The last few entries (i.e., the last few days) I've been talking about evidence for my past-life authorship claims in the historical record. Suddenly, my cell-phone was ringing like crazy, and my e-mail was full of invitations from talk-show hosts!
Kidding, of course.
So this morning--the first day of my two-day middle-of-the-week "weekend"--I just feel like some personal musing.
When my Mom passed away on Jan. 8th of this year, I knew I had what was perhaps my last shot, at age 64, of reinventing myself. I had long decided that in order to get any kind of job, with this internet footprint, and a work history which looks very spotty on paper, I would need to move to a liberal city. I narrowed it down to two possibilities: Denver, Colorado, and Portland, Maine. The former had the advantage that it was much larger--10 times as large, roughly--and that it was new-agey, like California. That I believed in reincarnation, or had identified one of my past lives, would be no cause for alarm, there. Even my claim to be channeling someone (i.e., Abby) wouldn't be particularly noteworthy. But only in Portland would I be able to complete my on-site research. I would never earn enough in Denver, to be able to travel to Portland.
Long story short, I ended up here, in Portland, and despite the cold winters, I'm very glad I did. But it occurred to me I made one tactical mistake. And it is precisely these little mistakes which can kill you, but I think I got lucky this time. Portland is liberal in a different way than Denver is, even though they might look similar in the national elections. In Denver, there are lots of new-age people who believe all kinds of things, so that you might not stand out if you also believe in odd things. But in Maine, there's not so much of that. In Maine, they may think you're crazy--but it's okay. They won't get in your business, if you don't get in theirs.
Truth be told, I think I accidentally made the right choice. Because, despite what I had concluded, I think I may actually be too far-out for Denver. Even new-age people aren't going to really, actually believe that I can prove who I was in the 19th century. Even my fellow-followers of Meher Baba in Myrtle Beach didn't really believe that. The only people who believe it, are those such as one finds in the online reincarnation group--but 90% of those people have convinced themselves of their own past-life case on scant evidence. They probably are crazy, meaning, in the sense of having uncritically adopted a fringe belief. You know, "I was Cleopatra, and you were Whittier's younger brother, and it's all good."
Except that it's not all good--and I wouldn't be able to honestly reciprocate in this hand-shaking agreement. This is why I wouldn't get along so well in Denver, probably; and this is why I'm glad I moved to Maine, where they would think I'm crazy, but they don't care.
In Denver, I would think they were crazy--or, more to the point, sloppy--and they would care about that.
"Crazy," by the way, is not an easy word to define. There is the social definition, which has to do with conformity (if you are poor, you are crazy; if you are rich, you are "eccentric"); then there is the clinical definition (except that psychology is subject to intellectual fashion); and finally, there is the functionality definition. By the first definition, I am crazy (being poor); by the second definition, it depends on whom you talk to (at the Esalen Institute, for example, I might not be); and by the third definition, I am clearly not crazy (because I function quite well, thank-you-very-much).
Really-speaking, you only have to look at my blog entries. The writing of people who suffer from mental illness has an identifiable quality; and my writing doesn't have it. Admittedly, there is a fine line between "dedicated" and "obsessed." But my writing doesn't evince disjointed thinking. I may be mistaken, but I am logical and consistent in my mistake, if mistake it be.
Delusional people may evince internal logic in their delusion, but they don't have evidence. I have evidence. It then rests with the people who examine my evidence not to go into denial (i.e., to become delusional).
Have you ever read "Tiger by the Tail," by Alan E. Nourse? Check it out, sometime. I was reading science fiction when I was in my early teens, and I particularly remember that one, and a handful of others like "By His Bootstraps" by Heinlein.
