As I wrote earlier today, it looks as though I have a precursor to "A Christmas Carol," written by Mathew before Charles Dickens self-published "A Christmas Carol" in 1843. I can't prove the date this one was written--that part is circumstantial. But this is clearly what it looks like.
Meanwhile, I've run across something else in the compilation published by plagiarist Francis Durivage, in 1850. This one looks like a smoking gun, identifying Mathew Franklin Whittier as the author of at least some of these stories. I am about half-way through reading and evaluating them, and so far, it appears to me that Mathew was the author of about 85%. Durivage, himself, was the author of perhaps 10%, and there are a few by yet a third author, whom Durivage may have also plagiarized. This third author is worldly (whereas Mathew was spiritual), and reasonably talented in this genre.
But one of these stories, entitled "He Wasn't a Horse Jockey," contains a triangulated smoking gun. And here, of course, we must bring out our graphic...
What we have, is two character names which are extremely close to characters that Mathew later made famous. Which is to say, if this story was written prior to Jan. 10, 1846, it means that these are, once again, precursors. Firstly, there is a "Widow Stebbins." Mathew has used the name "Stebbins" before, in a story entitled "Courtship Extraordinary; An Eventful Chapter in the Life of the Great Joseph Ticklepenny," which is signed "By the Old Gray Goose." This appears in the Jan. 27, 1849 edition of the Boston "Weekly Museum." Durivage's compilation, "The Three Brides, Love in a Cottage, and Other Tales," was published in 1850; but I don't know when or in what paper this story, "He Wasn't a Horse Jockey," originally appeared. I am 99.9% certain that "Courtship Extraordinary" was Mathew's work, for many reasons which I don't have time to go into, here.
The name "Stebbins" appears again, in "Johando Smithara: or, The Parricide's Punishment," in the Sept. 18, 1852 "Carpet-Bag." I am certain this is Mathew's, again, for reasons too numerous to go into. All that is in my book. But Mathew uses the name "Stebbings" in the "Carpet-Bag" as well, for a character who became famous at the time. The editor, B.P. Shillaber, erroneously attributed that series to Benjamin Drew, for reasons unknown. I looked into that question in great depth, even accessing Drew's diary and unpublished autobiography.
So Mathew used either "Stebbins" or "Stebbings" in other sketches. But that's just the first of two triangulated clues. Look at these details from the story:
That's right, Mathew has used a variation on his one historically-known character, "Ethan Spike." Here, we have "Elnathan Spike."
Still think I'm indulging in rampant magical thinking? (And remember, I have just told you that I also found a precursor to "A Christmas Carol," written by Mathew. I'm not joking around, here.)
Mathew's first "Ethan Spike" sketch was published in the Portland "Transcript" of Jan. 10, 1846. If this is indeed a precursor to "Ethan Spike," it would have been written prior to that date. In any case, we have a triangulation between "Stebbins" and "Ethan Spike" in this one story, claimed by Francis Durivage.
Durivage appears to have obtained this large collection of Mathew's unpublished works sometime in 1848 or 1849, about three years after the first "Ethan Spike" story was published. But Mathew's authorship of that series wasn't publicly known in 1850, when Durivage published this book--and Mathew kept his secrets very close to his chest. It looks as though he hadn't even told his own brother--he certainly would not have revealed it to Durivage, whom he believed to be his literary agent. Thus, while Durivage may have been familiar with the character, he had no way of knowing that he was publishing an indisputable marker of Mathew's own authorship of this story, in a book for which he was claiming exclusive authorship. Perhaps he imagined that Mathew was imitating another author (projecting onto Mathew his own proclivities). He didn't realize that Mathew never imitated anybody without crediting them, and that if there was that strong a similarity in the character names, it was because Mathew was imitating himself, i.e., drawing on and developing his previous work, and hence was the author of both "He Wasn't A Horse Jockey" and "Ethan Spike."
In any case, Durivage would have had no way of knowing that Mathew had previously used the name "Stebbins," and that a couple of years later, he would use both "Stebbins" and "Stebbings" in the "Carpet-Bag."
Gotcha, you bastard.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
P.S. Probably nobody ever sees the postscripts I add, here, but posterity will see them at any rate. I've said that I like to try my best to shoot down my own theories, by going through all the possible normal explanations. And in this regard, I want to say "hats off" to a History Channel program, "UFO Hunters," and the MUFON investigators who looked into some images of flying craft which had been posted online. They were represented by the poster as being government craft reverse-engineered from captured UFO's. But the investigators took the images to a 3D graphics expert, who explained to them how they could have been created digitially, and why he thought that was the most plausible explanation. Both pro and con aired, not by bringing in a phony skeptic (as is usually done in broadcasts about reincarnation), but by honestly looking at both sides and taking the evidence to a real expert.
