries. Instead, I thought I might share what they proved (with "proof" being relative).
In the Appendix to my book, are three crucial guides: a timeline of Mathew Franklin Whittier's life, a timeline of my research discoveries, and a report of results, which I call a "scorecard summary." The scorecard goes, in order of appearance, through each past-life impression I set down in the course of the first ten chapters, which takes the reader in rough chronological order through Mathew's life; plus a few of the most significant impressions which came to me after writing those chapters. I did not monkey with these impressions, most of which were written in year 2011. Dr. Jim Tucker, successor to Dr. Ian Stevenson, holds an early copy of the book, with these chapters essentially as they are, today. The purpose of him holding it, is that if anybody says, "Oh, you re-wrote the early impressions to look consisent with your later finds," I can say, "The foremost authority on reincarnation holds a copy, and can look it up and prove you wrong."
Similarly, some of my impressions were published online, as early as year 2003. Archive.org's "Wayback Machine" has recorded some of them. So I can prove, objectively, that I announced those impressions when I say I did.
There are two objectives of my research, interrelated and running parallel. The first is to show that the impressions I had set forth several years ago, turned out, through historical research, to be correct or subtantially correct, meaning, strongly plausible (if they cannot be proven outright). I did this with over 90 impressions, as recorded in the scorecard summary. The second objective is to wrest attribution from the hands of people who had claimed Mathew's work, almost all of which was hidden under a slew of pseudonyms. Mathew Franklin Whittier is the only 19th century author I am personally aware of who published over 600 pieces, using perhaps 30 or 40 different pseudonyms. His work was so good, that people would actually launch their careers by stealing and claiming his pieces. I'm not speculating, here, I have proven it and documented it. But reclaiming stolen work, some 150 or more years after the fact, is very difficult. It requires evidence; and this evidence kept "magically" coming my way.
Let's go back, somewhat arbitrarily, to July of this year, in the "research timeline." There, it indicates that I found evidence, in the original published sources from 1836, of the identity of the man (in this case, a mere boy of 14) who was attempting to steal two of Mathew's poems. This is in the student publication from Harvard, "Harvardiana." The poems are signed "Elah"--but in my copy of the published originals, someone had thought to write, in pencil, next to all the pseudonyms, the last name of the real author. Next to "Elah," is written, "Hale"--which can only be Edward Everett Hale, at age 14, a prodigy attending Harvard at the time. All you have to do is to look at the content of most of his poems (which sound like he is a sheik with a harem), compared to the two he lifted from Mathew, to see that they were written by someone else. How the young Hale got hold of Mathew's poems, I have no idea. Presumably through a third party; some wealthy friend of Mathew's who subsequently went to Harvard, I would guess. There is said to have been a young man named "Francis Locke," who may have been from a wealthy family, that Mathew used to hang out with. I don't know whether Locke subsequently went to Harvard. Admittedly, we don't have all the dots connected here--but we have some strong evidence that "Elah" did, in fact, steal these two poems. I can show the similarity of these two to other poems that Mathew definitely wrote, so I can work it from the other side, as well.
Note that the primary function of the research timeline is to establish "what I knew when." Here, I have established that I felt these two poems were Mathew's, before I obtained evidence that they were claimed by a 14-year-old. There were other clues I could have drawn from, including writing style. I freely admit these other possible influences. But I can prove that I didn't have this crucial bit of information when I set down that impression.
This simply means that Abby felt my evidence wasn't strong enough, and managed to "snag" something which made it much stronger. It may have been especially important to her, because one of these poems appears to be Mathew's first love poem to her, with the name of the girl changed from "Abby" to the more exotic "Adela." So Abby wanted to show that this 14-year-old boy--who was probably treated like a pet by the older Harvard girls, while imagining himself a sheik with an admiring harem--could not have written this deeply sincere love poem with genuine mystical overtones. Certainly, not when his other poems all but mock ancient religions.
