I'm going to return to the subject I broached in yesterday's footnote, in a minute; but first, I want to touch upon UFO research. I've been watching the "SIRIUS" series of witness interviews and "deathbed" interviews--former top government officials who have finally come out of secrecy to tell us how deeply involved the government has been with the UFO phenomenon. Of course I don't know of these former officials independently, but they seem very credible, as do their stories.
So finally I took about an hour and a half of my time to watch the bulk of Dr. Steven Greer's film, "SIRIUS," which tells the story of his movement, and puts the whole thing together. I was similarly impressed, though, being a student of Eastern mysticisim, I could see no particular purpose in mixing that in with summoning UFO's, the way occultists try to summon spirits, etc. (his NDE notwithstanding). That portion of the film which has to do with free energy is chilling, meaning, the government's response to such pioneers. Not for the first time, I'm grateful that everybody thinks reincarnation is useless...
But then they brought out The Alien, which is to say, the very tiny, very dead alien. It looks fake to me, no matter how hard I want to believe it's real. As a filmmaker, I also know they are using a hype technique of teasing the viewer; and I neither like, nor trust, hype. They show you a little of the research, and then they go back to other examples. Then they come back to it and show you a little more--but they aren't going to give you the DNA results until you've watched the entire film. I never got there, so I don't know what DNA results they claimed. (I don't like being manipulated by anybody, even the supposed good guys.)
But here's what's wrong with that alien. Firstly, it's too intact. It shouldn't be holding together as well as it is, if it's not embedded in some other material. They don't lift the Iceman up in the air like that, because an arm or a leg would just fall off. Those little legs and ribs (which look too perfect, like they are carved) would just fall apart if they did that with a real skeleton. Secondly, they don't give you the "provenance," which is to say, who found it, where, when, in what environment and in what kinds of materials.* If the origin is shrouded in secrecy, at least they should be telling you in what condition and in what materials they found it; the methods used to clean it; and so-on. Thirdly, it looks like what everybody would hope aliens look like. In other words, the whole thing is too good to be true. Then, a shaky-handed doctor is pulling what I recall as a thin, sliced, rectangular-shaped piece of flesh from a hole in the back of its skull. Excuse me, nothing like that is going to be inside the skull of a specimen which is supposed to be--what did they say--a thousand years old? And they are going to have someone who hasn't had six cups of coffee extract it--and, samples get sliced and cut after they are removed. They don't come out that way.
Am I missing something?
This is a very, very "sirius" problem with this entire presentation. Because they have a scientist, said to be in a laboratory at a major medical facility--what was it, Johns Hopkins?--analyzing the DNA of this specimen. They supposedly have the leading expert on fetal anomalies examining it, who conveniently refuses to be interviewed on camera, but who sends them a signed evaluation (all we see, in the background, is a letter on a desk bearing a signature of some kind). The credibility of the entire presentation hinges on this improbable mini-alien. If this portion of the documentary isn't genuine, then it's a very elaborate, very brazen, and rather poorly-executed hoax. And if they would go to those lengths to perpetuate a fraud, then the entire thing is suspect.
There is a tendency for the worst representatives of a cause to make it to the mainstream culture. The best advocates are ignored. In my own field, Dr. Walter Semkiw managed to come somewhat to the public's attention, and his methods are sloppy. I strongly suspect that the one psychic he based half his results on was fraudulent--even though some of his theories have merit, and his best cases--some of which he borrowed from other researchers--are genuine. I know this, because he borrowed Jeff Keene's case from me (without crediting my work, of course).
So, I've gotten that off my chest. I have sometimes wondered whether my stats plummet whenever I criticize the UFO and alien crowd. But, guys, if you want me to champion your cause, you have to do better than the little alien doll.
