‘Patience Worth’’
A spirit entity, communicating from 1913 on through Pearl
Lenore Curran (Mrs. John H.), of St. Louis, Missouri, first
through the ouija board, then through automatic speaking
and dictating in a late medieval English prose and poetry with
extreme rapidity on a wide range of subjects.
The literary merit of the books was quite good and received
favorable reviews apart from any notice of their unusual origin.
Four novels were published The Sorry Tale, Hope Trueblood,
Light from Beyond, and The Pot upon the Wheel. Telka, a lengthy
play of 60,000–70,000 words was considered by psychical researcher
Walter Franklin Prince superior to analogous works.
‘‘Patience Worth’’ claimed to have lived in Dorsetshire, England,
in the seventeenth century and to have been killed in
America by the Indians. Some of her statements as to her home
and environment were verified. Caspar Yost, the editor of the
St. Louis Globe-Democrat, took a great personal interest in the
‘‘Patience Worth’’ phenomenon and edited the publication of
the texts.
Out of his study of the ‘‘Patience Worth’’ texts, Prince concluded,
‘‘Either our concept of what we call the subconscious
mind must be radically altered so as to include potencies of
which we hitherto have had no knowledge, or else some cause
operating through, but not originating in, the subconsciousness
of Mrs. Curran must be acknowledged.’’ Most psychical researchers
today would opt for the former of Prince’s two
choices.
Prof. Allison of Manitoba University said of the case in a personal
study that ‘‘it must be regarded as the outstanding phenomenon
of the age.’’ Dr. Usher, a professor of history at
Washington University, considered The Sorry Tale, a composition
of 350,000 words, ‘‘the greatest story penned of the life
and times of Christ since the Gospels were finished.’’ On occasions
‘‘Patience Worth’’ demonstrated before professors. Starting
in March 1918, a monthly called Patience Worth’s Magazine
was published for ten months to provide an outlet for her prolific
literary activity.
Sources
Douglas, Alfred. Extrasensory Powers. New York The Overlook
Press, 1977.
Hickman, Irene. I Knew Patience Worth. Sacramento, Calif.,
The Author, 1971.
Litvag, Irving. Singer in the Shadows The Strange Story of Patience
Worth. Macmillan, 1972; New York Popular Library,
1973.
Prince, Walter Franklin. The Case of Patience Worth A Critical
Study of Certain Unusual Phenomena. Boston Society for Psychical
Research, 1927; New Hyde Park, N.Y. University Books,
1964.
‘‘Worth, Patience.’’ Hope Trueblood. New York Henry Holt,
1918.
———. The Pot upon the Wheel. New York Patience Worth
Publishing, 1916.
———. The Sorry Tale. New York Henry Holt, 1917.
Yost, Casper S. Patience Worth; A Psychic Mystery. New York
Henry Holt, 1916. Reprint, London Skeffington, 1919.