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Patience Worth, 1913, 13 May

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On this date, Pearl Curran and a friend, using a ouija board in the Curran home at St Louis, Missouri, first saw the name 'Pat C' spelt out by the moving glass. Pearl's husband, determined to prove the incoming message a trick of the mind, pretended he had once known an Irishman named Pat. For a time the ficticious individual sent messages via the board, but soon a new and more powerful voice took control. On 8th July, the cryptic words that flowed out whenever Pearl Curran used the device were explicitly signed 'Patience Worth'.

Patience belying her name, soon outgrew the slow ouija board, graduating first to automatic writing; pen in hand, she would 'take over' Mrs Curran and write lengthy scripts, and finally took to sending words straight into the consciousness of her medium.

It required some effort to extract information about herself from Patience. She was reportedly a Quaker girl who emigrated from Dorset to the USA in the seventeenth century and died young during an Indian attack. She spoke in archaic language, complete with usage and spelling that linguistic scholars verified as being totally correct. Later however, she began to utilise a more modern idiom.

Patience Worth sems to have expressed herself freely in literary form. Across twenty-five years she came up with millions of words, including widely acclaimed novels, plays and poems, some of which were published without reference to their bizarre creation. Patience 'dictated' them with astonishing rapidity. Once, when asked for a motto of about 120 characters to put on the wall of the Missouri state capital, she drafted a literary ode of exactly the right length, in the brief time it took Pearl Curran to write down the words. And the novels involved extraordinary depth of research knowledge about distant and future times - from the Biblical era to Victorian London.

Prior to her encounter with Patience, Mrs Curran's writings had exhibited no hint of sophistication or skill' and after she died, Patience fell silent, leaving behind the mystery of her highly praised literary genius.

So was this a real contact froma departed spirit or did Pearl Curran tap some hidden creative source from which creative writers have long derived inspiration?

Automatic writers today continue the trend, Rosemary Brown, a London housewife, writes music that she says is dictated by dead composers such as Beethoven and Liszt. Healer Matthew Manning has created fabulous paintingsin the style of artists such as Durer and Picasso. A woman in the USA has informed Jenny Randles that she is currently seeking an agent to market her autobiography of Billy the Kid, determined to correct the misconceptions of his outlaw days from beyond the grave.

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Automatic writing is one phenomena I'm still not sure about. Although, as you refer to in the article, Althalus, Pearl Curran did achieve some amazing feats, so who knows? Maybe automatic writers are a literary form of mediums. Most are frauds, but some, maybe a small few, are genuine.

After all, Noel Gallagher's been using the ghost of John Lennon to write Oasis songs for years. tongue.gif

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