Archive for April, 2012

New novel publication delayed

New novel publication delayed
Posted by Jessica Jewett No Comments »

Many of you are eagerly awaiting the release of my new novel, the second book in what has become the From the Darkness Risen trilogy. I had been perfectly on schedule to release the novel somewhere in mid-April until I took a weekend off to go to San Francisco on a field trip with the Paranormal Research Society. The trip was a much needed getaway for me to clear my head, be with friends, and possibly get some fresh creative inspiration. I got all of those things but I also came home with an awful bug that was probably a severe cold. For two weeks after the trip, I spiked 102 fevers and nearly made the decision to visit the emergency room a couple of times. That wasn’t a good recipe for finishing a book, to say the least.

Since I was two weeks behind on the editing and rewriting process due to being so sick, I have obviously not published the book yet. I’m still going through the last stages. I also have another job, so I can’t work as often as I would prefer, but I am pulling quite a few all nighters. It’s extremely important to me to grow and improve as a writer, so I’m not satisfied with “as good as the first novel.” My goal is for readers to feel like it’s better than the first novel and to feel like they didn’t waste any money on it. I would rather take extra time to publish better quality material than publish less than my best to meet a deadline.

It looks like Book II will be out mid-May. I’m going to put it on Kindle first and then paperback, Nook, iBookstore, etc., will come in progression after that. Remember that I am an independent author, which means I do all of the work on my own. I wrote it, edited it (I do have other people helping with editing), designed the cover, formatted the manuscript, and will publish it. That means I have the luxury of delaying publication if necessary, such as in this case.

Tomorrow I will post a new excerpt of the novel for you all.

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Being a historical outsider and whether you need approval

Being a historical outsider and whether you need approval
Posted by Jessica Jewett 3 Comments »

It’s one thing to come out about a past life case to the public and face judgment from strangers. That’s relatively easy if you’re secure in it. But it’s quite another matter when someone respected in that historical field and someone you hold in high esteem becomes aware of your case.

Cue the awkward, nervous laughter.

Cue the nail biting and the internal question of whether you’re being perceived as crazy.

I’ve been having those periodic moments of needing to hide again the way I did when my fear of being discovered was at phobic proportions. At least one Chamberlain scholar knows who I am. A few Chamberlain relatives know who I am. Some other scattered people of interest know who I am too. As interested as I am to enter into dialogue with these people (I have a little bit), I’m having trouble shaking that insecure feeling of, “What do these people really make of me?” But then I chastise myself because I’m quite secure in knowing who I am now and who I was before, yet there is an underlying fear of influential people whispering about me or thinking I’m off my rocker. There isn’t anything they can wonder about me that I haven’t wondered about myself though. As I’ve said before, I was well aware of what people thought of me back then and I’m well aware of what people think of me now. I will never fit in with the status quo and I have accepted that.

The new Chamberlain book coming out seems to be dredging up old insecurities. Historians have not always been kind to Fanny’s memory. It may be translating for me as the fear of historians possibly treating me disrespectfully when they find out why I do research in this area. I don’t come out and say it right away. When people at Bowdoin and various historical societies asked me why I was requesting research material, I lied and said I was researching for a book. It’s just safer that way. You never know who might take the words “past life” badly and treat you like a mental patient. I assure you, I am no mental patient. I’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder but nothing else that would attribute to this issue of past life memories from childhood.

The truth is I don’t need approval from anyone, not even the top Chamberlain scholars. Past lives cannot be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. People must look over all of the evidence and decide for themselves. Whether the scholars ever accept me or not isn’t going to chance the truth. I know myself. I know what I’ve been through. I continue to seek the truth and my perception of the past evolves as I get older. Of course, it would be nice to not dance around the elephant in the room when I talk to scholars and simply have frank discussions about it, but the mind of a scholar doesn’t typically work on a spiritual level like this too. It would be nice to have a scholar or two on my side. Do I see that happening? No. Is it totally necessary? No.

Some things are simply true whether you believe them or not.

