OPS Central - Pearl and Patience
The Curious Story of Pearl and Patience
Written by Kevin Woodrow
I am an avid reader. I love books, and I enjoy writing. On the writing side of things (other than articles on this site) I tend to focus on penning short stories when a good idea hits me. And, sometimes I wonder where the ideas come from for the many stories that pop up in my mind. Usually the thoughts will come to me out of nowhere.
That’s precisely why my eyebrows were raised a bit when I came across a short paragraph in a book I was reading recently. The paragraph informed me about a writer named Pearl Curran and ghost named Patience Worth. And, well, it really got me thinking about where some of my… thinking… comes from.
Let me explain.
Pearl Curran was a normal writer in St. Louis back around 1913. Normal, that is, until she began experimenting with a Ouija board (something which I don‘t necessarily support). She claimed that a spirit contacted her through this device and a line of communication was opened between them. According to her, the spirit that had contacted her was a Puritan girl who had been dead for a long time. This girl’s name was Patience Worth.
After communicating with her for a while, Pearl said that Patience found the Ouija board to be a very difficult way for them to converse, so she instructed her living friend to start using a pen and paper to write down what she wanted to say. Thus began a very interesting and controversial period in literary history.
Their very lengthy open line of communication resulted in Pearl writing seven published novels and over a hundred poems, many of which won her, and her “pseudonym” Patience Worth, critical acclaim. She claimed that it was her communications with Patience that gave birth to her literary works. Therefore, a spirit was able to somewhat “use” a living person to write novels and poems.
Amazing… or was it?
Obviously, many of her critics claimed that Pearl’s fantastic explanation for where the stories and poems came from was merely a “gimmick” in order to help garner her more attention. And, that is a very good point. In writing, or with any other type of artistic endeavor, the creator has to “sell” his or her work. Creating some type of controversy around this art is definitely a means in which to help “sell” it. So, the claim that Pearl was lying about Patience has to be a possibility.
Another way to look at this is… what if Pearl was suffering from having multiple personalities? Now, I haven’t done extensive research into these accounts, so I can’t present any evidence that suggests multiple personalities may have come into play here. However, it seems to me that it could have indeed been a possibility.
However, if Pearl was telling the truth, and she had indeed somehow begun a very, very long-distance “pen pal” friendship with Patience Worth, the possibilities this could mean for spirit communication could be huge. Seriously, it goes leaps and bounds beyond catching a short whisper in the form an EVP.
I know Pearl wasn’t the first to have made such a claim, nor is she the last to have. Since reading about her and her supposed spirit friend, I have found that many people have reported to have been contacted much in the same manner. Of course, with those as well, you always have to wonder how accurate the claims are, and whether or not the person making the claim has their own motives.
I consider myself an “open-minded” person, though, so I definitely believe in the possibility of such a line of communication, yet I’m not going to believe everyone who says it has happened to them. Then again, who really cares what I think?
Now… you see where I’m coming from. After reading about her, I began wondering just where some of those “out of the blue” ideas come from that inspire some of my stories. I mean, is someone from beyond instructing me to write this article? Great, just great. As if I wasn’t confused enough already.
So, in closing, I’d like to give everyone out there who has ever dreamed of becoming a published author some advice to keep in mind. If you ever get frustrated and think you can’t write that great American novel… don’t worry… you just need a little “Patience“. A little “Patience“… could be “Worth” a lot.
Until next time…
NOTE: Among the books written by Pearl Curran, with the claimed help of Patience Worth, are The Sorry Tale, Hope Trueblood, and The Pot Upon The Wheel. I definitely encourage you to search for information on Pearl and Patience - very interesting material. You can also read some of her poems at www.patienceworth.org . Below is one poem written by Pearl Curran / Patience Worth entitled “When The Door Closes”.
“WHEN THE DOOR CLOSES”
There shall be a morning
When I shall be removed,
And men shall be on with their tasks.
The same sun shall lick the paves,
And the same shadows fill them.
The very winds which now
Encircle me, shall dance the earth---
And I shall be removed.
The hand which is the tool of love
Shall be still, and my tongue
No longer left to sing.
There shall be a morning,
When I shall be removed,
When men shall behold me singing forth
From the script which idly blows apart,
Or is turned by a listless finger,
And they shall hark---and I shall smile
In understanding of God's mercy