I continue to proofread my past-life work, written for the New York "Constellation" in the early 1830's as Mathew Franklin Whittier. I'm not sharing a fraction of what I'd like to share; but I want to back up an observation I made a few entries back. Then, I had said that not only did Mathew poke fun at various and sundry ethnic groups, in a light-hearted way, but he didn't spare himself in this regard. This morning, I proofread a prime example. Mathew had a rather large, aquiline nose, as I have, today (looking, as I do, about 85% like him, which seems to be typical). However, his nose had one feature mine doesn't--a bulbous tip. I could swear I remember a habit Mathew had, when deep in thought, of rubbing that bulb between his thumb and forefinger, as though it might eventually reduce in size. It seems to have worked, when reincarnating.
Here, Mathew concocts a tall-tale about a fellow with the improbable name of Anthony Kokerspurger, who has an improbably large proboscis. My research indicates that he is fresh from a year of writing for the Boston-based "New-England Galaxy," where he had been working as a printer's "devil" for the Galaxy's sister paper, the "Courier." He has been with the New York "Constellation" only for 2-3 months, and in February 27, 1830, when this piece is published, he is only 17 years old.
Nowhere does Mathew's name appear in any connection with the "New-England Galaxy," the New York "Constellation," or the New York "Transcript," which he wrote for next. I have had to establish it by a series of clues. But in my opinion, objectively, there is no question. This might be of interest only to a handful of literary historians; but it's just the start. Once I can establish Mathew's presence in these papers, a host of more interesting implications then logically follow.
I ran across another such clue yesterday. I had found an edition of the "Carpet-Bag," which, in 1851, was Boston's answer to Britain's "Punch," for sale on Ebay. It's a very rare paper, and it was rather pricey for one edition, so I wanted to be sure this was one which contained Mathew's work. In fact, even though I've been through the entire volume, it did have one I hadn't noticed. I have shown, in a previous entry, that it contains a passage in stream-of-consciousness style, which matches precisely a similar experiment which Mathew made while writing the blotter (called the "Police Office" report) for the New York "Transcript," many years earlier. But there was another clue I had missed. Here, he is reporting wryly on having visited a country "caravan" (i.e., a carnival), and he says he went with his "friend S____." This would probably have been Benjamin Penhallow Shillaber, the editor of the "Carpet-Bag." Perhaps he called him familiarly by his last name, or referred to him that way; or perhaps he didn't want the reader to identify him. I would guess it was the second--that everybody referred to the editor as "Shillaber." It seems natural to me, today, and I also saw that in the diary of the editor of the Portland "Transcript," Edward Elwell, he speaks of having met with "Shillaber" in Boston.
This, also, has rippling implications. I had long surmised, from past-life emotions and also from various clues in the "Carpet-Bag," that Mathew was personal friends with Shillaber. Mathew was a silent financial partner in the venture, or so it appears; he was contributing as many as four pieces per issue, under various characters and pseudonyms. They were both Spiritualists, and it appears that Mathew may have introduced him to the subject, by taking him to a seance, where mental mediumship was proven. Mathew also appears to have collaborated (again, silently) with Shillaber on some of his "Mrs. Partington" works; and Shillaber based at least two of his humorous characters on Mathew. One of them gently parodied Mathew's relationship with his first wife, Abby, across the Great Divide after her death some 10 years earlier; and the second parodied Mathew's unfortunate, arranged second marriage. So they were close friends.
But I have also put forth the theory that Mathew was the original author of "The Raven." And there is a clue in one of those parodies, suggesting that Mathew had shared this very private bit of information with Shillaber, and that Shillaber was poking fun at it.
I have also said that I am convinced that Mathew and Abby, together, were the original authors of "A Christmas Carol." There are, similarly, clues indicating that Mathew was personal friends with Oliver Wendell Holmes--and Holmes was one of the young men around Dickens when Dickens visited Boston in 1842. Mathew was describd by one of his daughters as a "brilliant conversationalist" (something he and Holmes would have had in common). This simply makes it plausible that Mathew was one of the unnamed young men (i.e., not one of the famous ones) who were around Dickens in Boston, in that inner circle. And there is a letter, in Dickens' published correspondence, to Mathew, acknowledging a letter. It's just a form letter, with Dickens' signature--the only one of, perhaps, hundreds sent out like that, to have made it into Dickens' published letters.
These are just examples. I have dozens of clues. I'm not wrong about this. I just can't get anyone to take me seriously enough to objectively look at all my evidence.
