First, a fraudulent Holocaust memoir finds new life as a novel. Now, a leading U.S. spiritual author is dodging charges that one of his recent blog posts “ which follows nearly verbatim a decade-old essay by Candy Chand, another God-friendly author “ is anything but a case of straight-up plagiarism. Neale Donald Walsch, the author of the best-selling Conversations With God series, apparently had used Chand’s anecdote so often in his lectures that he thought it was actually his. In comments posted to his (now defunct) blog, Walsch suggests that the true plagiarist is therefore his subconscious, and he shouldn’t be held accountable. The New York Times reports:
[Mr. Walsch] did post his own comment, with a reference to academic research about inadvertent plagiarism, or cryptomnesia, a documented psychological phenomenon in which people believe they are remembering events that never happened to them. He also reiterated his apology to Ms. Chand.
In an interview, Ms. Chand said she did not believe Mr. Walsch had suffered from cryptomnesia. It’s like if I take my hand and I think your Rolex watch is so charming that I take your watch and put it in my purse, and then when you catch me I give an apology and say ˜oh, my goodness, I have no other excuse, it is yours, but my hand, I’m mystified by what my hand did,’ she said.