I want to comment on a point that Dr. Walter Franklin Prince was making in a note on Page 324 of The Case of Patience Worth. In that note Dr. Prince comments on a visualization of Pearl Curran in which she said
”Now, this is strange, for I see myrtles. It is a flowering tree, and I get “myrtles” It is pink , and it is white and it trembles on the air—all on stems—like little feathers on the tree. And they tremble in the air. It is creepy—not petals like this.”
Dr. Prince apparently consulted the Encyclopedia Britannica saying that he has
“previously been ignorant of any myrtle except the trailing plant so named in the United States, and having in my ignorance supposed that classic illusions were to that plant” . . . [i]t appears that there is a flowering shrub (not strictly a tree, though large enough so that the wood is valued for turning) of many varieties answering to the name, especially in the region of the Mediterranean. It has white or rosy flowers, growing solitarily hence “all on stems: The flower has five sepals, within them “five rounded spoon shaped, spreading petals.” The stamens within the petals “are exceedingly numerous, each consisting of a slender white filament and a small yellow two-lobed anther.” The term “tree” might be accounted for by inexactitude in choice of the word on Mrs. Curran’s part, or by her not seeing the bush in connection with other objects by which she could gauge its height. “Crepy” (Like crepe) does not seem like an accurate descriptive term, but whether the spoon-shaped petals and the numerous stamens would blend together at a certain distance to present such a visual appearance, I cannot say. But what strikes me is this; the description is not at all what one would expect on the theory that Mrs. Curran had consulted books of reference to learn about the myrtle. In that case the enormous subliminal memory which is ascribed to her in order to normalize her phenomena—the memory for words, especially, would surely have preserved the word “tree.” Nor do any of the accounts of the myrtle which I have discovered mention anything about tremulous movements of the blossoms in the air, although they do not say anything to the contrary”.
Now Dr. Prince based his comments upon what information was available to him and having lived in the north east primarily in or around Boston Massachusetts, he would not have been familiar with the “Crepe Myrtle “ (Lagerstroemia indica) of the southern United States since that plant rarely grows in colder latitudes and when it does it does not attain the form of a tree. I have grown it in Central Illinois as a small bush that dies down in the winter, and occasionally blooms on new wood in the summer. However Pearl Curran would have been familiar with Crepe Myrtle as a tree since she had lived in Texas during her childhood and even in St. Louis, Missouri where Pearl Curran spent her early adult life, Crepe Myrtle may be found growing as a small tree or horticultural shrub in both of those areas.
Patience Worth may not have been familiar with Crepe Myrtle since it is unlikely that it would achieve a tree form or even bloom in England at that higher latitude or in the northern colonies of the United State but Pearl Curran would have known the Crepe Myrtle of Texas and St. Louis as a small tree . Such trees having pink, white, or rose-colored flowers appearing as crepe and trembling in the breeze. Dr. Prince was in fact referencing the Mediterranean Myrtle and not the Crepe Myrtle found in the United States.
I think this is an example of Patience Worth using information stored in Pearl Curran’s brain or subliminal mind to convey thoughts or ideas perhaps in symbolic form recognizable and understandable to Pearl Curran.
I think Dr. Prince missed this one.