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4/30/16

I am thinking about what information I would like to be here, for new visitors who happen to click on the "Updates" tab out of curiosity. I have talked about Mathew Franklin Whittier's life, and my research into his literary career; but perhaps I should address the central topic more directly, of how this case, and the book presenting it, proves reincarnation. I have been over this territory, myself, so often that it is hard not to simply write the memorized party line. But let me try to start afresh, for any newcomers.

First of all, I recognized an etching of Mathew Franklin Whittier as myself, before I knew anything about him, except that he was an author, and the younger brother of Fireside Poet John Greenleaf Whittier, in the 19th century. At this time I knew very little about 19th century America and its literature--just what I had picked up in school, being exposed to required assignments. I had told an interviewer several years earlier that I felt I had been connected with the Romantic writers, not as one of the major figures, but somehow among them. The discovery of Mathew, however, was entirely independent of that impression. I wasn't looking for such a person--I stumbled upon him in a different context.

Secondly, there is almost nothing on Mathew in the historical record, unless you really dig for it, which I had not done. And what you can find on him actually runs counter to my impressions, because his legacy was badly distorted.

Thirdly, I documented everything; so I know when I had an intuition, impression, feeling, or past-life memory; and I know how much of Mathew I knew at that time by normal means. I can, therefore, document which impressions are evidential in nature; and they can be judged by any independent third party, without concern that I could have seen the information beforehand, and forgotten it ("cryptomnesia"). Thus, in this study, one of the strongest skeptical objections to reincarnation has been controlled for.

Now, I rated my past-life impressions--many of which were emotional reactions, rather than full cognitive memories--on a rough scale of plausibility. Meaning, whether the impression turned out to be just plausible, quite plausible or strongly plausible when compared, later on, to the historical record. Only a very few memories rose to the level of proof, meaning that there was no wiggle room if you take me to be reporting honestly.

This issue of my veracity is addressed by my asserting that I have maintained a personal habit of strict honesty since my late teens, when I adopted it as a spiritual discipline. The Catch-22, of course, is whether I am being honest about that. However, this is how I address that issue, not only with myself but with other presenters: there is no middle ground. Either I am a clever, out-and-out fraud, or else I am being honest. But in order to be a fraud of this extreme type, I would have to have a sociopathic personality. And there is no evidence that I have such a personality. Occasionally, one may indeed find presenters in afterlife studies, and in other fields, who actually are hoaxters. But remember that if a presenter is not sociopathic; and if they have gone to great lengths to be rigorous, as near as one can tell from their presentation; then, chances are, a charge of dishonesty is probably spurious.

In my case, it would be spurious, as I have gone to great lengths to be rigorous, and yet I show no evidence of having a sociopathic personality, of the type required to attempt such an elaborate hoax.

That, logically, leaves self-delusion. This is the knee-jerk conclusion, I would guess, for many people encountering my study. But here's the thing--if you do a half-assed job, people will believe you. If you do a credible, middle-of-the-road job, people will still believe you. But if you do an extremely good job, obtaining stellar results, people will assume you must be fraudulent, on the basis that it is too good to be true. But that is not necessarily logical--it is not logical enough, on the face of it, to dismiss a case like mine summarily. Therefore, anyone who dismisses my case summarily because it seems too good to be true, is not acting rationally--though they may believe they are justified and are acting rationally. Rather, they are acting on subconscious prejudice, if they were to examine their motives closely.

In the Appendix of my book, I have placed what I call a "Scorecard summary." This is simply a tally of results, comparing my past-life impressions with the historical record, on a continuum of plausibility. Also in the Appendix, is a "Research timeline," so that the reader can see precisely the date when I obtained historical data. Thus, my claim to have overcome the "cryptomnesia" objection was not made as a vague assertion, but rather (assuming I have been honest), can be checked and verified by the reader. You can, in short, see when I reported a past-life impression, vs. when I found the evidence for it in the historical record.

And the results, if you tally them up, are as strong as those obtained in the best reincarnation studies conducted by other researchers. One must take the case as a whole. Some of these verifications are knock-your-socks-off; more often, they are not. But in my opinion, the cumulative effect of the evidence is overwhelming. This case is verified.

Now, what Society does with this information, is another matter. So far, even my ostensible colleagues have marginalized me (i.e., showing no interest in reading my work, interviewing me, or presenting my work to their readers and viewers); and the public response has been even more underwhelming. I am biding my time. I know I did my homework, and I know I got the results I claim to have gotten. Sooner or later a receptive audience will figure it out, too.

Best regards,

Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.

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