I love Portland. It's not as beautiful as it was in the 19th century, but it still retains much of its charm. A little sign outside my apartment, announcing it as a non-smoking building, proclaims: "Breathe easy--you're in Maine."* And they're not kidding. I can understand how the people here developed a culture of independence--but how did the culture of thoughtfulness get here? Nobody seems to have a satisfactory answer. My best theory--admittedly half-baked--is that thoughtful people went north, into the wilderness, to get away from the assholes, until they found a place with such severe winters that the assholes didn't want to be bothered with it. It is worth it, for the nice people, to put up with the winters to get away from the selfish people. Likewise, perhaps, the other Portland, in Oregon, where it rains all the time. Otherwise, what do those two cities have in common?
It is not just liberal here, in other words, it is kind.
So in the current social climate, I have simply "bailed" to a pocket of the country which is still liberal, and is still kind.
Drive in the streets of Portland. People go out of their way to let you into traffic. They vie with each other to let you in. The only other place I've ever seen this, is on the one-lane dirt road which leads into the center dedicated to my Guru, in Myrtle Beach, where people vie to be the first to pull over.
A few days ago, I had to sit for an hour in a car repair shop, on a Saturday, to get a nail pulled out of a tire. It takes longer now, because by law they have to use a more time-consuming procedure (and it costs more than it used to, too). A young black fellow was in the waiting room with me, and we got to talking. I mentioned I'd written a book, he asked what it was about, and I told him it was about reincarnation. "Cool!" was his response.
We both loved Portland. He said it's less prejudiced here, and people don't "get in your business."
Well, inasmuch as I'm working primarily on the internet--where nobody seemingly takes me seriously, yet--I guess living in a place where people don't get in your business, and will hire you even if you're crazy, is a good thing. But I would never have been able to complete my project, which lacked all the on-site research, unless I had moved here to New England. I have now visited just about all the crucial places pertaining to my 19th-century lifetime as Mathew Franklin Whittier. A few of the minor ones remain. Whether I'll add them to my sequel, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own world," remains to be seen.
It turns out there are two apartment buildings, or condos, still standing in South Boston, where Mathew once lived in later life. I'm going to be meeting with my researcher, for the first time, in Boston, and we'll go see those buildings. I don't know whether any past-life impressions will be triggered. The buildings (based on what I see on Google Street View) should be very much as they were in his time; but I doubt that any strong emotions are attached to them. It seemingly takes both elements to trigger a past-life memory.
This is what you see on Google Street View when you enter the address, 108 E. Brookline Street. Based on historical photographs I've seen, these have hardly changed since Mathew's day, except maybe they have been sandblasted or otherwise cleaned since then. Number 108 is on the end, but before I checked the house numbers, I felt as though I was more strongly drawn to the one next-door, one apartment from the end. If you look closely (which I did only after getting that impression), the brick in the one on the end--now marked "108"--is distinctly a different shade than the one next to it. Was the apartment I was drawn to, number 108 in Mathew's day? I wouldn't even begin to know how to look that up. This is one of those cases where if you ask for help from historical societies, they're going to want to know why it matters to you, and you can't just tell them "I think I remember it that way."** I'll just record it here, dated, for future reference. (If you Google that address in Boston, and zoom in, you can see the difference in the brick color for yourself.)
Oh, okay, I'll save you the trouble, here's a comparison closeup. The one to the left with the duller brick, is today No. 106.
I am pretty sure (as I continue to look at the image), that the wierd iron disk, or plate, is helping to hold the building together. On other buildings they use star shapes. They don't have one of those on the bay windows for what is now 108--but they do have one, on what is now 106, suggesting it may be older. I remember watching an episode of "This Old House" in which "Noam" (i.e., Norm) et al. actually renovated one of these. At the time, I had convinced myself that they probably didn't go back to Mathew's day; but I was still thinking, "I wonder..."
I'm looking at it again in Street View, and I get the impression we walked up the stairs. It made a hollow sound in there--like the stairs were of stone, not wood--and there was a distinctive smell. I just record it, in case it's ever relevant--the way I also did in this blog in year 2006, when I said I thought that somehow, as Mathew, I had a part in the writing of "A Christmas Carol." When I get on-site, I'll try to poke my head in and see what the stairs are made of, now. Admittedly, it's a pretty generic impression, even if it turns out to be right. I don't get to pick and choose what comes to me.
