Curran, Pearl Lenore (Pollard) (1883-1937)

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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 comePatience 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.


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.

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Curran, Pearl Lenore (Pollard) (1883-1937)

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