"I believe that if you pause for five minutes each day, close your eyes and allow yourself to look within, you will find your truest self and it is in that recognition that you will find your greatest joy. Open your hearts and minds to the possibilities because that spirit within you is the you that will never end. Your life is yesterday, today and every tomorrow. All who ever were still are and always will be."
- Cathryn McIntyre
Cathryn McIntyre is the author of two memoirs about her experiences living in the historic town of Concord, Massachusetts: The Thoreau Whisperer (2018) and Honor in Concord (2022 & 2008). She has a B.A. in English literature from Michigan State University, has studied the literary history of Concord, Massachusetts for decades, both independently and in university settings, including Harvard University's Extension School and Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. She is also a long-time member of The Thoreau Society. Her essays on Thoreau's politics and transcendentalism have been published in The Thoreau Society Bulletin. They are posted on this site and can be read here.
Cathryn McIntyre is also a natural psychic and clairvoyant who has experienced the full range of what are most often considered paranormal experiences but what she has come to accept are a normal part of life, including UFOs, ghosts, the shared death experience, after-death visits, and astral travel.
With the publication of her book, Honor in Concord: Seeking Spirit in Literary Concord, in 2008, author, Cathryn McIntyre demonstrated not just her extensive knowledge of the literary history of Concord, Massachusetts or her talent for writing beautiful prose, she also demonstrated for the first time the ability she has to tap into the realms of spirit and to relate in ways few others have ever done to the writers of 19th century Concord, Massachusetts. It was two years earlier when McIntyre first made contact with the spirit of Henry David Thoreau and, at the time she published Honor in Concord she was still regularly connecting and receiving the words from him that she would later publish in her book, The Thoreau Whisperer: Channeling the Spirit of Henry David Thoreau.
McIntyre has an extraordinary story to tell and anyone who loves magic, mystery and elegant writing will be captivated by her books. Most readers find that a venture into her reality is enormously freeing as it helps them to gain a better understanding of who they are as ever evolving spirits and reminds them of the enormous potential that exists within us all.
An Indie Author
The publication of The Thoreau Whisperer came in 2018 after McIntyre had once again failed to gain the attention she had sought from traditional agents and publishers. Her experience was not unlike the one that Thoreau had in his own lifetime when, after being unable to secure a traditional publisher for his first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers, he also resorted to self-publishing in 1849. It wasn’t until his masterpiece, Walden: Or Life in the Woods was published by Boston’s Ticknor & Fields in 1854 that he began to receive the recognition he so well deserved, but unfortunately most of that recognition didn’t come until after Thoreau’s death.
Sharing Thoreau’s Words
McIntyre debuted what may one day be considered her masterpiece, The Thoreau Whisperer to a standing room only crowd at the Thoreau Farm Birthplace in Concord on February 4, 2018. She likes to say of that moment, “it was the first time Thoreau’s voice had been heard in Concord since the day that he died.” Reading those words in the same house where he was born made it all the more magical for McIntyre and for many who were there in attendance that day. There are sections of text in The Thoreau Whisperer that resonate so strongly with the tone and tenor of Thoreau that even the most determined disbelievers are left wondering whether it is possible that those words do in fact originate with him.
Holding Thoreau Captive
Although she has a B.A. in English literature, has studied the literary history of Concord, Massachusetts for decades, both independently and in university settings, and is a long-time member of The Thoreau Society, McIntyre is neither a scholar nor an academic. In fact, she feels that the academics that dominate The Thoreau Society and academics in general “have been holding Thoreau captive for too long.” There are few people outside of the academic world and outside of Concord, Massachusetts, where Thoreau is worshipped as a native son, who ever take the time to pause to consider Thoreau or his words. They go on with their lives unaware that the pathway to truth that seems to be missing in today’s world is there within them and has been there all along. That is the message at the heart of all of Thoreau’s work and in McIntyre’s work, as well.
McIntyre believes that the academics that praise him the most and continue to claim him as their own seem never to fully understand Thoreau or to adequately present his message. The publication by The Thoreau Society of a collection of essays written by various academics called, What Would Thoreau Do? is a recent example of what she means by this. To McIntyre it is clear that: “if they truly understood Thoreau’s message, they would know that the last thing he wants is for them to ask him what it is they should do.”
McIntyre goes on to say: “The fundamental principle of Thoreau’s beliefs is for each individual to establish a direct connection between themselves and the divine. To do this we must go within and identify that part of us that is divine and that connects all of us to each other and to our shared source. Once we have done this, we must learn to be guided by that wisdom we receive from source and not by any other individual or group who can offer us nothing more than their own interpretation. Our relation to the divine is personal and private. It has nothing to do with what anyone else believes to be true for us. Each individual must intuit his own truth through his own direct connection to the divine and to conduct himself accordingly.”
