Tag Archives: Ouija Board

PROVERBS AND APHORISMS of Patience Worth

Cat-Blue2In the early years of communication with Patience Worth, she would often utter rather short exclamatory statements, perhaps typical of her time in the 1600s which have subsequently been culled out of the transcriptions of her communications and referred to as proverbs and aphorisms of Patience Worth. Many of these come from her ‘table talk” with Pearl Curran,  John Curran, Mary Pollard, Pearl’s mother and Emily Hutchings Pearl’s close friend and other visitors around the Ouija board.  Now Patience Worth probably had no intent on inventing proverbs but never-the-less she did often come up with some witty responses to questions and comments from people who sat at séances with her and Pearl Curran. According to Walter Franklin Prince in his book The Case of Patience Worth, he states that ” almost immediately after Patience Worth announced herself, especially as annoyed or stimulated by the wonderment, curiosity, and debate of persons present, and in impromptu response to utterances by others, she began to make replies, which in pith, wit, wisdom and generally in terseness, resemble the proverbs of old time, and compare favorably with them. Some are like the homeliest sayings of rural origin, some are philosophical and lofty, some are exquisite in beauty. Some of them indeed contain superfluous words, such as time would wear away if they passed through the process that has been applied to the wise saws of former generations.” 

Apparently Dr. Prince did a little bit of study of proverbs among all peoples that according to Dr. Prince “were imbedded in the literature of the ages.” He had easily found two hundred and thirty collections of proverbs of forty-five peoples with many dialectical subdivisions. He compared the so-called proverbs of Patience Worth with many of those he found in those collections and determined that those of Patience compared favorably with those which had stood the test of time. He states that “It is not so easy as it looks to manufacture, cold-bloodedly, sentences of the genuine proverb quality. . . . Let us put it, for one person to originate many scores of short sentences, ranging from rustic bluntness to philosophical depth and poetic beauty, all corresponding to the definition ‘condensing in witty or striking form the wisdom of experience’ would be an extraordinary achievement. If not, who besides Patience Worth has done it?” Prince goes on to say, “Mrs. Curran never, in her talk with or letters to me, showed any tendency to coin sentences of a proverb-like nature, and I have found no one who remembers of her uttering one before the advent of Patience Worth. That she should be able, under the Patience Worth influence or in the Patience Worth state, to do impromptu, as flashes from the impact of utterances made by others, what is so exceedingly difficult for brilliant writers to do with deliberation and care, namely, to pour out sayings of proverb quality, pith, wisdom, flavor and brevity, fit to have come from the lips of a philosopher, a poet, a saint or a peasant (the last oftenest), places the problem of the subconscious, either as a transmitter or a generator, before us in more imperative terms than ever.”

Dr. Prince went on to list one hundred and seventy proverbs of Patience Worth of which I have culled the ones which interest me the most.  Most of these were impromptu, being called forth by some unexpected remark made by another.  They appear not to have been produced by any conscious effort on the part of Mrs. Curran.

