It seems that I have always been interested in Patience Worth, from the first time I picked up a book in the library in Mattoon Illinois, about 50 years ago. I think it had a paragraph or two about her but I don’t remember the name of the book or anything else about it. It turned out, though, that that chance encounter with Patience Worth has stayed with me through my life and instilled in me a desire to find out just how Pearl Curran could do what she did if it wasn’t done by the disembodied spirit who called herself, Patience Worth. If it was done by a disembodied spirit, well, then—that was something else.
I have been drawn to the enigmatic phenomenon evidenced in the writing of Pearl Curran from that time until now. At first I couldn’t understand any of it, neither did I have enough focus to stick with it until I did understand it. Some people will say that her work is “not understandable” when what they really mean to say is that they do not understand it, much in the same way that I don’t understand Chaucer or Shakespeare for that matter. I haven’t taken the time to understand them. If I would take the time and make the effort, I guess that they would be “understandable” to me. It takes effort to understand the writings of Patience Worth and unfortunately many people of this day and culture, especially those who want to “debunk” the Patience Worth case, don’t take the time to read all of the many poems, short stories, novels, epigrams and aphorisms as well as the so-called “table talk” of Patience Worth. They are not willing to make the effort since apparently they already have their mind made up.
At the time of my first encounter with Patience, I was trying to earn a degree in biology, majoring in botany and zoology with minors in chemistry and geology. I had been drafted into the Combat Engineers at 22 years of age and after my discharge from the army I thought I wanted to become a high school biology teacher so I worked as a key-punch operator (remember this was 50 years ago when computers used key-punched cards) so that I could earn enough money to go to college. Along with a stipend from the GI Bill and working as a janitor, I was able to pay for college. Since I was an older student at the time (27 years old) that meant that I had no time to waste and so I earned my Bachelor of Science Degree in three years and went right on to work on a Master’s degree focusing on Botany. I didn’t have time to understand the vocabulary of Patience Worth or deal with her unique syntax in “The Sorry Tale“, perhaps considered to be her masterpiece . I don’t think that I had read a whole novel in my entire life other than one or two assigned in English class and after more than 50 years, I can still count the books of fiction I have read on one hand; most of my interests have continued to be in non-fiction. I’m still not very smart—have a very short memory and attention span and have to read things over and over again until I finally get it!
Well, I did teach high school biology in Pekin Illinois for a year but the students quickly let me know that teaching was not for me, so I gave teaching up for a 30-year career in Public Health, both at the local and state levels. As Administrator and Director of Environmental Health I helped develop a couple of county health departments and eventually went on to an administrative position in the Long-Term Care program of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Currently I am the Business Manager for my wife’s medical practice, a full-time but non-paid job. Being a life-long neurotic and hypochondriac, I seem to fit right in with her other psychiatric patients.
I really have no interest in convincing anybody that I know anything about anything. I don’t like to argue and can’t stand confrontations. So my intent on this site is not to argue and not to convince anybody about anything. I just want to present the story and work of Patience Worth honestly and in a way that might catch the interest of a few intelligent people and allow them to decide for themselves whether Patience Worth might have been a real person living in the 17th century or perhaps as opined by men of great learning, that she was a dissociated secondary personality of Pearl Curran drawing upon the store of knowledge in her subconscious mind or, as declared by a few vociferous debunkers, a “Grand Fake”. (I’m not sure what that means since debunkers never provide any evidence to document that Pearl Curran was a fake or a fraud.)
I have never visited a medium nor have I experienced any apparitions, ghosts or other ethereal manifestations of the spirit world that I know of. I have never had a near-death experience so far and I don’t seem to remember any past lives—well, probably not. While I would like to believe in those things, and I think that there is a lot of very good evidence that those things exist, I am not 100% convinced. On the other hand, I have had a few examples of synchrony in my life which make me wonder.
I believe I heard my deceased father’s voice call my name in his unique agitated way early one morning the day before my mother died.
On the way to visit my mother a couple of days before she died in a nursing home, I was stopped at an intersection when a large truck was stopped at the traffic light directly in front of me but stopped in the other direction so that I couldn’t miss seeing the side of it. Covering one whole side of the truck was a sign in large letters that said “it’s time to let me go!”—that’s, all nothing else— It’s time to let me go!” As I continued my trip out of town to the nursing home in Decatur to see my mother, I couldn’t help thinking that maybe that sign on the truck was a message for me about my mother, or even perhaps, from my mother getting me ready for her passing.
When I had my dog Woody euthanized, I was driving home with tears streaming down my face,, when I noticed the car in front of me had a license plate that said “Woody3”. For the rest of the year I looked for signs from Woody but nothing else appeared. On the first anniversary of his death—May 1st, I was hoping to see another license plate with “Woody” on it, perhaps”Woody4″ would be nice since a year had passed. But even though I looked for some message from him all day, nothing showed-up. With great disappointment, I gave up looking and as it was early evening, after work, I had gone to Lowes hardware store for something and had forgotton all about looking for a license plate with “Woody” on it. But, as I was leaving the store and had exited the main doors, I turned around for some reason and there on the wall behind the exit door was a large poster, perhaps 5 feet by 5 feet advertising “Woody’s Hot Dogs”with the word “Woody” printed at least 9 times on the poster as well as the word “Dog”. As I walked to my car, somewhat overwhelmed by the sight of the large poster, the tears began again and I had a feeling of reassurance that perhaps Woody or someone else had sent me a message that day.
One recent thing occurred that didn’t involve me directly but involved my wife. She had taken her daughter to a hypnotist for migraine headaches and while she was there she had an opportunity to have a “reading” by the son-in-law of the hypnotist, a rather rough-cut motorcycle-rider type who apparently had some psychic ability. One of the things he said to my wife was “Pearl sends her regards.” Now my wife had no idea at the time who Pearl was. There is no one living or dead named Pearl in either her family or mine. But, when she got home and we shared the happenings of the day, she remembered that I had spent a lot of time putting together a web site about Pearl Curran and Patience Worth and that I had a long continuing interest in Pearl Curran and Patience Worth. Perhaps the regards from Pearl was meant for me!
Now that’s all silly thinking, isn’t it—or is it?
Well, that’s enough about me. This blog is for Pearl Curran and Patience Worth and those people who have an enquiring mind and are true skeptics. I’d like to say I would welcome comments about her work, but I am not inclined to enter into prolonged confrontations with pseudoskeptics about the existence of spirits. If you wish to comment about Patience Worth, Pearl Curran or their writings, please do. I will be pleased to respond to your comments. Don’t expect a PhD. philosophic dissertation on the matters of life and death or survival of the human spirit. I am a simple man with a simple mind and even though I am not a writer nor have I read extensively to be able to intelligently judge, I have a great respect for the quality of the writing of Patience Worth and Pearl Curran. I hope you will too.