In Civil Disobedience, Thoreau states: “The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.'' For Thoreau there is right action, and it is action that comes from the higher source. In McIntyre’s view, even entertaining for a moment the notion that any individual should do what they believe Thoreau would do proves that the academics who claim to have the greatest admiration and understanding of him really don’t get his message at all.
Furthermore, McIntyre believes the ambivalence that the academics have thus far shown toward The Thoreau Whisperer, a book that may in fact contain words spoken by Thoreau in our time, shows their total lack of the insight, imagination and spiritual awareness that fueled Thoreau and the other transcendentalists. This lack of faith in anything spiritual or divine that is common among the intellectual elite seems to McIntyre to be the reason for what is lacking in their understanding of Thoreau and his message. He and all of the other transcendentalists were truly spiritual people who believed fully in the survival of the soul after physical death. Thoreau would not have been surprised to hear from anyone who he knew who had passed before him, for he believed, as McIntyre does, that “All who ever were, still are and always will be.”
A Spiritual Connection
For McIntyre, that includes her mentor, eminent Thoreau scholar, Bradley P. Dean, Ph.D., who died at his home in Indiana in January 2006. McIntyre had not yet learned of Dean’s sudden passing when she saw and spoke to him in her apartment in Cambridge eleven days later. She says of that moment, “I didn't know he had passed until he told me himself.” Brad Dean was well known for having edited and published Thoreau’s unfinished manuscripts, Faith in a Seed and Wild Fruits, as well as a collection of Thoreau's letters to H.G.O. Blake entitled, Letters to a Spiritual Seeker. During a reading McIntyre had with a professional psychic just two days after encountering Dean's spirit herself, McIntyre asked him, “Have you met Henry?” and he told her yes, they had met, joined forces and soon they would be working through her.
This unusual collaboration between McIntyre, Dean and Thoreau allowed Thoreau an opportunity to speak through from spirit and together they endeavored to bring his message to life again in a way they hope will reach many more people at a time when it is most needed. McIntyre believes that it was Thoreau's awareness of what was on the horizon for the world that prompted him to speak through when he did, as a way to remind everyone of the things that are the most important in life and of the power that is there within us all.
McIntyre’s books are filled with astonishing insights and images. In her first book, Honor in Concord, she tells the story of the first year she lived in the historic town of Concord, Massachusetts in an antique home she calls “Quiet House” on a street named for Henry David Thoreau. One day she sets out to record the images of Concord’s past that are always on her mind and what results is a fictional story told within the pages of memoir in which the writers of mid-19th century Concord (i.e. Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller and Alcott) are living new lives in Concord in present day.
The story plays out at all the historic locations in town, like The Old Manse, The Emerson Home and Alcott’s Orchard House. She also captures moments from Concord’s literary past within short vignettes that are written with an uncommon brilliance and clarity. Readers have noted after reading Honor in Concord that they felt more knowledgeable about writers like Thoreau, Emerson, Hawthorne, the Alcotts and Margaret Fuller than they ever were before and inspired to learn more about them, their work and their transcendental beliefs. They also loved the way this book made them feel.
If you are looking for an uplifting and life-affirming story to read, Honor in Concord may be the book for you.
In The Thoreau Whisperer, Cathryn McIntyre resumes her story six years after the scene on Author's Ridge at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord that concluded her first book, Honor in Concord. In that scene McIntyre is attempting to connect psychically to the writers whose graves are there. It is a scene that in Honor in Concord is mostly playful, but in The Thoreau Whisperer, McIntyre is actually doing it and it is serious and powerful and difficult even for her to believe.
Following an after-death encounter with her mentor, who was an eminent Thoreau scholar, in The Thoreau Whisperer, McIntyre finds she must hone her psychic abilities, set her doubts aside and accept the role she was destined to play in a remarkable collaboration that allows the words of Henry David Thoreau to be heard once again in our time.
In The Thoreau Whisperer, McIntyre shares the words she received from Thoreau in short easily accessible passages alongside quotations taken from the books, essays and journal entries he wrote during his lifetime. For those who lack the patience to read Thoreau’s original works, it is an enjoyable and magical way to become better acquainted with him and his message and to get a glimpse into McIntyre's extraordinary world. Do you believe in magic? You just might after you read this book.
NOTE: The Thoreau Whisperer is in some ways a sequel to Honor in Concord, but they are distinctly different books. It is not necessary to read one before the other.
Honor in Concord and The Thoreau Whisperer by Cathryn McIntyre are available in e-book and print and can be purchased on www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, and on many other internet booksellers. They can also be purchased through your favorite local bookstore.