Opal Whiteley
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Here is where some believe she actually wrote the diary. "It was at this time, I think, that Opal 'fell apart' -- or rather she lived in two worlds, one as an adult and the other as a child again in the woods with her little companions," wrote Inez Fortt. "Confused and defeated, dependent on the generosity of friends and acquaintances, Opal probably withdrew from the life around her." As her mind regressed, she thought and wrote as a child, a royal princess in Fairyland, said Fortt. "As she sat and printed, the dream and the reality fused together, and the child-princess and Opal became one."

Not so, says Hoff, citing his extensive research presented at length in The Singing Creek. "If Opal had written her childhood diary in Los Angeles, it would have been during the seven-month interval between the end of 1918 and her trip to the East Coast to find a publisher for The Fairyland Around Us." In that time, he says, she would have had to print a quarter million words on the same kind of old paper the original diary was printed on, then tear them up so carefully as to fool everyone who examined the manuscript at a later date. "All this would have had to follow her exhausting work on The Fairyland Around Us, and the collapse of her health caused by the destruction of its plates."

What happened next, though, no one denies. And the story of how Opal's diary came to the world's attention is related in every account of her life...

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