Mike Conley's Tales of the Weird: Author claimed spirit worked through her

Mike Conley's Tales of the Weird: Author claimed spirit worked through her
September 22, 2010
Mike Conley
The McDowell News

During a period of several years, a woman in St. Louis, Mo. named Pearl Curran produced a remarkable series of historical novels, poetry and plays that would astonish scholars and historians alike.

Yet Curran had very little formal education and no previous interest in writing literature. Instead, she claimed that the writings were actually being written through her by the spirit of an Englishwoman who had died more than 200 years before.

On the evening of July 8, 1913, Curran reluctantly agreed to take part in a séance with a friend. She did not have any interest in the religious movement of spiritualism nor did she go to see mediums, who claimed to be able to communicate with the dead. But at any rate, she agreed to be a part of this séance and use a Ouija board to talk to whatever spirits might be around. During that séance, her hand on the Ouija board traced out the name of “Patience Worth.”

And during the next several years, she and the spirit of Patience Worth would communicate often. Patience Worth would use Curran as a conduit for her writings. Through the writings and communications with Curran, it was revealed that Patience Worth was born in England during the 17th century. The spirit gave details about how her parents emigrated to America and how she was killed by an Indian war party on the colonial frontier, according to the book “Strange Stories, Amazing Facts” by the Reader’s Digest.

During that time, Worth’s spirit would supposedly dictate to Curran a set of historical novels, all of which contained remarkable details. They were also written in a variety of literary styles. One of them, “The Sorry Tale,” was set during the time of Christ while another, “Hope Trueblood,” took place during the 19th century.

These novels would receive acclaim from literary critics. One of them praised “Hope Trueblood” for its “definite and clear cut characterization, good dialogue and arresting runs of expression, deep but restrained feeling.” Reportedly, this critic was unaware of how the book was written. A reviewer for The New York Times, who apparently knew of the “ghost writing,” said that the plot of another novel was fashioned with such skill, deftness, and ingenuity that such talent would be envied by many a novelist “in the flesh,” according to a Web site.

Through the spirit of Patience Worth, Curran also produced quite a bit of poetry. Five of her poems were selected for an anthology of the best poetry for the year 1917. The most highly acclaimed work from the spirit of Patience Worth would be the novel “Telka,” which was set in medieval England. It was also written in a medieval form of English that Curran had never studied.

Indeed, Curran’s formal education had ended with the eighth grade. She seldom read, had never traveled, and was unfamiliar with literature or history. Some people contend that it is highly unlikely that she would ever be able to write such works on her own.

Paranormal researchers believe that the writings were transmitted to Curran through the process of automatic writing. This is the process where a person produces a writing while under the control of a spirit entity.

Those who practice automatic writing seat themselves comfortably at a table with a piece of paper before them and a pen or pencil held in their hand. The tip of the pen or pencil rests lightly on the paper. The writer’s wrist and arm are kept loose and no direct light is allowed to shine on the paper, according to a Web site.

Then the automatic writer must wait quietly and patiently and allow whatever spirit to take control. The writer will give in to the slightest impulse to move the pen or pencil and keep the paper smooth with the free hand. With some practice and much patience, messages can supposedly come through. Those individuals who are successful at automatic writing say that it usually takes three or four sittings before the first intelligent results are achieved, according to another Web site.

However, I am certain that some other paranormal researchers would advise caution when it comes to automatic writing. It is similar to using a Ouija board. The late paranormal expert Ed Warren often warned the public about the dangers of playing around with the occult. For example, he advised people not to use Ouija boards because an evil spirit could take that as an invitation for demonic possession. He probably felt the same way about automatic writing.
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