Conversations with God

Conversations with God


Upside down, or right side up?

In a December 28, 2008 post to his blog, author Neale Donald Walsch posted an essay under his byline that had actually been written by another writer, Candy Chand.
As a result, Mr. Walsch has decided to remove himself from Beliefnet’s blogging roster, a decision we support in order to protect the mission and integrity of our site and community. As a faith-based web portal, Beliefnet will continue to hold ourselves and our writers to the highest standards of trust.



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Candy Chand

posted January 6, 2009 at 11:58 am


Thank you to the beliefnet executive staff for trying to do the right thing.
Candy Chand



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Deb Reilly

posted January 6, 2009 at 9:13 pm


Ms Chand,
I truly enjoyed your story. I’m so glad to know the true author.
I just did a web search, typing in “Christwas Love” and came up with the following, without really even trying.
http://www.eons.com/groups/topic/454071
http://antiquetractorsforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=116901
I can only imagine the frustration of seeing your work in print, without being given the credit due to you.
God bless you.



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Ulysses P.

posted January 7, 2009 at 1:37 am


Imitation can be the highest form of flattery, but in this case, it’s kind of sad.



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Your Name

posted January 7, 2009 at 5:11 am


With respect to Ms. Chand, Neale Donald Walsch doesn’t stand to gain anything by “stealing” this story. I’ve been following his work for many years now and have seen on this very site where he has recounted and reprinted stories from other authors. When this happens, he sites that it is not his own work and that if there is someone who knows the true author, could they please let him know so proper credit can be given.
Neale Donald Walsch is the author of over 20 bestselling books and has earned a more than comfortable living from his work. What could possibly be gained from maliciously stealing any writings that are posted here for all to read free of charge?
Not only that, he has publicly gone on record here and in various news organizations with an apology where and given credit to the actual author. To push this issue futher would be an obvious attempt to “cash in” on a simple human error. Ms. Chand stands to gain a lot more from this incident (namely increased noteriety and perhaps a nice settlement) than Neale Donald Walsch.
Jeff Celentano



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Aly

posted January 7, 2009 at 12:21 pm


I completely agree, Jeff. I certainly never heard of Candy Chand until this incident happened. She should count herself lucky for his mistake! Tons of people will know her name now. She should thank Neale!



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Frank

posted January 7, 2009 at 1:40 pm


Are you kidding me? You believe this malarkey that he ‘internalized’ it as his own story? Ay yi yi you people need to wake up. His creative well was drying up so he lifted someone else’s story. What he did was wrong. End of story.



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It's Over

posted January 7, 2009 at 2:43 pm


It’s over man…it’s over!



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Bradley

posted January 7, 2009 at 4:46 pm


Yeah… I’m afraid if Waslch really wanted people to believe this was an honest mistake, he shouldn’t have produced an almost verbatim copy of Chand’s account. Telling a similar story could be an accident; stealing the exact words used by another writer is theft.



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OVER!?!?!?

posted January 7, 2009 at 9:36 pm


What?!
OVER!!!???
Did you say OVER???
NOTHING IS OVER UNTIL WE DECIDE IT IS!
Was it OVER when the German’s bombed Pearl Harbor? HELL NO!
(Germans?)
(Forget it he’s rolling)
And it ain’t over now! Cause when the going gets tough…


The tough get going! Whose with me!?!?!? Let’s Go! Come’on! AYYYYYYYyyyyyyyyyyy!!!



