Automatic Writing / Art
One chapter concerning the "mechanism of delivery" is a description of how early in the case—beginning in July 1913—the Ouija Board was first used and several years later abandoned.
At first the delivery by Patience Worth was accomplished by the usual ouija board method, the letters of the alphabet being indicated by the pointer. But little by little the letters began to come directly into Mrs. Curran's mind, so that the use of the pointer gradually became a mere automatism, and by 1918 the record shows that it simply circled aimlessly. The development of the power to see vivid mental pictures while composition was going on kept pace with the increasing rapidity of the oral giving out of letters, which at length became so rapid that nobody not accustomed by long practice could possibly follow them and separate them into words, even in his mind. On March 13, 1919, while a poem was coming, Mrs. Curran happened to look into the eyes of a sitter, and noticed that the letters kept coming into her mind just the same, and, although she still moved the pointer in circles, thereafter she cultivated the habit more and more of looking away from the board. The next stage was when words began to come without the necessity of their being spelled, and on Nov. 24, 1919, for the first time an entire poem came by words only. On Jan. 5, 1920, it was set down: "Mrs. Curran had not spelled out six words in this entire record, and the rate of speed was something awful. A poem was secretly timed, and it came 110 words to a minute." On Feb. 12th, 1920, Mrs. Curran was finally weaned from the ouija board. After she for a long time "had been circling the board about with the pointer as usual and reciting the matter as Patience gave it to her," at Mr. Yost's suggestion the board was laid aside and the "pointer" was placed on a chair, with the hands of the two placed upon it. A verse having been thus successfully produced, they discarded the pointer, and let their hands simply touch the chair. At first Mrs. Curran felt "somewhat lost and confused" and Patience Worth dictated a sort of a sermon of broad application on the text "be not confused." Then Mrs. Curran "sat back to try without the chair, but still felt lost with her hands idle, and asked for something to hold. Mr. Yost offered his scarf-pin, and another poem was delivered." The alterations did not affect the quality of the product noticeably.