If you've been following my updates, you know that for some time now I've been researching a possible past-life match of my own--Matthew Franklin Whittier, younger brother of poet John Greenleaf Whittier. There's been an interesting development I'm a bit hesitant to report here, but, for the sake of candor, I've decided to share it anyway.
My researcher, who has requested anonymity, provided me with a digital scan of a letter written by Matthew's first wife, Abby de Poyen, to Matthew's sister, Elizabeth. It appears to have been penned at a time when the couple were either recently engaged, or newly married, and when Matthew was staying with his sister. When I saw the letter and the handwriting, something awoke within me and I knew I still loved her. I wondered if it was possible to contact her (if she hadn't already incarnated), and whether she had been trying to contact me. I decided to engage the services of a psychic I had used many years ago when first researching my documentary, "In Another Life." At that time, the psychic had made a very strong evidential "hit," convincing me that she was genuine. I reasoned that if I gave her very little information to go on, and requested that she not look at my website before-hand, I could gauge whether she was making a real contact with Abby or not.
Long story short, contact was made. I was right about Abby wanting to contact me--the psychic told me that she was being bombarded by images an hour before the session was scheduled to start, so much so that she was getting confused and almost called me to start it early! I am not prepared to drag this out in front skeptics--I don't have the kind of proof one finds in Angela Grubbs' case, for example--but I was personally convinced and I remain convinced. I've gone on to channel her in photography, and I've set aside a separate "group" for her work on my Flickr.com page. From the start I felt that she mostly wanted to photograph flowers. Our method is to let her guide me to the particular flower and the angle she wants; then I use my experience to pull off the best technical image. Same with choosing the best photograph, cropping, contrast adjustment, etc. You might not see it, but it's a different style from my own. For one thing I never used to shoot flowers--I thought they were all the same, like fireworks. Apparently I was wrong.
Now, there have been "evidentials," but I am not using this case as a proof case. For one thing it's personal; for another thing it's not a strong enough case to prove reincarnation (or contact with the other side) to a skeptical person. But the research is currently suspended, because when I went through this discovery I'm describing above, my researcher experienced so much cognitive dissonance that I began to be concerned for them. They (I'm omitting their gender) decided to pull out from the project. So I've done two things since the researcher left, and I really don't have time to do more. I ordered copies of several letters, written by Matthew to his brother (and one to his son). I learned one new bit of information--Matthew belonged to a spiritualist church, and even preached four sermons. Apparently he injected his own unique brand of humor into them, so much so, that they were appreciated mainly for the humor. But two of the titles were: "There are more things in Heaven & Earth--Horacio--than your philosophy has dreamed of" and "What good will it do? Will it pay?" He reported to his brother, "One of my parishoners told me the other day 'he liked to have me preach--it was so funny!!' Encouraging wasn't it?"
His mind worked exactly like mine does--I can't explain it. When I read his letters, it's as though I wrote them--each mental association, from thought to thought, is the one I would make. His attitude is identical to mine--his outlook, his humor, his insights, his phrasing.(1) Morever, as I read his letters, I know what he was feeling at the time. In his published writings, I remember the feeling of being especially pleased with a particular description or clever double-meaning.(2) In short, I remember the feelings that were in and through the experience. I've seen other men who are somewhat like-minded, or who resemble me physically--as though we were from the same "astral realm". What I feel with Matthew, however, is a quantum leap beyond this. The sense of identification is so deep, it's as though, if Matthew were eating at a cafe and left his plate, I would have no queasiness about sitting down and finishing it. A theme running through Matthew's entire life is that he wasn't taken seriously--and he joked about it. I'm not taken seriously--and I joke about it. Enough said on that.
The second thing I've done is to try to contact Abby's descendants. One of the last things my researcher did was to pass along a brief genealogy of Abby's family. I barely glanced at it at the time. They also showed me, in a newsletter, that one of Abby's descendants had donated a much more extensive genealogy to the Haverhill Library. Looking this descendant up on the internet, one can see that she is quite active in genealogical research; and her e-mail address was listed. So I wrote her, and I didn't try to be coy about it. I didn't pretend I was doing scholastic research, etc. etc. I just told it straight out.
No response--either it didn't reach her, or, more likely, she quickly assessed me as a nut. Well, nobody took Matthew seriously, either, as I said.