Here's a historical anecdote which almost certainly relates to one of those buildings, which feature a basement window right above the sidewalk. It would take too much time to look up the original source, but, from my book:
...we know that Mathew very much enjoyed telling humorous anecdotes from real life. For example, one story attributed to “Ethan Spike” recounts a deaf man who lived in a basement apartment. People would place a bowl on the street outside on the sidewalk, and the milkman would fill up the bowls. Hearing a commotion, and having forgotten to put out his bowl, a deaf man thrust his ear trumpet out the window, and the milkman, mistaking it for a bowl, poured the milk into his ear trumpet!
I also haven't yet visited Peaks Island, off the Portland harbor, near where Mathew supposedly bought a "camp" with a "cottage." I came up with a different scenario, but of all the memories recorded in my study, this is the one I'm most suspicious of. I may have created the entire thing out of whole cloth. I seemed to remember being given permission to live in the boathouse of an eccentric fellow who (as I mistakenly assumed) lived on the back side of Peaks Island, or, more likely (as I read the account more carefully), one of the many other islands in the area. The thing would be extremely difficult to prove. On the other hand, there might be a record of Mathew purchasing the camp. The reason I doubted it, when I first read of this in Mathew's biography, is that I thought he was too poor to build a house. Turns out, he may not have been, or a small cottage may have already been present on the camp property. So that's an area I haven't explored. Conceivably, if there is a description of the camp--and someone matching my memory was already living there, whom Mathew was too kind-hearted to evict--the memory could be confirmed. My only mistaken assumption might have been that Mathew obtained permission from the squatter to live in the boathouse; whereas it would be Mathew who gave the squatter permission to continue living in the cottage, while Mathew simply fixed up the boathouse for himself.
One can take a ferry to Peaks Island, but it's expensive, especially if you want to take your car. You can rent a bicycle, but even that is expensive for my budget. You can take a mail boat to the other islands, but I don't know that you can really explore them, without a boat of your own.
There are also places that Mathew visited on his many travels in the New England states, which I could visit. For example, he writes of seeing the "Tip-Top House" in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, sitting on a rock outside the House. I could do the same. But I doubt any past-life memories would be triggered. I may do it for fun, one of these days.
There is also Todd's Head in Eastport, Maine--a pretty long drive--which I mentioned in a recent entry. And many more such sites which Mathew mentions seeing, in his travelogues.
I was worried, when I commenced work on that sequel, that it would be too short, and too boring. Not so. In terms of discoveries, I think it is well up to the standard set by my first book. In fact, one won't appreciate the sheer strength of this study, unless one reads the sequel--because there are things recorded in the sequel which strongly confirm things suggested in the first book.
It's all there, except the audience. When I channelled Abby for her online journal yesterday, she wasn't worried about it. I get the impression she is never worried about much of anything--she's always in a fine mood. The only thing she is ever down about, is if someone she has a close connection with is suffering, on earth. On a few occasions I have felt she was beside herself with concern. She has given me to understand that when this happens to a person in the astral world, a friend, or a series of friends, will "sit vigil" with that person. Of course, even though I am on the earth, I would have no way of identifying, locating, and helping whoever it is she is worried about. I have simply taken the step of visiting the cabin where my Guru once gave private interviews, there at the retreat in Myrtle Beach, and together with Abby, praying for the person. That was all I could do, but I think it turned out to be the best thing I could have done, under the circumstances.
All this is utter nonsense to the uninitiated. Do you see what happens the minute I let my hair down, and write in a personal vein? I sound crazy, to you--even though my prose doesn't sound crazy. The content sounds crazy.