In August, I suddenly saw, listed on Ebay, ex-library microfilm of the entire run of "The Carpet-Bag," which was Boston's answer to "Punch," published in 1851-53. Mathew, as I have discovered, was probably a silent partner in this venture, and published in it extensively. So not to go into details, but up to that point, I had only had full access to the first year. Now, I could scan the entire second year, knowing precisely what clues to look for. There are several attribution and imitation issues in this paper, and I was able to clarify them greatly. By the way, famous humorous writer Charles Farrar Browne--who has been called the first stand-up comedian--worked as a printer's apprentice for this paper during its second year. I found strong evidence that in order to get his start, he essentially re-worked one of Mathew's humorous sketches--which had been stolen and published by a third author--to create his own first piece. This, he inserted without the knowledge of the editor into one of the editions. I thought that was a pretty interesting find. I am quite sure that no historian--you know, the ones with letters after their names--would give me the time of day on this. If so, they would probably try to claim this discovery as their own, disavowing any knowledge of my work. The world hasn't changed much.
Seeing that I was discovering so much new material in "The Carpet-Bag," I had the thought to go back through the first volume of period newspapers I ever purchased, the 1850/51 Portland (Maine) "Transcript," to see what I might have missed. Among other treasures, I found what I believe to be his unsigned essay on "Pre-existence," or, reincarnation. Up to that point I had several clues that Mathew believed in reincarnation--as the first psychic I used had said--but this was the first clear evidence of it. Abby apparently wanted to shore that up, as well, by continually "nagging" me that I should go back to this first volume. Mathew wrote lecture reviews all his life; in this volume, I also discovered that Mathew had reviewed a lecture by Henry David Thoreau--and if I was reading between the lines correctly, had actually been Thoreau's companion on the excursion to Cape Cod which was the subject of the lecture. In year 2003, I had told an interviewer--two years before I discovered Mathew Franklin Whittier--that I thought I had once been in the social circle of some of the Romantic poets (meaning, writers). I already had quite a bit of evidence in this regard, but here was another piece, tying Mathew directly to one of the Transcendentalists.
We are still not out of August, when I suddenly discovered a missing folder on my computer, in which I had stored researcher-taken images of a third publication, the 1848 Boston Chronotype. I felt that for the sake of thoroughness, I should carefully go back through this one, also. Here, I found evidence of a vague memory I had previously noted, that Mathew used his shorthand and reporting skills to interview slaves. I also found confirmation of something I had reported under hypnosis many years earlier--that Mathew had witnessed, and been profoundly disturbed by, a slave auction. Although he resorts to a unique pseudonym, there is a strong clue in the body of one of the pieces which ties the author to Mathew. Being at that time in New Orleans, he states that his own family was "3,000 miles away." Mathew's second wife, Jane, apparently had taken the children back to her hometown of St. John, which is almost exactly 3,000 miles from New Orleans. This, and Mathew's distinctive writing style, enable me to claim it as his with some confidence; therefore, we know that both of my earlier-recorded impressions were accurate.
In September, now, I have another nagging feeling, having discovered the papers of a man who is claimed by historians as the author of Mathew's work for the Carpet-Bag, one Benjamin Drew. I hired a researcher to go through his diary and unpublished autobiography. There, I found two of the poems published in the Carpet-Bag under the umbrella pseudonym in question; but no mention of his work for the paper, at all. Not even any entries in his diary for the years corresponding to the entire run of the paper--and he was supposed to be the author of the most popular characters! Moreover, his personality is clearly not a match. In his autobiography, he does report a few events during those years, but nothing about the paper. There is a long, detailed description (which does not sound like the writer in the Carpet-Bag) about an excursion he took with his wife to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He is thus very unlikely to be the author of those popular pieces which are attributed to him. It would appear that, like many others, he claimed some poems that Mathew had shared with him, even lying about it in his own diary; or else (this being somewhat less likely for several reasons), he submitted some of his own pieces under the same pseudonym, pretending to be its originator. Moreover, the interviews with fugitive slaves in Canada, for which he is known, appear to have been an effort to earn extra cash at a time when he was unemployed; and he was quite disappointed that the effort was a financial failure. His attitude, as expressed in his autobiography, is, "It seemed like a good idea to earn some money and do good to some people at the same time, but it didn't work out."
Next, still in September, suddenly appears on Ebay an anti-slavery tract, published anonymously by "One of the People" in Boston. I had the distinct feeling that I, as Mathew, had written this one--and so it turned out to be. I was able to find two idiosyncracies, seen also in his other writings, which tie it to him, as well as overall style. It also lends further credibility to my feeling that Mathew ghost wrote other such missives, laundering them through more prominent persons; because the style of argument is a very close match for one on Spiritualism which I had earlier expressed a feeling of ownership for. That printed series of talks is officially attributed to the president of the Portland Spiritualist Society (who was also the president of a railroad), while Mathew, in the dedication, is only listed as an officer.
