Today, my researcher may be able to get back into the historical library, from where she can send me digitized copies of the New York "Constellation" of year 1831. This is the paper I wrote for, as a young man of 18, in my past life as Mathew Franklin Whittier. I already have year 1830; and so far as I know, all of the nail-biter questions, things I had earlier concluded which could conceivably have been disproven by new evidence, have been answered satisfactorily. As I have described in previous Updates, the scenario which emerged, especially as regards Mathew's trips back home, wasn't quite what I had extrapolated, but it was close enough so that it didn't blow my theories. Mathew went home for a couple of months during harvest time, to help out on the family farm. During that time, he appears to have begun his tutoring sessions with Abby Poyen, age 14, who would later become his wife. She fell in love with him; but he was on the rebound from a rejection by an older girl, the town beauty; and Abby was too young for him to take a relationship with her seriously, in any case.
I have a few physical copies of 1831 editions of the "Constellation." From these, I take it that their relationship, at this time, was an odd one. She was his tutor; and perhaps he continued his lessons, as assigned (much of it a study of the ancient Greek classics), while he was living and working in New York City. She had set her heart on him as her future husband, to the exclusion of all other suitors or potential suitors. He, however, was an avowed bachelor (which was practically a religion at the time); yet, he sort of humored Abby, in her insistence that they were in a relationship. To him, she was a young friend; and yet, he didn't crush her by telling her it could never be more than that; and he reassured her that he was a dedicated bachelor, in any case, and would not be "dallying" with any girls while in New York. This seemed to satisfy her, since she felt and believed that it was their destiny to be together (which, in fact, it was).
Abby, apparently, was not only a deep student of metaphysics even at this tender age, and a brilliant young poetess; she was also psychic, and had learned the psychic arts from her Scottish mother. And everything was telling her that they were soul-mates.
Mathew, meanwhile, was a skeptic, a philosopher who believed in reason. He also believed in "Colonization" as the answer to the slavery problem, while Abby--whose family money had come from slavery, in Guadeloupe--was an Abolitionist.
But Abby was working on him, on all fronts. She was slowly winning him over to a real romance;* to metaphysics and the occult; and to Abolition. So much so, that he would champion these causes, in tribute to her, all his life, after her death in 1841.
But you know how it is with a skeptic--he believes, and yet there is that nagging corner of doubt remaining in the mind. Sometimes, that corner spreads over the entire mind and takes over; sometimes, like the tide, it recedes.
You may know that I am convinced that Mathew and Abby, collaborating, wrote the original manuscript which Charles Dickens re-worked into "A Christmas Carol"; and that it was Mathew who wrote "The Raven" after Abby's death. What could these two works have in common?
Well, aside from them both featuring clear references to metaphysics and the occult, they both evince this same struggle between Mathew's rational skepticism, and Abby's mystical belief. In "A Christmas Carol," it is split between Scrooge (representing Mathew) and the spirits (who speak with Abby's tongue**). But after her passing, in "The Raven," the conflict rages within Mathew's own mind. The books Abby introduced him to are mentioned, but they don't satisfy; Abby's influence is there, represented by the "bust of Pallas" (I have a lot of research backing this up); but death, the Raven, flies in the window of the mind, perching ingloriously upon the bust of Pallas which guides Mathew's consciousness. Symbolically, the fact of physical death seemingly cannot be defeated by anything that Abby taught him. That's the gist of it.
This back-story and context goes deeper, still. Compare it, sometime, with the absurdly weak explanation that Poe, himself, gave for the poem.
But, I digress. The point here, is, what clues might I expect to find in Mathew's writing, at age 18/19, in the New York "Constellation"?
I'm not worried, at this point, about finding anything which contradicts my understanding of his life at this time. I am certain it is he, writing these pieces. He is paying his way by working some kind of clerk job in a store, there in New York; and at the same time, writing for the "Constellation." Newspaper work, by itself, doesn't pay enough to live on, so he is forced to work two jobs; but really-speaking, as a farm boy, he is hoping to advance in a mercantile career. Writing is something that he has a gift for, that comes naturally, even though you can't expect to make much of a future for yourself with it.
