Two weeks later, I'm still waiting for the microfilm scans of the early 1850's newspaper that I contributed heavily to, as Mathew Franklin Whittier. I'm going to have to call them, today. When I ran my one-man video production business, Gold Thread Video Productions, I learned a trick for collections. Let the time go beyond a normal wait, and then, be polite. What it does is to put the ball squarely into the other person's court, because they know it's been too long. It puts them on the defensive, so that they are apologetic. Conversely, if you inquire too soon, you can be seen as bugging them, and then the ball is in your court. But for this to work, you have to keep your cool. Not that I anticipate those kinds of problems, here. My suspicion is that since it was a small run of one reel, it got set aside until the big (and lucrative) runs were out of the way, which hasn't happened, yet. Or, there could be one of those situations where I am waiting for them to do something, and they are waiting for me to do something...which is why it's definitely time to call them.
During my lunch breaks, I have a habit of watching YouTube videos of mediums, working both with an audience, and one-on-one. I've gone through most of what's posted for John Edward, then Lisa Williams, and then Gordon Smith. Then I watched quite a bit of Matthew Fraser, and now I'm on the late British medium Colin Fry. Yesterday, Colin asked the ladies he was reading (seated toward the back in an audience) if their father had ever played the game with them, where you pretend to take off the tip of your finger. One of the ladies--his daughter, if I remember correctly--held up her hand, and the tip of one finger was missing.
First of all, this is clearly evidential. Had he ever met them before, all three of them would have had to be in collusion (in other words, the ladies would have had to pretend to be surprised). So that eliminates that normal explanation. Secondly, this level of accuracy is not unusual. There are so many evidential "hits" in these readings by the best mediums, it is entirely irrational to cling to the Materialistic paradigm. The tenacity with which Society officially clings to a profoundly ignorant position is astounding. Some of these people will repeat, parrot-like, "There is no evidence..."
But thirdly, and especially, I was struck with how clearly the principle is illustrated by this example, that the medium gets an accurate impression, but sometimes misinterprets it, initially. I have reported something very similar happening with my past-life impressions. The core impression was accurate; but, having an incomplete picture of Mathew's life story, I sometimes interpreted that impression incorrectly.
Now, you can take this reading by Colin Fry and say, "He's a fake, because he thought they played a game of taking off the tip of your finger, and he was wrong." But that's absurd. He was spot-on; only, he got the interpretation a bit askew. Clearly, it's far, far beyond chance; and this conclusion is not "magical thinking." How many people have the tip of a finger missing? What would you say--1/10th of one percent? Or less?
If you are feeling the earth shaking beneath your feet--that sickening feeling of your whole paradigm crumbling from underneath you--you might, in that moment of terror, insist that it was a lucky guess. Let me tell you, despite the mocking grin on your face, I know what you are feeling, inside. You can't fool me. I've felt it many times.
I'll tell you, here--all my research indicates that in my past life, Abby (my first wife in that lifetime) and I co-wrote "A Christmas Carol," and Mathew must have handed it over to Dickens in Boston, during Dickens' 1842 American tour (much to his regret, later in life). And it also indicates that Mathew must have written the original version of "The Raven," which he likewise must have given to, or shared with, Edgar Allan Poe sometime prior to 1845, but after Abby died in 1841.
Mathew Franklin Whittier was that good a writer, and I can prove it. Not only is it not grandiose to claim these piece for him--it is grandiose to claim them for Dickens and Poe, respectively. A deep study of the history tells me that Mathew could easily have written them--but Dickens and Poe could not have. And I can prove that Abby was that good a writer, too, in her Victorian way. For that matter, some four years of channeled writing would prove that she is that good a writer, still, today.
I videotaped a psychic reading for my documentary, "In Another Life," in 1998, when so far as I can tell, nobody but Spiritualist churches in England were doing this. They were taping their services, not one-on-one sessions. I got that idea on my own (never having seen the Spiritualists' recordings), and if I wasn't the first to tape a continuous individual reading, I was one of the first. You can view that entire recording here. But later on, I also had two readings done for my book, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words." Actually, they served a dual purpose--for the book, yes, but also to try to contact Abby directly. Both psychics were, in fact, able to contact her, and there were several hits in those readings. I don't emphasize this too much in my presentation, but I thought I'd go through a few of those hits, today. I discuss both readings in their entirety, in the book--but let's just take a sampling.
Candace Zeller, the psychic who read Jeff Keene for me in 1998, was given no information whatsoever for that reading. She got his name and birthdate from him before the session, on-site. Jeff was unknown publicly at this point, since I was the first person to ever investigate him or to present him. When I hired her to read me for the book, in 2010, I told her that I had been studying a past life in the 19th century, and that I wanted to get in touch with my first wife from that lifetime. I sent her an unlabeled etching of Mathew Franklin Whittier in his mid-40's, and the second page of a letter from Abby to Mathew's sister. She told me she never received the letter. So assuming she was honest (and I have no reason to doubt her honesty), she had only the etching, plus what I had told her, to go on.
