I'm finished with the keying in of my latest "finds" of Mathew Franklin Whittier's newspaper publications. (MFW, for anyone new here, was my earlier incarnation in the 19th century.) I have a great deal of proofreading ahead of me, but since that's unlikely to impact my sequel, I can take that in small chunks, whenever I feel like I need something to do.
This morning, I had the whim to attempt to demonstrate that Mathew's higher mind has continued, unbroken, as my own, and that they are essentially identical. By "higher mind," I mean the way my mind works; the channels it naturally turns in; my values, inclinations, convictions, and sense of humor. Its unique "flavor"; its characteristic twists and turns. I am throwing terms out there, in an attempt to express the inexpressible.
In order to satisfy the skeptics, I would have to draw exclusively from my own written material which was demonstrably written before I first learned of MFW, in mid-2005. And there's the rub, because even those articles I am pretty darned sure I wrote prior to 2005, now carry a later digital file date. That means I would have to dig up the printed original of those which were physically published, or look for an archival CD copy of my website made before that time. Then I would have to go through that material, pulling out dated quotes which remind me of passages I remember from MFW's copious writings; and then I would have to locate those writings. I could do it, in the end, but we are talking a lot of work. And then, what would it accomplish? The people who have already clearly sensed and observed it in what I've shared so far, would have their perception confirmed; while the skeptics would remain skeptical.
So I took at look at my stats, instead. The stats on the first day of the month are often revealing, because they yield a glimpse of those peculiar pages which soon get swamped by the "masses" (because the stats page displays the top thirty pages). There are some revealing hits recorded in yesterday's numbers.
Nine people, not counting my own tests, downloaded the page which includes Albert Pike's horrible attempt at poetry. (And it really is horrible, isn't it?) That's from yesterday's blog entry. Perhaps more significantly, eight people viewed an old entry from 4/19/18; and three read an even older entry, from 4/3/17. Both of these bear on the question of Mathew's original authorship of the classics I'm claiming for him, and the plagiarism of the famous authors they are conventionally attributed to. That tells me that someone with a special interest in that subject is taking the time to dig into my blog.
You see, once you get the "bug" for detective logic, you can't quit. It's sort of like when I was in my counseling program at Florida State, interning at the student counseling center. One of my peer supervisors "turned me on" to a little trick which originates from Neurolinguistic Programming. He said that people will give you subconscious feedback in their speech, and you simply have to be aware on that level to pick it up; and he demonstrated it for me. Suddenly my eyes were open, and I couldn't shut it off. Same thing with a friend who pointed out there was a face in one of my photographs. Now, I can't stop seeing it.
It occurs to me that I am not, actually, the best defender of my own case. That's because my knowledge of literary history is strictly OJT, a matter of on-the-job training. So in the 4/3/17 entry, is a poem written by Mathew which I'd forgotten about. Called "The River Time," it was signed with Mathew's middle initial followed by a blank line, "F------." It was published in the 1856 Portland (Maine) "Transcript." This is, what, 11 years after "The Raven" was published under "---- Quarles." And the style is far closer to that of "The Raven" than I realized when I wrote that entry.
This was, in fact, Mathew's preferred style. I could demonstrate this with examples running from 1843, to 1870. I'm not going to count, now, but I would guess I could find 20 examples. It wasn't the only style he could write in, but it appears to be the one he was most comfortable with. He did not consider poetry his forte; first and foremost, he was a writer of humorous sketches, and then, an essayist, letter-writer, and reviewer. He also wrote adventure stories--as good, I would say, as anything his friend John Townsend Trowbridge wrote (under "Paul Creyton"), or that his friend Charles Parker Ilsley wrote--and both of these were masters of the art. But he didn't want to build a career on them, as Trowbridge did. More often, he lampooned the bad ones--and in those lampoons, he embedded elements of his own personal history, which no-one ever guessed at.
You can find the entry in question, and the poem, "The River of Time," via the "Archives" link, below. Mathew didn't imitate anyone, without specifically admitting he was doing so, and he prided himself on his originality. On rare occasions he wrote in tribute to another author's style, but he made this very clear in the introduction, or in the title. I found only one early instance where he may have been inspired, to a large extent, by another poet's work. This was a love poem which he published specifically for his beloved--Abby--to see there in the paper. I suppose he thought it would detract to mention the poem he was drawing inspiration from in the publication--likely, this was known to both of them, privately.* But in all other instances that I have recognized, he never imitated anyone else's work. His work, on the other hand, was extensively imitated, and I've given many examples of this in my book. Charles Farrar Browne's "Artimus Ward," for example, is clearly an imitation of Mathew's "Ethan Spike." As was James Russell Lowell's "Biglow Papers" (check the publication dates).
This poem, "The River of Time," is so close to the style seen in "The Raven," that if it were written in imitation, Mathew would have had to say something to that effect. He didn't, because he had no obligation to apologize for his natural style, to a man who had plagiarized his own poem!
Sometimes I do wish I had an advocate in the system. They would be sticking their neck out so far, as to risk it being lopped off, because of my reincarnation claim. It's a double-whammy. Probably, even the most celebrated, tenured professor couldn't survive it without ending up a laughing stock. I don't worry about being a laughing stock. I have a unique last name, and am easily Googled. Anyone who can spell my last name, and has the whim to do so, can discover in about five clicks that I'm a fruitcake. This means employers, co-workers, and neighbors. It's a ticking time-bomb for me, socially. Anywhere I work, and anywhere I live, I am only five clicks away from getting the reputation of being looney-tunes.
That's what I sacrificed to bring this information to the public.
