For the last couple of days, I have been going through photographs taken by my researcher of the New York "Transcript" from 1834. The purpose was to ascertain whether my past-life self, Mathew Franklin Whittier, could have been working for that paper. He would have been 22 years old; and as near as I can tell from what I have pieced together of his history, his stint in New York was for two purposes. Firstly, he was probably acting as a sales agent for his wealthy friend, James Hoyt, back in his hometown of Haverhill, Mass., who was in the shoemaking business. He would soon become partners with Hoyt. Secondly, however, the underlying intention was to prove to his intended bride's father that he could make something of himself in the world, and thus be worthy of her hand. (Her father was a marquis, and apparently had no intention of giving permission to a boy from a lower class, in any case--the whole thing was a ruse, from his side of things, to put Mathew off.)
Now, it is unlikely to find "proof positive" of Mathew's presence in this newspaper, without having personal correspondence to confirm it--and there is no such correspondence. We have his brother's published letters, but of those which made it into the compilation, none mention Mathew or his whereabouts. All we know is that John Greenleaf Whittier is home on the farm in Haverhill; and presumably, that is because Mathew is not. Someone has to run the farm in 1834. All we have from Mathew's biography is that there appears to have been some resentment that Mathew was not doing his fair share in helping with the farm; and we also know from his own letter of introduction to Thomas Chandler in Michigan, written a few years later, that during this period he was partnering in mercantile business ventures. There is no mention of doing newspaper work in those letters, when Mathew describes his recent activities and work experience.
I do, however, have samples of Mathew's writing from before this time. He contributed to the publication put out by a Boston young men's society, of which he must have been a member (so that they published work by the members, and some of the member's family and friends); and he has also contributed a few pieces to the Dover, NH "Enquirer"--where Mathew will move to once he marries, in 1836. This is what put me onto the New York "Transcript"--that I was seeing reports from the "Police Office" attributed to the Transcript, in the Dover Enquirer, which reminded me of Mathew's writing style (which is quite distinctive). I had perhaps four or five such reprinted pieces to go on--and based on this hunch, I sent my researcher in to search for Mathew's footprint in the Transcript.
I am now looking for clues which might form a preponderance of the evidence. I know I am unlikely to clinch it. All of these pieces written for the Transcript are unsigned, as one would expect of someone who is on-staff at the paper. Reporters and editors generally don't sign their contributions.
Now, it occurs to me to briefly make this comparison, but I don't want to get bogged down in it. I have been amusing myself with the History Channel's shows on Ancient Aliens. There, they find a few pieces of evidence, and they jam that square peg into the round hole of their theory with a great deal of speculation. If it was a jigsaw puzzle, they would have about 20 pieces from the original set, and 480 pieces they cut out themselves, to make the picture.
Those 20 pieces are probably real enough. For example, an ancient elongated skull could have been created by wrapping an infant's head; but an elongated skull without a suture line is probably something else. I'm not a medical doctor; but if they are reporting accurately, and if all human skulls have a suture line, then something is amiss. Whether it is an extraterrestrial skull, is another matter. But it is true, we do see these elongated heads in ancient carved reliefs. So did wrapping the skull fuse the suture line? That's an alternative theory which immediately occurs to me, and this would need to be checked out.
In my study, I am constantly questioning my own results with skeptical/normal theories. I am constantly trying to shoot down my own evidence. I see very little, if any, of this in the History Channel presentations. This is why I offered the mock bumper sticker a few entries back, "Ancient Astronaut Theorists Say YES!!!" They always say yes, as near as I can tell. They never say no. And this goes to what paranormal author Chris Carter calls the falsifiability of a theory. If there is no way that one's theory could be proven false--if there is no evidence one would accept to disprove it--then it is not a truly scientific theory. In order to be scientific, one's theory has to be "falsifiable."
As near as I can tell, none of these ancient alien theories are falsifiable. Mine is. For example, in this instance, I could easily have gotten more deeply into the New York Transcript, only to find a reference to the authorship of these Police Office reports. Or I could have found something in them which Mathew definitely would not have written (say, something cruel, or prejudiced). In the latter instance, since there seem to have been two reporters working this beat (one, a substitute for Mathew, who introduced little or no humor into them), I could have attributed the unwanted material to him--but not if it occurred in the pieces which carry Mathew's literary stamp, otherwise. Similarly, I could have found something in John Greenleaf Whittier's letters which indicated that Mathew was in Haverhill during the period in question. Any number of clues could have shot down this theory, that Mathew was working for the New York Transcript, from late 1834 to mid-1835. But none did. Only supporting clues, which got increasingly strong, and increasingly specific.
So first I started with the contextual clues. The first one I've already mentioned, that John Greenleaf Whittier--who had been working as an editor in Hartford, Conn.--is in Haverhill. His biographer says he resigned due to ill health, but he has been quite active politically, and has traveled, so his health can't have been so very poor.
The second clue is that the New York Transcript is a brand-new paper, having been launched in the year that Mathew appears to become associated with it, 1834. Furthermore, the editor, Dr. Asa Greene, is a published humorist from Ashburnham, Mass., about 60 miles west of Mathew's home town of Haverhill. Greene had moved to New York in 1829. I see, as I am looking this up, that there is an 1954 dissertation on Greene--I'll have to try to obtain a copy. But this is precisely the sort of person, and the kind of situation, in which Mathew would be able to get hired on the paper. He had enough published pieces in his portfolio; and Mathew seems to have been a literary prodigy, so that the earliest work I can find equals in quality the latest piece I've found (published posthumously by a friend and co-worker). So from 1831 to 1884, the quality of his work is consistently high--and distinctive.