I have my notes from this reading, taken in real time, before me. (Neither of these readings was audiotaped.) First, she correctly gets the impression that the two families, Mathew's and Abby's, were opposed to the marriage on both the grounds of class, and religion. Then she confirms that I was Mathew. She correctly gets the cause of Abby's death as tuberculosis (in the 19th century, "consumption")--something I didn't know at the time of the reading. She correctly gets that both Mathew and Abby were students of metaphysics; and she correctly states that both were ahead of their time. She says that after her death, Abby "visited" in spirit; and this has been confirmed several times over for subsequent years, if not for immediately after her death.* She got "36," and Mathew and Abby were married in 1836. She correctly cited five children, even though I kept correcting her that Mathew and Abby only had two children. I had forgotten that Mathew had three more children by another marriage; and after I remembered this, she stopped mentioning it. She correctly stated that after Abby's death Mathew became "withdrawn and eccentric;" and also that he was "estranged from his own lineage." She saw them "sitting on a swing for two, under a tree by a river." Abby lived within sight of a large river in East Haverhill, Mass., the Merrimack.
Candace said she felt it was on the East Coast--"New York, Washington, Virginia." Actually, it was in Haverhill, on the east coast of Massachusetts; and then in Portland, Maine. (Note that I am honestly reporting "misses.")
After this point, I told her Mathew's identity, and began asking questions. She told me that "my ideas about Edgar Allan Poe are correct, but that it would take a great deal of research to uncover"--and she re-emphasized this. She said I might find something about it in the Edgar Cayce readings. (At this point, this referred only to my memory, under hypnosis, of having met once with Poe.) I did, finally, find a few bits of evidence which point strongly to my conclusion that Mathew was the original author of "The Raven," but no solid proof yet, to date. The Cayce readings, however, yielded a reference to Mathew's famous older brother, John Greenleaf Whittier, which characterized his personality precisely as I had been remembering it, through past-life memory--the only source I've found which agrees with me on this matter.
She also indicated that Mathew "did influence the writing of 'A Christmas Carol,'" but that the proof had been burned in a fire. She did not indicate any contribution from Abby, whereas it now appears that it was primarily Abby's work, which Mathew either collaborated on, or re-edited after she passed. Mathew's flat in Portland, Maine was burned in a fire (probably, arson) in April of 1852, something I discovered well after the reading.
Now, that was the first reading, on March 10, 2010. The second reading, with Joseph Shiel, was on Dec. 15 of that year. But first, let's be clear about something. Candace made a number of strong hits, here. One could justifiably say she was blazingly accurate, about things she had no normal way of knowing--and in many cases, things I, also, had no way of knowing at the time. That means she was not simply reading my mind--because these things weren't in my mind. She confirmed that I was Mathew. So on the strength of these other hits, logically, one has to conclude that by the same token, she was correct about this, as well.
I chose Joseph because he was a psychic artist, and because he was certified by the New York psychic community, Lily Dale. I could, technically, have seen this on his website, but I did not notice that he worked out of a Spiritualist church in Swampscott, Mass.--not very far from where Mathew and Abby grew up, in Haverhill. We will see the significance of this, shortly.
So now I have Shiel's reading in front of me. He did draw a picture of Abby, which turned out to be fairly close to what I now believe to be her historical portrait. Given that his skills as an artist are adequate, but (not being an art critic) I would say are a bit primitive, I consider it to be a match beyond mere chance. But he is also clairaudient, and this is where it gets interesting.
Joseph talks about Abby being very gentile and feminine, but also having another side to her--a radical who stands up for the less fortunate. He talks about a trial where she is in serious trouble. Candace, also, talked about her being persecuted. This persecution shows up clearly in the historical record, including in her own stories, published by Mathew posthumously about 10 years after her death.
Both psychics said that Abby was ahead of her time. This is clearly borne out by her poetry and her short stories, as is her profound dedication to the less fortunate (each of her stories showcases one such group, such as orphans, cripples, immigrants, etc.). Her knowledge of metaphysics and the occult also appears frequently in these stories--and there is one set on Christmas day.
Joseph correctly gets that she is of the upper class. He says she knew how to shoe horses, while the historical record indicates that her father (a marquis) liked to trade horses. He stresses her intelligence four times in the reading; the historical record tells us that her mother, Sally Poyen, was "brilliant." Abby's stories, to the extent they are autobiographical, clearly indicate this, as well.
He correctly got that she passed "earlier than expected" from illness, though he perceived stomach pain, and opined that it might have been in childbirth. He correctly said that she had children, but thought that one of them carried on the family name, whereas both a boy and a girl each died before the one year mark. But at this point, he admitted he "may be putting in his own thoughts."
Now, hold onto your seats. Toward the very end of the reading, he says (per my notes):
"M." Keep getting "M." Matthew, Massuen. [not clear on "Massuen," trailed off--not clear if this was a guess on the same name, or a second name. "Matthew," however, was definite. I told him at this point that that was my name in that lifetime.]
I asked him to repeat what he had just said, and (somewhat to my disappointment) he repeated it exactly the same way, fading out on the second word, which, not being able to hear it clearly, I wrote down phonetically as "Massuen." Now, if you are skeptical, you have to do damage control. There is that feeling of panic rising, again. What are the explanations, which you must bring up like soldiers to save yourself from that awful, shaky feeling? Fraud. Coincidence. A lucky guess. Maybe he was on the internet with his laptop during the session.