Now, in the example I cited in the entry, above, one must remember that I had already essentially proven, several times over, that Francis Durivage plagiarized Mathew Franklin Whittier. So there is an extensive body of evidence for this. But just supposing we take this particular piece of evidence in isolation--what are the possible normal explanations, and how likely are they? This may seem to have nothing to do with proving reincarnation, by the way, but it has everything to do with it. I have the evidence for reincarnation, but what is missing is my perceived credibility. If I can prove that MFW was plagiarized by the likes of Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Elizabeth Barrett and Margaret Fuller, perhaps I will have said perceived credibility.
That's not the only relevance, because previously documented past-life memories also play into these literary claims, but let's move on.
Conceivably, Durivage could have coincidentally imitated the "Ethan Spike" character. That wouldn't be so great a coincidence if Mathew had privately told him that he was the author. But there are two problems with that, for our normal explanation. First of all, we would have to concede that there was not only a connection between Durivage and MFW, but a very close connection--because Mathew didn't even tell his brother he was the author of "Ethan Spike." That's a major problem for the normal explanation because there are so many other indications of Mathew's authorship in these stolen works.
There is also little indication that Durivage imitated other authors. Rather, he stole pieces lock, stock and barrel. When he didn't have enough material, or he got greedy, he would slip in his own productions, which really were quite different. If he imitated the genre--I think there is one instance I suspect of this--he did it rather poorly. The sketch in question, called "He Wasn't A Horse Jockey," is precisely in Mathew's style, and is written up to his exacting standards.
So Durivage could have coincidentally imitated "Ethan Spike," creating a similar name. But what are the odds of him also choosing "Stebbins," which is another of Mathew's pet names? I don't know statistics, but I think the chances of both these character names appearing in the same sketch diminish rapidly.
Now, the plot of this story has to do with Major Elnathan Spike being fooled in a horse swap. Take a look at the following anecdote, related by Mathew's brother-in-law, Samuel Pickard, in his book, "Whittier-Land":
I have indicated over and over that Mathew drew upon his own life, even more than most writers, for his material. So if Durivage coincidentally used two of Mathew's pet character names, we would have to add this third coincidence, with the resulting increase in the odds.
But as they say in the ads, "Wait, there's more!" Look at the opening of the story, and note what kind of hat the trickster wears:
I think we are left with the normal theory that Durivage knew Mathew personally--so well, in fact, that Mathew trusted him implicitly, and shared with him not only personal anecdotes of his past, but information about his writing he had not even revealed to his own brother.
But once we cross that barrier, and admit they were socially connected, the gig is up, because all the other clues clearly point to Mathew's authorship of dozens and dozens of pieces which Durivage, a known plagiarist, published--in newspapers that Mathew didn't like--under his own name.
So let's admit defeat for the normal explanation on this one, and having done so, let's back it up, connected dot for connected dot.
If Francis Durivage stole Mathew Franklin Whittier's work, then I have proven (or, essentially proven) a plagiarism which has not been suspected by academicians.
If I have done that, then it stands to reason that my conclusions regarding a number of other such thefts--which I claim to have proven to a similar degree of certainty--are also valid.
If those claims are also valid, then Mathew Franklin Whittier was the real co-author of "A Christmas Carol," the real author of "The Raven," "Some Words With A Mummy," and "Annabel Lee"; the real author of a well-known parody of "The Raven," entitled "The Vulture"; the real author of two poems published in 1844 by Elizabeth Barrett (namely, "Lady Geraldine's Courtship," and "The Lost Bower"); the real author of the star-signed reviews and essays for the 1844-46 New York "Tribune," which scholars have attributed to Margaret Fuller; and the real author (before revisions) of the story that Samuel Clemens read before the gathering at John Greenleaf Whittier's 70th birthday, in Boston.
If MFW was the original author of these famous works, and if I carefully and methodically proved same with a decade of research, then I am a credible reseacher, despite being entirely outside the pale of academia.
If I am a credible researcher, despite being entirely outside the pale of academia, then in all likelihood I have applied the same rigor to proving that I am the reincarnation of Mathew Franklin Whittier.
If I have applied the same rigor to proving that I am the reincarnation of Mathew Franklin Whittier, and I say that my research results are set forth in two books--one of them 2,400-something pages long, its sequel now, around 440--but nobody will take me seriously enough to read them--then the problem isn't that I am a fruitcake indulging in magical thinking, the problem is individual and societal denial.
If the problem is individual and societal denial, and I can get this information pushed safely into posterity, sooner or later somebody is going to take my work seriously.
If, sooner or later, somebody takes my work seriously, assuming they are prevented from stealing it for themselves and watering it down or short-circuiting it, this is going to cause a major ripple in the world of academia, and probably the rest of the world, as well.
I have made sure that nobody can steal this work and claim it for themselves, because instead of remaining hidden, as I did in the 19th century, I have sacrified any chances I had at normal employment by documenting everything openly, online, in my own name.
That's what we reincarnate for, folks, to get things right.
Music opening this page:
"Another Tricky Day," by The Who,
from the album, "Face Dances"