1.  AN OWL IS SILENT, AND CREDITED WITH MUCH WISDOM.
2.  A WISE HEN BETRAYS NOT ITS NEST WITH A LOUD CACKLE.
3.  THISTLE-DOWN IS AS RAINBOWS SPUN, YET FLAX THE LINEN MAKES
4.
  WHEN MANNA FALLS, FILL THYSELF AND QUESTION NOT.
5.  BEAT THE HOUND AND LOSE THE HARE.
6.  TO BREW A POTION, NEEDS MUST HAVE A POT.
7.  SOME FOLK, LIKE THE BELL WITHOUT A CLAPPER, GO CLANGING ON IN GOOD FAITH
        BELIEVING THE GOOD FOLKS CAN HEAR THEM.
8.  A FIERY TONGUE BELONGS TO ONE WORTH BURNING.
9.  A LOLLIPOP IS BUT A BREEDER OF PAIN.
(According to Dr. Prince, Patience Worth meant that flattering utterances are sometimes less beneficial than criticisms or rebukes.)
10. WEAK YARN IS NOT WORTH THE KNITTING.
11. A WISE COOK TELLETH NOT THE BREW.
12. THE BELL-COW DOTH DEEM THE GOOD FOLKS GO TO SABBATH-HOUSE
          FROM THE RINGING OF HER BELL.
13. SHOULD’ST I PRESENT THEE WITH A PUMPKIN,
          WOULD’ST THOU DESIRE TO COUNT THE SEEDS?
(Dr. Prince thought this was similar to ‘It is disgraceful to make difficulties of trifles.’  Well, maybe so, but it seems to me that a better comparison would be ‘Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”  That is, if someone gives you a horse, don’t look to see if the teeth are in good shape.  Just take the horse and be thankful you got it as a gift.  Similarly if someone gives you a pumpkin, don’t judge the quality of the gift by counting the seeds; just take it and go!)
14. THE COCK WHO CROWETH LOUDEST TO CALL THE HENS SELDOM HATH A FAT WORM
          BUT EXPECTETH A LOUD CACKLE.
15. SET THE A DOG TO CARRY MICE TO TABBY?
16. CARDING COTTON DOES NOT WEAVE THE CLOTH.
17. A BASTING BUT TOUGHENS AN OLD GOOSE.
18. A POT OF WISDOM WOULD BOIL TO NOTHING ERE A 
        DOUBTER DEEMED IT WORTH TASTING.
19. TO CATCH A FLEA NEEDS BE A DOG?
20. THE PIGGIE WHO SCRATCHETH UPON AN OAK
          DOTH DEEM HIS FLEAS THE FALLING ACORNS CAUSE.
21. THE JACKASS NE’ER CAN KNOW HIS REFLECTION IN THE POOL.
22. THE COCK ON A LIMB CROWS OVER THE HENS, BUT HE FEEDS ON WORMS
         AS WELL AS THEY.
23. NO MAN IS WEARIED SORER THAN HE WHO IS WEARY OF HIMSELF.
24. A BABE WITHOUT A WAIL IS LIKE A DOG WITHOUT A TAIL.
25. AN ASS WHO KICKETH A LUTE, DEEMETH ‘TIS MUSIC.
26. EACH MAN WRAPPETH HIS THOUGHT WITHIN HIS OWN EGOTRY
         AND CALLETH THE BRAT A NEW NAME.
27. GIVE ME NOT WISDOM ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND THE UNIVERSE,
         BUT FOLLY ENOUGH TO TOLERATE IT.
28. WISDOM IS AN AGED BABE AND YOUTH THINKS HE IS ITS SIRE.
29. YOU MAY NOT MEND A SPLIT HEAD BY BEING SORRY.
30. AN ASS MAY BE A GOODISH NEIGHBOR—–WITH A RAILING BETWEEN.
31. HE WHO RIDES O’ER HARD TO MILL MAY LOSE HIS SACKING.
32. LET A WISE MAN SET TO LOVERING AND THE APPLE OF HIS WISDOM ROTS.
33. NO MAN WHOSE BELLY IS SOURED THINKETH SWEET.
34. WHEN A FOOL BECOMES WISE HE FALLS SILENT.
35. HE WHO LACKETH THE POWER TO RAGE, DAMMETH SILENTLY
         AND ROTTETH HIS OWN HEART.
36. NO WISDOM IS A USEFUL THING SAVE IT HATH A PAIR OF HANDS
         THAT ARE FIT FOR WORKING.
37. THE BOBBIN’S STICKING MEANETH NAUGHT TO THE PATTERN.
38. I COULD NOT DOUBT GOD SAVE THAT I DOUBTED MAN.
39. MAN LOSES THE ZEST OF THE GAME IN THE SORTING OF THE DISCUSES.
40. I HAVE OFTEN HEARD HOW WISE A BIRD THE OWL, BUT WHO HATH
        EVER HEARD A WISE THING IT HATH UTTERED?
41. YE MAY NOT COME UNTO THE MART UNLESS YE TRUDGE THE WAY.
42. MAN’S WISDOM IS GOD’S JEST.
43. NO BEGGAR IS SO BLIND AS HE WHO HATH LOVE’S FINGERS ON HIS EYES.
44. LOVE IS AN ARMOR AND A SHIELD; YEA, AND AN ARROW WITH
         DEATH UPON ITS POINT.
45. WISE MEN LISP LEARNING; FOOLS SHOUT FOLLY.
46. THE GOOSE KNOWETH WHERE THE BIN LEAKETH.
47. HE WHO HATH A HOUSE, A HEARTH AND A FRIEND HATH A LUCKY LOT.
48. DEAD WISDOMS SPAKE BY DEADER SAGES.
49. COURT WISDOM WITH FOLLY-SINGING; I WOT THEN WISDOM WILL DANCE.
50. TRUTH HATH A DANGEROUS SISTER, HALF HER FLESH—-NEAR TRUTH.