Now. In the earliest published version of my first book, which went online in year 2012, I rather timidly mentioned that I felt that Mathew Franklin Whittier was the originator of at least the concept for the story, "Some Words with a Mummy," which was claimed by and credited to Edgar Allan Poe. This was long before I investigated Poe. I had simply had a memory, under hypnosis, of Mathew meeting with him on the wide porch of an unfinished log cabin. I didn't remember any exchange of written material. I actually thought Poe had recruited Mathew for ghost-writing work. I did get the sense of their relationship--that Mathew was curious, and wanted to see what made this fellow tick, so to speak. Curious and somewhat skeptical, was the vibe I got.
Much, much later, I began looking for--and running into--evidence that Mathew was the true author of "The Raven"; and then, that he had also written "Annabel Lee." Only very recently have I found evidence suggesting that Poe, himself, was a fraud, and I've been sharing that as I come across it, in this blog.
But I had never poked into the question about the authorship of the "Mummy." Again, what I learned from historians is that it was announced, in the "To Correspondents" section of "Columbian Magazine," in their Jan. 1845 edition, but never appeared in that publication. Instead, Poe published it in "American Review" in April of that year. I keep having the feeling I should check to see where "Columbian" was published, so I'm going to do that, now...
It was published in New York. I have Mathew in New York as early as July of 1847, but he had lived there in the early-to-mid 1830's, so there is no reason he couldn't have visited or spent time there in early 1845, as well. I'm not seeing it in my digital archives, searching for keyword "York." In 1845, Mathew was three years into his second, arranged marriage, and so far as I know, he was living in Portland, Maine.
That means he could have submitted work to "Columbian," but probably wasn't on-staff there. So if we find his presence in the February, 1845 edition, it's not because it was part of his job on the editorial staff.
But I do find his presence there, in an unsigned commentary about an etching of Benjamin Franklin conducting his famous kite-and-key electricity experiment. I strongly suspect Mathew is the author of the commentaries for the other two etchings, as well. I can see this could be a very long entry if I present all the evidence. I've added it to my sequel, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own world." That book is only $7.00 (hint). But I can summarize it, here. When I summarize evidence--for the thousandth time--don't think "That's all he's got." It isn't--the rest is in the book.
My reasons for tentatively claiming this as Mathew's writing, is the style and the subject. But it's not as tenuous as it sounds. Mathew deeply admires his namesake. He is also an enthusiastic champion of scientific and technological progress, as you will see, shortly. He has written a similar essay based on an original etching of Franklin, before--and Mathew tends to return to his best ideas. In this essay, Mathew uses the term "prolixity," which even in the 19th century may not have been all that common. He uses that term five other times in the course of his career. But there is one much stronger clue. Whether or not I can convey to you how just how strong it is, I don't know. First of all, this strikes me as a rather poor etching. It is certainly far more poorly conceived and executed than the drawing of Jesus resurrecting Lazarus, which appears in the following edition--quite amateurish, in fact, by comparison. Mathew would normally critique the artwork, itself, but in this case, apparently, discretion is the better part of valor, and he has nothing to say on this subject. Nothing, that is, except to observe that the presence of a boy assisting Franklin with the experiement may not be historically accurate. Then he adds the caveat that he might be wrong, since it has been a long time since he read about the experiment.
He goes on to give pros and cons about this speculation, but doesn't look it up. Now, first of all, normally these unsigned commentaries should be written by an editor, or associate editor, on-staff. But the staff of a big magazine like that, in New York City, would have access to a library, and would have looked it up, rather than to spend an entire paragraph guessing about it. Mathew, in Portland, Maine, might not have had ready access to a library--and he may not have wanted to bother looking it up, for this particular assignment (which we will get into, in a minute). This would have been a sort of compromise obligation that he wouldn't have wanted to put a whole bunch of time into.
John Inman, the senior editor, was writing and signing these etching commentaries as of 1848, as we see in this page from the January edition. To me, his prose doesn't sound anything like Mathew's, especially the Franklin piece. Elsewhere in the 1845 volume, there are more unsigned etching commentaries; but the one I glanced at gushes in praise of Washington. I doubt this would be Mathew (as I will shortly illustrate), nor does it look like Inman.
