I woke up early, not being able to get back to sleep, and spent some hours researching the earliest publications of "The Raven." This is something I deliberately shied away from for the first several years of my research (specifically, whether Mathew could have met with Poe, as I remembered under hypnosis--the quest of the authorship of "The Raven" came later), because I didn't want to sully my results with my own book-knowledge. However, since nobody else was going to look into it for me, I finally decided I might as well do the research, myself.
Turns out, it would probably take years to go through all the material that has been written, pro and con, on this subject. But a few hours was enough to learn that the two earliest printings of "The Raven"--one in "American Review," signed "---- Quarles," and the other in "The Evening Mirror," attributed to Edgar Allan Poe--were slightly different. There is a dispute as to which was actually published first; and thus, which was slightly edited. I haven't compared the two versions, but I read that the word "Wondered" was replaced with "Startled." I'm thinking "Wondered" is better; or, at least, deeper.
There was also a fellow named Hiram Fuller who reprinted the charges of two previous writers against Poe. Poe sued Fuller, and won the judgment. According to one blog poster, there was a vague charge of "forgery," but the actual piece forged wasn't named.
That article is said to have been published in the May 27, 1846 edition of the New York "Mirror." There is a partial archive of that paper for year 1846, but it doesn't seem to include the month of May. There are also pdf copies of entire volumes of the paper, but they only run to 1841. So I haven't been able to find the actual article. I could probably find it at the American Antiquarian Society, if I wanted to drive over there. But if the specific charges aren't given, it wouldn't help, much.
It appears that scholars have been arguing this point for years. But they didn't have the key. I have the key, because I came at it from an entirely different angle. I started with the real author, and worked it from there. Nobody had that piece of the puzzle.
But who was Mathew Franklin Whittier? As far as scholars are concerned, he was a hack humorous writer, younger brother of poet John Greenleaf Whittier. I can prove he was a literary genius, who wrote in all genres, and under dozens, if not hundreds, of secret pseudonyms. That is, if anybody would take me seriously.
Yesterday, I ran across the following, in the introduction to one of Mathew's letters, from the lengthy New York City series signed "X.F.W." He's talking about having met an expert in "physiognomy," i.e., the science of determining character from facial features. I found the fellow's book, published not long after this letter, and it falls squarely into the realm of pseudoscience. But Mathew's right--we all know there's something to it. We just don't want to admit it. There are character traits displayed in faces; and as Rumi said, "All the animals are in man." But all the attempts I've ever seen to nail it down, to quantify it, have failed miserably.
The reason, I believe, is that facial features reflect some (not all) of the personal traits of a person's past lives. We could be going back hundreds of years. Precisely which traits eventually percolate to the "outer shell" of the person, i.e., his or her physical face, is probably a matter of many karmic variables. But this is the person as they have been, not necessarily as they are, today. It may correspond, under certain circumstances; but it may be primarily a matter of incarnational history. This, in my opinion, is the missing element.
Anyway, Mathew was mistaken on this count. He had not yet accepted reincarnation, even though his young wife, Abby, had no-doubt introduced him to the concept. But it is his preliminary remarks, as he is privately applying them to himself, that interest me, here:
Such a great city as this must contain a great many remarkable men who are unknown to the world at large and who must be content with obscurity, while thousands of worthless creatures shine like butterflies in all the avenues of fortune and honor. Among half a million of people how many of these unemployed and unrewarded workmen in the great laboratory of humanity must be struggling for the mere necessities of material existence, to say nothing of that harder struggle which noble souls suffer who have not the sympathy which should sustain them, the genial applause which should stimulate them, or wide spheres of action which should call forth all their powers. As I go along the busy street I fancy such heroes in the crowd that stretches so far before me, though it must be confessed that one does 'nt often get actual near sight of a man who seems to belong to their catalogue.
But, though there are doubtless some who are thus entirely unknown and who yet deserve the very highest place in the general affections, there are others who are partly appreciated but who are still far from being fully understood. Such men, whether they belong to the scientific class, or illustrate the more practical virtues of life, are not apt to understand the great art of blowing their own trumpets, and are only made known to the public through some accident or by some favorable occasion which brings them prominently forward.
This was written on Oct. 13, 1847, a couple of years after "The Raven" was published.
No, I'm not putting this forth as proof, or even evidence. I'm just musing. They say "The more things change, the more they stay the same," and I am caught in the same karmic pattern, today. Nobody knew Mathew had written "The Raven"; and nobody knows of the work I'm doing, today.
I wonder what it would take to tip the scale--regarding Mathew's authorship of "The Raven," I mean. Do you know what all the controversy, and Poe having prevailed, reminds me of? The current "Me Too" movement, the gist of which is, the women really were sexually assaulted, but traditionally, nobody believed them.
Well, Poe and Dickens, who both successfully quelled charges of plagiarism, really did commit those thefts they were charged with. Likewise Albert Pike, who stole Abby's poetry. Likewise several other, lesser figures who stole Mathew's work, like George W. Light and Francis Durivage. Only Durivage got caught and was disgraced in the field of journalism--not for stealing Mathew's short stories written as "The Old 'Un," but for using an editor's private notes as his own work, while the editor was away.
Poe and Dickens left a trail of frustrated (and in at least one case, ruined) accusers, who were not believed, and a bevy of scholars who argue the points back and forth, in their ivory towers.
I often wonder what it would take to break through the wall. What did it take for these women? Five, ten, twenty of them had to come forward, and one or two had to prevail in a court of law, whereupon Society finally accepted that it really happened. But what would it take to convince Society that Mathew Franklin Whittier, together with his wife, Abby Poyen Whittier, were the original authors of "A Christmas Carol"? And that after her death, it was Mathew who wrote both "The Raven," and "Annabel Lee" (originally writing to "Abigail P---")?
