Curran, Pearl

Curran, Pearl (1883–1937)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

In the earlier part of the twentieth century, a St. Louis housewife encountered a spirit named Patience Worth. Mrs. Pearl Curran was persuaded by her friend Emily Hutchinson to use a Ouija® board. Although not particularly interested, Mrs. Curran agreed and worked the board with her friend a number of times. On the evening of July 8, 1913, the planchette started spelling out a message that read: “Many moons ago I lived. Again I come; Patience Worth my name.”

The spirit identified herself as a seventeenth century Englishwoman who had lived in the county of Dorset. She said that she was a spinster and that she had emigrated to America where she was murdered. Curran and Hutchinson started speaking with Patience Worth on a regular basis. Then they found that Mrs. Curran could contact her by herself, whereas Mrs. Hutchinson had no luck alone.

From the Ouija® board, Pearl Curran went on to automatic writing and, through that, produced 2,500 poems, short stories, plays, allegories, and six full-length novels—all authored by Patience Worth! She produced a total of more than four million words within a period of five years. One of the stories she produced—The Sorry Tale (350,000 words)—is considered by Dr. Usher, Professor of History at Washington University, to be the greatest story penned of the life and times of Jesus since the Biblical Gospels were written.

What is especially interesting about the Patience Worth case is that Pearl Curran had dropped out of school at the age of fourteen and had virtually no knowledge of life in the mid-sixteen hundreds, either in England or in the American Colonies. Yet experts have examined the writings produced and have not found a single anachronism. The writings reveal an amazing insight into the life and times of that period. The vocabulary of the writings was 90 percent Old English. This is probably one of the best recorded examples ever of spirit contact. The writings continued through from 1913 to the late 1920s. Pearl Curran died in 1937.


Awtry-Smith, Marilyn: “They” Paved the Way. New York: Spiritualism & More, nd
Buckland, Raymond: Buckland’s Book of Spirit Communications. St. Paul: Llewellyn, 2004
Prince, Walter Franklin: The Case of Patience Worth. Boston: Boston Society for Psychical Research, 1927
Yost, Casper S.: Patience Worth: A Psychic Mystery. New York: Henry Holt, 1916