Abby has her own blog, which you can access here.
It's the end of the month, and I have in mind to take a close look at my stats. Let's see if I can tease any insights out of them, beyond the usual "woe is me I haven't sold any books."
First, did you catch my Update of the 25th, in which I exposed what appears to be fraud in a documentary about electronic communication with the other side? Until I watched the last segment, I was ready to applaud and promote that piece. It's not a matter of professional jealousy. It's that I love the truth, and I subject everything to an eagle eye to see whether it is expressing the truth, or not. I am, in short, a real skeptic. Mine is not the cynical irrationality that has absconded with the label these days. The point I want to impress on you, is that I apply this same standard to my own work. Admittedly, one cannot always detect one's blind spots. While researching and writing my book, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words," I caught myself out in numerous errors of interpretation, and corrected them. Where the errors had to do with past-life memory, I left in at least a trace of them for the record. Where they were purely scholastic blunders, I simply corrected them. I've explained this at length in the book's introduction.
Now, before I turn to the website, let's look at how my documentary, "In Another Life: Reincarnation in America" is faring online. Where it has gone viral, there is at least one main posting, with several people linking to it. I had earlier written that I had found two others, but I think this is a problem with how YouTube presents stats--the figure on the initial display doesn't seem to update as quickly as the listing itself, once opened. This listing shows over 104,000 hits. The last I looked, my Vimeo.com listing had at least 5,000, and my YouTube listing, which I posted a couple months ago, shows 296 hits. So we can total these and get at least 109,000 hits on this film. My postings, by the way, are the most recent edition of the film, while the one that's getting all the hits is an old version, and a poor copy, at that. (There are also postings aimed at foreign viewers, which I don't have stats for.)
This website, for the month of July just past--not including today, the 31st, for which I don't yet have figures--has averaged 366 visits per day, with the highest count being 484. These are not hits, but visits, and multiple daily visits by the same person aren't counted. This is down from last month, which had several consecutive days in the 400's, but it is about 100/day more than this website traditionally got in years past, and about 150/day more than it was getting when I first introduced my book, and Abby, my wife on the other side.
I wonder whether people have accepted that I'm not crazy, after all, or whether they have compartmentalized--meaning, they have decided my own self-explorations are crazy, but my work on reincarnation, itself, isn't bad? Or perhaps, my early work was credible until I went off the deep end.
I actually didn't go off the deep end, I simply moved forward. It's an understandable assumption, though--I've seen it with other paranormal investigators. Joe Fisher jumped off a cliff, as I understand, after he had gotten into ghost hunting. Maybe there was a girl, since it was a girl, a companion, who posted about it after he died. Maybe that's completely wrong. Maybe when he got into ghosts, one of them got into him. Whatever it was, researchers do lose their moorings like this. It's a reasonable hypothesis, in my case, but a mistaken one, blind spots notwithstanding.
Interesting that I should pick Joe, because doing a little post-entry research to be sure I had his name spelled right, I see there was a documentary produced on this subject, entitled, appropriately, "What Killed Joe Fisher?" The description says: "While investigating the practice of 'trance channeling,' he abandoned his professional skepticism, falling in love with a spirit entity named Filipa--an obsession that would lead him down a dangerous path." But some years ago, I remember reading a statement by a physical girl who had been living with him, the only commentary on the subject at the time. I'd never heard anything about "Filipa." It does sound rather like me falling in love with Abby, doesn't it? But Fisher was investigating earthbound spirits, trolling, as it were, in the lower reaches of the astral realm. This is dangeorus stuff, and they can be treacherous. I don't know anything about Filipa, but for the record, I do not trance channel, and I did not pick up Abby at a bar, so to speak. Abby was an exemplary, real person in the historical record with good credentials. Filipa's channeled information about her past life with Joe Fisher in Greece didn't seem to check out factually, while the information Abby has led me to about our past life in New England, clearly did.
After writing the above, I found what I had been remembering, an obituary, and appended to it is a poem by one Caroline Lennox, which clearly indicates a relationship. The link is:
It was my thought, at the time, that that relationship might have had something to do with the suicide, given that by her own admission it seemed to be unfinished and uncertain. But this was simply a hunch. It is certainly odd, because normally a person "bursting with excitement about life" as she describes in the poem, doesn't commit suicide. Caroline, apparently, feels it was an accident. The writer of the obituary points to Joe's debts. Joe, himself, was concerned about spirits being after him because of his book. The entire show is available online, but I can't get it to play on either of my computers. Their tech support person says he's working on it.(1) From what I can read of Fisher's last book online at Amazon.com, he did have an unstable relationship with a live-in girlfriend. The information channeled for "Filipa" doesn't sound right, to me. There was an arbitrary distinction between "souls" and "entities," which, if Fisher had had a solid background in metaphysics, would have been a red flag, and some nonsense dodge about her not understanding his verification question about when he had come to Canada, because she doesn't understand earth time. Based on these obvious goofs, my guess is that the medium was simply imagining the material, and Fisher should not have allowed himself to be put off so easily in the testing phase. If you are to trust a medium as genuine, you want solid verifications with no normal explanation, such as I got from each of the two I used for my research.
