The True Story of Patience Worth, the Novel Writing Ghost
In 1913, a St Louis Housewife named Pearl Curran claimed she took dictation from a medieval spirit and produced award-winning literature
In 1913, Patience Worth pierced the veil between life and death to use a lonely housewife, Pearl Curran, as a Medium. Together, the ghost and the mortal allegedly wrote and published three successful novels and many award-winning poems. Patience and Pearl committed over 400,000 words to paper — and that isn’t the entity’s strangest achievement.
“Many moons ago, I lived. Again I come — Patience Worth is my name.”-Patience Worth, 1913
Pearl Lenore Pollard was born on February 15, 1883, in Mound City, Illinois. She was the only daughter of the newspaper editor, George Pollard, and his wife, Mary.
Pearl was a wise girl but not conventionally intelligent. She made below-average grades and dropped out during her first year of high school due to a “nervous breakdown” from the stress that came with studying.
Nervous might have been the baseline for poor Pearl. In the parlance of her time, “Nervous” was a blanket term covering everything from PMS to psychosis.
Today, a psychiatrist might consider a body dysmorphic disorder diagnosis. Pearl held a profound disdain for her appearance. She was an attractive person but often complained she was ugly.
Pearl had no ambition towards spirituality or towards a husband. In fact, she wanted to become a singer like her mother. Sadly, she didn’t possess the slightest aptitude for a singing vocation, although she could play the piano.
Like most women in America, it must have seemed to her that she was destined to become someone’s wife and, with any luck, a mother — but probably not much more.
John Howard Curran certainly thought she was beautiful. He came into Pearl’s life in 1907. John was a divorced man from Iowa, 15 years Pearl’s senior, and the father of…