This morning I put the final touches on the revisions to my book, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words," based on a careful scrutiny of five years of the Dover, NH "Enquirer" spanning 1833 through 1837. Mathew's personal history during this period is summarized in the previous entry, so I don't need to repeat it, here.
Whenever I have obtained new evidence (usually, old newspapers), there is always the anticipation of new discoveries that will confirm both past-life memories, and my understanding of Mathew's life--which I have had to piece together from obscure clues. There is also, at the same time, a lurking nervousness that I might "blow" one of my theories, or disprove one of my reported memories. That fear has lessened over the eight years of my research, as it has become clear that I had made an accurate past-life match. The match, itself, wasn't going to be disproven, although my interpretation of Mathew's personal timeline might be shown to be a bit off. I have had to "true" it numerous times. It is something like a forensic artist trying to build a head and face from an ancient skull. Suppose he has envisioned the person with blue eyes, only to learn, from archeaological studies, that all people from that region had brown eyes. It's that sort of thing. Usually nothing too major.
I don't know how interested my readers are in the process of truing my understanding of Mathew's personal history. That's mostly what went on with this most recent exploration into the "Enquirer." I obtained one significant puzzle piece--when Mathew went off to make his way in the world, as a precondition of marrying his young sweetheart, Abby, he must have immediately partnered with a rich friend--the same friend, probably, who figures in Mathew's stories of how he and Abby first danced at her coming-out party. But at some point it appears that he moved to New York City, where he worked on the staff of a new newspaper called the "Transcript." As a reporter, he was assigned to the "Police Office," where he wrote especially of frightening cases in which a woman, who had promised herself to one man, upon becoming separated from him for a length of time, ended up marrying another. Thus did these cases prey on Mathew's mind, though he needn't have worried. He may also have worked in the paper's office. I will hopefully be able to learn more when my researcher pours over the relevant months of this newspaper, next week.
I would have to guess this was part-time work; and the reason he was really there, was to act as his rich friend's business agent in New York. Thus, when he later writes that he spent "two or three years" in this business association, he simply omits the newspaper job, because that isn't the kind of work he is looking for, and it was really just a part-time gig to support himself there, or to increase his savings so he could someday become a full partner in the business.
That's the historical side of it. The reader may be more interested to know whether I confirmed (or disproved) any of my past-life memories. Here, I must once again draw a distinction between the different types of past-life memory. If by this one means, did I remember working the New York Police Office as a reporter, and then find confirmation that this memory was accurate, then, no, I didn't discover confirmation for this type of intellectual past-life memory. Not this go-round--I have, in other instances.
Past-life memory can also be emotional, or intuitive. I won't argue the value of this type of memory for research purposes, here. I think it can be quite valuable--and moreover, as near as I can tell, everybody is constantly experiencing this type of past-life memory, whether they consciously realize that's what it is, or not.
I felt that a poem I ran across earlier had been written, not by the poet who claimed it, but by Mathew. It was his first love poem to Abby, asking if she felt the same as he did. It appears in the student publication for Harvard, in year 1835, under a pseudonym that I traced to then-13-year-old prodigy Edward Everett Hale. It is unlike his other poetry in both philosophy and maturity. This is a love poem to a soul-mate; Hale's other material reads as though he is a mocking Don Juan with a harem of admirers (who turn out to be older female classmates at Harvard, no-doubt viewing him as a cute younger brother and feeling amused by his high-brow poetry, fueled as it was by raging adolescent hormones).
I found this same poem, unsigned, printed in the 1836 Dover "Enquirer." One can spin off several scenarios, but they all look bad for the young prodigy being the original author. Had he submitted it independently to the Enquirer, for example, it normally would have borne his pseudonym, "Elah." Ditto if the editor had taken it from "Harvardiana," in which case it should have also carried a credit for that publication. (Occasionally, the editor did omit such attributions.) On the other hand, if Mathew had submitted it to the editor--who was a personal friend--it would have shown up anonymously like that. (Mathew would typically submit his most personal poetry anonymously, or sometimes actually signed "Anon." or "Incog.")
