I had in mind to just take a little break from digitizing my past-life journalistic work, to write the previous Update, and I think it ended up taking about three hours. This time, I really want to just take a quick break, here, and I have about half an hour.
After keying in well over 800 of my past-life works, as Mathew Franklin Whittier, I know his style very well. I know that he often wrote in layers, and in code. Recently, I came across what I think is an example, in a humorous sketch followed by a faux letter to the editor (these being his specialties). The first, if I am not mistaken, implicates a particular writer in plagiarism. The biography given for the fictitious writer matches the person I have in mind, who I already know stole poetry from Mathew's future wife, Abby. The second faux letter is a supposed response to the sketch, and there, he drops a hint as to where one might find that plagiarized work. He writes from a boarding house (Mathew lived in one, in New York); he says he wanted to read the sketch aloud, but was voted down, because some of the young men there wanted to read about "revivals" in the New York "Observer." The New York Observer was a Presbyterian religious paper. But if "revivals" is a double-entendre, then he is actually hinting that the reworked plagiarism is in the "Observer." But what I am guessing he means, is not the New York Observer, but rather, the Utica Observer.
That's how Mathew's mind worked. So I should be able to follow the trail and find a suspicious-looking piece, with the suspect's initials or full signature, in the corresponding dates of the Utica Observer.
I had a librarian at one source look it up--no go. Except there were two pages missing in one paper within the date range. Then I found another library which had it on microfilm, and no-go in that particular edition. But there was the option of ordering the microfilm reel through interlibrary loan, and so I ordered it.
That reel came in yesterday, and I'm going in this morning to look through the first few editions of that paper, again, in the corresponding date range. If my hunch is correct, I should be able to spot it, signed or unsigned.
There is a fly in the ointment--the first sketch said that the plagiarized piece had originally been published "some six or seven years ago" in the New-England Galaxy. Well, the sketch was definitely written by Mathew, based on the signature; and I have some evidence that he might have submitted even earlier to the Galaxy. But as he is 18 or 19 years old at this time, that would make him 12 or 13! Which is possible--Abby appears to have been writing exceptional poetry at 14. On the other hand, it is not definitely stated that the original was his own work. So he could have been spotting a plagiarism of something he remembers having read in that paper six or seven years ago.
If I find something I feel pretty certain about, I'll report back in this blog.* I think, after the previous entry, I simply wanted to give anyone who is paying attention, here, the understanding that I am rigorous in my research. But I have asserted that a thousand times.
I understand. I was watching a series on UFOs yesterday on the History Channel--not the Ancient Alien series, but another one. They presented a case that even they weren't sure was genuine, though as always, the interviewee looks quite sane and sincere. He says he was abucted as a child from his bedroom by aliens, taken in a spaceship to a base on the moon where there were many other children, and that for ten years they were given some kind of special instruction. Then, he woke back up in his bedroom, and no time had passed.
It's just too far out, no matter how good their evidence seems to be. I just don't buy it, worm-hole or no worm-hole. It sounds like a vivid dream, to me.
So in the previous entry, when I say that I was actually the author of "The Raven," and not Edgar Allan Poe, of course anyone might have the same reaction. No matter how good my evidence is, EVERYBODY KNOWS that Edgar Allan Poe wrote "The Raven." Even though there are a lot of holes in the historical record regarding this work. We just know. It was in our six-grade textbook, for crying out loud! And that seals it.
But there are a lot of things we have been taught which aren't true. Columbus, apparently, did not discover America, for example. There are signs of water on Mars. These are just two which have been accepted by mainstream science and mainstream society. I'm sure there are more. You don't have to go back very far to find them. People trying to make this point cite the "flat earth," but you don't have to go back centuries to find things that everybody was certain were true, only to learn that they weren't, actually, true at all.
This is a good study, folks. I have crossed my "t's" and dotted my "i's." It is my misfortune, I suppose, to have stumbled across some discoveries which are so good, that they are simply disbelieved. In short, it's not that my results are so bad--it's that they're so good.