When I started writing this entry, I was going to get into some of the alien abductee interviews I've been watching on YouTube, lately. I've seen two lengthy ones, and so far I can only say that these are credible witnesses. I don't think they're crazy, and I don't think they're perpetrating a hoax. I think they experienced something. The one I watched a few days ago, took the step of hypnotically regressing the four experiencers separately, and comparing their testimonies and their drawings. They had not, supposedly, discussed it amongst themselves when, many years after the event, the memories began to emerge. The actual results of the hypnotic sessions were not presented to the viewer, but it was reported that they were very similar. This now has the potential, if properly documented and presented, to be objective evidence--either of a shared experience, or far, far less likely, a shared hallucination.
I'm back to my first theory on this, which is what Abby also seemingly channeled to me, yesterday--that these are astral manifestations. It's a case where the astral world is intersecting with, and impinging on, the physical world, such that materializations are taking place. This is nothing new--Spiritualists have been reporting "apports" in seances, since the 19th century. The astral world is said to be even more populated, and even more varied, than the physical world. So astral manifestations could be almost anything. Abby lives in a much higher vibration of the astral realm. She doesn't have much to do with that level. So our presentation is more advanced, in that particular sense. But I think it's clear that people are experiencing something. No-wonder the government can't get a handle on it. Material science is not up to dealing with the astral world, because it has limited itself, by definition, to the physical. It's going to have to let go its death-grip on philosophical Materialism, and it's going to have to humble itself to start over with entirely fresh assumptions. It refused to do so when it would have been much easier, in the 19th century. The Spiritualists were successfully routed, as Science grew into the Jekyl-and-Hyde we see, today. But sooner or later they are going to have to drop the "training wheels" of philosophical Materialism.
No sooner they do that, than my study will suddenly seem entirely plausible. It's just a matter of time. About that time, perhaps, literary scholars will have concluded that Charles Dickens could not possibly have originated "A Christmas Carol"; and Edgar Allan Poe obviously plagiarized "The Raven." It won't be a coincidence, because both evince metaphysical understanding. Only a materialistic society could blithely imagine that these materialistic authors could have written those spiritual works.***
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*The irony being that air quality is not so good here--a mystery I have yet to unravel, as the entire city is very environmentally conscious. Like Tallahassee, where I went to school, I think the air currents "pool" here, for some reason.
**I did get hold of my contact at the South Boston Historical Society. There is an app which permits you to overlay a current aerial view with old maps. Mathew was at this address in 1871/72, and then moved in 1873. The map for 1874 shows the street with the same buildings present, presumably with the same addresses (only the odd-numbered addresses are labeled, but they are all in the same relative positions). However, a 1972 photograph of the two end buildings shows the difference in the brick-work even more clearly. Perhaps 108, on the end, was completely re-built sometime prior to 1972. Feeling pulled to 106 could have been simply imagination, unless somehow I sensed that it was more authentic to the period when Mathew lived there. Looking at the other address where Mathew lived, which I was told is still in existence, I found that it looked somewhat similar, but had sharp angles instead of rounded corners. A two-story, square government office has been plunked directly in front of Mathew's apartment; but the entrance immediately next-door is still there. I felt I recognized the wooden frame of the entrance, and I didn't like it. I felt a sense of discomfort about it, and I disliked all the sharp angles. Turned out that is where Mathew lived in 1882, his last year before his death in Jan. 1883, when he would have been in his final slow decline. I would have seen this date connected with that address before; but I didn't consciously remember it.
***One might argue that Poe had a metaphysical bent--but my first instinctive impression of his poem, "Eureka," was that it is a parody of the metaphysical genre. As a skeptic, in other words, he "knew enough to be dangerous." (Likewise Dickens, when he made his sad attempts at subsequent "Christmas ghost stories"--something that Mathew, himself, wryly commented on.) Poe didn't write "The Raven," so you can't use that one as an example. The Catch-22 is that it takes someone who knows metaphysics, like myself, to tell the difference.
Music opening this page: "The Great Beyond," by REM,
from the film, "Man on the Moon"