Patience Worth brings a whole new meaning to ghost writing.

I just finished reading Into the Shadows – America’s Unsolved Mysteries and Tales of the Unexpected, by Troy Taylor. As a veteran reader of books on the paranormal, I can say this collection of stories is the best I’ve discovered. Often the actual writing in such books is barely tolerable, but Mr. Taylor’s work is clean, his voice is personable, and his tone is not overwrought. One story, in particular, fascinated me.

Original ouija board

In Missouri, in 1913, a childless, 30 year old housewife named Pearl Curren regularly met for afternoon tea with her mother and a neighbor. On July 18th the women decided to experiment with a Ouija board – a gadget that was all the rage in the spiritualism-friendly era. A presence which introduced itself as Patience Worth came through. Over the next weeks, Patience showed a particular affinity for Pearl. Eventually, Pearl was able to dispense with the slow Ouija board, and simply recite and/or write that which Patience wanted to share.

And Patience wanted to share a lot – over the course of the next twenty-five years, she dictated personal communications, essays, a play, several novels and over 5,000 poems. Much of her work was critically acclaimed.

*Lullaby – Patience Worth

Dream, dream thou flesh of me!
Dream thou next my breast.
Dream, dream and coax the stars
To light thee at thy rest.

Sleep, sleep, thou breath of Him
Who watcheth thee and me.
Dream, dream and dreaming,
Coax that He shall see.

Rest, rest thou fairy form
That presseth soft my breat.
Rest, rest and nestle warm,
And rest and rest and rest.

The story becomes particularly interesting when the pre-Patience life of Pearl Curren is examined. By all accounts, she was an “indifferent student”, with no particular knowledge of history nor attraction to spiritualism or writing.

Of course I’ve been all over the web, but I would say the best source for more information and further details is over at Smithsonian.com.

By the way, I would never touch a Oujia board. I hesitated to even post a picture. ‘Too many horror novels & movies for me, I guess.

*I found the text of this poem at Google Books. It was in the public domain title Antholgy of magazine verse.

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6 Comments on “Patience Worth brings a whole new meaning to ghost writing.”

  1. Diana says:

    There used to be an old ouijia board in my grandparents’ cabin. I wonder what happened to it… I would love to play with one. Or hang it on my wall for a decoration, perhaps. The one that was in the cabin has got to be vintage by now. 😉

  2. Judy Limburg says:

    My sisters and I played with a ouija board once when we were younger. We were innocent and thought it was really neat how the marker just moved all over the board spelling things out. I’m older and wiser now 🙂

  3. I use to play with a ouija board when I was younger but it was after one fateful night I put it away…Never again!

    • Now, see, both you and Judy tease me all the time. Hinting at these wonderful personal stories … one of these days, you’re going to have to share the details 🙂

      Yes, I just recycled this response – I cut, pasted and changed the name. I’m lazy like that 😉


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