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The Washington times. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1902-1939, January 25, 1920, FINAL EDITION, The American Weekly, Image 32

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026749/1920-01-25/ed-1/seq-32/

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The B?by M tiBeiig Raised bu
World for tne Daily Guidance of Littl
Wortn Wee Explained by Mrs. John Cu
Says She Was Commanded ty a Spir
Fortn, Find a Certain Infant and A
Spectral Messages from tke Qtner
EvTUL Y -public Ubrary and aU Um book stores hay?
on thiTalr shelves one or more novels by ''Pattereoe
Worth.'' But th?-? is do such living humau be
ioff aa "Patience Worth "?abe is a spook, a spirit, s
ghost, a voice from the world beyond the grave It 1?
These entertaining and ravther well written novels
War? dictated by the spirit of "Patience Worth" to
Mrs. John ? Curran, of St. Louis, Mra. Curran solemn
ly Ms?trta. Mrs. Curran says aha wrote every word of
that? novels and many poem* on a ouija board word
fttr word as the spectral voice of "Patience Worth"
whiipered them in her ear. t
shit theae spooky novel? ?ire not what this page
deals with to-*lay. ?A nor? oaereet?ng thing to being
done by this spook, .vccortllng to Mra. Curran and
her friends. 'Patience Worth" oommividtTsd Mra.
Curran, who ia childless, to seSarch for a certain rad
head*id, blue eyed infant "with dark linea in than."
whoee father was English and mother waa Scsotoh.
Such a baby waa found and adopted by Mra.
And thia child, embodying to-day features and
parentage similar to "Patience Worth," who tited 200
years ago, is being brought up by ita spectral god
mother Day by day "Patience Worth" gives Mra.
Curran an ouija board message of advice about little
Patienoe Worth Wee whenever il to U4>?*mI4mL
Three-year-old Patience
Worth Wee, iron* re
cent photograph of tho
ghost-guided lituo ono
ia Forest Park, St.
Louis, She is wearing
tho clothing ordered by
hot "spirit mother."
SIX years ago Mrs. John H Curran, of St. Louis, a
peculiarly healthy-minded, normal young woman,
who is the wife of the former Immigration Commis
sioner of Misitvouri, began for amusement to experiment
with the ouija board. This peculiar instrument for ' ' receiv
ing meaaages foom the beyond" consists of a flat wooden
board, about two feet long by one and a half wide, on
which are th? letters of the alphabet, the numerala up to
ten and the words ''Yea," "Mo," "Don't know" and
"Good-by." A little heart-shaped table on three legs is
placed on top of the board. The sitters place the board
upon their knees, the finger tips of both hands lightly upon
the heart-shaped table. After a while an "influence,"
"apirit" or "spook" begins to move the heart-shaped
board, whose narrow end then points to the letters, spell
ing out the words of ?ta* " message. " A third person, an
observer, acts as amenuensis, taking down the letters as
the pointer indicates them.
The "mestages" are accounted for by non-spiritualista
as an expression of the sub-conscious self of one or both
of the sitters; the mysterious movement of the table is
supposed to be due to unconscious muscle rhythms of the
hands of the sitters.
Whatever the explanation, Mrs. Curran began to hear
from someone who signed herself "Patience Worth" and
who spelled out upon the board sentences in remarkable
English?archaic, a forgotten dialect. This ghostly per
sonage speedily developed into the strongest kind of a
personality. She had been, she wrote, a maiden of Dor
setshire. England, who lived about 1650. She was a
weaver's daughter, an only child. She wrote that "my
thumb is thick from twisting flax" and speaks of deliver
ing fine linen to the "castle folk." Her father left to
come to America, and after the death of her mother.
Patience says she followed him to the new world. ?She
was then thirty-five. Her new home was in the vicinity
of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Near there she
tv a? buried, and now, she says, "a tree grows out of my
Soon she began to dictate stories and poems with ex
traordinary rapidity and facility. The first book pub
lished was "Patience Worth." The "Sorry Tale," a
story based on the episode of the impenitent thief on Ihe
cross, came out in 1916 and "Hope Trueblood." the last
book, was a story of old England.
The remarkable literary excellence of these writings
attracted widespread attention. Their dialect
passed every teat of experts. It was proven that
Mrs. Curran had no previous knowledge of them,
nor had she the education displayed by the com
munications. Dr. Martin F. Prince, the famous
neurologist, diagnosed ' ' Patience "asa sub-conscious
personality of Mrs. Curran and offered to rid her of it
by hypnotism. Mrs. Curran refused to have "Patience"
banished by this means or any other, and scoffs at the
sub conscious theory. Other distinguished scientists
studied her case, but with no better results.
For three years the "ghost" of Patience Worth?or
whatever it is that responda to that nam?2?had been dic
tating to Mrs. Curran by means of the oirija board as a
concentrator. One book had been printed, another waa
on the way to the printer. The first book was already
promising an excellent sale. Reviews had been flattering
and the publie was becoming interested
Then one evening, after the Currans had been' dis
cussing this materialistically agreeable result of the.man
ifestations, Patience Worth exploded a bombshell. In
the quaint old English words which she uses she an
nounced that inasmuch an there "seemed to be some
money in sight." and since it did not belong to the Cur
rans. "but to God," that they should seek "a wee babe
that had nothing, nothing and take it and care for iti"
This was. indeed, disconcerting. The Curran house
was a well-filled one. There was a grandfather, a mother
in-law, a stepdaughter and the husband and wife. Be
sides, they had counted upon using the money for thorn
Patience, however, was determined and explicit. Sho
caustically called attention to the fact that the emolu
menta of her bock did not belong to those who simply
