About the Scribes
Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford were an unlikely team in scribing A Course in Miracles. As career-oriented psychologists working closely together at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, they were attempting to develop and strengthen the Center's Psychology Department. While their professional interests and goals for the department were compatible with each other, their personalities certainly were not. Helen's overtly critical and judgmental stance was juxtaposed with Bill's quiet and more passively aggressive personality, and they clashed constantly.
It was therefore a rather startling event when, in the Spring of 1965, Bill delivered an impassioned speech to Helen in which he said that he was fed up with the competition, aggression, and anger which permeated their professional lives, extended into their attitudes and relationships, and pervaded the department. He concluded and told her that "there must be another way" of living—in harmony rather than discord—and that he was determined to find it. Equally startling, and to their mutual surprise, Helen agreed with Bill and enthusiastically volunteered to join him in a collaborative search to find this other and better way.
It was as if Helen had waited all her life for this particular moment, which triggered a series of internal experiences for her that carried through the summer. These included heightened dream imagery, psychic episodes, visions, and an experience of an inner voice. The experiences also became increasingly religious, with the figure of Jesus appearing more and more frequently to her in both visual and auditory expressions.
This period of preparation culminated on the evening of October 21, 1965, when the now familiar voice of Jesus said to Helen: "This is a course in miracles, please take notes." Troubled, she called Bill immediately, and he reassured her that she was not going mad. He suggested she write down what was being dictated to her, and that he would look at it with her early the following morning at the office. Helen did just that, which is how the scribing of A Course in Miracles began. As Helen later described the experience:
"The Voice made no sound, but seemed to be giving me a kind of rapid, inner dictation which I took down in a shorthand notebook. The writing was never automatic. It could be interrupted at any time and later picked up again. It made obvious use of my educational background, interests and experience, but that was in matters of style rather than content. Certainly the subject matter itself was the last thing I would have expected to write about."