The last couple of entries, I've focused on some of my strongest evidence for my past-life memories being genuine. But there is another type of evidence which emerges in my study, and that has to do with my past life, as Mathew Franklin Whittier, itself. Most of the intrigue stems from the fact that he hid his identity, in his published newspaper work, behind a great many pseudonyms--as I've explained many times in this blog, before. He had many reasons for remaining incognito, but primarily he did so when describing, in veiled form, intimate details about his own personal history; and when he was doing undercover abolition work. There remains a question as to who he was working for. Under hypnosis, I seemed to remember that he was working for Portland editor, Edward Elwell. But as my research progressed, it appeared that he was actually one of many agents working under William Lloyd Garrison. On the other hand, there is a period when he was particularly active, in 1846 and 1848. Then, he was writing to, if not working for, the liberal editor of the Boston "Chronotype," Elizur Wright.
Purchasing copies of that paper, looking for Mathew's work, I stumbled relatively recently upon another of his pseudonyms: "Cher." He was traveling the Mississippi River in 1846, writing a seemingly innocuous, albeit generally liberal, travelogue to Wright as he went. Long story short, "Cher" was Creole slang for "Darling," meaning, that Mathew was Wright's "darling" reporter. He was on his way to the Northwest Liberty Convention, which convened in Chicago on June 24, 1846. On June 23, he writes from Nauvoo, Illinois (the former Mormon settlement). At that point he was relatively close to Bloomington, Illinois (just above Burlington, as I read the 1846 map); and from there he could catch a train to Chicago, to arrive the following day. But Mathew and Wright have deliberately fudged his dates and thus his itinerary. His letter of June 24 has him visiting Mammoth Cave, in Kentucky. Mammoth Cave and Nauvoo are roughly 475 miles apart--presumably much more than a one day trip by steamboat down the Mississippi. Therefore the reported dates are impossible, and the Mammoth Cave trip must have taken place earlier.
All of this is significant because I have copious evidence that Mathew proceeded down to New Orleans, where he took a reporter position for the New Orleans "Daily Delta," writing under his middle initial, "F."* He wrote the police blotter; but just as he had many years earlier, for the New York "Transcript" in the mid-1830's, he turned it into an art form of prose and poetry, championing the underdog and creating sympathy for those who had fallen on hard times. But it was in 1848 that he snuck in to a private slave auction, then published a scathing and stirring account of it in Wright's paper--anonymously, of course.
I'm certain enough of all this to state it as fact without equivocation--which I generally include, if I have any reasonable doubt about my conclusions.
This has very little to do with past-life memory, because I didn't remember most of this. I did start to remember that Mathew had interviewed slaves, about half-way through my research. That feeling-memory stands confirmed, with the above-mentioned article (which was published in two parts), because it is specifically alluded to. Mathew would pretend to be interested in purchasing a slave, as a way of interviewing him--because in this way he had an official reason to be questioning him. The purpose for the ruse, apparently, was that a slave would sometimes report an abolitionist to the authorities (being terrified of the consequences to himself and his loved ones, perhaps, if he was caught colluding).
This would be extremely risky stuff; and neither Mathew, nor myself, today, are natively fearless by any means.**
Looking at the list of prominent abolitionists who extended the formal invitation to attend the Convention in Chicago, my mind was immediately drawn to the final name--Owen Lovejoy. I have such a strong reaction, that I would guess Mathew knew him, personally. Very likely at the Convention there was a call to action; very likely Mathew was asked to risk his neck for the cause, and couldn't very well turn them down, admitting for all to see that he was an "armchair enthusiast." That's how I think he got into this. But he pulled it off. He was so cagey, and could put on such a show of affable bonhomie, that nobody ever caught him. He was very, very careful in his writing for the "Delta"; but that, I think, is not why he was there. He was there to make contacts with abolitionist sympathizers, and then report back through his published pieces, in "code."
He did this later on as well (i.e., in New England and then in Europe), in 1849/52, writing as "Quails" for the Boston "Weekly Museum." If you believe the historians who say this was Ossian Dodge, let me tell you, I have flat-out disproved it in my book (and I took a rather large chunk of that book to nail the lid on Dodge's coffin, in this regard). It was not entertainer and con-artist Ossian Dodge who personally met with Victor Hugo in his Paris home, as "Quails" reports doing. It was William Lloyd Garrison's envoy, Mathew Franklin Whittier.
You know, I was trying to learn more about that Convention online. Some academic mentioned it in a paper about slavery--but I can't even request a copy of it from the man, because I'm not affiliated with any academic institution. Well, I am not a beggar without any means of reciprocity. I could tell these academics a thing or two. But of course I am nobody, so they never learn that I exist--even if they might be interested.
I don't know what to write, here. I am seldom at a loss for words. Maybe I'm just tired. I think I'll get my cheap-but-tasty dinner started.
Maybe, when I finally come to people's attention, I should refuse to share anything with anyone who is affiliated with an academic institution. Serve 'em right.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*He would have had to adopt an alias, because his brother, John Greenleaf Whittier, was publicly known as an abolitionist.
**Which may have had something to do with the pseuodnym he adopted the following year for the Boston "Weekly Museum," "Quails"--that, and his Quaker anti-military convictions. Mathew himself, writing in character as a conservative ignoramus, would occasionally use the disparaging term, "Shakin' Quaker."
Music opening this page: "Follow the Drinkin Gourd," traditional,
sung by Richie Havens, from the album, "Songs of the Civil War"