Patience Worth

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Curran in 1927
Putting the psycho in
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Men who stare at goats
By the powers of tinfoil

Patience Worth was an alleged spirit that the American medium Pearl Lenore Curran (1883–1937) claimed to have contacted.

In the early 20th century, Curran first claimed to have contacted the spirit of Patience Worth via a Ouija board. She said she received poems and novels from Patience Worth. Curran later abandoned the Ouija board and it was alleged that she communicated with the spirit by automatic writing and direct-voice mediumship.

Spiritualists usually pretend that Curran had no education so she couldn't have known about poems and novels, but Curran was gifted and intelligent, moderately schooled, and well-read in poetry, literature, occult and spiritual topics.

No evidence Patience Worth ever existed[edit]

Patience claimed she lived during 1649-1694 and her home was "Across the sea" in a rural county in England. She did give some clues which were deduced by intimates of the Currans to indicate that Patience Worth had lived in rural Dorset with her father John and mother Anne. She said she took a long voyage to America and she arrived at the jagged coast but they could find no landing place for the ship. Patience said she was eventually killed by Indians.

No authenticated documentation has ever been found to indicate that someone named Patience Worth had lived in Dorsetshire England during the later 17th century nor are there any ship logs from that period with the name Patience Worth in them. The name Patience Worth does occur in census data of early settlers of the United States but none of them has any link to the Patience Worth described by Pearl Curran. There is absolutely no evidence the "Patience Worth" of Curran ever existed.

Spiritualist supporters[edit]

The only supporters of Patience Worth are devout spiritualists such as Amos Oliver Doyle and Michael E. Tymn. Doyle has an entire website dedicated to Pearl Curran and he refuses to accept the evidence which shows she was not in contact with spirits.[1] Tymn also claims Patience Worth was a real spirit; he says Curran only had an elementary school education and could not have known the information in her scripts. Tymn does not mention Curran was well-read in poetry and literature.[2]


Researchers and scientists who have studied Curran's writings are in agreement that Patience was a fictitious creation of Curran.[3][4] The psychologist Joseph Jastrow (1935) and Daniel Shea (2012) considered Patience to be an alter ego of Curran, the product of cultural influences, social pressures and her own personal interests.[5]

The psychologist Andrew Neher wrote "investigation revealed that Pearl Curran's own experience was adequate to account for the knowledge she displayed as Patience Worth."[6] The skeptical investigator Joe Nickell wrote:

The weight of the evidence—the lack of historical record for “Patience Worth,” the fantasy proneness of Cur­ran (consistent with producing an imaginary “other self”), the writings’ questionable language, and the evidence of the editing and revision process—indicates that Patience was merely a persona of Curran’s.[7]

Daniel Shea, a professor emeritus of English at Washington University, studied the case and wrote there might have been fraud involved by preparation on Pearl's part by reading books and other material in the hours before the Patience Worth sessions. If true, Pearl may have felt guilt, which might have been expiated by her writing Rosa Alvaro, Entrante.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. Songs of Patience Worth by Amos Oliver Doyle
  2. When spirit entities take over the arm by Michael E. Tymn
  3. Milbourne Christopher. (1970). ESP, Seers and Psychics. New York: Crowell. pp. 128-129
  4. Patience Worth at the Skeptic's Dictionary
  5. Joseph Jastrow. (1935). Wish and Wisdom: Episodes in the Vagaries of Belief. D. Appleton-Century Company. Daniel Shea. (2012). The Patience of Pearl: Spiritualism and Authorship in the Writings of Pearl Curran. University of Missouri.
  6. Andrew Neher. (2011). Paranormal and Transcendental Experience: A Psychological Examination. Dover Publications. p. 218
  7. Ghost Author? The Channeling of ‘Patience Worth’ by Joe Nickell
  8. Patience Worth by Gioia Diliberto