In 1913, Pearl Curran, a St. Louis housewife, sat at a Ouija board with her friends when the planchette went wild under her hands. It said, "Many moons ago I lived. Again I come. Patience Worth my name." And so began the literary career of the long-dead Patience Worth. Pearl transcribed novels, plays, essays, and poetry supposedly composed by Patience, and both became celebrities. Daniel Shea, emeritus professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis, recently wrote a book about the phenomenon, The Patience of Pearl: Spiritualism and Authorship in the Writings of Pearl Curran. In it, he uses modern psychology and the writings themselves to uncover the truth of this ghostly voice.
October 30, 2013