With the discovery I presented in yesterday's entry, it's becoming increasingly clear to me that in 1844/early 1845, I, as Mathew Franklin Whittier in the 19th century, was sending copies of my unpublished works to prominent literary figures. We don't know what response I might have gotten from the others, but two of them plagiarized the poems that Mathew shared with them--Edgar Allan Poe, who published "The Raven" with, perhaps, only one small modification; and the future Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who stretched out one of Mathew's poems into "Lady Geraldine's Courtship." Both were grief poems, written in tribute to his late first wife, Abby Poyen Whittier. "The Raven" depicted his faith crisis (and hopes to be contacted by her, in spirit), after her death; while the longer poem described their courtship. Both were taken from real life, and they were far more literal than historians have ever guessed. Mathew only embellished the actual events in certain respects. In Barrett's case, by plagiarizing this poem, she actually had to claim to have written from the opposite sex's point of view! And Poe had to pretend to be grieving, as well as imagining someone who owned a bust of Pallas. But these were literal for Mathew; even the "purple curtain" which shows up, suspiciously, in both poems, was literal, for him.
A couple days ago, I stumbled into a literature forum in which the participants were discussing whether or not Poe wrote "The Raven." I posted a comment that I had a great deal of evidence that Mathew Franklin Whittier, younger brother of the poet John Greenleaf Whittier, was the original author. It was there, in that forum, where I learned that the "purple curtain" line seems to be almost identical in Poe's poem, and in Browning's. So they did me a great service, in that respect.
But what response did I get? Well, they started challenging me to show my evidence, to the point of accusing me of abusing their forum, if I didn't. I tried to explain that it wasn't that simple; that it wasn't the kind of evidence you can "wow" a skeptic with in 20 seconds, and convert them to your way of thinking against their will.
Some continued to challenge me; one of them, the leader, I suppose, took a more open-minded, conciliatory tone. But not one of these people believed me for half-a-half-a second--because if they had, of course, they would have immediately invesigated this blog (as I suggested), and my books. If they really thought I had the answer to this question, with good evidence to back it up, I wouldn't have had to dicker with them.
So, finally, I started giving just one piece of evidence. But this forum, until you hit a certain level of respectability (as determined by some algorithm or other), will only give you a certain number of characters for your responses. However, you can make another "comment," by opening a second field; and a third; and a fourth. I finally did that, so that I was able to present a brief outline of one piece of evidence, using about eight or nine comment fields.
I was then told that I had broken the forum, which is to say, the software was sending them warning messages; and that the forum wasn't a suitable medium for someone like me. They would, instead, send my contributions to a chat room, where anyone who wanted to talk to me could do so. So far it appears they haven't done that, not that anyone on their end would pursue it. Nor has anyone on that forum shown the least interest in my content, having shared it. They were only concerned about whether I was behaving like a good forum member. [As of this evening I see that they did that, but nobody so far has followed up with questions, so they essentially "parked" me in forum limbo.]
That was both discouraging, and amusing. Here, the actual past-life author of "The Raven" shows up, by the power of the internet, to give them the true account of it, and they don't want him.
I also remembered, yesterday, that there was one more interview host I wanted to contact, in this spirit of "casting my bread upon the waters" to see what I might be able to stir up--Bob Olson, who used to interview people online, in a split-screen format. I remember when Bob first started--like retired Australian attorney Victor Zammit,* we all began with the paranormal investigations field around the same time, in the late 1990's. Or such is my impression, not having looked up their respective launch dates. Both Zammit and Bob Olson hit the big time--I never did. But they are colleagues, for all that, in the sense of being contemporaries--just as Mathew was colleagues with Poe and Browning.
I noticed, from Olson's professional-looking website, that he is traveling in Ireland with the famous Dr. Brian Weiss and his wife. He seems to be doing quite well, and I congratulate him for it. I did get a reply--from his assistant, who tells me that Bob is no-longer conducting interviews, unless one of his colleagues happens to stop by. (Presumably, she means "colleagues" in the usual sense, of successful colleagues.) She offered that I (along with everybody else) could submit a story-video using the software on his website, and if Bob liked it, he might use it. I respectfully declined, telling her I was a colleague (i.e., by my definition), and if Bob was interested in my work, he was welcome to look me up.
So the more things change, the more they stay the same...
Mathew Franklin Whittier was a colleague of Edgar Allan Poe. Both were working as critics for major New York City newspapers in 1845. Both had published extensively. The difference was, Mathew, who had been a genuine prodigy, was publishing high quality original work anonymously. Poe, who pretended to have been a prodigy, was publishing poor work along with stolen work, under his own name. Mathew was also doing secret anti-slavery work, while Poe was, at the very best, soft on slavery. Poe had a weak moral character; Mathew had a strong moral character.
Yogi Baba Hari Dass once commented, "Snakes know heart." This is what happened when Poe, a 19th-century Stephen King horror writer, plagiarized "The Raven," a grief poem about a faith crisis. Mathew was deeply spiritual, an esoteric Christian influenced by the ancient Greek Stoic philosophers. He had, in his possession, an antiquarian volume of Francis Quarles' poetry, which he had publicly reviewed in a two-part essay in 1831/32, signing "Franklin, Jr." This is why he signed "The Raven," when he submitted it to the fledgling New York magazine, "American Review," as "---- Quarles." Poe, having the copy Mathew had given him, got it published in the newspaper that he, himself, was writing for--the "Evening Mirror."