What I hope to find, at this point, is little clues which will prove the fine points of my extrapolations and theories. I never know what I might discover, in this regard. Mathew almost always wrote from real life. He would take his actual experience, and deliberately obfuscate it in several details, so as to disguise himself. But after studying some 800 of his published works, I have gotten pretty good at reverse-engineering the autobiographical elements in them. For example, if he writes a story about a hayseed being rejected by the town flirt, and he gives his hero blond hair, ears that stick out and a bushy beard, and makes him exceptionally tall, I know that Mathew has retained the gist of the experience, but he has thrown in the ears, hair color and beard as decoys (Mathew was, in fact, exceptionally tall). If he then writes an exaggerated biographical sketch of a man who was born in New York State in the mid-1700's, who had an exceptionally large nose, I know that he is caricaturing himself, but he has placed himself into another state, and another era.
This is not as much of a hit-or-miss business as it might seem. Triangulating with literally hundreds of these humorous sketches, all of which contain veiled autobiography, I was able to develop a very precise picture of Mathew's life. Note two crucial points: 1) all of this was discovered after I had recorded my past-life impressions, and 2) I could not possibly have ever been exposed to them prior to recording my impressions.
Then, on top of that, I discovered several of Mathew's published travelogues. The first one was written under one of his proven pseudonyms, "Poins." The second was signed with his own name, "M.F. Whittier." The third, a very extensive one, being published almost weekly from Sept. 1849 to mid-1852, was signed "Quails," and was attributed to Ossian Dodge, a popular entertainer. I was able to prove that the real writer was Mathew Franklin Whittier, even though the editor of the paper ultimately confirmed, in black-and-white, that it was Dodge. There's a long back-story to that one. Finally, Mathew picks up "Quails," under the pseudonym of "J.O.B.," several years later, in another paper.
There, in code, he sent a message to me. Meaning, to his future incarnation. The message--which I had already figured out--is, "I was the real writer of the travelogue written under 'Quails.'" Almost all of Mathew's pieces contain a philosophical introduction. As he introduces this travelogue, he throws in a seemingly contextless reference to the "Lethean stream." And then, he subtitles the first segment of that travelogue entry, "On The Wing." But "On The Wing" was the particular motto of "Quails." I know Mathew's method of inserting "code" into his works, from having studied so many of them. This is clearly a marker for posterity: "I was Quails." But the reference to the "Lethean stream" can only mean one thing (because Mathew never made random references)--he is telling his future incarnation, who may perchance try to track down his legacy, "I was the one who wrote as 'Quails,' and therein is what amounts to a published diary."
And quite a diary it is. Just for example, "Quails" visits Victor Hugo, at the latter's home in Paris. Now, if "Quails" was written by the man it is attributed to--the wheeler-dealer entertainer named Ossian Dodge--this visit is a mere curiosity. Why would Victor Hugo invite such a person into his home? Dodge's only social cause was Temperance, and otherwise he seems to have been a politically conservative racist of dubious character.
But if Mathew Franklin Whittier, brother of Abolitionist poet and editor John Greenleaf Whittier, visited Victor Hugo in his home, you have something quite different. Because Mathew appears to have been acting as an undercover liaison for William Lloyd Garrison during this time (1851). Mathew is himself a radical reformer; and he praises Hugo as a genius.
Now it gets interesting.
And my entire book is like this. I am not indulging in advertising hype when I say it is fascinating. I never use hype, at all. All of you, I think, who read this blog but don't purchase my book, are jaded by advertising hype. You think that when I make claims, such as that the detective work in my book is fasincating, I am merely tooting my own horn. Only, I don't do it quite as loudly as the other people, who do use advertising hype, and who are bullshitting.
I'm the real one. Their claims are bogus--mine is real. I am the guy who actually caught a 15 pound bass. The other guys are the ones who loudly boast that they caught 25 pound basses. Because I only claim a 15 pounder, I'm not worth looking into. If you are going to investigate anyone, you will check out the guys who caught the 25 pounders. But they are lying; I'm not.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*It would appear that their courting began in earnest after Abby's coming out party at age 16, which event Mathew described in two different humorous sketches.
**Especially Marley's Ghost. I believe that in the original conception, the spirits were what are now called "spirit guides," not "ghosts of Christmas"; and I suspect that the Ghost of Christmas Present may have been largely Dickens' own creation. Abby's voice is most clearly heard in Marley's lines. Meanwhile, it is her understanding of the principles of psychology, and of the Life Review, which are seen as Scrooge is taken to view scenes of his past.
Music opening this page, "All About You," by Eric Johnson, from the album, Venus Isle