That's okay. One thing I've noticed, is that when someone is very much ahead of his or her time, such that they are practically invisible to Society at large, there are yet one or two individuals who "get" what that person is doing. It was true for late Canadian composer Chris Dedrick, who headed the family musical group, the "Free Design," in the early 1970's. I don't know who else "got" him, but I did. I had only the barest of contacts with Chris. I wanted to hire him to compose the music for my indie documentary, "In Another Life: Reincarnation in America." He was amenable, but I could never obtain enough funding to pay for his services. He was willing to give me a price break, but I simply couldn't raise the money. I ended up having to go with canned library music, which fortunately worked quite well. But I was very disappointed. While we were negotiating, he sent me a CD of music he had written for another documentary, to use for drafts. A snippet from that CD opens the home page of this website.
I notice that someone reads these blog entries; not only the current one, but the back entries, as well. Somebody watches the videos, which take 2-3 minutes to load. Are there one or two people who understand what I'm doing, and who realize that I am actually sane, and that I am accomplishing what I say I'm accomplishing? And who understand the significance of it, for science and for society?
I used to draw on my videography skills to shoot videos of talks for my spiritual group, in Myrtle Beach. Now, someone else is filling that role. One is always replaceable. I never think that I am doing something that nobody else could do. It is my privilege to do this work, to be the "Guinea pig" in my own pioneering study, on issues which will be addressed in earnest by the reincarnation science of the future.
But I sense that I am poised to go public; and for that, my work will need to be recognized for what it is. Either by someone in a prominent position, or by the public at large, or both. Otherwise, it is like the photography I've done over the years--I look at it, and recognize that it's pretty-damn-good, but nobody else ever sees it, so it's like the tree falling unheard in the forest.
Everything is timing. But I feel that I'm ready, now.
Here is the little piece that Mathew wrote poking fun at his own large nose, at age 17...
The New York "Constellation"
February 27, 1830
THE TROUBLESOME NOSE.
Anthony Kokerspurger was born, on the banks of the Hudson, somewhere about the year '45, of parents who were bountifully provided with the most prominent feature of the "human face divine"--to wit, the nose. For the nasal organ of the father was both broad and high, and that of the mother both long and deep. Of course, their offspring came honestly enough by a nose of no ordinary dimensions.
Yet amply provided as the parents were, the whole magnitude of young Kokerspurger's nose could not be accounted for on the principle of nasal inheritance. And various were the opinions of sundry wise old ladies in regard to the generation of so enormous a nose. Some ascribed it to one thing, and some to another; but without attempoting to scan precisely the motives which actuated dame nature in producing such a nose, we must content ourselves with stating the fact. And we declare positively that Anthony Kokerspurger was born with a nose of the very largest class.
Unluckily for our hero, there was, as there is at this day, a prevailing prejudice against large noses. Every body exclaimed, when seeing him, "What a nose!" and his officious nurse took all manner of pains to lessen or prevent the growth of that organ. She pinched it to make it thin; she pressed it down to lower its prominence; and snubbed it to reduce it to what she called a reasonable length.
But however wise the nurse might be in other matters, she certainly missed a figure in relation to Anthony's nose. For the more it was pressed down, pinched up and snubbed, the longer and broader and thicker it grew. And it kept growing and growing, in spite of all efforts to the contrary: and, as the Earl of Chatham said on another subject, seemed to "gather fresh strength from fresh opposition."
But if the nose of Anthony Kokerspurger was annoying to the sight of his nurse, it proved no less so to his own feelings, as he had too frequent occasion to experience. Even in his very infancy, it began to be an exceedingly troublesome nose. For in addition to the pinching and pressing and snubbing, so zealously exercised by his nurse, the good lady, when feeding him with pap, or washing his face, or adjusting his cap, or performing any necessary office in the neighborhood of his face, was sure to be perpetually hitting his nose. The prominence of that organ would allow his lips no chance whatever to draw from the milky stores of his affectionate mother. And in falling, as every child does in attempting to run alone, his nose was certain to meet the floor, before he could put out his hands far enough to prevent so uncomfortable a meeting.
As he grew up, his nose was the source of a thousand vexations. When walking in the woods, every branch of a tree or shrub was sure to give it a twig, and every twig was certain to give it a twinge. When perambulating the open field, every saucy whiff of wind was sure to give it a lee lurch; and when pressing forward in a crowd, it was always foremost to run itself into difficulty. In hot weather, the blaze of the sun made no bones of roasting it; and in winter the keen northwesters hit it full many a cold and unfeeling stroke. The young ladies, when they saw him, hid their own pretty noses in their handkerchiefs; elephants and grey hounds attacked him, out of mere envy; and every body exclaimed, "What a nose!"