Now we come to clues in the writing style, and they are legion. They include variations on specific colloquialisms and expressions he will use in later years, from frequently quoting high-brow poetry in a humorous context, to quoting lengthy exchanges verbatim in dialect. His humor is unmistakable; and it is nothing like the humor of the editor. But we know that the writer of the Police Office reports is not the editor, because in one article, the writer says so. In fact, the writer--defending a case of mistaken identity connected with a defamation charge--says that the editor actually doesn't even see the Police Office reports until after they are printed. So we can eliminate Greene as the author of these reports.
The clues go on, and I won't take the time to present them, here. Not having a piece of correspondence which definitely states that Mathew was working for this paper at this time, I can still say with 99% certainty that it is him. This is not the mix of evidence vs. speculation that one sees on the History Channel.
The question then becomes, what does this prove? The way I got to this part of Mathew's personal history, was by a circuitous route. I knew, by a flash of intuitive past-life memory, when I was first exposed to a small sampling of Mathew's work back in year 2005, that he embedded a great deal of secret autobiography in his writing. I later proved it; and so, each time I discovered another humorous sketch which I thought might have been his (he wrote under dozens of secret pseudonyms), I looked deeply into it for autobiographical material. One of these had him going off to seek his fortune in the world of newspapers, in a big city, leaving his girl back in their small town. I felt certain this was autobiographical, for this period in his life; but as said, his personal letters only talked about his mercantile exploits. I knew he ended up in newspapers later on; but I had nothing about it for this period of his life.
So I was on the lookout; and this was based both on my initial past-life memory, and on clues from his published stories.
This discovery doesn't prove any of my cognitive past-life memories outright. It simply fills in a significant gap in his personal history--while showing that he had the same talent at age 22, that he had throughout his literary career. But there is another subtle angle to this. If I can show that Mathew did, indeed, work in a big-city newspaper early in his career, at a time when he was separated from his girlfriend, then I can put a great deal more confidence in Mathew's authorship of that short story--and on the autobiographical hints which appear in it. Likewise, if Mathew wrote certain distinctive types of reports for a newspaper, being assigned to the Police Office, in 1834, then I can place more confidence on the very similar reports found in the New Orleans "Daily Delta" of 1846, which were signed with his middle initial. That means I can put more weight on the pieces he seems to have written from a visit there in 1848, when he was acting as a spy for Abolition forces. I can then more strongly attribute the scathing report he wrote of seeing a private slave auction in New Orleans, shortly afterwards, published in a liberal Boston paper. So one clue reinforces another; and if the first clue isn't so significant in and of itself, the other pieces of evidence it supports, may be.
I have gone through less than half of the pages my researcher photographed of this daily newspaper, for a period of about a year, from 1834-35. I may find even stronger evidence; or, if I can obtain that typed thesis, there may be a mention of Mathew working on the staff, there. So I may yet be able to clinch this one. If I can, it simply fills in the picture of his life.
Once I get these articles and reports keyed in, I may share excerpts. One, in particular, struck me as hysterical. It is not especially politically correct--a beautiful young black woman dancing nude, in a frenzy, in a black den of iniquity. The white police officer comes in to make his arrest, someone switches off the lights, and he has to grope his way through the dark, and all the bodies, to find her. The premise, itself, gives you an idea of how rich a vein for humor this would be--but you should see what Mathew, as a young reporter aged 22, does with it! Mathew didn't disparage blacks, or any other group, but he would poke fun equally at all, where the situation warranted. And this situation so-warranted.
I have already proven that Mathew did this same job, for the New Orleans "Daily Delta," for a couple of months in 1846. To my eye, it is clearly the same writer; except that at age 22, Mathew indulges more in black humor (i.e., dark humor); whereas twelve years later, at age 34, compassionate predominates. Even in 1834, however, Mathew clearly feels with and for the unfortunates--who could be locked up merely for being down on their luck. Here, I'll just give one brief example of Mathew's compassion; and another of his trademark humor. Note that with a few exceptions, at the discretion of the paper, full names were typically not withheld.
Mary Tallboy, a short sentimental looking girl, was brought up for being drunk. She said that she lost her father, mother, sister and brother with the cholera, and that having no home, no friends, nor means of support, she lost all sense of propriety and became a prostitute. She now promised to procure a respectable situation, and was discharged with a reprimand.
Wm. Carlisle and Jane Murray were charged with being found sleeping in bed together; the charge was evidently overcharged, for although there was no doubt of their being found in bed together, yet the fact of the "sleeping" was not sufficiently proved, and they were discharged.
I guess that, seeing these half-baked shows on the History Channel (knowing that these are the sensational treatments, but, still...); and knowing just how fascinating, and how precise and compelling the research is in my study--and knowing what it ultimately proves--I wonder why these have a national audience, whereas I can hardly get one person interested in purchasing my book over several weeks or months. Again and again, I think, "They simply don't believe me," only to have this thought be countered by another, "They desperately don't want to believe me."
I'll say it again--this is really, really good; and it definitely proves reincarnation.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page: "Take a Pebble" by Emerson, Lake and Palmer,
from the album "Emerson, Lake and Palmer"