How much more obvious could this be? Except for the seeming fly in the ointment, that one pesky line in "The Raven" echoes, very closely, a line found in the previously-published poem, "Lady Geraldine's Courtship," by Elizabeth Barrett. When that was brought to Poe's attention, he had a con man's crisis. What to do? But while Poe wasn't very deep, he was very clever. He decided to "go with it." When he published his compilation, "The Raven and Other Poems," he praised Barrett, essentially admitting that he had been inspired by her work.
"Whew!" He had snatched victory from the very jaws of defeat!
Thus does the boy tell his father, "I did take a dollar out of your wallet, because little Sally was crying for a candy, and I felt sorry for her." When, in fact, he took a $10 bill out of that wallet last week, and a $5 the week before.
In the same way, when Poe couldn't come up with a fresh poem of suitable quality to read at Boston, for which he had already been paid, he read an old one he had stolen in 1827. He erased the real date of publication and tried to make it look like he had written it even earlier, to show that he was a child prodigy. And he read the poem so poorly, that two-thirds of the audience left the room. But to save the situation, he then asked the manager if he could read "The Raven," which was so well-liked that the evening was saved (i.e., for the remaining one-third).
Do you get the picture regarding Poe? I've shared that when I got into the autobiography of Mathew's editor on the New York "Tribune," Horace Greeley, Greeley related the story of how Poe stiffed him for a loan which, today, would be $1,600.
Who are you going to believe? Poe, the con-man, or Mathew Franklin Whittier? Which one was more likely to adopt the name of deeply religious poet Francis Quarles, as a pseudonym--Mathew, who frequently used one-off pseudonyms, or Poe, who never used them? Mathew, who had already presented Quarles' poetry in 1831/32, and who owned an original copy, or Poe, who wasn't religious and would have no reason at all to admire Quarles' work?
This is why, when Mathew learned of Poe's bullshit essay explaining how he supposedly wrote "The Raven," he appended this quote from Quarles, after his "Libbeyville" sketch about the little town which suddenly took itself very seriously after incorporating:
Self-Knowledge.—As thou art a moral man, esteem not thyself as thou art, but as thou art esteemed; as thou art a Christian, esteem thyself as thou art, not as thou art esteemed; thy pence in both rises and falls as the market goes. The market of a moral man is a wild opinion. The market of a Christian is a good conscience. [Quarles.
This appeared in the Portland "Transcript." Mathew had a life-long habit of requesting editors to print several works directly adjacent on the page (either by himself under other signatures, or by other authors), thus adding another secret meaning.** In this case, he was responding specifically to the following lines in Poe's essay, which reveal that Poe doesn't have the slightest clue what morality is, or the slightest respect for it (else he couldn't throw the word around in this fashion):
The next point to be considered was the mode of bringing together the lover and the Raven--and the first branch of this consideration was the locale. For this the most natural suggestion might seem to be a forest, or the fields--but it has always appeared to me that a close circumscription of space is absolutely necessary to the effect of insulated incident—it has the force of a frame to a picture. It has an indisputable moral power in keeping concentrated the attention, and, of course, must not be confounded with mere unity of place.
As I've remarked before, Mathew set "The Raven" in his room, because he was in his room. There are many references in his work suggesting that he was a life-long student, and spent a great deal of time reading and studying poetry, philosophy and esoteric teachings, among other subjects.
Mathew would have known that Poe read the "Transcript," because it was one of the country's premiere literary newspapers, and Poe's work had been reprinted in it. It's obvious that he created this town of "Libbeyville" just for the occasion, because most of his work for this particular series was written about the town of "Hornby," for the Boston "Chronotype." It was a clear message to Poe--and this is the one piece of evidence, out of many I have discovered, that I tried to share on the literature forum.
So far, other than kicking me out of the forum because I write too much, none of them have shown the slightest interest. In fact, they deleted my initial comment, on some technicality.
I have new eldercare assignments starting tomorrow. I have to turn my attention to them--learning about the people, figuring out the address and the route, etc. I seem to be entirely stymied as regards getting this information, regarding MFW and my reincarnation match, out to the public. One reason I started poking around out there, was that after years of it not working properly, I finally fixed my audio on Skype. So I had the idle thought that perhaps this was a sign that I was ready to go public (plus, the research seems to be wrapping up).
I guess I was mistaken.
When I tried to refer the forum to my blog, one of them said something nasty about "click-bait," and protested that the music opening my blog pages was annoying. Listen to the song I've opened this page with, "McCarran Airport" by The Free Design. It should have been a hit; and my guess is, that composer Chris Dedrick wrote it with that in mind. It simply tells of a guy who meets a blind date in Las Vegas, and things don't work out. Like MFW's work, it has an ironic, deeper symbolism, regarding life and the search for material success. Dedrick, also, "laid it on the line." But the song never went anywhere--perhaps because it didn't have enough backing, and enough air time, and enough hype behind it. I use these snippets of music exactly the way that Mathew Franklin Whittier used bits of poetry to introduce his works. I wasn't intentionally emulating him--it's just a carryover. And I don't care who disapproves, or who finds it "annoying." Society tells us that, if we know what "Everybody" thinks, that "Everybody" thinks that music opening web pages is annoying. Clearly, "Everybody" and I aren't on the same page. So "Everybody" is free to avoid my page. Or, if you have a laptop like mine, and you like my writing but hate music so much, there should be a little button with a crossed-out speaker symbol on the top row, which takes about a half-second to push. Mine lights up so I know it's on.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*I got a similar reception from Victor some years ago.
**He occasionally did the same thing with quotes. For example, he'd leave a gap in the quote, and when you look up the original, you find that a hidden message is contained in the gap. Or, if he referred to an illustrative example, and you look up the example, you find that it's actually a negative one, used in irony.
Music opening this page: "McCarran Airport," by The Free Design,
from the album, "Cosmic Peekaboo"