Anthony's nose, besides being in the way of every thing, was obnoxious to all manner of villaneous smells. Being of such length, breadth, depth and general capacity, it was affected by all the odours in the neighborhood, when its master's feet were at least a mile from the objects from which those odours emanated. No turkey buzzard or carrion crow could scent a noisome carcass at so great a distance as Anthony Kokerspurger. Indeed, so great was the annoyance on this account, that he would willingly have given three fourths of his nose--could it have been safely pared down--to have been freed from its enormous smelling capacity.
In addition to the natural difficulties attending such a prodigious nose, poor Anthony was perpetually exposed to insults on its account. It was the object of general ridicule and opprobrious remark. Every body, that saw him, had something to say on the subject. Or, if politeness, on some occasions imposed silence, still the eyes could not be prevented from looking unutterable things. Persons, when meeting him, instinctively turned aside their own noses, as much as to say, there is not room for both. And occasionally a wag, with no common sized nose, would take hold of his own organ, and giving it a sudden twist to the right or left, cry out,--"There, Mister, I guess we can pass!" And once in a while, a fellow, not having the fear of so great a nose before his eyes, would actually grapple it with both his hands, and with great pretended effort, endeavor to get it out of the way. The barbers, when shaving him, instead of taking his nose with the left hand, would set a boy to holding it with both hands. If he went to purchase a snuff box, the rascally shopman, jumping the counter, with yardstick in hand, and suiting the action to the word, would say, "Sir, I'll take your measure, if you please." If we went to a tea party, the good lady of the house, with most vexatious hospitality, would set a stand before him to rest his nose on; while a half-audible whisper went round the room, "Heavens, what a nose!" And these things, however mortifying, were not the only evils he suffered, for in atttempting to drink tea or wine, his nose was sure to hit on the farther side of the cup or glass, before he could elevate them so far as to lodge their contents in his mouth.
As if these actual vexations and torments were not enough for any one mortal being, various others were currently reported to have happened to Anthony Kokerspurger. It was said and believed at one time, that in stooping to ascent a hill, he had [---d?] on his own nose. At another time it was positively declared and is positively believed, that in reaping he had gathered his nose in a handful of wheat, and being zealously engaged in his labor, had actually sliced off the end of the organ, before he was aware of the mistake. Again it was reported that he had ground off his nose on the grindstone, when attempting to sharpen a scythe. Others again said, that in hoeing a field of potatoes, he had come within an ace of suffocation by burying up the lower end of his breathing instrument. But these reports were evidently the invention of the malicious wags of the neighborhood, some of them being too absurd for belief, and others totally disproved by the well known fact, that Anthony's nose remained sound and undiminished to the day of his death.
Notwithstanding the enormity of Anthony Kokerspurger's nose, and the exclamations of wonder, that always used to escape from female lips at the sight of it, Anthony got married. Indeed we should like to know what must be the size of a nose, male or female, which should be considered an insuperable bar to matrimony. But to return to our hero--when bidden by the person to salute the bride, it is averred that after making several vain efforts to get his lips to her cheek, he gave over in despair; and ever after that, it was a settled matter between the two of the, that the kissing part should be dispensed with, at least on his side.
From a nose of such dimensions, it was natural to suppose the breath could not easily depart. Nevertheless, Anthony Kokerspurger was interred among the dead, and his nose was cold, pale and insensate as a snow drift. But all its difficulties were not yet over. It had been troublesome in life and was not to be buried in oblivion when dead. But to give it a decent interment in the earth was but a common act of duty and respect.
But Anthony had not left the most interesting of his mortal concerns to the nuguided management of a cold unfeeling world. That the turf might lie lightly on his nose he had ordered in his will that a sort of roof, or projection, should be made to the coffin immediately over that organ. He had also directed that the bearers should be selected from among the greatest nosed men in the parish, in order that due honor might be shown to the most prominent feature of their departed brother.
The narrow house was made with the desired projection; the grave was dug deeper than usual to accommodate it to circumstances; and the large nosed bearers bore Anthony Kokerspurger to his long home according to his desire. In rounding up the grave, the nose was not forgotten, and the turf over that part was raised above the rest, to indicate that a nasal instrument of no common dimensions was deposited below. Above was placed a plain marble slab, with the following inscription:
HERE LIES A NOSE.
TO WHICH IS ATTACHED
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Audio opening this page: "Love Does Not Die," by The Free Design,
from the album, "There is a Song"