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Neale Donald Walsch

posted January 8, 2009 at 12:27 pm


Ever since the events began to swirl around my “plagiarized” Dec. 28th blog on Beliefnet.com I have been mystified as to how such a thing could have happened.
Today I have come upon a paper written by scholars David P. McCabe, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; Anderson D. Smith, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia; and Colleen M. Parks, University of California, Davis, California. The paper is titled…
…Inadvertent plagiarism in young and older adults: The role of working memory capacity in reducing memory errors.
The paper says that while plagiarism is usually defined as the intentional misappropriation of one person’s words or ideas by another, there is such a thing as inadvertent plagiarism, or cryptomnesia.
The authors provide researched evidence that people can and do “remember” things that did not happen to them, and, as well, that they can believe that thoughts or ideas or even words encountered previously “are their own original creations.”
The paper also says that “memory errors” often result from failure to discriminate between “different sources of activation.”This, the researchers said, was “a particularly likely outcome when those sources of activation are similar to one another.” (Please see footnote, below.)
Of course, we know now that the story that I inadvertently plagiarized and my own life experience are remarkably similar, right down to the name of my son and the son of the actual author of the story in question,
I am more sorry that this inadvertent plagiarism has occurred than anyone can begin to imagine. Not only because it caused distress to the author of the story that I quoted as my own, but also because of what this incident tells me about the fallibility of the human mind. In this case, my own.
I would like to say here that I feel certain that the author whose words I used thinking they were mine, a woman named Candy Chand, is a fine and wonderful human being. I understand fully why she would be upset with what has happened here, because it has happened to me. I also understand why she would find my explanation implausible. I, myself, have been mystified, as I’ve already said, wondering how in the world such a thing could have happened. The academic research I am finding on this subject is making things much more clear to me. I can only again express the hope that Ms. Chand will accept my sincere apology.
1. McCabe, D. P., Smith, A. D, & Parks, C. P. (2007). Inadvertent plagiarism in young and older adults: The role of working memory capacity in reducing memory errors. Memory & Cognition, 35, 231-241.



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Love Sick

posted January 8, 2009 at 1:58 pm


I’d like to take a moment to shine some of my perspective on this situation. I am drawing from what I’ve intensively researched about Ms. Chand’s accusations and what Mr. Walsch’s response to those accusations has been. This is my opinion as important as the next.
It makes no sense for a reasonable person to take anything from this whole situation other then a frustrated woman taking shots at a source she does not wish to open herself up to. This is a classic case of fear and nonacceptance. Ms. Chand doesn’t seem at all to be composed, together, or reasonable. She is trying to tug at strings that cannot be pulled, only strummed.
In her interview with the New York Times as posted at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/09/books/07book.html?hp she is quoted as saying:
“As a professional writer, when someone appears to plagiarize, they damage the industry, they damage other writers’ credibility and they hurt the reader because they never know what to believe anymore.”
“Has the man who writes best-selling books about his ‘Conversations With God’ also heard God’s commandments? ‘Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not lie, and thou shalt not covet another author’s property’?”
Mr. Walsch, in my opinion, and anyone who actually will read an article or watch an image without automatically taking their group consciousness or ego as the highest truth, does not plagiarize. One cannot plagiarize what is one. This whole thing is about a symbol. Who here is healing and who here is trying to steal?
“My apologies to a fellow author. I take passing off someone’s else work as one’s own as a serious matter, as does Ms. Chand. I hope that she will accept my personal deep regret that such a thing occurred. I never would have believed it could happen. A thousand apologies. Abject and real. To you, my readers, as well. And to myself, an invitation for me to look at how the mind works. I am astonished at my own mental failing here.” -Neale Donald Walsch
One side looks a lot like love and another position looks a lot like fear. Deciding which person is coming from what source can be found traced to her personal attack on Neale as a response, reciting Biblical verse in applying her life to Neale’s, and her inability to see a choice in sharing her great story with others, for others, only when it can be taken for profit or recognition.
It is unfortunate for Ms. Chands career in that she would try to use Mr. Walsch as a platform. I wish she could let go and realize the Angelina Jolie tricks of stealing the spotlight are middle school tactics at best.
It saddens me to see a Christian whose main beliefs in Christ are love and acceptance, attacking a man who has and is sincerely apologizing.
My thoughts and prayers are with both you Neale and Candy, hoping the negative energy produced by the true party at fault won’t in turn take away from what each of your lives mean to the greater good.



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Bradley

posted January 8, 2009 at 2:18 pm


I’m sorry, but anyone who can try to make a victim of theft into “the party at fault” is reprehensible. “Yeah, I stole his bike, but he didn’t have to be such a jerk about it.” Wow. “Upside-down” clearly refers to more than just a letter in a Christmas play.
Even if you believe Walsch’s account of how he came to re-type this woman’s essay, it’s beyond despicable to try to claim that she’s the one who did something wrong. She’s the victim here.