The poem is titled "To Adela." I had first assumed that Hale had substituted the name "Adela" for "Abby." But then I had the whim to look up the name, "Adela." There is a historical figure called St. Adela whom Abby would very much have admired. I have felt, from her, directly, that she used to play with her identity, adopting different names, when she was a teenager. If this was one of those figures she personally admired; and, perhaps, one of the names she adopted; then Mathew would have titled the poem, himself. It would have been essentially secret code between the two of them--and this would have been very typical of his modus operandi.
Finally, the poem is precisely in Mathew's typical style. This is something I would know from my research, not only from intuitive past-life memory.
But I also feel I remember writing it, on that intuitive, subconscious level. I recognized it as my own work, immediately.
So here, again, we have me triangulating from different sources, scholarly and paranormal. This is the way my study proceeded; one would inform the other. This would be a perfectly acceptable way to navigate in the wilderness, or while flying a plane, for example. A pilot may choose to "go on instrumentation," or "on visual." One method reinforces the other--but I did keep careful track of which came first. So if I got information via paranormal means--my own memory, or a psychic reading--I can now tell you it came before I confirmed it by the other methods. In this way, I could gradually home in on the details of Mathew's life, and ultimately--since his writing often contained very personal veiled references--do so in great depth.
When I did uncover Mathew's life at this depth, I found that he mirrored my own personality at the same depth. I've given an example of this a few entries back (the link for the Archive is at the bottom of this page).
So it's a small thing--but when I had earlier run across a story written in Mathew's style, which seemed to describe a time in his life when he had to leave Abby to seek his fortune in the big city, working for a newspaper--and I felt immediately that this was my own past-life writing, and my own veiled past-life story--I was correct. This actually does appear to have happened, except that the story places it in Boston, whereas it was actually in New York.
And when I had earlier felt that the poem was by Mathew, and not the young prodigy who had stolen it, it appears I was right about that, as well. At least, the evidence now tends to support that conclusion, we might say.
Another story, signed with Mathew's first initial (which he had previously used for the Enquirer), appearing in the New York "Knickerbocker" (and then being reprinted the following month in the Enquirer) would--if he authored it--suggest that Mathew kept a portrait of his 17-year-old sweetheart with him in New York. That portrait has yet to be discovered. Perhaps it will turn up, someday.
I also confirmed that Mathew had experienced shunning in Dover--something for which the evidence has been coming in by "dribs and drabs." In this research foray, I learned that he may have given a parting speech, treating the town to the full blast of his convictions, right before leaving town. He did this in the context of a memorial service for a fellow-abolitionist, Rev. Elijah Lovejoy, who had just recently been murdered by a mob in Illinois. Early on, I had felt that the young couple been shunned there, but I couldn't prove it.
Thus, everything I discovered was consistent with my understanding of Mathew's life during that time; and the new evidence filled in the picture, a bit. Let me see if there's a new piece I discovered that I'd like to share...
Okay, this may be interesting. Some of you may be familiar with Walter Semkiw, M.D.'s work in popularizing reincarnation, beginning with his book, "Return of the Revolutionaries." I met Dr. Semkiw once, on this wise: I had discovered Jeff Keene, the apparent reincarnation of Confederate Civil War general John B. Gordon, when Keene contacted me in 1998. He was included in my documentary, "In Another Life: Reincarnation in America." But while that show was still under development (I had very little funding), a producer for A&E Channel contacted me, having come across this website (yes, it existed in 1998). She wanted to know if I knew of any cases, and I recommended she look through the website. She did, and asked for Jeff's contact information. I knew that I would be scooped by this well-funded, national channel--but for Jeff's sake, and for the sake of the Cause, I gave her his contact information. He was, indeed, featured on a program entitled, as I recall, "Beyond Death." From this, no-doubt, Walter Semkiw learned of the case, and incorporated it into his book--even using a similar comparison photograph to the one I had posted on my website. But he never acknowledged my work nor gave me any credit.