Dr. Prince sums up his discussion of the proverbs of Patience Worth by saying ” Since the general law is that the subconscious can occasionally surpass the feats of the conscious, but only in fields of effort where the conscious has shown aptitude or at least made effort or cherished desire to act, this mass of proverbial literature either evidences an external mind operating through Mrs. Curran’s subconsciousness or makes her an exceptional case, transcending previous authentic cases and contradicting what had seemed one of the conclusions of psychology.

EMILY: ‘That Hannibal Girl’

“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players”

Shakespeare:
‘As You LIke it’

Emily-Grant-Hutchings

Emily Grant Hutchings called “The Hannibal Girl” by the spirit of Mark Twain.

When Patience Worth first arrived in St. Louis on that hot summer night of July, 1913, it was with the help of Emily Grant Hutchings, a writer of some notoriety in the St. Louis Missouri area.  Seated with a Ouija board between them, Emily Hutchings and Pearl Curran received the first indication that messages purported to be coming from the spirit world were being sent by a spirit who called herself “Patience Worth”.  Emily and Pearl considered themselves to be best friends and they worked together at the Ouija board during the early days of Patience Worth dictation,  Unfortunately, their relationship quickly cooled and Emily Hutchings went her own way for a while, purportedly contacting Patience Worth on her own.  Eventually Emily would channel Mark Twain with the help of another medium, Lola V. Hays.  Together they would write a short novel titled, “Jap Herron” which Emily claimed was dictated by Mark Twain from beyond the grave.

Emily Grant Hutchings attended the public schools in Hannibal Missouri, where she was born in 1869, graduating from the High School at seventeen years old and going from there to Germany to a famous school for girls in Altenburg, the Karolinum Hohere Tochtere Schule, where she remained for one year.  On coming back to America she entered  State University at Columbia, Missouri taking a course in letters.  For two years she taught Latin and Greek, also German in the High School of Hannibal, and then came to St. Louis, taking a position as a feature writer on the “St. Louis Republic”

Emily Grant Hutchings (nee Emma Schmidt) wrote poetry and fiction and contributed to many magazines and newspapers. She was listed as one of the “Notable Women of St. Louis” in 1914 along with other prominent wealthy society women of that time (although Emily may have been prominent, she was not wealthy). She married Charles Edwin Hutchings a newspaper man and photographer in 1897.  Her home was described as “a center of artistic and literary people.”

Emily and Edwin had no children and she is  quoted as saying that she had “attained a great local reputation as a cook.”  It was reported that  “she does her own housework, marketing, etc. preferring the occupation of a housewife to the easier, but less private life of a hotel.”

As stated in Notable Women of St. Louis,

“Many of her articles require a great deal of foraging for material, but she is so persistent that the word “fail” has no place in her vocabulary.  Frequently in search of material for one story she runs across another.  An idea will lie dormant in her mind as long as two years, sometimes even longer—when suddenly without warning it will present itself full-fledged to be written, and then dropping whatever she may be doing, puts it down just as it comes to her, rarely making any changes.  With few exceptions her work is sent to the publishers just as first written attributing this to the fact that all of her good work is the result of subconscious cerebration.  She has seen among her clippings articles that she would not believe were her own had she not found her initials at the end.  These stories would sometimes require a vast amount of research, but could be dismissed from the memory as quickly as acquired, and again others have impressed themselves on her mind so vividly that she could repeat them almost verbatim.  Her memory is unusual, and her mind is a storehouse of information.  It is, in fact remarkable—wholly isolated items of information that have been picked up in the course of years, coming up at the time most needed.

