“I Am a Child With a Magic Picture Book”

PearlCurranPrince2Pearl Curran in her article “A Nut For Psychologists”  described her mental experience when she takes dictation from Patience Worth.    She described “pictorial visions which accompany the coming of the words” from Patience Worth.  She wrote that those visions “acted as a sort of primer, and gradually developed within me a height of appreciation by persistently tempting my curiosity with representations of incidents and symbols.  I am like a child with a magic picture book.  Once I look upon it, all I have to do is to watch its pages open before me, and revel in their beauty and variety and novelty.”


“Probably this is the most persistent phase of the phenomena, this series of panoramic and symbolic pictures which never fail to show with each expression of Patience where there is any possibility of giving an ocular illustration of an expression.”

When the poems come, there also appear before my eyes images of each successive symbol, as the words are given me.  If the stars are mentioned, I see them in the sky.  If heights or deeps or wide spaces are mentioned, I get positively frightening sweeps of space.  So it is with the smaller things of Nature, the fields, the flowers and trees, with the field animals, whether they are mentioned in the poem or not.

When the stories come, the scenes become panoramic, with the characters moving and acting their parts, even speaking in converse.  The picture is not confined to the point narrated, but takes in everything else within the circle of vision at the time.  For instance, if two people are seen talking on the street, I see not only them, but the neighboring part of the street, with the buildings, stones, dogs, people and all, just as they would be in a real scene.  (Or are these scenes actual reproductions?)  If the people talk a foreign language, as in The Sorry Tale, I hear the talk, but over and above is the voice of Patience, either interpreting or giving me the part she wishes to use as story. What a wonderful privilege this is can only be imagined by one who cannot see the actuality…. [W]hile we were writing The Sorry Tale, many a queer scene was described; the dogs in the streets, certain odd carts with wheels made of crossed reeds and cut in a circle, the peculiar harness of the oxen, the quarreling of the long-bearded market men, and the wailing of the women as they bartered for edibles, the dress of the priests, the holy of holies, and the ark as it was at that time, restored, the scenes at Bethlehem and Nazareth in which the Saviour walked among me.  This was also true of England during the transcription of Hope Trueblood, though the scenes were more familiar and therefore of less interest, but just as vivid.

One very odd and interesting phase of the phenomena is the fact that during the time of transcribing the matter and watching the tiny panorama unfold before me, I have often seen myself, small as one of the characters, standing as an onlooker, or walking among the people in the play.  When I became curious to ascertain, for instance, what sort of fruit a market man was selling, or the smell of some flower, or the feel of some texture which was foreign to my experience, this tiny figure of myself would boldly take part in the play, quite naturally, perhaps walking to the bin-side of a market man and taking up the fruit and tasting it, or smelling the flower within a garden, or feeling the cloth, or in any natural way attending to the problem in hand.  And the experience was immediately my property, as though it had been an actual experience; for it was as real to me as any personal experience, becoming physically mine, recorded by my sight, taste and smell as other experiences.  Thus I have become familiar with many flowers of strange places which I never saw, but know when I see them again in pictures.  I have shuddered at obnoxious odors, or have been quite exalted by the beauty of some object, or filled with joy at beholding some flower which I had never seen before. It is like traveling in new and unknown regions, and I am filled with an impulse to let myself go, that I may follow out the intricate pattern of the story, and gain new knowledge.  I find that I possess an uncanny familiarity with things I have never known—with the kind of jugs and lamps used in far countries in the long ago, and the various methods of cooking, or certain odd and strange customs or dress or jewelry.  I know many manners and customs of early England, or old Jerusalem, and of Spain and France.

One most peculiar thing about this work is that while I am writing there seems to be no definite place where my consciousness ceases, and that of Patience comes in.  Very early I began to notice that even while I was carefully spelling a poem, I was keenly conscious, even with an added keenness, of everything about me and of anything regarding my person at the same time.  I could feel my nose itch and scratch it, note an air of criticism on the face of one of the company, and the worshipful expression of another, think what I was going to have for midnight lunch after they had gone, and write right along on the poem, understanding it as it came, and wondering at its beauty and strength, calling the letters, then the words, pausing to let Mr. Curran catch up with the writing.

2 thoughts on ““I Am a Child With a Magic Picture Book”

  1. William Dorian

    If ever there might be a good description of the manifestations in our ‘real’ world of the intricacies of quantum physics, I believe this is it. So many ‘realities’ or dimensions affecting Pearl’s senses all at once. She seems to have the ability to exist in and savor all the minutia of whatever world Patience happens to be describing, listen to Patience’s ‘dictation,’ and adroitly interact with the stimuli in her own ‘dimension’ all at once. Amazing! According to the theory expounded upon by Max Planck and explained and proven by Albert Einstein, we are all closely connected–every fiber in the universe depends upon every other fiber–with all ‘times’ happening at once. So here is Pearl’s personal experience of the phenomenon. What a spectacularly gifted talent she was–not only in the creative universe, but also the metaphysical.


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