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Deb Reilly

posted January 8, 2009 at 9:51 pm


Bradley! You hit the bull’s eye!
When we have been hurt, THAT is when kindness matters MOST! It’s easy to be nice when things are going great, but it’s more important when things are awful. If we could understand that, the world would be paradise!
Justification for lashing out accomplishes nothing, except more anger, pain, and wrong-doing.
You got it man, just think about it!



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Disillusioned

posted January 9, 2009 at 12:19 am


I agree that Ms. Chand’s refusal to accept Walsch’s apology was less than charitable. That said, I’m so disappointed by this development.
Because the, “Conversations with God”, books were so inspiring, I tried to “suspend my disbelief” about the source, (a phrase coined by another charlatan I was taken in by – Carlos Castaneda). With this revelation, taking Walsch at his word would require ‘militant ignorance’. Sad, because I really did want to believe.



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Jeanne

posted January 9, 2009 at 2:57 am


Hey Cool it! My own mother used to tell stories of her very own four children over and over and get confused about which child she was talking about all the time! My sisters got credit for funny things I said or did and vice versa.
Here is how this could have happened to a very fine gentleman: years ago he reads the story, and being a man who visualizes and uses his imagination, he pictured the scene in his head using the image of his own son by the same name and the images of past Christmas shows he attended. WE ALL DO THAT! So the more you repeat the story, the more the visuals are reinforced. Next thing you know, it seems that it really did happen to you!
Even today I cannot sort out my own memories about my youth. Do I remember an oft told story through my memory or through the visuals I created while listening to my mother’s retelling of it? Our minds are funny things that can make us all fools. Ask anyone in criminal law just how reliable an eye witness is to a crime. Five minutes after an event, every witness will describe something different. We humans are fallible. Mr. Walsch admitted his error and apologized graciously. That in no way denigrates his books or insights from God. If you have read the books and spent some time with them and they rang true to your heart and true to your soul as they did to me, then you have no further to look for validation. If you suddenly doubt what you read in his books because of a simple error, then the messages probably didn’t ring true to you in the first place – or worse- you are doubting your own true feelings.
I’m sure when Ms. Chand cools down she can place this in better perspective and return to her own state of gracious forgiveness.



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Your Name

posted January 9, 2009 at 7:09 am


Reading through the comments left on this blog and on the one dated January 6, I am amazed to see that so many people will put forward that a person with existing literary success could not have anything to gain from plagiarizing another person’s works. This is a projection of what may be so for one person, but not necessarily true for all. A person could be considered highly successful in many respects and yet will still have a burning desire for ‘more’… whether it is of money, approval or adoration from a network of fans which they may have meticulously cultivated for their own purpose.
Apologies may be given because it moves into the realm of damage control or because a person wishes to save face. Whilst it may be an act of grace to accept an apology where given, should be a person be asked by the media what their thoughts or feelings are about a person’s motivation for having done something, in the western world at least, they are allowed to respond by sharing their personal insight or intuition. To judge or to call them names for having done so, is not best serving to humanity’s endeavors to cultivate a society of spiritual empowerment and freedom of speech.
Before attempting to assess who it might be that should gain or lose from all of this, it would perhaps serve to rest in the knowledge that spirit is eternally whole and complete.



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Vangelique H.

posted January 9, 2009 at 10:54 am


i just found and began reading this blog a couple days ago. i read the author’s apology and the replacement for his 12-28 blog that says that beliefnet has evicted him.
i can see where his explanation is possible and i do see evidence of a pattern of giving credit when author is known and not taking credit when author is unknown numerous previous blogs, which gives further credence to his claim that his was just a terrible mistake.
surely on a religious website, populated largely by the adherents of various religions that preach forgiveness and nonjudgementalism … surely if ANYwhere, here is the place that should forgive him and give him the benefit of the doubt!!
i could understand if there had been other incidents. but it appears that this was the first and only time. COME ON beliefnet, be the model/example that you should be and say, “first offense, plausible explanation, looks like an honest mistake, we forgive you, don’t do it again.” that is the ONLY appropriate response if my understanding of the situation is accurate.