Now, some years ago I had identified Mathew's most-secret, go-to pseudonym--a single asterisk. He used this occasionally throughout his writing career, from 1832 until the mid 1870's. I had strong evidence supporting this claim; but having recently purchased the 1852/53 run of the Portland Transcript, I found therein an asterisk-signed eulogy for a young artist, which all but proves it. Apparently, Mathew's brother, famous poet John Greenleaf Whittier, had written a letter of condolence, because, reading between the lines, the young man must have committed suicide by throwing himself under a train. In the world of 19th century Christianity, suicide was a sin, and would cast the person to hell. But John Greenleaf Whittier was suggesting that since his mind had always been on higher things, no-doubt he would end up in heaven. As I gather, Mathew showed the letter to friends--including friends of the artist--by way of consolation, and they pressed him to publish it, so as to counteract negative public opinion. But Mathew could not reveal his identity; so he compromised, by writing under his secret pseudonym, the asterisk, and quoting the letter but only saying that it was written by the writer's brother.
All one has to do, now, is to identify the writing style of the "brother" with the known style of John Greenleaf Whittier. Logically, all writers who do not have a brother who can write in this style, are eliminated from consideration--and that eliminates a whole bunch of people. We now must have someone who can write like the asterisk--and we have a great number of examples--whose brother can write like the excerpt (it's quoted in the book). And we are geographically constrained to periodic contributors to the Portland "Transcript," who reside in or near the city of Portland, Maine. It's essentially a done deal. This has far-reaching and profound research implications--because the "asterisk" pseudonym being confirmed for Mathew, it can now become the gauge by which other proposed work is measured. It serves as a cross-reference for tracking Mathew's whereabouts, and as a triangulation tool in general, when the content of these pieces is compared with that of other pseudonyms appearing in other papers around the same time. Suppose, as a fictional example, Mathew writes as the asterisk that he has traveled from Washington, D.C. to Boston on such-and-such a date. Then, another proposed pseudonym, in another paper, drops a clue that he is writing from Boston (say, he sees the Boston Monument out his window); and then he compares it with the Washington Monument, which he saw "three days earlier." From this, and from various clues of writing style and use of favorite colloquialisms (having over 600 of Mathew's works digitized and searchable), I can determine that it is the same writer; but now suppose that under the previously-unknown pseudonym, he also mentions why he was in Washington--to meet with two public figures who just happen to be abolitionists, even though their affiliation with that movement isn't mentioned in the text. We already know that the "asterisk" is strongly anti-slavery. So now we can readily guess why the writer of this new pseudonym was meeting with these particular people. By this comparison, we have inside knowledge that no newspaper reader of the time would have had.
Note I say this identification of the asterisk as Mathew's is essentially a done deal. I am being careful in how I state my conclusions; but this is, in fact, the nature of 99% of the clues that Abby seems to send me. They don't prove the matter outright; rather, they come about as close as you could possibly get, without doing so. I think there is a law at work, here, that spirits are constrained from providing 100% proof, in most cases. The exception to this rule came in disproving a man's claim to her own poetry, which I believe I have mentioned in these Updates, before. The gist of it, reading somewhat between the lines, is that when Abby--who had been tutored at home--was 16 years old (or perhaps as young as 14), she must have attended a class in nearby Newburyport, taught by a local Harvard graduate named Albert Pike. Pike, having the same initials as Abby (Abby Poyen), stole several of her poems and claimed them as his own. Whether she published them under her initials, and he claimed them after the fact, or whether he literally copied them out of her notebook, I'm not entirely clear. Apparently it was some of both. But he did claim the poem in question, "Ode to the Mocking Bird." I had earlier found it published in 1832, in a Boston publication for young men for which Mathew was also writing book reviews (under the asterisk), signed "A.P." But then I found, online, a letter written by Pike to a biographer, wherein he explained that he had written that poem "a couple of days after his wedding." Pike was married in 1834. There is no getting around it--Pike was lying. He had not written that poem, at all. Here, Abby had not, actually, proven that she was the original author, although once again the logistics of finding another "A.P." in the area who could write this well, in this style, given the short stories of hers I have for comparison, stack the odds strongly against it being anyone other than Abby Poyen. But she had definitely proven that Pike wasn't the author, as claimed. This is crucial, because the opening stanza of that poem is arguably the same voice one sees in the "sermon-like" passages of "A Christmas Carol"--and I have very good reason to believe that she was the original author, with Mathew either collaborating, or revising it after-the-fact, and then handing the manuscript over to Dickens the year after Abby's death, when Dickens was touring America.