I don't know of any essay writer, other than Mathew, who would offer a criticism, admit he isn't sure, and then go into the pros and cons of it. If you have followed this blog, you may have seen me do this (and it isn't in imitation of Mathew, I assure you)--and it's as rare a trait, today, as it was in the 19th century. I just did it in this entry--I could be wrong about the alien skeleton, too.
As it turns out, Mathew was wrong, because Franklin brought his son William along to assist him with the experiment.
Now, I have seen Mathew do this, before. But it's not the kind of thing you can search with a keyword. So I have to search my memory for examples...
Okay, got it. I am convinced that Mathew was the anonymous reporter behind a lyceum (lecture) series in Portland, Maine, sponsored by the Mercantile Library Association, which ran for many years. These were reported in the Portland "Transcript." Over the years, Mathew reported on lectures by Henry Ward Beecher several times. In later years, Beecher became embroiled in a controversy in which he was charged with having an affair with a friend's wife. Today, I would have to guess he was guilty of it; but when Mathew reviews his talk, he is generously noncommittal--taking a very similar tone to what we see in the 1845 commentary about the Franklin etching. This is just the first example that came to mind--I am pretty sure there are others which are more directly on-target. But this will do. It appears in the Oct. 31, 1874 edition of the "Transcript":
A very large audience gathered to hear the opening lecture by Henry Ward Beecher. Some went as much to see the man as to hear him, and many were there who never before felt sufficient interest in him to attend his lectures. He never looked better, or spoke more eloquently. If he is a guilty man, he must be the most consummate hypocrite the world ever saw. Certainly he did not look like a man bowed down beneath a consciousness of crime. To all outward appearance he carries his burden lightly. His theme was the classes of society, and the relations which should exist between them, and it was handled with all his accustomed force of statement and wealth of illustration. On coming forward he was loudly applauded.
I wish I could remember another example...Abby tells me that two examples are far more effective than one.
Yes, okay, this will illustrate it, a recently-discovered example. In the May 20, 1848 weekly edition of the Boston "Chronotype," writing to the editor as "X.F.W." (his initials, with the first letter disguised), he relates a story he has heard of psychic Andrew Jackson Davis working with speculators, and ruining them with mistaken predictions. But in the following edition comes a retraction. It appears that Jackson, when mesmerized, always refused to give such predictions. The speculator then went to a less ethical psychic, who gave him the instruction to buy flour. This the speculator did; but he was nervous about whether he should sell or hang onto it, so he went to Davis again, who was not mesmerized, and expressed his concerns. Davis, by way of politely reassurring the fellow, said that he thought the price would go up. It didn't, and the speculator lost everything.
In other words, Davis, not being mesmerized, must have simply told the fellow, "Don't worry, I'm sure everything will turn out alright," or something along those lines. From this, the rumor had spread.
Not so many reporters were scrupulous enough to issue a full retraction. So this is not precisely on-target, but it gives you a picture.
I have enough evidence, here, to be reasonably certain that this commentary, in the February 1845 edition of "Columbian Magazine," is written by Mathew Franklin Whittier. But if he is not on the staff of this publication, why is he doing the duties of an assistant editor? There's one more clue--the etching was commissioned for the magazine, but as said, it's markedly inferior to their other etchings (or, at least, to the one I was able to see, because the downloadable versions of these publications often skip the images). Here's the scenario I've worked out.