In some ways, after all these years, I still feel very isolated in my experiences. Telling my story has helped a lot of people – I know this because I’ve gotten hundreds of letters over the years – but I still feel like I haven’t finished what I’m supposed to do. Working closely with historians would do a lot to further the openness about past life research but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Like scientists, historians are trained to only believe what they can see and prove by documented fact. There is no document Fanny Chamberlain left behind that says, “My name will be Jessica beginning in 1982,” so no trained historian will be willing to believe it. It doesn’t diminish my desire to be recognized. I don’t like that because I constantly tell people they don’t need approval in who they are whether in the present or the past. I’m weary of the elephant in the room though. I am who I am and I was who I was. Belief or disbelief doesn’t alter the case.

I suspect there is a second edition of Unveiled: Fanny Chamberlain Reincarnated in my future. I’m not happy with the book as it exists now and I feel like I’ve learned a lot more spiritually since I began that initial journey. I have learned a lot more historically as well. There are a couple of historical errors that need to be corrected in addition to a bunch of new material. I’m toying with the idea of a very expanded second edition but I’m not sure yet. It depends on if people even want such a thing. My primary goal is to help people who have no guidance in going through past life memories. Writing it all out is cathartic for me as well.

Historians who pass by and see who I am may stop and think about it or they might just say she’s crazy and keep on their merry way. I don’t know if there is anything I can do to quell the insecurity in myself when I talk to them but I can remind myself that their belief or disbelief doesn’t change the truth. Just as with any other person, they don’t have to believe as long as they treat me respectfully. I work hard to document things, not just with the Chamberlain family, and I hope they at least recognize those efforts.

Still, it would be nice if a Chamberlain scholar was at least open to the idea of who I was in a past life. Hope springs eternal, right? Don’t be afraid of who you are now. Don’t be afraid of who you were in the past. There are reasons for everything and there are life lessons in everything.

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Fanny Chamberlain’s census records and passport application

Fanny Chamberlain's census records and passport application
Posted by Jessica Jewett 6 Comments »

Last night I was poking around Ancestry.com like I do when I have a little bit of spare time. I have been very slowly going through Fanny Chamberlain’s ancestry to make sure we have no blood ties even though I don’t see any blood ties from my own lineage. It’s important, in my opinion, to look for blood ties in a possible reincarnation case because it can be argued that parallels and similarities can be brought on by genetics. Some even theorize that DNA can pass down “memories” to future generations, which might be a possible explanation for spontaneous past life memories (I personally haven’t seen any truth in it). There are a great many reincarnation cases within the same bloodlines, especially in the Eastern world. However, when someone asks me if I’m blood related to Fanny, I want to be able to answer the question confidently, which is why I carefully go over her ancestry just in case there is a relation somewhere. So far there is no relation at all, although my ancestors knew the Adams and Chamberlain families on a social level.

Census records

In my poking around last night, I came across several census records (1850-1880). The 1860 census has a discrepancy that I’m trying to solve but it may be as simple as the census worker getting the information wrong. The Chamberlain household in 1860 was made up of Lawrence, Fanny, Grace, Wyllys and Mary, according to the census. Mary? What? It showed Grace as 3-years-old, Wyllys as 1-year-old and Mary as 1-month-old. Once I saw the age and connected that it was 1860, I realized “Mary” was actually Emily. She was the fourth child born to the Chamberlains (a premature boy had died between Grace and Wyllys) and she came along in May of 1860, but died that September of scarlet fever. I don’t know why the census has her name listed as Mary when her name was Emily Stelle. Unfortunately when discrepancies like that happen, Ancestry.com users have a habit of not double and triple checking their research, so this “Mary” has become a fictional Chamberlain child. If you are one of those people and you stumble onto this blog, there was no extra child named Mary – she was Emily.

And then on top of that, I finally got the names of the servants the Chamberlains employed after the war and I can investigate those people a little bit. The 1870 census shows the Chamberlain family living in the house but it also shows another family living with them, the parents being employed as servants, and another single woman being employed as a servant too. They were listed as Andrew Lozier (32), Elizabeth Lozier (24), Andrew J Lozier (4), and Caroline Pennell (24). By 1880, the Lozier family was no longer employed by the Chamberlains but Miss Pennell was still living there and employed as a “private secretary”. To be 29 and unmarried in 1880 means she was socially considered a spinster. This woman could be one of the people in my memory that I haven’t identified yet, so I would like to learn more about her.

