Pearl Lenore Curran was an ordinary, uneducated housewife. She lived in St. Louis and was known for nothing besides begin a nice woman. The east side town house she lived in was beautiful and yet ordinary. Nothing stood out about the woman except for her uncanny ability to create the best poetry of the times.
In 1919, prominent New Yorkers crammed into the home of Pearl, awaiting the writing she would perform. Her two original pieces of poetry shocked, amused and amazed those watching the woman work.
One poem was about Russia and the other was a dictation of poetry about the Red Cross, both completed in rapid succession. She appeared to compose the poems quickly, without hesitation and yet she sounded as if she was a teletype as she spit out the elegant prose.
Poet Edgar Lee Masters was in attendance that evening. He exclaimed the woman was producing amazing literature, but how she was doing it, he could not comprehend. He was confused because the poetry he was hearing did not belong to Pearl, but to Patience Wright.
About six years prior, Pearl had lost her father. During her depression, her friend came to visit. The friend brought along a “talking board,” commonly known now as an “Ouija Board.” The two women placed their hands lightly on the wooden pointer. Pearl felt a tug on her hands and suddenly, the pointer begins to move on its own.
It seems someone is trying to deliver a message to Pearl. Pearl’s friend had released her fingertips from the pointer as Pearl’s hands remained. The pointer moved across the board, spelling out a story of a woman named Patience Wright, who lived in the 17th century. She tells a quick version of her story and asks Pearl to transcribe her writings as she offers them.
The Ouija board gave the message, “Many moons ago I lived. Patience Worth is my name.” Patience claimed she was an English woman who came to America where she was eventually killed by Native Americans. Pearl accepted the offer to allow the words to be channeled through her and so the tale begins.
Pearl, who was a high school dropout, begins to channel complex words that describe a by-gone era. Her husband accepted the task of transcribing page after page of the words Pearl channels. He writes them by hand and they are later typed and bound in books that are on display at the museum in St. Louis.
A story as intriguing as this doesn’t stay quiet for long. The tale of Pearl and her deceased friend, Patience, gets out quickly. People begin to attend the readings. Pearl held bi-weekly communication sessions to accommodate Patience and her shared words and the curiosity of neighbors.
Casper Yost, a prominent St. Louis journalist, comes to one of the sessions. He is amazed by the flowery words coming from the ordinary housewife living in his hometown. Yost begins to print a few of the poems that Pearl is channeling. The world of poets and other interested parties begin to pay attention to the little housewife from St. Louis.
Five of the poems that are printed are given the title of the Best Poetry of the Year. Shortly after, the poet, Patience Worth, publishes her first novel known as, “The Sorry Tale.” The book receives rave reviews, including “a literary feat crafted by a master hand,” as quoted by the New York Times.
Pearl becomes a literary phenomenon, except for those skeptics who believed she was merely trying to become famous.
It was said by some that the channelings were fake. A number of folks began to wonder if Pearl Curran had multiple personality disorder. Those who attended her communication gatherings stated her personality never changed before, during or after the readings.
Journalist Casper Yost is convinced Pearl is telling the truth about Patience Worth. He believed if he could prove the identity of someone named Patience Worth who existed during that era, he could prove life after death.
Yost traveled to England, where Patience claimed she was from. Once there, he begins to notice buildings and landscaping Patience had described in her writings. Yost finds nobody by the name of Patience Worth in the public records and is still without proof.
Patience had talked about a monastery and an old church in her poetry. She wrote about where the structures were located. Yost found the buildings in the spot where Worth had described them. He finds that Pearl Curran has never traveled, especially to England. Yost and others who are curious about the new poet believe the story behind the beautiful works of Patience Worth after discovering these details.
After a while, the intriguing tale of the housewife and the literary genius fade from the news. But, apparently the conversations between the woman from St. Louis and the poet from the 17th century continue until Pearl’s death in 1937.
Pearl has passed many years ago. There is nothing left of the story of the two women except for the 29 volumes of books that are the channelings of Patience Worth to Pearl Curran.