The reason I wanted to contact her, as I told her, was that I got the distinct impression that Abby gave me a mental image. Presumably it was the kind of image that a medium like John Edward gets routinely from people on the other side--in this case, for me, it was unusual, as I don't have that faculty developed to any great degree. But the image was the "little red haired girl with naturally curly hair" from Charles Schultz's "Charlie Brown" series. (I had initially thought this was the girl that Charlie Brown had a crush on, but I've since learned that was a different character--the girl with naturally curly hair was named "Frieda".) And with that image, came the thought, "Youngest sister". The impression was given to me that, if I wanted to substantiate any of the memories I'd been having about Matthew and Abby's personal life, the only way was a diary--that a diary had been kept by the youngest sister, and that it was not in a college library collection, but rather was still in the possession of the family. So, I had my researcher shoot me that genealogy again, and sure enough, the youngest was a girl, named Lucy--and she had been married to a carriage builder named Charles. I am guessing she had naturally-curly hair--I am guessing she was pretty, and a bit vain. I gather it was Abby's sense of humor--not meant in a mean way, just a little affectionate teasing. One gets the sense of a stable, conservative businessman married to a rather high-spirited, pretty girl, the youngest from a large, respectable New England family.
I think I have the memory that Lucy stayed with Matthew and Abby off-and-on. So I think her diary would have references to their daily life; and I think those references would correspond with memories which I have already set down at length and dated.
Oh, around that time I had one other interesting "sign". I had a dream of a date carved into a corner of a tavern table. The date was "Friday, March 4, '08" (meaning, 1808). My researcher refused to pursue it, as far as the table was concerned, because the tavern it would likely have been in has been gone for a hundred years. But out of curiosity I looked up the date, and, in fact, it was a Friday. I then looked up the odds, and that's a 6-to-1 shot (I would have thought it was 7-to-1, but the Wikipedia article used days of the week as an example, and it's 6-to-1 odds). I have no idea what this one means, if anything.(3) And, no, for you skeptics, I did not have 25 date dreams and now am reporting only the one where the day and date matched up. This was the only such dream I had.
The main reason I'm writing this, to be honest, is to invite my website visitors to take a look at Abby's flower photography. After we started taking them, I had the thought that maybe she used to draw flowers as a young woman. Young ladies growing up in well-to-do households, like Abby, were, as I gather, taught various skills which would make them more desirable as wives--music, drawing, etc. It was quite popular, among women of leisure, to make botanical drawings (some of which were used in textbooks); but if Abby drew them, I think she gave her own artistic interpretation to them, and imbued them with her own philosophy. I am deliberately avoiding sharing, in this Update, things that come from my own (supposed) past-life memory.(4) So I will leave it at that. Perhaps the family might have inherited a drawing. It wouldn't stand as proof, because probably all the young ladies of her social standing were sketching flowers. But it would be consistent nonetheless. (To narrow the field a bit, Abby tells me this one is quite similar to one of her sketches.) Incidentally, I did not know that this was a common skill, or a common subject, among young women at the time, when I felt inwardly prompted by Abby to start channeling her work.
I do know photography--and I know this isn't my style. It may have a bit of my technique. I invite you to look at the images--it's very good work by anyone's standards. It's not easy to bring out the personality in a flower--as said, I never shot them since I started taking photographs around 1986, because I just assumed that someone else had already done it, and there was no need for me to copy them. Abby has shown me otherwise. Her subgroup, to the right on my Flickr.com page, is titled with her name (sorry, I know nothing about botany and have simply labeled the photographs "flower 1, flower 2" for expediency--typical male attitude). Go on, have a look.
Stephen Sakellarios, Producer
p.s. This note is for people whose soul mate or twin flame has passed on.
If Canadian composer Chris Dedrick ever reads this--which is not impossible as he's quoted my comments about him on his website--Abby's favorite album is the Free Design's first album, "Kites Are Fun." She also especially likes Liz Story's music, having played piano, and having (as I gather) continued her study of music on the other side. And, adding a note on 7/20/10, we're really enjoying the Yellowjackets--I hadn't listened to them in awhile and had forgotten just how good they were, and I can tell that Abby loves them--she tells me she understands the jazz composition techniques, and that she's not just an 1800's girl! Here's the page on their website where they post some photos I took of them in concert many years ago...
1) See, for example, the update for 8/2/06, listed below, which, according to my website stats, has been getting quite a few direct hits lately--someone appears to be linking directly to it or recommending it (perhaps someone in academia). Imagine that the writer of the Ethan Spike letter, linked above, lives now in the 21st Century and is commenting on the almost complete takeover of materialism in college studies today. Compare the two minds behind these respective pieces--reach into it with your intuition.
