For anyone (now or in the future) who's keeping score, I have been reporting evidence, as I come across it, that Mathew Franklin Whittier was the real author of the star-signed reviews and essays in the 1845-46 New York "Tribune," rather than Margaret Fuller, as historians claim. (Historians can have "claims," too, not just reincarnation advocates.)
Last report, I honestly admitted that my seeming "smoking gun" evidence wasn't as airtight as I had first thought. I had the author speaking of a childhood memory in a "lonely farm-house," which, if one takes it literally, precludes Fuller--but then, I learned that this could have been the editor, Horace Greeley, who had a similar rural childhood to Mathew's. Similar, even to the extent of being a precocious reader as a child.
Well, that writer--whoever he or she was--mentioned reading the "Odyssey" at home, being one of a couple shelves' worth of books kept at the family farmhouse, and then again, in a second review, he or she mentioned being influenced by the illustrations of John M. Flaxman--who illustrated the "Illiad" and the "Odyssey." So that writer wrote at least two of these reviews. Already, it's clear that Margaret Fuller didn't write all of them, but if we take the substitute to be Greeley, this is in line with a statement in his memoirs. He implies that Fuller was lazy, and that sometimes when he assigned her a review, she would beg off and ask him to do it. Though, he indicates he rarely if ever had time.
There the matter stood, until yesterday, I came across a third reference--once again, to being a child in an old country house. But this was a review of a published book of poetry by Percy Shelley. It evinces great sensitivity and perceptiveness, whereas it's my distinct impression that Horace Greeley was a practical guy. By style, the contest, here, would be between Mathew and Fuller; whereas by the historical reference, it would be between Mathew and Greeley. It cannot be Fuller because of the third reference to the farm house (she was born and raised in a prominent family of Cambridgeport, Mass.); but it is very unlikely to be Greeley because of the style and content. Therefore, logically, all of these must be a third author--and Mathew had previously written reviews with this pseudonym, a single asterisk. It is precisely his style, and his philosophy. In other words, this is pretty strong evidence. Neither is it in isolation--I have perhaps 10 other fairly strong clues, and when they are all viewed in combination (as they must be), it's clear that I've made a correct identification.
The question arises as to why historians and scholars, with their celebrated papers, books, and seminar presentations, haven't noticed this glaring discrepancy. Perhaps they have, and have explained it away somehow. I guarantee, if there are such explanations, their authors have resorted to magical thinking (paranormal advocates don't have a monopoly on that, either). This is the overwhemling temptation when one is flat wrong, and one's entire professional world is threatened by a little piece of contradictory evidence--like the famous 75 cent accounting error. I hate when that happens--and so does everybody else, regardless of their accumulated lauds and honors. Or, perhaps, especially because of their lauds and honors.
I am almost through reading the star-signed reviews and essays for 1845. Now I start on 1846, and I should be done in a few weeks. There are also a handful of "F."-signed pieces, which initial could stand for "Fuller" or "Franklin." And there are likewise a handful of "F."-signed reviews in "The Dial" which might be either writer. I'm going to reserve judgment until I scrutinize all of these.
It is a weird feeling to be sitting on all these discoveries. I have approached a good sampling of experts in both the fields of paranormal studies, and 19th-century American literary history. Where I can get a dialogue going at all, I am dismissed fairly quickly--mostly, they don't write back. Nor can I seemingly get anyone else interested, including in my own spiritual group. However, one paranormal filmmaker has linked to both my documentary, and my website, and the hits have been skyrocketing. Yesterday was an all-time high of 1,135! All of these people are, apparently, just hitting the home page. A literal handful people have looked at my books on my online store (I don't have stats for looking on Amazon), without buying. I will know, when we get to the opening days of December, whether anyone has been hitting the Archives link for this blog (and hence, the new entries). That is, unless you all hold off visiting it for those few days, and skew the statistics! Of course, I have no ideas of anyone's identity, and I don't attempt to trace anyone. All I have is the numbers of hits (visits). If you buy through my online store, however, I get an e-mail address, because that is the way the store has it set up. I can't afford a paid store--this is the free tier of Selz.com. Personally, I would prefer they not do that, but I never abuse it.
I have been told that in retail, one may get one sale out of 1,000 views. If one thousand people visit the home page per day, still, one thousand won't look at the books--even though I have them prominently displayed at the top of the page, now (in a fit of exasperation at being ignored). Perhaps 10,000 per day would have to visit the home page, in order for 1,000 to look at the books, in order to make one sale per day. That would be about $11.00 per day, or $330/month, which would still not be enough to supplement my Social Security. So you can see that without real publicity, it's very unlikely I'll be making much cash off this for awhile. If I get 1,135 hits from a moderately successful YouTube producer giving me a link or two, then it would require a real public figure plugging me in order to get enough to even eek out a modest living with it. I'm just sharing all this for no particular reason, except that I know I will somehow have to be moderately successful in order for this project to live beyond me, such that it has a chance of being discovered in a more enlightened future era. Either that, or some institution will have to archive it for me. There is always the chance of my work being discovered in my lifetime, but as things stand now (and have stood for several years), I'm not counting on it.
This, even though I can prove, now, that Edgar Allan Poe stole "The Raven" from Mathew Franklin Whittier--and I can come pretty close to proving that it was Mathew, and not Margaret Fuller, who was writing the asterisk-signed reviews in the "Tribune," and perhaps even the "F."-signed reviews in "The Dial." Among other equally-interesting discoveries.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
P.S. I did have a chance to go through the "F."-signed pieces in both the NY "Tribune" and in "The Dial"; or, at least, the pieces so-signed in "The Dial" that I was able to identify by searching for that signature in the online PDF copies. I found seven of them there, and two or three in the "Tribune." All appear to be MFW's work. However, it appears that Fuller did her own knock-off of one of them, as a series, which was published (unsigned) in a compilation put together after her death by her brother. There are elements pointing to Mathew's authorship in these, but I saw no "smoking gun" which proves it. My conclusion is that Fuller was not nearly the genius that she portrayed herself to be--like Poe, it was mostly smoke-and-mirrors, and borrowed credentials. Progressive men of that era didn't dare call her out because she was such an inspiration to women, who had been fooled by her. And these women were often the men's wives (as appears to have been the case with "Tribune" editor Horace Greeley).
Audio opening this page: philosophy professor Dr. Robert Almeder,
excerpt from my documentary, "In Another Life: Reincarnation in America"