Patience Worth

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"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.


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.