2) Take, for example, Matthew's pen name, "Ethan Spike". On a hunch, I looked up the meaning of the name "Ethan," and it means "firm" or "hard". That means, his fictional ignorant "everyman" was a--you got it. None of Matthew's biographers got it--turns out, Matthew had to incarnate to get his own inside joke! Actually, I have a feeling it originated in a scenario somewhat like the following (I'm not saying it was exactly this, but something close): Matthew and Abby are looking through a list of boys' names, which typically give the meaning of each name. Running across the name "Ethan" and its meaning, Matthew remarked that it was that fellow "Ethan" who caused all the trouble in the first place! Later on, Matthew must have decided to use it in his (initially) anonymous letters to the editor. This is why I would need a diary to prove the kinds of past-life memories I have--such things were not spoken of in the formal letters to relatives that survive in college collections today. If you think I'm reading too much into the name "Ethan," a sample of Matthew's "Ethan Spike" letters, into which he mischievously embedded phrases like "heavingly bodies" and "orfice seeking," is linked to above. There is a letter written by his brother, John Greenleaf, in the historical record by which the latter was requesting a publisher friend to have the Ethan Spike letters published as a compilation. The biographer comments that the letter appears to have been unsent. My feeling is that Matthew (rightly) refused to modify some of these phrases for publication and the matter was dropped. Publication of that compilation could have radically improved both Matthew's circumstances (which were often dire), and his standing in history--but, true to form, he refused to compromise. Meanwhile, did anyone understand that he was challenging scientific reductionism by lampooning this science lecture for its underestimation of the size of the "heavingly bodies"?
3) There are two possibly relevant references to this date on the internet:
a) These laws enacted on March 4,
From "The Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:
March 4, 1808
"An act to incorporate the proprietors of a new meeting house, in the fourth parish in Newbury, in the County of Essex".
"An act to incorporate the propietors of the Meeting House of The First Baptist Society in Newburyport."
Matthew lived in the Newburyport area, but I have no indication in the history that either he or Abby were connected with this meeting house, as Matthew was a Quaker and Abby's father, an immigrant from French Guadeloupe, was probably Catholic. Unless, it occurred to me after writing this, that the couple got married in this church, because neither the Catholics nor the Quakers would have them. I don't know this as historical fact as of this writing, 6/22/10. Update 9/13/10, Matthew and Abby were married in a Congregationalist church.
b) Robert "Bully" Waterman, a merchant sea captain known for his abusive treatment of his crew, was born on March 4, 1808. As this man was egotistical and violent, and as Newburyport was a sea port, it is not inconceivable that he visited a tavern there and violently carved his birthdate into the corner of a table, as I saw in the dream (the letters and numbers in the dream were "slashed" rather than carefully carved). Admittedly it would be strange to leave a birthdate without a name. I remember the image clearly--it was in the right-hand corner, carved, I believe, on the diagonal, tall thin characters made of knife slashes, taking up perhaps 5-6 inches of space on dark wood.
(I will say that from what I've seen, as with the "Charlie Brown" example above, it is Abby's style to give evidentials which hit on two or more points simultaneously. So if anyone can verify either of these, let me know. I promise to keep you anonymous if you wish.)
4) Putting together a picture from the history, my memories (which are primarily emotional memories), and what the psychic said, Abby's family was not much in favor of the match, nor did they approve of me. My main advocate in that family--and the reason the marriage was ultimately allowed--was her mother. I seem to remember her Mom grilling me, but I was too naive to know she was testing me. As I confided in her how I really felt about Abby, she realized that even though I was a poor farm boy from a Quaker family--and the black sheep of that family, besides--I really loved her. If my memory is correct, her youngest sister used to pass notes for us, while Abby's older brother would stop me at the front door telling me Abby was "busy"--and all the while she was inside fervently hoping I didn't believe him! This tension between the families came up clearly and immediately in the psychic reading, without the psychic having any information to go on. We do know something of it from the history, as that Matthew was banned from attending the Quaker meeting house after he married Abby. Compare with my notes from the psychic reading: "Family or families feuded, rejected him. 'You can come but she can't'--because of religion or status."
Music opening this page: "Something in the Way She Moves," James Taylor (Live with Carole King)