So there is a cross-correspondence, here, between Abby's poem, and "A Christmas Carol"--and it was absolutely necessary to take it back from this pesky claimant, Albert Pike.
Back on Jan. 4, 2015, I suddenly realized that an asterisk-signed poem appearing in the Jan. 17, 1846 edition of the Portland "Transcript," was actually Mathew's tribute to Abby, written some years after her passing. I hadn't immediately recognized it, when I first encountered it. This seems amazing, if my past-life match is correct--but the natural amnesia barrier between incarnations is so dense, that sometimes this sense of recognition has to dawn on you slowly. At other times, it is instantaneous. Partly, it depends on prejudices and preconceptions. I had not realized that Mathew used this pseudonym so early, until I encountered it in another paper of roughly the same era. Then, this poem came back to me, and I thought, "If he was using the asterisk for the Chronotype in the late 1840's, couldn't this poem have been his, as well?" And so it was--but the conceptual block was that when I first encountered it, for some reason I didn't understand it was written to a woman in spirit.
In that poem, Mathew references Abby's abilities as a poet:
Speak thy glowing words, lady,
Full of poet fire,
Smother not the gladness
Spirit dreams inspire.
Note he also mentions visitation dreams, which subject comes up in several of Mathew's other writings. But here we have a clear indication that she wrote poetry, and not just dabbled in it, but excelled in it.
Here is the first stanza of "Ode to the Mocking Bird." Likely, it was a class assignment, something along the lines of "Write in the style of 'Ode to a Nightingale.'" But Abby could not write in anybody's style, so the similarity begins and ends with the title. You will see this same voice in the "sermons" embedded in "A Christmas Carol":
O bird, who dwellest in the lonely woods,
Far from all cities—where men dream of life,
Walking with blinded eyes, and dull care broods
Upon their withered hearts, and angry strife
Flaps her broad wings before the eyes of men,
And gnaws upon their souls, and avarice halts
Out from his gold and misery-piled den,
And grasps men’s souls, with yellow, shriveled hands,
And shrinks them up, and filthy gods exalt
To proud dominion, worse than pagan lands
Have ever bowed before—
(And, clutching handfuls up of glittering ore,
He makes of it—oh wonder! Strong, firm bands,
To bind them to his sordid service and cursed lore.)
And while we are on the subject, here is something else I discovered recently in the 1852/53 Portland Transcript. William Makepeace Thackeray--whom I have evidence of Mathew having dined with--is on a speaking tour of the United States. Here, he is quoted speaking of Dickens. Whether Mathew had told him that Dickens stole that work or not, I don't know, but if so, clearly he didn't believe it. He was personal friends with Dickens--at least until he exposed Dickens' affair with young actress Ellen Ternan in 1858! But here, in early 1853, he unknowingly accords Abby the highest praise:
Was there ever a better charity sermon preached in the world than Dickens's Christmas Carol? It was the means of lighting up hundreds of Christmas-fires, awakening numberless social sympathies.
I have abundant evidence, from both paranormal and historical sources, of Abby's dedication to charity and social causes, including a number of her own short stories--one of which is a Christmas story, combining both Christian and occult themes--obviously (since Abby died in 1841), written before "A Christmas Carol" was published. But the point here is to note the power of Abby's mind, at age 16, and the intensity of her spiritual passion and Victorian sensibilities. Such a mind, at age 16, could indeed have written what would become a cherished world classic by age 24.
One item escaped being included in the research timeline--the letter written in Mathew's own hand, which I wrote about in the previous Update entry. That had its own implications, as regards Mathew being persecuted in late 1863, when he discontinued his most popular character, "Ethan Spike." But it's just a hint, not strong evidence, so I didn't include it.
That brings us up to date on the research timeline. I feel, now, that Abby is satisfied. Whether that large book will come into my tangible, physical orbit any time soon, I don't know. But I am pretty sure it will, eventually.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page: "Arithmetic,"
by Eric Johnson, from the album, "Up Close"