From her varied experiences Mrs. Hutchings is a very interesting woman; she possesses the rare tact of being a good listener, as well as entertaining in conversation.  She has a lovable disposition and is a woman whom all other women admire.”

 According to Emily she “wrote for a newspaper syndicate and did a good deal of feature writing for McClure’s, (where she wrote an article on Mark Twain)  and for the St. Louis newspapers.”  She contributed to “Current Literature,” “Cosmopolitan,” “Country Life,” “Current Magazine,” “The Open Court,” “Philistine,” “Atlantic Monthly,” and others.  She wrote one novel that was published in the “Sunday Associated Magazine of Chicago,” entitled “Chriskios —Divine Healer.”  For two years she wrote “Art and Home Decorations for Beautiful Homes.” published monthly in St. Louis.  She contributed ten chapters of the “Women’s Atheneum” part of a work in ten volumes which covers every phase of woman’s activity, including themes as Art in Dress; Art in Home Decorations; The History and Study of Art; Women as Writers; The Teaching Profession for Women; The Ethics of Handiwork for Women.

She was art editor of the  St. Louis Globe-Democrat. and was published for four years as the “Mysterious Woman About Town.”  At one time she wrote the “Saturday Dinner Sketches,” using the name of “Frank Harwin.”    In an article in the Oakland Tribune published on September 10, 1922 Emily is quoted as saying, “It has been part of my job, all through my newspaper work, to consult with women’s clubs, to advise them on their programs and I have come to know personally most of the big women in such organizations in Missouri and in other states.” 

Mrs. Hutchings was also on the publicity staff of the General Press Bureau during the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis as Chief Feature Writer “and in that capacity she sent out articles in seven languages. She wrote a story a day for twenty-four weeks which were printed all over the world.  In their preparation she interviewed practically every official and head of the department connected with the fair.   She was the last member of the press bureau to be dropped after the Fair had been disbanded.  She was reported to be a lecturer and librarian of the St. Louis School of Fine Arts.   Mrs. Hutchings has also done much work for ‘The Mirror” along the line of art criticisms, municipal improvement work, etc.  It is interesting to know that she made inspections in the Industrial School, publishing the facts in that paper which four years later were proven by municipal investigation to be absolutely correct, and the city officials who scorned her actions at the time were the first to make apologies when they found her reports to have been verified..”

For two years she was on the editorial staff of the “Valley Magazine,” taking the Children’s and Domestic Science departments.  She prepared about one-half of the first issue of “Myerson’s American Family Magazine,” using seven pen names, and was on the staff for one year.  Emily is reported to have stated, “In my childhood I wanted to be a physician; but the first time I saw a cadaver, I fainted.  That settled my career.  My brother, who is a surgeon, laughed at me.  So I took to literature instead.”

Emily’s mother, Margaret Schmidt did train as a physician to “make herself more useful” to  her husband as he contemplated a missionary appointment in Japan but “in those days the rights of womankind were disregarded by medical colleges and she was not allowed to take a degree .”  Although her husband did not become a missionary due to poor health, Margaret Schmidt’s services as a physician “were soon in great demand in the vicinity of her home and she was recognized by all as a physician of ability.  Her field of labor widened and at last she had clientele not exceeded by any other practitioner in Hannibal (Missouri).  She continued in professional work until declining years led to her withdrawal from active practice .”

Emily Hutchings died at home in St. Louis in 1960 and poignantly, after such an outstanding career, obituaries remembered her as little more than the widow of Edwin Hutchings.  No mentions were made of her literary career or love affair with the Ouija board or spiritualism.

LOVE POEMS 1

I would like to start providing an assortment of poems by Patience Worth.  Perhaps it is appropriate to start the recitation with poems of love and friendship.  The following poems by Patience Worth are some of my favorites.  I hope you will like them too.

John-Esther

MY MOTHER AND FATHER, ESTHER AND JOHN

PREDESTINED LOVE

Can I then hope to tear from out my heart the song ‘twould tell thee?
Were I to sing to the woodland, ‘twould be thy song.
Or should I pipe of happy days when thou wert absent from my life,
Thoud’st creep within the singing and every note be thine.