But I don't have the innate need for social contact--like fancy food, I can take it or leave it. (Mathew appears to have been the same way.) In 2018, I am not in danger of being locked up, as I might have, say, in the 1950's. But not so with anyone in academia. They stand to lose everything they've worked for. Even professor Natalie McKnight, who dared to suggest that Charles Dickens might possibly have been influenced by the Lowell "Offering," in writing "A Christmas Carol," was probably ridiculed by her academic peers.** How much more anyone who says that an unknown American couple wrote it, and Dickens re-worked it; or that Edgar Allan Poe ripped off his flagship poem, "The Raven"? And that it is the real author's reinarnation in the 21st century who has uncovered these thefts?
I am mindful that you can get on YouTube, and find clips supporting every kind of conspiracy theory, and mysterious fond imagining, under the sun. This is simple: "Where there is smoke, there's bound to be fire." The principle is so well known, that there is an ageless aphorism to express it. This plethora of spurious claims shouldn't deter any serious seeker of the truth. It should, rather, be expected. You have to pick through a lot of pebbles to find a diamond. If you let a mound of pebbles discourage you, you didn't want the diamond badly enough in the first place.
The evidence I've presented for Mathew Franklin Whittier being the original author of "The Raven," and for Edgar Allan Poe having plagiarized it from him, is compelling enough to warrant serious investigation. It's compelling enough to be presented to the academic community. And the evidence that I am Mathew Franklin Whittier's reincarnation, is likewise compelling enough, on its own merits, to be presented to that portion of the academic community investigating paranormal phenomena. Seemingly, however, neither group will give me the time of day.
As for academic credentials, this is a Catch-22. The only way I could have the looked-for credentials, is if I had lied my way through the entire process. I would have had to keep this a perfect secret all the way through graduate school, and then through the first decade or two of my employment. I would have had to teach the party line--things I didn't believe--for many years. Then, suddenly, I would have had to come out with it. At that point, my peers would decide that I had lost my mind.
The other way I've seen this happen, is that a skeptical scientist or academician will marry someone who convinces him or her of the alternative view. I gather this is what occurred in the case of Dr. Gary Schwartz of the University of Arizona (based on his own testimony). That's how he got his impeccable credentials. Had he started out with these convictions about life after death and mediumship, the system would have blocked him from getting to that level, in the first place.
You don't think so? Try writing your thesis on reincarnation, or mediumship. Try writing it on Edgar Allan Poe's plagiarism of "The Raven," giving past-life memory as an integral part of your investigation. Then, if you manage to graduate at all, let's see what college hires you, and how far you progress in the field.
This, I think, is why one very rarely sees a scholar or scientist with exceptional academic credentials advocating these ideas. Not as is assumed, because such people are so substandard that they can't achieve advanced degrees, and earn the approval of their peers. I noticed that Dr. Rupert Sheldrake's TEDx talk entitled "The Science Delusion" was "banned." How do you "ban" a talk? I can find it in a matter of three or four clicks. Banning a talk is meaningless in the cyber age. It only makes people more interested. For the heck of it, let me see how many clicks it takes me with keywords "Sheldrake, banned." One click, on both Youtube and Google. (It's a good talk--check it out.)
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*Mathew's poem is so personal, I prefer not to drag it out in front of a general audience in this kind of discussion. But to be precise, Mathew's unsigned poem entitled "My Love and I," appearing in the Aug. 18, 1832 edition of the New York "Constellation," appears to be influenced, if not written in imitation of, Coleridge's poem entitled simply, "Love." In 1851, a decade after Abby's death (almost to the day, given that this was a weekly paper), Mathew appears to have arranged for an excerpt from Coleridge's poem (under his name) to appear on the front page of the opening edition of the Boston "Carpet-Bag." Entitled "The Poet's Courtship," it begins with the stanza which opens "I played a soft and doleful air." This would be that portion of the poem which related directly to his memory of a similar event in his courtship with Abby. So it is Mathew, himself, who, as it were, brought this matter to my attention. The story which appears with this poem on the front page, entitled "The Wags," is probably Abby's own, being published by Mathew posthumously. Among other things, this demonstrates how deeply Mathew was was involved in the editorial process of the "Carpet-Bag" when it was first launched. Gradually, some of the other players appear to have pushed him aside, so that he remained the most significant contributor, setting the tone for the paper, but gradually lost editorial influence due to politics (i.e., both internal and national). As I read Mathew's personal history, he must have sunk most of his savings into the "Carpet-Bag." Editor B.P. Shillaber, quoted by reporter Charles O. Stickney, remarks only that Mathew was a "fellow-sufferer" in the venture, without, apparently, ever mentioning his behind-the-scenes editorial role, or his copious contributions under a variety of pseudonyms.
**Dr. McKnight refused to cite my work, upon my request, giving as her reason that it "wasn't directly relevant." Before that, she claimed she was first; she only gave me this rationale after I was able to prove to her that I had made a public statement of my findings, before she had publicly presented hers. She may or may not have been correct about relevance--but if even she was, I'll bet she was relieved not to have to cite me. I think my work was relevant on the face of it, and an ethical scholar should have cited it in any dispute about Dickens' authorship of the "Carol," so long as that work is done thoroughly and rigorously--which mine is. Of course she had no way of knowing that, since she had no interest in reading it. She no-doubt assumed that anything involving reincarnation couldn't possibly be rigorous. But remember the other aphorism, which tells us that to assume makes an ass out of u and me.
Music opening this page: "The Great Beyond," by REM, from the film, "Man on the Moon"