When Jeff initially contacted me, and we arranged for him to fly from Connecticut to Atlanta, for me to film him, I had the thought to have three psychics read him. I would film the readings, giving the psychics no information about who he was. Aside from Spiritualist churches, it appears I was some years ahead of my time, on this. The link to one of those readings can be found from my Cases page. That was a psychic I found in a local Atlanta bookstore, who I subsequently used for my own case. But I was also trying to contact a school for psychics in the Blue Ridge Mountains; the director, as I recall, had studied under medium Arthur Ford. I could never get through to her, but after several calls, I began getting to know the teacher who was answering the phone, one Steve Smith. In an unguarded moment, I told him who Jeff was, and that he believed he was the reincarnation of Gen. Gordon. Steve responded, "General Gordon!? That's my great, great uncle!" That was just one of several interesting synchronicities I experienced in connection with Jeff.* But, I filmed Steve and Jeff at the Atlanta capitol building, where Gordon had served as governor after the war. Here is a clip taken from the close of that visit, where Smith indicates that he is convinced of the reality of Jeff's past-life match.
Some years later, Jeff was recruited by Semkiw, and wrote me that they would be coming to Marietta, Georgia where I lived, to give a presentation at a local Unity church. Jeff asked if I would like to give a short talk, which Dr. Semkiw agreed to--presumably because his star reincarnation case had requested it. I met Semkiw at a gathering before the event, and was impressed by him, personally--he struck me as a dynamic individual. He seemed to take little notice of me, however. I did give my talk, which was well-enough received, though nothing further came of it. I would say that I am really a mediocre speaker, even though Mathew appears to have been an accomplished one. I have only had two or three occasions to speak to small groups; I would have to guess that this ability would awaken within me, with a bit more opportunity to practice. (I've done very well, I think, in interview situations on both sides of an interview.)
Dr. Semkiw believes himself to be the reincarnation of President John Adams; and aside from their similar visages, I would tend to believe it, because both appear, to me, to be born politicians. Semkiw has done an amazing job of popularizing the idea of reincarnation; but his research methods, in my opinion, lack scientific rigor. The net result, I'm afraid, has been to do more harm to the credibility of reincarnation, among the general populace, than good. I saw the psychic he was relying on for much of his validation, channel at this event--and I reluctantly concluded that he is bogus. For one thing, he went into character very dramatically, like clicking a switch; and secondly, two of his "characters" had precisely the same weird throat-clearing mannerism, while speaking. His Egyptian pharaoh, or whatever he was, sounded distinctly like Ricardo Montalban. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vsg97bxuJnc) There are quite a number of mediums I will assert are genuine--but not this one. That means that in Semkiw's book, where he has used this one psychic to confirm a number of proposed past-life matches, all of those confirmations would have to be written off.
If you play the YouTube video above, you'll have to imagine Ricardo clearing his throat every sentence or two. Here, this will give you an idea of it...
That was my impression of Dr. Semkiw's work leading up to this most recent exploration of the 1833-1836 Dover Enquirer. Now, see what appears in the February 23, 1836 edition of the Enquirer. To set the stage, this, I believe, is the period when Mathew has recently returned from New York City. On May 1st, he will propose to Abby, and she will accept; but he is now under pressure to be a full partner with his employer, and not one in name, only--this, in order to convince Abby's father to approve of their marriage. He has been entirely faithful to her, as she has been to him; but he has picked up a drinking habit. He signs this piece, "SILENUS." Mathew especially loved anything to do with figures and myths of ancient Greece. Abby no-doubt taught him from these sources, when she was tutoring him; and he made references to them in his literary works, throughout his writing career. Here, "Silenus" is the Greek god who mentored Dionysus, the god of wine. I have noticed that Mathew would write with a sharper sarcastic edge when he was drinking; and he always attacked any form of hypocrisy. Here, apparently, both are combined.