Anyway, what else do we have, here? Articles...I have written a number of articles at a pretty high level (whatever level I could reach, actually, since I never write down to an audience), and for the most part, they have lain fallow for years. The stats give me the top 30 pages, and these articles never used to make it into the top 30. Then, some fairly prominent websites must have started linking to them. (I know of one prominent writer who requested a link a year or two ago, but won't name him, here.) Now, in July, four articles are in the top 30, plus a commentary on "linear time" which is sort of a mini, impromptu article. My article about my Guru, Meher Baba, hit 327, in the #7 slot. Mostly, that is probably fellow-followers, because it is difficult to find by just landing on the Articles page. Next, at #8, is my article on proving reincarnation--the ostensible introduction to my book. It has been read 319 times this month. Then there is an article entitled "Coming Back Bad," which draws heavily from Meher Baba's teachings (admittedly so), and which has been seen 109 times. Finally, there is an article about skepticism, which I wrote off-the-cuff as commentary and simply turned into a formal article, and that has been read 105 times.
Not meaning to brag, but this is high-brow stuff. So much for the argument that people don't buy my book because they are incapable of reading graduate level work. Most of these articles aren't really scholarly, in the sense that I don't use very many citations, while I had to footnote every time I sneezed, practically, in the book, in order to keep the study rigorous. Other than that, my book is written at the same level, and pretty-much in the same style, as the articles. In fact, it is written in precisely the same style as the article on Meher Baba (the only one which is written with citations).
Oh--I forget--most of the articles are from the period before I went nuts. Sorry.
Abby and I are almost tied for popularity when it comes to our respective journals. Hers, which I channel, stands at 171 for the month, while mine is at 177. In both cases, many of these people are regulars--perhaps five or six per day. People also read back issues, but it's hard to tell if someone is linking directly to an earlier entry, unless it hits the top 30. In the case of Abby's journal, one of hers, from 4/18/12, has hit the 29th slot, at 98 hits.
Now is probably not the time to defend Abby's journal. She has ended up with her own select audience. They understand full-well that it is me, here, attempting to translate the feelings I sense from Abby, and, through whatever writing ability I have, to write "in character" as herself. I attempt to be as transparent in that process as possible. I do not encourage anybody to suspend disbelief where those journals of hers are concerned. In fact, I caution against it. Still, her readers seem to catch the flavor and essence of her personality in them (as do I, especially upon re-read). Either I'm a far better writer than I think I am, cranking out one of these entries of hers every few days, or else she is inspiring and guiding me in them. Take your pick--because if I'm that good a writer, I may plausibly be the reincarnation of a demonstrably talented 19th century writer; and if I am, then, it's a no-brainer that I would want to reconnect with my soul-mate from that lifetime. Either route you take, in other words, leads you back.
But then there's hard evidence, which on very rare occasions she will permit me to share. She has, I think, deliberately "shooed off" the general public, preferring to reach a select group who are attempting a cross-dimensional relationship. I think she knows that this will be a world-wide movement, someday, and that one has to start somewhere. Her mother, Sally, in the 1830's and 40's, appears to have similarly laid the groundwork for, or contributed to, the Christian Science movement. So there are the official founders of any such movement, but then, you may be able to trace it back still further to complete unknowns. Abby, by the way, turned out to be first cousin to the man who introduced "Mesmerism" (hypnosis) to America, Charles Poyen. I didn't know it when I first released the book, though I had speculated they might be related somehow. So if you see any American past-life therapists working with hypnosis, they have Abby's cousin to thank for it. (Brian Weiss could only be famous, in other words, because of the work done by Abby's cousin, Charles, in 1837.)
Charles was a brilliant, courageous young man who had a discoloring birthmark over half his face. He did not, initially, have a good command of English, being from French Guadeloupe (as Abby's father was). He was mocked and ridiculed everywhere he went. What courage he must have had! His legacy is still marginalized. Mathew published a moving tribute to him, which I found in the Portland "Transcript." I'm not sure the information that he lived for a time in Portland, Maine is found anywhere else.(2) Since Mathew and Abby had moved there, very likely he stayed with them.
But I digress...