Mathew submits "Some Words with a Mummy" to "Columbian," and it is accepted. But this is, as I believe I remarked yesterday, a very staid, Victorian publication. You have straight-laced poetry, and moralistic short stories. You don't have scathing, saucy satire in this magazine. Mathew's work looks tame, and whimsical, on the surface--but it contains subterranean, satirical references. One of the editors accepted it, seeing how well it was written; but then, recognizing one or more of these references, demanded that they be taken out. Mathew would have refused, but they had already sent the royalty check. So a compromise is reached, whereby Mathew will write commentary on this month's etchings, on the condition that one of them depicts his namesame, Benjamin Franklin. Copies are duly sent to him; but the one they have hastily (and cheaply) commissioned for Franklin's experiment is sub-par. The respective subjects of the other two etchings are hardly ideal for Mathew--"The Desertion of Sergeant Champe" (who was sent under cover by Washington to capture Arnold); and "The Birth-Place of Washington," which by this time was simply a stone slab. Mathew, raised Quaker, didn't believe very strongly in identification with nationality. He probably thought there was little justification in murdering a man simply because he changed his national affiliations. So he would have had to force himself to tell the story of Sergeant Champe with an even hand--and it reads that way, to me. As for Washington's birthplace, there wasn't much to say, but still he manages to open with a bit of characteristic philosophy:
By a natural impulse of the heart, the reverence with which we look upon great men--benefactors of their kind and shedding lustre by their actions upon humanity--extends itself in some degree to objects with which they have been closely connected.
Privately, Mathew had written to his brother the year before:
When I have heard the boastful language of our sixpenny newspapers, and seen the absurd worship bestowed upon the memory of Washington, I have always felt that sensible foreigners must be disgusted with us. We are perhaps passable, and Washington may have done as well as another placed in his situation would, but that is the end of the matter. He was not a God and we are not angels.
If you look closely at the first quote, above, you will detect that Mathew is describing what Society does--not necessarily what he does. Even he may not be consciously aware that this is how he is phrasing it. He is forced, by the situation, to praise Washington, but he leaves in a loophole of technical honesty. Instead of praising the man directly, in other words, he opens with what amounts to a sociological and psychological observation about what "we," as a culture, tend to do.
These clues are chipping away at the probabilities that the writer could be anyone else. There is only a certain pool of professional journalists writing for these major publications, and Mathew is demonstrably among them. A smaller percentage write in this style; an even smaller percentage try to be strictly fair and honest; an even smaller percentage deeply admire Benjamin Franklin, while remaining lukewarm about Washington. Eventually, it comes down to Mathew Franklin Whittier, and perhaps two or three other journalists of the period that I'm not familiar with.
In late 1837 and early 1838, Mathew worked on the staff of the Amesbury, Mass. "News and Courier." It was undoubtedly he who wrote an unsigned essay on Benjamin Franklin for the Jan. 4, 1838 edition. The following month--perhaps inspired by Franklin's example--Mathew would launch his own newspaper, the Salisbury "Monitor." Now, here is the commentary which I believe Mathew wrote about yet another etching of Franklin, for the February, 1845 edition of "Columbian Magazine." (page one / page two) Note, in particular, the similarity of both openings, with the same essential thought being expressed in much the same way. Perhaps, when I have presented examples of Mathew re-using his best material, your skeptical mind said "He's imitating someone else." But the "News and Courier" was an obscure, small-town paper. Whoever wrote this for the "Columbian," wasn't imitating anything published seven years earlier in the "News and Courier."
The implications, as they fall, domino-style, are staggering. Because if this is Mathew's, then we have him publishing in the edition where "Some Words with a Mummy" was expected to appear. "Mummy" is precisely in Mathew's style, at least, as a concept. (Ye historians, compare the cleverness of this plot idea to the story that Samuel Clemens read aloud for John Greenleaf Whittier's birthday celebration in 1877, which I believe was also Mathew's.) If MFW was the original author of the "Mummy," then Edgar Allan Poe stole it from him; which in turn, suggests that Poe stole three works from Mathew--"Mummy," "The Raven," and "Annabel Lee"--as I have claimed and provided good evidence for.
Fortunately, this has no military implications, nor can it be used to generate free power. But I'll tell you, this evidence is far more credible than the little alien doll. Maybe they should mass-produce the thing so that people can hang it up on their car mirrors. They could definitely fund the next film that way! (Prove to me that I'm wrong, and I'll publish a retraction.)
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*As I vaguely recall, some kind of background, or apology for lack of background, was given, but it didn't impress me as being very satisfactory.
Music opening this page: "Little Bit Me, Little Bit You," by Neil Diamond,
performed by Eric Johnson, live (Anaheim DVD)