But I checked that. I found a colleague who vouched, in no uncertain terms, for both his work and his ethics. I also searched online for keywords like "Joseph Shiel, fraud." I read all of his online feedback. All of it is positive. I also asked him directly in the reading whether he had done any internet research on me, and he said disdainfully that he didn't have time to do such things. This is borne out by his reaction when I first made the call--he said, "Oh, you're the one with the unusual request." In other words, he had forgotten about it in the interim.**
He gave only four names during the course of the hour-long session, three of which do figure in Abby's life (including this one). So the explanation is not that he gave 25 names, and managed to hit one.
Meanwhile, if you watch, say, Gordon Smith, you can actually see him reading berieved parents, and with no fishing, he gets their late child's first, middle, and last name. I kid you not. He gets the middle and last names immediately, right out of the box, and then gets the first name later on--which is precisely what I would expect, given that spirits don't like to provide the obvious, lest it look like fraud. Start at 5:20 in this video:
This kind of evidence is at your fingertips online--but you have to courageously face down that horrible queasy feeling, to look for it.
Oh--about "Messuen." I finally realized that he must have been saying "Methuen." Methuen is a little town directly adjacent to Haverhill. It is the only town of that name in the United States. It seemed clear that Abby was pairing that with Mathew's name, because they must have lived there at some point--something which is nowhere in the historical record. Or so I thought. I finally found it hidden in one of Mathew's humorous sketches, published under a pseudonym which had been claimed by someone else.
If my past-life impressions and my interpretations are correct, "M____" is Methuen; "P____" is "Poyen" (Abby's maiden name); "W____" is "Whittier." "S____" may even be "Swampscott," though there are two other possibilities in the southern portion of Essex County (the story specifies the southern portion of the unnamed county), Salem and Saugus. Mathew and Abby must have lived for a few months in Methuen after their first child, Joseph, died at 11 months of scarlet fever. They were grieving, and Abby, being beside herself, would take long walks along the nearby river. Mathew, seeing that she was not in her right mind, had no choice but to go on these long walks with her, to protect her. Thus, he was unable to work, and they probably were taking charity during this time from extended relatives, one of whom did, in fact, live within easy walking distance of the river (this would tentatively place them in what is now called the "Tenney Gate House"). Years later, Mathew, with his typical cloaked, biting satire, got back at the locals, who must have spread a cruel rumor of them being lazy, with this story, which he published under a pseudonym. This kind of "literary revenge" was part of his usual MO. As you can see, the story begins with a little philosophical discussion, which was also typical of Mathew's style. The pseudonym, "Quails," has been confirmed for him in my research, as I discussed in a recent entry.
Why did Joseph Shiel's voice trail off, not once, but twice, when he said "Mathew, Methuen"? Probably, because he worked in the area. He assumed he must be making that up, because, after all, he had no idea that these people actually lived very close to Swampscott and Methuen. Which, interestingly enough, suggests that he did not, in fact, research me online, or he would have seen Mathew's birthplace, and would not have been so shy about repeating it.
I don't even emphasize these psychic readings in my study, despite their being strong enough, by themselves, to prove the case. My own past-life impressions, taken together, are stronger than these two readings.
And you still don't want to read my book?
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*Because Mathew mentions it specifically several times in his poems and in one of his ostensibly humorous stories. For example, written under his verified asterisk pseudonym, is this stanza from a poem written in tribute to Abby after her passing, entitled "To A Bright Lady":
Speak thy glowing words, lady,
Full of poet fire,
Smother not the gladness
Spirit dreams inspire.
Some memory of the past came o'er me,
And days long vanished rose before me;
I thought--no matter what I thought--
Such dreams as mine are lightly wrought,
And, lightly made, as lightly shivered;
And now it seemed as if in truth
A beam of light that gleamed and quivered
Upon the silvery tide of youth
Came back to cheer, and not in vain,
A spirit dulled with voiceless pain;
And as I pressed my couch at night,
Her image hovering round me seemed,
And at the first of morning light
I jotted down the things I dreamed,
And once again to slumber sunk,
With chattering teeth, your friend,
I also found two instances of Mathew channeling Abby, ten years after her passing; and, a record of Mathew having a reading by an astrologer/medium, which he pronounced genuine based on the accurate details which came up about his "unhappy childhood." Mathew was a very private person, and none of these details would have been public knowledge at the time (even the report of the reading was written under a pseudonym). Note that this dovetails with what I said about Mathew's childhood, and his brother's poem, "Snow-Bound," as discussed in a recent Update.
**He was in a hotel room near the Boston airport, on a cell phone, and as we commenced, his phone dropped the call about six times. After the fifth call-drop, he offered to refund my money and give up, but I insisted, and the phone connection only dropped once during the reading after that. One wonders at the passed-on Spiritualists who might not have wanted this kind of evidence for reincarnation to come through one of their own, since many Spiritualists continue to reject reincarnation--even, apparently, after they cross over.
Audio opening this page: the sound of a skeptical mind opening