Here's a piece of evidence I should have added to yesterday's entry. I had half a mind to just edit it in, or add it as a postscript; but there are 16 hits on that page today, most of which are probably my own page refreshes as I was proofreading it (being too lazy to work from the copy on my hard drive). But 3-1/2 of those hits may be my regular audience, so if I add anything into that entry, they won't see it.
For this I have to go back into my first book, and search for mention of a book entitled "The Night Side of Nature."
Okay, here we go. I have said that I have multiple instances in which Mathew has ganged his pieces on a page; or caused to have them grouped together. Typically, he will write a humorous sketch, which has a serious anecdote hidden, by way of allegory, within it. But then he will arrange to have a poem--either by himself, or by someone else--placed directly above or below it. In this case, his humorous sketch apparently alludes to the earliest of his affairs. "Lydia Ann Frisbee" won't marry "Botheration Bartlett," because he has suffered an accident in which his nose has been cut off, and she won't marry a man without a nose. He ends the story with a darkly hilarious line, spoken by the quintessential New Englander:
Lydia Ann--alas for woman's constancy--she cast him off. She said that his decapitated nose was bad enough, but still better than none. She couldn't think of uniting her destiny to a noseless man--"Oh, Lud, no! she couldn't bear the ideer." And when after his recovery, our friend hastened on the wings of love to his betrothed, the woman of the house denied him admittance, and he heard the voice of his Lydia Ann directing that elderly female to "tell Mr. Botheration that she want to hum." Need we wonder that he was overcome.
He was overcome. And long afterward, when the bitterness had in a measure passed, he told us on leaving Lydia Ann's he felt just as though he had two ribs broken. "Once," said he, "I stopped right in the road, took out my jack-knife and intended to cut my throat. But I reflected a minute; that saved me. I only cut off a chaw of tobacco, and shut the knife up. And now," continued he, "I'm proper glad I did reflect."
This story, by the way, is part of the "Ethan Spike" series, and hence Mathew's authorship is confirmed. He had a long nose, which he often made fun of, himself.
This is in the Nov. 18, 1850 edition of the Boston "Weekly Museum." It's relevant to yesterday's topic; but now comes the "sauce." Printed directly adjacent to the "Botheration Bartlett" sketch, is an extended excerpt, attributed from a book entitled "The Night Side of Nature." It closes with the following:
I have heard of three instances of persons now alive, who declare that they hold continued intercourse with their deceased partners. One of these is a naval officer, whom the author of a book lately called the "Unseen World," appears to be acquainted with. The second is a professor in a colelge in America, a man of eminence and learning, and full of activity and energy--yet he assured a friend of mine that he receives constant visits from his departed wife, which afford him great satisfaction. The third example is a lady in this country. She is united to a second husband, has been extremely happy in both marriages, and declares that she receives frequent visits from her first.
Oberlin, the good pastor of Ban de la Roche, asserted the same thing of himself. His wife came to him frequently after her death; was seen by the rest of his household, as well as himself; and warned him beforehand of many events that occurred.--Night Side of Nature.
The passage above appears on pages 292-293 of the book. Coincidence? Perhaps, if this was the only example. I think I have dozens, or at least a dozen, examples, now, of Mathew arranging for pieces to be printed one after the other, or side-by-side, on the page, which secretly relate to each other by topic.
Let's assume for the sake of argument, that Mathew requested the editor to place this excerpt directly next to "Botheration Bartlett," a humorous tale recounting a recent failed relationship; and that he has, once again, returned to Abby in spirit. Now, as they say, it gets interesting.
This means, first of all, that Mathew read this book. "The Night-Side of Nature: or Ghosts and Ghost Seers" was written by a British author Catherine Crowe. My pdf copy is pencil-marked with a publication date of 1866, but obviously the first edition came out earlier. Original copies are quite expensive last I looked, but you can get a pdf for free online. It's a very good read, and you will see, if you look into it, that the popular historical view that the "knocking ghost craze" began with the Fox sisters in America, is materialistic propaganda, intended to obscure the fact that this is a real science with a real history. Crowe references well-documented European cases from many years earlier. It's essentially the same material--written with the same journalistic acumen--that we see, today, among the best of paranormal researchers. This has been known--and studied, and documented--for a very long time.
Mathew was fully aware of this literature. Abby had tried to teach him occult knowledge, which she had presumably learned from her Scottish mother, Sally (Elliot) Poyen, when she began tutoring him at age 12 or 13. He argued with her and even lampooned some of it in his published sketches, then; but now he has studied the matter, and takes it quite seriously.
What he attempted to do, for some years, with Abby, after her death--and what I am doing with her, now, more successfully and more consistently--has been known for centuries. It simply has been kept hush-hush by the participants, and suppressed by the mainstream culture.
Need I comment further? If anyone reading this goes into denial, like a mule refusing to move forward with a load, nothing I say will convince him, or her. It is easy to accuse someone of insanity, or of magical thinking. Having made the accusation, now your precious world-view is saved, and the matter is concluded. That's your conscious mind. But your higher mind knows better, and now that you have been exposed to the information, your subconscious mind also knows better. The soup of Materialism has been spit in; and what one ridicules today, one may embrace, tomorrow.
I should know.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
P.S. I just won, on Ebay, three copies of "The Odd Fellow," the Boston-based newspaper of this organization, from Sept. 23, Oct. 14, and Dec. 23, 1846. I have recently mentioned that one of the poems signed "Bertram," which I believe Mathew wrote, was credited to this paper. Mathew was a member of the "Ancient Brothers" lodge of the Odd Fellows in Portland, at least as of Aug. 19, 1847, when he was involved in raising money for a charitable project with them (the "Bertram"-signed poem appeared in 1849). In 1847, Mathew was living in New York City, but visiting his family in Portland. It isn't stated in the record whether he helped raised the funds locally, or from his residence in New York, but it could have been either, or both. In the Fall of 1846, he had returned from a stint writing for the New Orleans "Daily Delta." In order to access the entire run of "The Odd Fellows," I would have to visit the American Antiquarian Society in Worchester, Mass. But I will report it, here, if I find any of Mathew's pieces in these three editions I have purchased, when they arrive in the mails. Incidentally, Abby does seem to bring these things into my orbit, presumably using the same mysterious methods used by departed loved ones to produce "signs." She seems to have a way to augment or to direct synchronicity. I put a minimum bid on these three editions, which were posted at auction for the rather low starting price of $21. Nobody bid against me, despite the fact that I think there are people collecting Odd Fellows memorabilia, and this paper seems to be rather rare. If there is anything by Mathew in these editions, one might suspect her hand in the matter. The relevance, again, is that "Bertram" seems to be writing about Mathew's secret, cross-dimensional relationship with Abby; and "Bertram" is also the name Mathew gave to the poet who courted "Lady Geraldine," in "Lady Geraldine's Courtship" (which was published by Elizabeth Barrett in 1844). Thus, Abby might want to help me prove that this was Mathew's signature.
Oh--I just thought of an improbable scenario, explaining how the "Bertram" poem credited to "The Odd Fellow" could have ended up entitled "To My Mother." Mathew's mother was also named "Abigail." If Mathew had broken entirely with his usual modus operandi, and brazenly titled the poem, "To Abigail Whittier," the editor might have assumed it was written to his mother, Abigail Whittier. Not wishing to identify the subject in this manner, he might have substituted "To My Mother." Again, an unlikely scenario, but just thought I'd mention it for the record. This would have been just a little before Mathew formally announced the end of his second marriage, though he had privately known it was over for the past couple of years.
Music opening this page: "We've Only Just Begun," by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols,
performed by The Carpenters, on the album "Close To You"