Honestly, I don't know. My reincarnation claim is inextricably interwoven with both of these literary claims. The whole of it seems ludicrous, no doubt. But what if one part of it were proven correct? Would the whole thing then suddenly turn upside down, so that people--Society--realized it was all genuine?
Have you ever read the science fiction short story, "Tiger by the Tail," by Alan E. Nourse? I did, when I was heavily into science fiction as a boy. A woman is found shop-lifting, putting an absurd number of items into her purse, the top of which is a ring made of an unknown metallic substance (this, from memory). She is in a trance state of some kind, so she is not arrested, and the purse is given to scientists for study. They determine that objects placed into the ring are entering another dimension, and that the force is so great that once placed there, the objects can't be pulled back. One of the researchers gets the bright idea to lower a huge beam into the hole with an immense crane, to see if they can't "hook" that dimension and pull some portion of it back into our world.
But the experiment backfires. The crane, operating at full power, is losing the battle by inches. The cable is becoming dangerously taut, the crane's engine is screaming, but the beam is slowly moving downward, instead of upward. Our own universe is going to be sucked into theirs, instead of vice-versa!
There, as I recall it, the story ends.
Should any one of my several claims turn out to be genuine, it would mean, logically, that the rest of them are, as well. At that point, if you are a skeptic, your universe is going to get sucked into mine.
Hold the presses!
After finalizing the above, I went back into an online archive of the 1847 New York "Evening Mirror." This collection is incomplete, and because of a date discrepancy, I'm not even sure all the pages are in the right order, grouped behind the correct front page. But I did find proof--and I use that word because it's beyond mere "evidence"--that Mathew Franklin Whittier was submitting to this paper, while he lived in New York City at this time.
"What could possibly be proof?" you may be asking. Well, the thing is, I've already done all the background research for this character. In the Nov. 8, 1847 edition, the editor introduces the second letter in a series from Ferdinand Mendez Pinto. Now, Pinto is a historical figure, a Portuguese explorer of the 16th century. But this Pinto is a bullshitting world traveler, who appeared in the July 26, 1851 edition of the Boston "Carpet-Bag." Mathew, a silent financial partner in that venture, was a prolific contributor under many different pseudonyms, representing many different characters. "Pinto" was one of them. I have said that Mathew would return to his favorite bits--well, he apparently created this one for the "Mirror" in 1847, and returned to it for the "Carpet-Bag" in 1851. He did so for a specific reason--one of the regular contributors to the "Carpet-Bag" was a persistent imitator, and had become a thorn in Mathew's side. So Mathew began attacking him as his "Pinto" character, essentially out-bullshitting him.
All that is very carefully analyzed in my book, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words." There's even a faux biography of Pinto (each of the major contributors got a biography), and the man behind the large umbrella matches Mathew's physique. It's Mathew, alright.
So now we not only have Mathew writing as "X.F.W." during this period, to the Boston "Chronotype" from New York City, we have him submitting to the New York "Evening Mirror," as well. Furthermore, I found a brief review in there signed with his single asterisk signature--so he was using that for the "Mirror," as well.*
Where all this might lead, probably depends on just how much trouble I want to go to. I am getting physically stressed from having researched and archived at this pace, for so many years. I am reminded of a famous photographer who, in his old age, told an interviewer that his doctor had forbidden him from doing any more photography, because it got him too excited and was dangerous for his health. In the middle of the night, my mind is racing with all this stuff, making connections, as I see all the various implications. I need to back off it--but just when I think I have it wrapped up, I find another lead like this.
This isn't a complete run of the "Evening Mirror," anyway. I would have to find a complete set, and painstakingly go through it. I pretty-much know Mathew's styles, themes and characters at this point. Even the most brilliant comedian tends to repeat these elements. So (I tell myself) I don't need to have every single thing he ever wrote, in my digitial archive.
Here is a brief snippet from Ferdinand Mendez Pinto's second letter, written to the editor of the "Evening Mirror" from Italy, about being invited to dine with the Pope. I could compare this with passages from the same character in the "Carpet-Bag," but just trust me on this, it's the same writer and the same series, except that in the "Carpet-Bag," it's specifically directed at his annoying and not very original colleague.
It was just half past two when the scarlet-wheeled carriage of Cardinal Gizzi stopped at my palazza; the Cardinal had gone to the Vatican some hours before, he having some private business to transact with the Pope; so I had to ride alone to the papal residence--and I must acknowledge that I felt somewhat flurried at the thought of dining with such a host--and the thought occurred to me, as I am prone to make mal-apropos speeches, that, if there should happen to be a roast goose on the table, I should infallibly ask for the Pope’s nose; and then a far more disagreeable thought occurred to me. The chances were ten to one that I should be poisoned, for I knew that the Austrians, the Neapolitan minister, the representative of the Duke of Lucca, and the ambassador from the King of Sardinia, had all threatened to take the life of the Pope, and that there had been repeated attempts to poison his food. I might have saved myself any fears on this score, for there was nothing on the dinner-table but boiled eggs and a pitcher of clear water.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*I also noticed "M.," "W.," and "D.," all of which Mathew has used at various times. I'm keeping an eye out for another one, "P." It appears that in the "Mirror," he was careful to mix-and-match, so that no single signature aroused suspicion. I can only be certain, at this point, of "Pinto" and the asterisk.
Music opening this page: "Awaken," by Eric Johnson,
from the album, "Up Close"