took down her dictation, but that as the author and main
spring of the volume the returns from it were hers to do
with aa she Dleased.
"I am a weaver of cloth," said Patience on that night,
in the curious imagery she loves to use, "and this cloth
? weave is not for him who hath. Thou ehalt seek a wee
one who hath naught, and thou shalt deliver the goods
of me unto it? hands, and ye shalt speak ita name
?Patience Worth."*
This was an order, not a request 1 And to it when the
first shock of surprise had worn off the Currans gladly
??L?ook ye.'' the '^heat** went on, "this shall be one
who is sorely in need, mind ye ' Ye ?hall whisper sweets
unto it. even unto the wee ear that knoweth not thy
words, and tell unto it of a fairy dame who shall minister
unto it and of Him who sent her And she shell be the
love of all who love me and shall smile sweeta unto
"But why a girl instead of a boyt" the Currans aaked
anxiously. ,
"Ye aee,'* answered Patience cryptically enough, "a
man laddie hath man'? cunning, but the wee dame??ah,
I know I"
The Curran? quite naturally asked about the parent
age of the child, ita legitimacy and many other important
things, not the least of which was a description of it so
that they might know when they bad found tbe babe
Patience had in mind
She gave them certain directions???rather vague; told
them "not to mind earth's law but God's"?referring
unquestionably to the matter of parentage ; and to watch
close if there were any blood taints, but not to go back
further than the grandparent?.. She wanted the child
dressed simply, she concluded, and asked thai "about its
neck thou ?halt hang a sign of Him." The Curran?, and
rightly it, turned out later, construed this to mean ?
"Ye shall be upon tbe path! E'en now the wee one
is waiting," she urged.
So the hunt began for a child who wouid answer the
description. The entire "Patience Worth" clan was sent
out on the seareh. Two physicians were selected to ex
amine it when found for blood taint! Much ground wa?
covered in the next month. There were handicaps?an
interesting one the refusal by a certain large St. Louis
foundling institution to allow any baby to be taken from
there because "Mrs. Curran wrote on a ouija board."
During this search "Patience," who seems to have a
strange sense of humor at times, remained silent. Then
one night, according to Mrs. Curran, she directed them
to cease, telling them there was no use in looking for
"one that was not whole," and that in due time certain
signs would be given them whereby they would know
what to do ; adding that if they did continue it would be
"like a wolf seeking for a fat fowl to feed well upon
when the bird was still in the egg." After this, other
weeks passed by without any reference being made by
"Patience Worth" to the matter.
Then one morning Mrs. Curran met an old friend
whom she had not seen for years, and in the course of a
ride together told some of the details of the quest for the
baby. The friend, in return, told of a young wife who
was about to become a mother, who was practically home
less and friendless, and whose husband had been killed
some time before in a mill accident. That night g mes
sage from "Patience Worth" indicated that at last the
Curraros were on the right track and that which she had
prophesied M'as about to occur.
The next day Mrs. Curran went to see this woman,
who was very ill. A fever of preparation began imme
diately. Layette cradle, perambulator, lawyers, adoption
papers?everything was made ready just as though the
thing were already settled. Seemingly the possibility
that the expected child might be a boy was never for a
moment considered.
The mother-to-be signed the adoption papers, but held
them under the agreement that if she lived she was to
keep the expected child, but that if she died, then the
Currans were to have the baby.
Six weeks later, as Mrs Curran was writing with
"Patience" upon the now well-known "Sorry Tale," the
"ghost" stopped the dictation at exactly nine o'clock.
"This be enough," she wrote, and the board became
Everyone was on tip-toe with expectation. It had
been arranged that they should be called by phone at ten
o'clock for news of the birth, which had been imminent
for some hours.
On the hour the telephone rang and word came that a
girl child had been, bom at exactly the moment when
"Patience" had stopped the writing ?
When the child was seen it had all the marks that
were expected. Its hair was red as "Patience Worth"
had described her own. It had blue eyes with dark lines
in them, like those which -"Patience" had said she pos
sessed when on earth. Its parentage was the same as
"Patience," whose father, she had said, was English and
whose mother was Scotch.
The baby's mother died four days later and the child
was legally adopted by the Currans acting for "Patience
Worth " She was christened as Patience Worth Wee
Curran on November 26, 1916, the Rev George Wales
King, a prominent St. Louis minister, officiatine?. Mrs.
Cha?es H. McKee, an equally well-known social leader,
is her godmother, and Casper S. Yost, editor of one of St.
Louis' leading newspapers, is her godfather, with Dr
and Mrs Major ? E. Woodruff her sponsors.
The "ghost" having thus picked out her child, having
watched over its entrance into this world, having given
all essential directions for its discovery, was it not to be
expected that she would now take a most active part, just
like any real flesh-and-blood mother in bringing it upt
"Patience" soon answered this qnestioft in no un
certain way. It was clear that she intended to have a
finger in every detail?clothing, feeding, education, piny
and all elements of the child's life. And here must be
raised the interesting question of jnst what relationship
"Patience Worth" elsims to tittle Patience Worth Wee
?Curran. Does she assume to be its actual mot her t
Even admitting that there is such a disembodied
entity as "Patience Worth," what possible physical in
fluence could a "ghtMt" of a woman dead, on her own
account, almost three hundred year? have nr>on the

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