Passport application

The really interesting stuff for me was stumbling onto the passport application from Fanny made in June of 1878. She applied for a passport because Lawrence was appointed by the President to represent American educational interests as a commissioner at the World’s Exposition in Paris. He wanted to take Fanny, Grace and Wyllys with him, which is the reason for this passport application. I grabbed an image of it off Ancestry.com so you can look at it if you’re interested.

Here is the image of the application on the right. You can click on it to see a larger version. At first, I thought someone else filled out the application because the handwriting looked so rushed but I compared it to my own piece of Fanny’s writing and it matches. She/I must have really been rushing through this application because of the mistakes and sloppiness. The next thing that stuck out to me was that this application was from the state of Massachusetts but somebody crossed out everything Massachusetts and put in Maine information. Why was the application obtained in Boston if they were going to cross out everything and make it Maine?

The top portion of her application reads, “I, Frances C. Chamberlain, do solemnly swear that I was born in the City of Boston, on or about the 13th day of Aug., 1828, that I am a native & loyal citizen of the United States, and about to travel abroad accompanied by my children Grace Dupee aged 21 years, & Harold Wyllys aged 19 years; and I desire a passport for the said party.” Apparently being 19 was still considered a minor child in the 1870s because Wyllys is referred to later in the document as a “minor son”.

Another oddity is Fanny’s birthday is written wrong. Fanny was born on August 12, 1825, yet the application says August 13, 1828, I think. It looks like the last number in the year was written over. My only explanation is that birthdays were not very important in the 19th century to the point of some people not even knowing what day they were born. It’s possible that Fanny just remembered it wrong. It looks like 1828, which was Lawrence’s birth year, so there may have been some discussion while the form was filled out and it wasn’t written in correctly. This is actually very common in other 19th century documents I’ve seen, which can make doing genealogy rather difficult.

Fanny’s physical description is filled out like this:

Age: 50 years
Stature: 5 feet, 2 3/4 inches, Eng.
Forehead: high
Eyes: brown
Nose: medium
Mouth: small
Chin: small
Hair: Brown, slightly grey
Complexion: Brunette
Face: oval.

There is a significant nugget of information in the physical description. We knew a long time ago that Lawrence was 5 feet 10 inches but I never saw any confirmation of Fanny’s height before now. In my recollection, I always felt like I was about 5 feet 3 inches or 4 inches, which is very, very close to the documented height we see here. I have told multiple people my estimation on Fanny’s/my height over the years just in case I ever saw something that described her physical appearance. This goes back to what I talked about in my book, Unveiled: Fanny Chamberlain Reincarnated, how I wrote down facts from my perspective that could be confirmed or not through historical documentation. This is a method of proving knowledge of things you shouldn’t know unless you were there. Fanny’s approximate height was on my old list and now I have some documentation to back up the way I experience memories in that body. I’m 5 feet tall on the dot in this body and I always felt bigger in my recollections of Fanny, so I estimated 5 feet 3 inches or 4 inches, making it interestingly close to what we see here. Five feet 2 3/4 inches might as well be 3 inches. Being that close to accurate without ever seeing an image of Fanny aside from the waist up is a bit impressive to me. I can check that one off my list.

A final note of vanity. Fanny/I turned 53 in 1878, not 50 like the document says. Only “slightly grey” at 53? Awesome!

UPDATE

I got a comment from Tom Desjardin on this blog that I needed to share with you all. To see who Tom is, read this blog. He said:

Hi Jessica –

A couple of notes for you. The “Lozier’s” are Andrew Tozier, his wife Libby and son Andrew, Jr. Andrew was the color sergeant of the 20th Maine at Gettysburg and was awarded a Medal of Honor for his service there because of Chamberlain’s recommendation. Andrew was convicted of armed robbery after the war and sentenced to five years in the Maine State Prison. Governor Chamberlain pardoned him and brought him to live with him in Brunswick. While there (or shortly after) Andrew and Libby had a daughter whom they named Grace, perhaps after the Chamberlain’s “Daisy.” There is a photo of the Chamberlain house at that time with the family outside and an unidentified man who could be Andrew.