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Seeing Through The Lies

posted January 9, 2009 at 2:15 pm


When Neale was first contacted about his blatant plagiarism he did not apologize. He instead stuck with the lie that the the story was his. When he realized that the New York Times was going to expose him for the charlatan that he is, then and only then did he decide to admit that the story was not his but had been copied word for word, letter for letter from Candy Chand’s story. However, instead of being a man of God, (and I say that tongue-in-cheek) and coming clean, he blamed it on a trick of his mind. Now he claims to have found a study that will get him off the hook. He says that what happened is called “inadvertent plagiarism, or cryptomnesia.” In other words, “I stole the story and claimed it as my own, but it is not my fault.”
I found another medical study that may be of help and it deals with compulsive lying. You can read it here:
http://dobbs.typepad.com/smoothpebbles/2008/03/npr-radio-lab-i.html
When you continue to lie over and over it actually begins to change how your brain is wired.
The first time you used her story without giving her credit in one of your seminars was your first step down this road. You willfully chose to make people believe that the story was yours. That is not only plagiarism, but a big fat lie. Each and every time you used it after that, you continued to tell a big fat lie. When you tell big fat lies over and over and over, you convince yourself that the story is indeed yours.
Stop blaming this on other things and place the blame solely on yourself. Admit you purposely stole it and come clean. You will feel better having the guilt removed from your conscience. Your blind followers will have to see you for who you are, but that won’t affect their rabid devotion to you. As many of your followers have said, it doesn’t matter what sin you commit, they will continue to follow you blindly.
But, the rest of the world will at least have a sliver of respect for you. As it is now, the vast majority of people see right through you and every time you make an excuse it is only making it worse for you.



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Gina

posted January 9, 2009 at 9:54 pm


This is what I have to say to Neale:
Well, to tell you the truth I don’t really care for the fact you used something that wasn’t yours as I do believe your explanation when you said: “…I must have clipped and pasted it into my file of ‘stories to tell that have a message I want to share.’ I have told the story verbally so many times over the years that I had it memorized … and then, somewhere along the way, internalized it as my own experience.” It does make sense what you said as it is perfectly normal for a human being to like something so much and believe in its truth so much that when you read it, think it and talk about it –it seams so real and feels that those are your own thoughts and words. Now, the truth is: how many times people have read books (like yours) that are so inspiring and contain so much true that when you read them it feels like they belong to them that they are their own thoughts, own words, and own work. That means all people “appear to plagiarize” (to use Ms. Chand’s words), which makes the statement “we’re all one” even more believable! We are all with you Neale Donald Walsch! Your books and words are so inspiring and contain so much truth (at least for those who feel that way– remember the feeling is the language of the soul) that make us all at fault, that we all plagiarize and we all pretend…Is this what Ms. Chan intends to say? Then, please Neale, stop feeling sorry for what you did, stop blaming yourself, stop apologising. In the end, you have done no harm to no one as your words, as any other inspiring words, are all welcome and enjoyable that does not matter who said them, write them or proclaim them as their own. What matter is, that they (the words) bring only joy, pleasure and love for the soul. And thank you for this! The words are there and reflect the truth no matter to whom they are belonging. Therefore, no one would feel confused about the truth they contain, or the credibility of what it’s been said. I am not confused nor did they hurt me as Ms. Chand insinuated when she said: “…they damage other writers’ credibility and they hurt the reader because they never know what to believe anymore”. This statement is false as I am one of the readers. Also, it does not make any sense when she said: “Has the man who writes best-selling books about his ‘Conversations With God’ also heard God’s commandments? ‘Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not lie, and thou shalt not covet another author’s property’?” I wonder if she has read any of your books. Maybe she did or maybe she did not get the message, or maybe she is not supposed to get it. If she did, she should know that there are no commandments set by God, that God is only love, which makes her a false source of information that plays with people’s mind… And I’m sure there are many people out there who feel the same way as I do about this article. So again, don’t feel guilty about anything – bless it!



