Patrick revisits the mysterious story of Pearl Curran (1883 – 1937), the Saint Louis housewife who between 1913 and 1937, channeled entire books and other works from a spirit known as Patience Worth, and mostly through the Ouija board.
In this episode:
Patrick is planning for an upcoming speaking engagement and was looking back to some of the early episodes of the podcast. He was reminded of a short episode he produced about Pearl Curran and Patience Worth. :57
Patrick reads portions of “Patience Worth: Author From the Great Beyond” by Gioia Diliberto for Smithsonian Magazine from September of 2010. 2:20
“Speaking through a Ouija board operated by Pearl Lenore Curran, a St. Louis housewife of limited education, Patience Worth was nothing short of a national phenomenon in the early years of the 20th century. Though her works are virtually forgotten today, the prestigious Braithwaite anthology listed five of her poems among the nation’s best published in 1917, and the New York Times hailed her first novel as a ‘feat of literary composition.’ Her output was stunning. In addition to seven books, she produced voluminous poetry, short stories, plays and reams of sparkling conversation—nearly four million words between 1913 and 1937. Some evenings she worked on a novel, a poem and a play simultaneously, alternating her dictation from one to another without missing a beat.” 4:36
“The Patience Worth case remains one of the most tantalizing literary mysteries of the last century, a window onto a vanished era when magic seemed to exist because so many people believed in it. In the decades since Pearl Curran’s death, in 1937, no one has explained how she produced Patience’s writing.” 8:32
“At first Pearl spelled out every letter with the Ouija board, but as time passed, the mere touch of her hand on the pointer loosed a flood of spoken words. Eventually, she abandoned the board entirely; a feeling of slight pressure in her head would announce Patience’s arrival, and Pearl would begin reciting.” 15:28
Check out the book, The Patience of Pearl: Spiritualism and Authorship in the Writings of Pearl Curran by Daniel B. Shea. 18:23
Looking back at episode 32 of the Big Seance Podcast from 2015, where Patrick reads the article, “Ghostwriter and Ghost: The Strange Case of Pearl Curran & Patience Worth” by Ed Simon, from The Public Domain Review. 18:47
Two Moms and a Baby from the article, “Ouija poet Patience Worth: 100 years and many moons later”, by Jane Henderson, from the St. Louis Post Dispatch. 35:58
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