But this essay is a scathing criticism of none other than John Q. Adams, the first Adams' son, who Mathew accuses of what we would now call "flip-flopping," inasmuch as he is found to be supporting the hated conservative president, Andrew Jackson. Keep in mind that Jackson was sort of like Trump, in the eyes of the liberals of the time. So this would be like--I don't want to pick a name out of the air--a former president, like Bill Clinton, suddenly supporting Donald Trump.
I have little question of Mathew's authorship of this piece--which is one reason I'm sharing it. There are others I found I'm not so sure of, and we will leave those for my book, where I insert a suitable caveat. This is Mathew's.
Check this out...
The Dover "Enquirer"
February 23, 1836
FOR THE DOVER ENQUIRER.
"Alas! poor Yorick!"--After the numerous somersets which the Hon. John Q. Adams has turned, during the last four or five years, his recent conduct cannot be a matter of surprise to the party, to be accounted one of whom, he once made it his highest boast. They need only wonder, that he had not sooner joined the enemy, and openly abjured his former faith. After his later letter to Dutee J. Pearce, and his malignant attack upon the Senate, in his speech upon the fortification bill, which contains more vituperative abuse than any one delivered this session of Congress, we cannot but believe that he is determined to support any and every measure of the administration, to bear with all due submission the yoke of Van Burenism, and to fight manfully the battles of the little magician. But will that party consent to receive him among them? Will they consent that this living chapter of inconsistencies, who, like John Holmes' spotted pig, skips about, now on this side, now on that, so that it is impossible to count him, shall be enrolled in their number? Will that party permit him, I say, to take refuge under the shadow of its wings? I believe that there is too much honesty, even among them,--and let them not take it as a compliment, at all, to their integrity,--ever to admit into close communion, this scapegoat of all parties; who is willing to be blown about by every wind of party, and to sail smoothly along, if he can, with the ever revolving tide of political ascendancy.--We have all of us probably heard the story of the school boy, who in attempting to take one step ahead, slipt back two: just so it was with the venerable Ex-President.--Every endeavour which he made to extricate himself from the dilemma, in which he had been plunged by his own heedlessness, resulted only in sinking him deeper and deeper in the mire, until at last, in despair of ever being able to explain his conduct to the satisfaction of his friends, he has fairly turned about, and thrown himself for protection upon the mercy of the Jackson party, which he strives to propitiate by vilifying his former coadjutors, with all the bitterness and rancour of disappointed ambition. Whether his object in ingratiating himself into the favor of the present dominant party be to obtain a foreign mission, or whether he may entertain hopes, by this base truckling to power in high places of obtaining the executive chair of Massachusetts, or what not, we trust that he will be alike disapointed, in all his ambitious schemes. His character is now so well known, that he will never again be trusted by any one: and consistent as old Massachusetts has always shewn herself to be, he may look forward to the next election with a sure prospect of receiving, by the votes of his constituents, permission to retire into the sanctuary of private life. There, we hope that he will spend his future days, in sincere repetence for the errors of the past, and endeavour to retain by his future moral and virtuous conduct, that character which he has lost by the sins of the last few years of his public life. In the language of Junius, let him consider, that by his present conduct, "he is violating the character of age, and exposing the impotent imbecility, after he has lost the vigour of the passions."
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*It was Jeff Keene who first found the page featuring Mathew Franklin Whittier's image, when I emailed him the home page link for the Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project website, telling him I felt "close."
P.S. Looking up "Junius," I find that this was the pseudonym of an 18th-century author, who was never definitely identified, and who may have resorted to using quite a number of pseudonyms. This is the only historical writer, besides Mathew, who I have found with this particular habit of using multiple pseudonyms. Perhaps there are others--I haven't made a concerted search for them. But I find it extremely interesting that Mathew would cite him, under the circumstances.
Music opening this page: "Evinrude Fever" by Eric Johnson, from the album, "Europe Live"