The supporting website for my book, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words," has been seen 190 times this month, and thus sits in the #12 slot. I have sold two books in the past month, neither of them being this title. I sold one copy of "Loving Abby in Truth and Spirit"; and one copy of "Eastern Mysticism and Psychotherapy," which I wrote in 1981, when I graduated with my master's degree in counseling. I was at the top of my game, then. I had only been following Meher Baba for about six years, and I wanted to reconcile his teachings with what I'd been learning in my counseling program, so I wrote this book. But I was thinking, while I was waiting to start this Update, about guitarist Eric Johnson. His playing, today, is no-doubt more mature than his early work, such as one hears on his "Ah Via Musicom" album, or sees in his Austin City Limits performance--but as a young man, he was really on fire. That's the closest I could come to explaining how I feel about this early book.
I sold no copies whatsoever of "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words." This would make sense to me, if nobody read my articles, either. But we have a total of 860 people reading my articles (that I know of, in the top 30), in one month. For all I know it could be a thousand, if the other articles were included. So it is not the level of writing.
What are the other possible variables? Price. Is the entire country--or, the progressive portion of the country--so poor, as a block, now, that they literally can't afford $12?(3)
That it is an e-book. Well, you can't self-publish and sell an 840-page book, with well over 100 illustrations, when you have no income, nor will anybody be able to afford to buy it, unless you publish at a loss. E-book readers don't have to be expensive--I picked up a used Kobo on Ebay for testing purposes for about $30. But 860 people are reading the articles on their computer screen. You can read an e-book on your computer screen. People who complain that they don't like to read books on the computer, log hours and hours on Facebook. Okay, Facebook has lots of pictures. My book also has lots of pictures.
Sorry, I have to keep a rein on Mathew's sarcasm, which, like the rest of his personality, has more-or-less risen and integrated itself with my own.
This was published in May 1869, when Mathew had lived in Boston for some eight years. (I'm not sure, but I think "livser" is a typo, and should be "liver," or more likely, "livver.") The "Boston mootooal admiration society" is, of course, Holmes, Emerson, Longfellow, etc. The sketch gets even better, but I don't have room, here. He threatens to expose them, broadly hinting at extortion ;-), since reporters have to eat, etc.(4) If you think I'm bad now... (Note the expression "hevingly bodies," which in an earlier sketch, was "heavingly bodies." He probably had to negotiate for it.) I discovered this sketch on Jan. 5 of this year, so if you think I adopted a contemporary attitude to match, you can easily disprove that theory by finding Updates in which I expressed similar sentiments, regarding many of today's popular figures, before that time. I can document the date because the photographic files sent by my researcher bear the date digitally.
Is it the "creepy factor" that turns people away? Possibly. I noticed that a website, which I added recently to my News and Announcements page, calls the apparent past-life photographic matches for celebrities "creepy." My book's supporting website opens with a comparison image of myself and Mathew Franklin Whittier. Are people so creeped out by that, that they simply don't read further? All 190 of them?
Then there is knee-jerk dismissal. There have been numerous books written by individuals who have claimed to identify one or more past lives, and some of them offer historical evidence. I've looked at several of these. A very few, like Capt. Robert Snow's book, are rigorously researched and reported. Most are sloppy, and there is a lot of wishful thinking and adding 2 + 2 to get 5, like "both men graduated on April 15th, and both married a woman whose name starts with 'T'." Do these 190 people per month automatically assume my effort is the same? I suspect they do. This is especially maddening, because I have made it clear in every way I can think of, that mine is different. The last extensive review I got, posted on Amazon, also makes it clear that my book is different.
Oh, well. All I can say is, if you think you've seen this kind of thing before, you probably haven't.
I can't think of any other variables that might explain why 860 people read my articles, 190 look at my book, and zero plunk down $12.00 to buy it.
What all this put together suggests to me, however, is that the message is getting out there. When I cited online views for my documentary, I didn't include the stand-alone interviews with Dr. Jim Tucker, and Dr. Robert Almeder. These, also, have gone viral and are being seen by some tens of thousands of people (Almeder's has over 163,000 hits). Even my trailer gets the message across. Then there is my interview with subject Angela Grubbs, which has been seen about 17,000 times on Metacafe (I need to post that one to YouTube when I get a chance).
In all this, I am never asked for radio interviews, nor to speak anywhere. Victor Zammit will occasionally mention my documentary, but will never mention my books (no less present them). Dr. Jim Tucker will, graciously, hold a copy of my book, but cannot find time to read it. I cannot get anyone else, prominent in the afterlife field, even remotely interested in it. If I ask, none of them have time. (Dr. Atwater had the most creative excuse, that being an NDE experiencer, she couldn't stand prolonged exposure to electrical devices.)(5)
And yet, there is my work, having its grassroots impact. What's fascinating, to me, is that this pattern is precisely parallel to what occurred in Mathew Franklin Whittier's life. My talents are parallel to his; the social response to my talents is parallel to his; and my frustration is, obviously, parallel to his. And yet, nobody seems to particularly notice.