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Barry

posted January 10, 2009 at 2:24 am


This is a very bizarre incident. Memory can play tricks on any of us, but Mr. Walsch’s claim seems so extreme that it’s hard to buy into. With computer text resource files, a writer may indeed scoop up a few paragraphs lying around on their hard drive which they thought were their own drafts and discards, and repurpose them without realizing that a particular text fragment was originally a quote from another writer, if the content and style are plausible matches for the writer’s own thoughts.
But this is just crazy. A once-in-a-lifetime, jaw-dropping coincidence of an event was witnessed by only one of these two writers, not both. I don’t see how Mr. Walsch could have convinced himself that he was the person who had been there and seen it happen, just because he and the real author both have sons named Nicholas.
And his text was essentially a xerox of Ms. Chand’s, EXCEPT that he oddly added at the beginning the claim that “a little girl made a mistake twenty years ago THAT I VIVIDLY REMEMBER TO THIS DAY.”
And to those who seem to regard Ms. Chand as the Grinch in this story, I have to say that in her shoes I too would be most unimpressed with Mr. Walsch’s actions and statements. She is a relative unknown, he has a massive following not only as an author, but as a pop guru type of personality (check out http://www.nealedonaldwalsch.com/index.php?p=Cruise).
We have seen more than a few examples in recent years of overexposed, overhyped writers who have blatantly stolen other people’s work in the frenzy of trying to keep stoking the boiler of their public personality cult. I have no desire to heap more grief on Mr Walsch if this was an honest mistake, but I have to admit that his grandiose self-promotion makes it all the harder to accept his version of what happened. This is a man wants you all to consider spending thousands of dollars to set sail on “the magnificent cruise ship Zaandam” with him where “the most urgent questions about life and God in the New World of our Making will be explored, along with the soul’s purpose, the nature of our eternal journey, and the future we have an opportunity to put into place.”
His big “OOPS, silly me!” would be hard to swallow in any case, but it’s all the more so when he bills himself as “a modern day spiritual messenger” who for a modest four-figure investment will “assist in clearing away any confusion” in your life.
I commit frequent memory errors, but I don’t go around asking people to pay me to tell them about the time when it was me and not Juan Diego that saw the Virgin of Guadalupe, just because I read about it somewhere.



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Your Name

posted January 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm


Check out the article at this web page.
http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090110/NEWS/901100313
In it you will find that:
“It was not until Beliefnet and Walsch learned that a New York Times reporter was working on an article about the incident that the post was removed and Walsch issued an apology”
At the link above, you will also be interested to read that the researcher whose work Neale cited as an excuse for what he did (Lead researcher David McCabe, a psychology professor at Colorado State University) said this when he was contacted about Neale using his research as an excuse:
“Inadvertent plagiarism is more likely to occur in older adults, he said, but plagiarized material more than a paragraph long is very unlikely to be copied by accident, he said.
“If there’s a long passage, from a paragraph up, then it’s almost impossible that that could be inadvertent plagiarism,” he said.
Once again, I might have some respect for Neale or Beliefnet if they both would have come clean when they were first contacted on January 2. But they chose not to. When you paint yourself in a corner, apologies don’t mean much after that. Besides, his apology lost all credibility when he stated that it wasn’t his fault, but a trick of his mind.
That should scare the rest of you into thinking that his conversations with whatever god supposedly talked to him, was also a trick of his mind.



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Your Name

posted January 11, 2009 at 2:56 am


When one is as intelligent as Neale, one must be quite self-loathing to lie, then continue to lie to cover up the lie, etc. I feel compassion for the suffering that Neale must be going through in this process. His work is very insightful. But, from what I have heard, he has a long history of being abusive towards the people around him without having the courage or love to make amends. When he is done with people, he tosses them aside. There may be no right or wrong. But there are consequences to ones actions. What goes around comes around. Perhaps Neale will use this experience to seek to make amends to those who have suffered at his hands so as to reduce his self-loathing. Perhaps nothing would benefit more from this than the work in which he so passionately believes.



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Elliott

posted January 11, 2009 at 9:43 am


“It’s just that people don’t think they are. That’s the point. So, do something outrageous, something that will have people scratching their heads, something that will have them denying your specialness, and even accusing you of being very UNspecial.”
“Heck, just telling people the story of my life should be enough to get them to do that. I’ve made enough mistakes, done enough things that no one would approve of, to make it impossible for anyone to hold me in a very special place.”
– Home With God, In a Life that Never Ends pg.17
Good on you Neale. I love you my Brother, mySelf.