Also, Joshua was 5’7? or 5’8? – exactly the average height for Civil War soldiers.

Tom

I answered him with this:

Tom, you are, as usual, a wealth of helpful information. Thank you. As to Joshua’s height, I had seen 5’10 on some papers somewhere. Tom was 5’8, I had seen too, but something somewhere said 5’10 for Joshua. I need to go and see where I found that now because it must be wrong if you say different. I want to say it was the “deed” to his body that he sent Fanny when he was at the Seminary. It was quoted in Diane Smith’s book. I’m not certain if that’s it exactly but I want to say that’s where I got 5’10. I need to go look and see if I can find it.

The reason why I shared this with you all is because Tozier as opposed to Lozier makes much more sense! This is why you should never ever take census records for face value because they are so full of errors. I didn’t have any leads on the “Lozier” family, so I left it alone, but the reason for that is because the name wasn’t Lozier at all. Of course I know the name Tozier. Andrew Tozier, as Tom said, was a sergeant in the 20th Maine who also received the Medal of Honor for his actions at Little Round Top.

As described by Chamberlain, “I saw through a sudden rift in the thick smoke our colors standing alone. I first thought some optical illusion imposed upon me. But as forms emerged through the drifting smoke, the truth came to view. The cross-fire had cut keenly; the center had been almost shot away; only two of the color guard had been left, and they fighting to fill the whole space; and in the center, wreathed in battle smoke, stood the Color-Sergeant, Andrew Tozier. His color staff planted in the ground at his side, the upper part clasped in his elbow, so holding the flag upright, with musket and cartridges seized from the fallen comrade at his side he was defending his sacred trust in the manner of the songs of chivalry.”

That’s the thing about past life cases – you can’t possibly know everything about them in the present and anyone saying they do know everything is lying to themselves. I know more than average about my own case but it’s very sheltered, very contained within the confines of Fanny’s mind and heart. Events unfolding outside of her bubble are harder to grasp. The spontaneous flashbacks I had when I was young felt like experiencing an introverted woman, but I wouldn’t have any point of reference for such an assessment as a child. Lives of somewhat introverted habits can be more temperamental to deal with and confirm than lives of very extroverted habits. I’m not always going to get everything and I’m not always going to be right. You’re not going to remember all the events and people from twenty years ago, so you can’t possibly be 100% accurate in remembering all the events and people from 150 years ago. The things that do rise to the surface, so to speak, are usually the major events and traumatic events that leave a mark on the soul. If you choose to acknowledge it, lesser events and people can be recalled over time.

I had no idea what was happening to me until I was a teenager going into adulthood and even then my primary desire was to make it all stop. Being a 30-year-old woman now, I have begrudgingly accepted what happened to me, who I was, and occasionally I look into Fanny’s history to fact check things I recalled just to satisfy my own curiosity. Far more often than not, I display knowledge that I shouldn’t have. It’s harder to say that since I started research about ten years ago, but luckily I wrote down what I remembered before I started the research in an effort not to be tainted. Some of those things are still what I look to document. A lot of it I have been able to document and I have unintentionally convinced quite a few skeptics of the validity of my case. However, I’m not always right. Nobody is, after all. The Tozier family and Miss Pennell may indeed be people I have seen in flashbacks who I haven’t identified but I haven’t had any, “Those Tozier people lived in my house,” thought processes growing up. The only way I identified people before was if I heard their names in the flashbacks but that’s a rather rare event. I did, however, fixate on Tozier’s name more than others associated with the 20th (besides Ellis Spear) when I was looking up things about the regiment years ago, which may be a faint unconscious inkling of recognition. I don’t know. And it’s okay to say I don’t know. That’s part of the mystery of where we come from and where we’re headed.

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