Clearly, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Here's what you might want to ask yourself. Any number of people might look like him; but when you then require that they be able to write like him, the numbers will fall off sharply. Very sharply. What, then, are the actual chances, I mean, if you really ran the numbers? I would say you would be hard pressed to find five people in the world who look this much like Mathew Franklin Whittier, and who can also write like he did. Remember, I had no idea what his writing was like, the day I first saw his etching and knew, intuitively, that I had been him. And I can prove that I had been writing very much like this before that day. Look at the "Lighter Side" page linked from the home page. These photos were taken on a trip to interview Carol Bowman in Media, PA. The countryside seemed intensely familiar, and somehow, a sort of satirical mindset took hold, and I snapped these pictures, adding the narrative when I returned. This was around 1998 or 1999.(6) I didn't discover Mathew Franklin Whittier until 2005; but in the course of my research, I learned that Mathew had stayed 20 miles away, in Wilmington, Delaware, on at least one occasion, when he was convalescing during his final illness. He may have been through that area earlier in his life, as well. As regards the humor, itself, you'd have to study Mathew's character, "Ethan Spike," as I have, to understand how similar it is. In both cases, there is an alter-ego created who is naive, self-important, and thinks he understands things when he really doesn't. In both cases, there is a lampoon of rural areas. There is absolutely no chance that I could have seen any of Mathew's "Ethan Spike" sketches before this time.
The earliest recording of this "Lighter Side" page on Archive.org's "Wayback Machine" was captured on Jan. 21, 2005, but that's early enough, because I didn't discover Mathew's existence until late May or early June of that year. Here is the URL for the "Lighter Side":
and here is the URL in which I describe first seeing Mathew's engraving, captured on July 2, 2005:
Note that this is public documentation that I wrote the "Lighter Side" before I learned of Mathew--and note that I similarly took pains to document everything remembered, claimed or speculated upon in my book. (I don't place live external links into these blogs, so, you can cut-and-paste if you wish.)
Maybe I don't need to point it out--maybe the strong coincidence of my looking like Mathew, and writing like him, is already clear to people. Maybe it just makes the whole thing creepier.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
2) And if any historians want to link directly to this clipping, I strongly urge them to do me the professional courtesy of crediting me properly, with a link-back to this Update, which, soon, will revert to the URL, http://www.ial.goldthread.com/update7_31_14.html.
3) Amazon.com is pushing for low e-book prices, in the $2.00-$3.00 range. Their rationale--aside from some nonsense about the public good--is that e-books should be priced the way paperbacks are priced vs. hardcover books, i.e., as a cheap alternative. My book takes advantage of the digital format in both its length, and in the number of illustrations. In this (if not in other matters, like footnotes), it is ahead of its time, being an "intentional" e-book. It is not secondary to a hard-copy edition, and I see no reason why I should be expected to sell a ground-breaking work which required five years of intensive research, as though it was a cheap paperback.
4) Underneath the humor, he was quite serious, and I believe he followed through with his threat eight years later in 1877 (sans extortion), which premise I explore in the book.
5) If her website looks commercialized, it's not her fault, because she had to hire someone to do it and hasn't actually ever seen it, herself. I was going to warn her about it, but I didn't have any postage stamps handy. By which sarcasm I mean, it was clearly an excuse because if she really wanted to, she could have worked with me to find some way to read at least a portion of it, either by having someone read it to her, by reading it in short "shifts," or by experimenting with e-readers, which probably put out about the lowest power signal of any device commonly used--certainly far less than she would be exposed to reading her e-mail or checking her website.
6) I captured these images on my SONY VX-1000 digital video camera using the stills function. The date is embedded in the tape, so I would just have to drag out the tape to get the exact date. I know I have it, because I had to go back to the original tape to re-create the Lighter Side page for the ebook. A quick look revealed that my interview tape for Carol Bowman is labeled "9/11/98."
I have been in the habit of writing a new entry every few days; but it strikes me that this entry, above, is precisely what I would like people who have not yet decided to purchase my book, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words," to read. Given that that's pretty-much everybody who visits this website, I'm inclined to leave off writing these entries awhile, and let this one fully sink in. I am an educator, so this website has enough free material to keep you going for weeks. But a word to the wise, my book is raised to an entirely different level. By this I mean not the level of writing, but something I pioneered in the article about my Guru, the weaving of a synergistic tapestry. You would have to immerse yourself in the book to understand what I mean by that--you can't get it reading this or that bit of evidence in these entries, piecemeal.--SS
Music opening this page: "Something in the Way She Moves," by James Taylor, from a live PBS performance with Carole King