Curran, Pearl Lenore (Pollard) (1883–1937)
A housewife in St. Louis, Missouri, through whom the Patience
Worth books were produced. On July 8, 1913, Curran
and a friend Emily Grant Hutchings were playing with the
Ouija board when it moved under her hands at a rapid rate.
A message was spelled out that read, ‘‘Many moons ago I lived.
Again I come—Patience Worth my name.’’ Patience Worth,
whoever or whatever she was, continued to communicate
through Curran for the next quarter-century, at first through
the Ouija board and then directly. She produced poems,
prayers, and several full-length novels. Of the novels, The Sorry
Tale, set in the time of Jesus, elicited the most response, including
praise from a reviewer in the New York Times. During the
early years, Worth communicated in an archaic English that, although
it proved to be a language never spoken, nevertheless
consisted almost entirely of Anglo-Saxon root words and no
modernisms.
Some psychical researchers found much to praise in Curran’s
work. They noted that she had received material from
sources far beyond her knowledge while in a waking state. Walter
Franklin Prince believed that if the Spiritualist hypothesis
that Patience Worth was a disembodied spirit communicating
through Curran was not accepted, then a reappraisal of our understanding
of the subconscious must be revised. Of course,
over the last few decades that is exactly what has happened, and
Curran’s production, while notable, has been duplicated and
does not seem as extraordinary.
Sources
Hickman, Irene. I Knew Patience Worth. Sacramento, Calif.
The Author, 1971.
Litvag, Irving. Singer in the Shadows the Strange Story of Patience
Worth. New York Macmillan, 1972.
Prince, Walter F. The Case of Patience Worth. Boston Boston
Society for Psychical Research, 1927.
Worth, Patience. Hope Trueblood. New York Henry Holt,
1918.
———. Light from Beyond Poems of Patience Worth. Compiled
by Herman Behr. New York Patience Worth Publishing, 1923.
———. The Pot Upon the Wheel. St. Louis, Mo. Dorset Press,
1921.
———. The Sorry Tale. New York Henry Holt, 1917.