I wrote a better entry yesterday; hopefully people know that the archive link to previous entries is at the bottom of this page. I assume my readership's intelligence--I don't try to manipulate people's attention, or assume they have Attention Deficit Disorder. Though I am beginning to think that everybody in this society is developing it. Everything is perceived as though it was an M&M. Pop it in your mouth, experience the pleasure of it for five seconds, and it's forgotten. Even the Wikileaks e-mail revelations are treated that way.
But what I want to write about is whether or not my research discoveries are believed. And I'm getting to this from several different routes. If I wanted to write a proper essay, I wouldn't announce this ahead of time; I'd develop it. But I'm kind of in a hurry. So obviously, the current election has me thinking about the dynamics of belief; and then, as I mentioned in a recent entry, I accidentally acquired access on TV to the History Channel, and I've been watching their documentaries.
Bypassing the election (which people will have forgotten about in a few days), these documentaries seem to be very thoroughly researched. Some of their premises are so outlandish, however, that I find myself tuning out. Several of them are about extra-terrestrials--extensive alien bases on the dark side of the moon, pyramids built originally as power stations, reptilian aliens having genetically engineered mankind, and so-on. But then some of them seem more believable--UFO sightings, UFOs targeting individuals...and UFO bases underground.
Now, I would dismiss this last out-of-hand, except I had an encounter years ago. Not with an alien--but with an older man who had studied the occult in his youth. His story was credible right up to the point that he suddenly got a serious expression, during dinner (he had invited me over for dinner), and he told me the following story.
He had been a student of a Californian spiritual teacher named John Dingle, whom his students affectionately called "Dingla Mae." Forgive the spelling, I'm just going phoentic with that. The group checks out. I had some brief e-mail correspondence with them a few years ago; the group continues after the leader's passing. So this fellow tells me that this group used to do "spirit releasement," or releasing earthbound spirits. So far, so good--this is known to students of the afterlife and the occult. He says he was astral traveling--also a known phenomenon (popularized, now, by Robert Monroe, and most recently, William Buhlman), and he found himself under ground. There were people there who had corpses (presumably, captured from the surface), strung up like so many sides of beef, for consumption. They could see him, and they were hostile.
This, told to me with a straight face, by someone who was credible in everything else he told me up to that point.
So I can't dismiss that particular show quite so easily. However, in this case, I don't remember the man's name--this was in 1975--and I can't prove he existed. So this is hearsay.
The problem with these shows is credibility. If you believe all the evidence presented, they have made the case for whatever-it-is, hands-down. For example, in the UFO show, if the first-hand testimony of the family being chased in their boat, and then in their car, by a UFO, is credible, then there are UFOs that chase people.
The problem is, how do you know the evidence hasn't been made up out of whole cloth?
You don't. And therefore, it remains entertainment.
Now, in my case, I know I'm not lying. I know that all the evidence I present is actual evidence. I cite everything, and all my sources can be looked up by anyone who cares to do so. For example, when I say that in year 2003, I gave a web interview in which I said I thought I had a past life as a writer, in the social circle of the Romantic poets--this being two years before I discovered the existence of Mathew Franklin Whittier, whose brother was John Greenleaf Whittier, one of the Romantic poets--you can look this interview up online. Not on my website--you can see it still archived on the "Wayback Machine" in Archive.org, where I could not have tampered with it.
And when I say that one of the most popular parodies of "The Raven," called "The Vulture," appeared earlier than either of the two instances cited by historians, you can request the Dec. 18, 1852 edition of "The Carpet-Bag" from the American Antiquarian Society, and see it for yourself. When I say that this was obviously part of a series written by a local Bostonian (and not the Britisher that historians attribute it to), you can look up those sketches, as well. This sets my study apart from most of the shows you see on the History Channel, where you have to take their word for it.
If you want to see "The Vulture" online, it so happens I uploaded a watermarked pdf of it awhile back. Cut-and-pasting this URL should bring it up for you:
Again, all the historians cite later versions, and they cite the wrong author of this anonymous piece, because they didn't know this one existed. I know this was written by myself in the 19th century, Mathew Franklin Whittier, and all the clues pertaining to this conclusion are presented in my book. I've got my ducks in a row on this.
The question arises, regarding credibility, that even though I have proven the scholars wrong about "The Vulture," are they still right because they have acacemic credentials, and I don't? Well, actually I have a master's in counseling, but not in literary history. So even though I have proved them flat wrong, am I still just a rank amateur whose conclusions should not be taken seriously? Keep in mind that this is just an example--in the course of my study, I proved them wrong quite a number of times.
All this means, my work is real scholarship. And you know this much--Films Media Group, the media arm of Facts on File, takes my documentary, "In Another Life," seriously enough to offer it to colleges and universities. (They also offer work by Bill Moyers.) It often occurs to me, that the results I'm claiming are significant enough, that if anyone believed me, they would have to buy my book. And that the only reason someone, encountering my work, would not buy the book, is if he or she simply didn't believe me.
Then the question comes in whether people want an excuse not to believe me, because cognitive dissonance is uncomfortable, or even terrifying. So the second I say something which seems too outlandish, they say, with great relief, "Whew! I knew he was bogus. Now I don't have to take it seriously."
Well, this is frustrating to me. Some private researchers and authors can't take the rejection. I have learned to ride it like a surfer rides a wave. I can do this for years, no problem. I fine-tune my work, and keep on presenting it with all the skill I have at my disposal (skill which is entirely consistent with my claim to be an excellent writer in the 19th century); and you encounter it, and dismiss it. We can do this for a very long time, you and I.
But meanwhile, I know that everything I'm presenting is genuine. That means I can never question myself, because that would be irrational. I know I'm not delusional, I know I've proved the reincarnation case, and I know to what extent I can logically claim to have proven some of my conclusions about Mathew Franklin Whittier's own life.
The idea that I could work so hard, and create something so beautiful, and then have it die with me, so that nobody ever took it seriously or appreciated it, bothers me at times. But I don't think that will happen. I'm ahead of my time; but I think the time will come when people will catch up to what I've accomplished.
The last show I watched on History Channel had to do with researching the question as to whether Hitler actually escaped Berlin, ending up in South America, via Spain. This one looks quite credible, especially if the released files they were working with are genuine. Someday, I think, my own reincarnation case will seem just as credible. That will be in a day when reincarnation moves from being ridiculed, to being understood.
In that day, perhaps, the most significant part of my study will not, actually, be that it proves reincarnation. Rather, it will have to do with Mathew's own life, and the issues he struggled with--especially, the same issue Society is struggling with now, discernment. How do you discern who is telling the truth, and who is lying? Clearly, this election tells us that a vast percentage of Society can't tell the difference. But fooling people is also educating them--perhaps a few more elections like this, and they will be ready for me.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page: "Remote Outpost," by the author