Or should I make a song unto my saddest season,
Thou still would’st sing, e’en through my sorrowing.
Thou who art but the essence of my song’s wine
Hast blossomed long before, within its very grape,
And ripened with my season’s heat and cold.
Who then denies that from my first voiced crooning,
Thou hast been the vibrant chord?

 

MAX BEHR

MAX BEHR

The following poem was untitled as were all of her poems when delivered but were usually given titles by those close to Pearl Curran, including Emily Hutchings, John Curran, Casper Yost and others.  This poem was a personal poem dictated for Herman Behr a devoted friend and benefactor of Pearl Curran. After John Curran died on June 1, 1922, Herman Behr provided Pearl Curran and her two girls a stipend of $400 per month  for a number of years.  Herman Behr published a collection of poems of Patience Worth titled Light From Beyond  in 1923.  He also translated them into German.  Max Behr, a son of Herman Behr, graduate of Yale University and renown California architect of golf courses and editor and writer for Golf Illustrated & Outdoor America, assisted Pearl Curran after she moved to Los Angeles in 1930.  He participated in sessions with Patience Worth and edited some of her work.  After Pearl Curran died in 1937 Max Behr married Pearl’s adopted daughter Patience “Wee” who had been divorced from Gerald Peters with whom she had one child named “Hope”.  Max Behr also cared for Pearl’s biological daughter, Eileen Curran who joined Max and Patience Wee in his home in Los Angeles County.  Max Behr was 33 years older than Patience “Wee” when he married her in 1939.  Patience “Wee” died in an alcoholic stuper on November 23, 1943 in Los Angeles, six years after Pearl Curran. Eileen Curran married three times  and died in 1982 in New Orleans, Louisana.  Max Behr  had two grown daughters when he married Patience “Wee”; Lisbeth, born in 1906 and Evelyn born in 1908.  His first wife Evelyn Baker Schely died in 1919.  Max Behr died in 1955.

Although there are some who write negatively about Max Behr and his relationship with Pearl Curran and her girls, I think he is grossly maligned in that he assumed a large responsibility when, as an older man with two grown children,  he took on the care (and treatment) of Patience “Wee” and Eileen after their mother died.   Reportedly, the teen-age Eileen thought that Max was a “generous but domineering man” and that he “thought he was Christ.”

I think he had all that he could handle to keep these two young spoiled girls in bounds.

Eileen Curran

EILEEN L. CURRAN NORSTRAND KLEYMEYER MURPHY

WHAT MAGIC IS THINE,BELOVED?

What magic is thine, beloved?
Lo, had the day become a worn thing
And the vessels of office trinkets
Of memory.  What magic is thine?
Beneath the spell of thy voice have I
Walked upon the sands of morning
Which embrace Day, and found new toys
Awaiting me, new music in the waters,
New songs in the air, new peace
In the quietude, new simplicity
In confusion.  Each morrow is exultant
And I expectant.  I am comrade
With all days, no longer woeful
O’er yesterdays or fretful o’er tomorrows
Save in anticipation of new joys!

What magic is thine, beloved?
It is as though I had come fresh
From the conflict with bloody head,
With bruised hands and heavy feet,
With mine armour oppressing me—
It is as though I had come to thy side,
And felt thy gentle touch upon my brow,
Watched thy slender hands unthong
My coat of mail, and weary,
Dropped my head upon thy breast, secure
In the serenity of thy voice.

One of my favorites, the one which was read as part of my marriage ceremony is the following poem:

Victorian-Oil

KNOWING THEE

Beloved, I do not believe that I
Might know God’s mercy so intimately,
Save that I had known—thee!
I do not believe that my soul
Might have been so deep, so pit-like deep,
Had I not known and contained—thee!

Beloved, I might not hope—
Had I not heard thy pledge!
Nor could I have believed,
Save that I had believed in thee!
I could not believe that I
Might comprehend eternity,
Save that I had known thy limitless love!
Surely, Thou art the symbol of my New Day—
Wherein I might read
The record of my eternity!