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Your Name

posted January 11, 2009 at 6:40 pm


I was thinking the same thing as Elliott. I give him a credit.
“It’s just that people don’t think they are. That’s the point. So, do something outrageous, something that will have people scratching their heads, something that will have them denying your specialness, and even accusing you of being very UNspecial.”
“Heck, just telling people the story of my life should be enough to get them to do that. I’ve made enough mistakes, done enough things that no one would approve of, to make it impossible for anyone to hold me in a very special place.”
– Home With God, In a Life that Never Ends pg.17
God bless you all
Gina



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Faye

posted January 12, 2009 at 9:34 am


I feel so bad about this. I just watched CWG the movie on Saturday night and it made me want to read the book, so I just got it. I feel really bad for Neale about this. I’m sure most people are looking at it as something dishonest, but something tells me he was maybe in a rush to post something and just wasn’t thinking carefully when he posted it. I can’t see how someone who knows his own popularity and knowing that all these people look up to him, would consciously risk losing it over one blog post. I feel really bad for him and can’t imagine the humiliation he must feel right now.



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Bryan

posted January 14, 2009 at 12:40 am


Neale’s explanation is certainly plausible – more importantly – it is actually what happened.
Neale’s whole life is writing down thoughts.
When he get’s a thought – he writes it down.
And to think that something from 20 years ago – that appears
to be something very inspirational [which is something Neale has written many times before] was material that he wrote – is not crazy.
Does anyone think that Neale or any blog author actually doesn’t keep files for future use anyway ?
The reason he took the story word for word – was because he honestly believed that 20 years ago, during his real son Nicholas’ performance – this is what happened – and he must have wrote that piece on it – and forgotten it over time.
Neale has written millions of words and 22 books.
This is one of those weird things in life – that at first – appear to be cut and dried … but when we take a reasonable look at it – we realize that “hey, that really could have and did happen”.
Neale had no reason to take this story off the web – and make it his own.
Think about how insane that would be ?
I mean you can GOOGLE any words written by Neale – and his beliefnet blog appears …. and he knows it.
Some people think there’s no way a person would ever forget if they wrote that material 20 years ago or not …. and I that would be true for someone who rarely writes articles … yes, this story would something the average person would not forget writing.
BUT … not for someone who does nothing but write.
And here’s another example – I have made repairs on my cars so few times in my life [maybe 10] – that I should be able to tell you what I did to my cars 20 years ago … but I can’t.
Imagine if was an actual auto-mechanic ?? Now I realize that my analogy here is not the same … but all I am saying is that people just stop for one second and think about how many words Neale has written.
This was on honest mistake.



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Bradley

posted January 15, 2009 at 9:47 am


So… just so I’m clear: which story are we going with? That he was a victim of cryptomnesia and that he accidentally recalled Candy Chand’s essay word-for-word, or that he’d actually copied the essay, put it into a word processing document, and forgot about until 20 years later (quite an accomplishment, considering the essay itself is only 10 years old, but let’s not let facts get in the way of excusing theft), when he stumbled upon it and assumed it was own? You folks probably want to get your story straight.



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nrnoble

posted June 5, 2011 at 9:00 am


I believe that Walsh’s explanation is possible because my Dad has memories of events that never happened, and it has been proven to him as having been impossible, but he still believes those memories are real. The results has been that his family can not fully trust what he has to say to be true without further validation. If this is a true false memory and not intentional plagiarism, there are likely to be other false memories and delusions, not just this one.



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Longino in Africa

posted June 16, 2011 at 4:28 pm


None of the two writers is right or wrong. Is only ‘relative’. It depends on which angle you are looking/approaching this issue. That s why all the comments above are either this way or that way. Nothing really matters. Both Neale and the lady author are great spirits coming from one source-Love. I Love u both and all the bloggers from whichever ‘relative position’ (read-your mind) you r at this point in time in the universe. We r all ONE. Be ready to change u a truth when new reality becomes apparent to u



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