But there is time for that. I'm really not quite done; every time I make a revision (having picked up on some bit of evidence as I am digitizing the remaining pieces from 1831), I check my sales, and am actually relieved when there aren't any. If people buy it through my online store they would get a revision; but I am in no hurry to sell. If I open my e-mail and see that I only got six or seven spams, that's fine, too. My situation is such, right now, that I cannot travel and it would be difficult to arrange even a phone interview. I think it's all timing.
But it's not that I can't deliver.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*From the Jan. 3, 1832 edition up beyond the relevant date, I was unable to find anything that Mathew might have been referring to. The editor of this conservative paper seems to have been scrupulous about attributing pieces to the proper paper (required) and, at times, the original author. Only one piece wasn't attributed, as it was floating about among the various newspaper in that condition, and that was beyond my target date. Whether or not there could have been something before Jan. 3, 1832 (where the microfilm reel starts) that Mathew was referring to, which the librarians who looked through those earlier issues (in the physical volumes) missed, is unknown. It is also conceivable that Mathew was actually pointing to something in the New York "Observer" (a conservative religious paper), but that's going to be difficult to access, and I'm going to stop for now. I still feel that there is a coded reference there, but I have no evidence to support it.
P.S., a personal gripe. I finally signed my mother up for hospice, so as to have some backup in case (i.e., when) she takes a nose-dive, and for the end-period. They have all kinds of services I don't need and can do myself, but since feeding is taking me something like 2-1/2 hours per meal, taking up almost the whole day, now, I told them that the one thing I really needed was for someone to take a stint feeding her. That's the one thing they can't do--whether by rules, regulations or fear of legal action, I don't know. I sat on the board of a group which initiated the first hospice in Tallahassee, Florida, when I went to FSU there. I know the Hospice philosophy, and the structure, as it was originally conceived in England. I am pretty sure that volunteers were allowed to feed patients. I actually tracked my master's degree in Counseling toward hospice work, but was unable to get a job when I graduated, due in part to the social services budget being cut by the government at that time (1982). Then, they cut the Counselor position out from the hospice team, leaving in place the social worker and the chaplain, such that both of them together fill the role of counselor. But neither social workers, nor chaplains, probably receive the in-depth hands-on training that I received in my Counseling department.
P.P.S. After I hurriedly keyed in the above, I digitized the next-in-line piece which I take to be MFW's work. This could be an actual letter from a seamstress, but I doubt it--I think Mathew is, here, "writing on behalf of the class," as it were. This is from the August 17, 1831 edition of the New York "Constellation," which Mathew appears to have had editorial control over, as the acting junior editor, for most editions at this point.
I am a young woman who endeavor to obtain an honest livelihood by my needle. I have a bed-rid omther and two little sisters, the eldest not above seven years of age, also dependent on my exertions. I have for three years maintained myself and them, and never asked charity of the public;though withthe small remuneration I receive for my work, it is almost impossible to provide ourselves with decent food and clothing.
But what can I do? My mother and sisters are dependetn on me, and I am dependent on myself. No rich man will marry me, becaue I am a poor semstress;though I fancy I look as well, and should make as good a house keeper as most girls among my acquaintance. But such is the misfortune of being poor and a semstress. Besides, nobody would want my bedrid-mother and my two little sisters along with me.
I must therefore be content to work as I have done with my needle, and I should do so with the greatest cheerfulness, were it not, that the present prices of making garments are so miserably low. From one to two shillings for making a vest or pair of pantaloons! Think of that, Mr. Editor. I would I were a man, with the power of regulating the prices of sewing; then should not poor women be so miserably rewarded. I would raise their wages at once; and send them home each Saturday night with smiling countenaces and glad hearts. I would not take advantage of their poverty and want of employment, to obtain their services for almost nothing. That is unmanly.
But I must not waste my time in writing. It is now ten o'clock at night, and I must finish a vest, which isnow but half done before I sleep. I have written thus much to call to your mind the condition of one of a thousand poor semstresses--knowing that you are the friend of justice and equal rewards according to every body's merits. Is it not too bad, that those who grow rich by keeping us poor, should thus draw the life blood from the fingers of poor helpless females?
your humble servant,
Music opening this page: "I Imagine Myself," by the author