In 1915 Opal was the most popular teenager in Oregon!
She was a magnetic teacher & youth leader
Blending science and faith in lectures to thousands of kids
Everyone thought she would be a great teacher or scientist
Instead, she became Oregon's most Controversial
In 1920 her childhood diary, "Opal, the Journal of an Understanding Heart" was
The Number Two Best-Seller in the World- read by Presidents and Kings.
At the young age of 22 Opal Whiteley was a major
Her story of an orphaned and abused child growing up in the Oregon woods
Took the literary world by storm. To readers, Opal seemed magical!
But, with the same speed as she rose ... Opal fell
from the public's favor.
Just a year later her book was out of print and Opal was accused of fraud,
And lying about her family. It was charged she had written her diary as a
Teenager, not a child. Disgraced, Opal went to India & Europe to prove her story.
Opal never returned to Oregon and never found the
family she searched for.
For decades Opal Whiteley's beautiful writings about nature, God and children
gathered dust - while she was committed to an English mental hospital.
She died there in 1992 - locked away for almost Fifty years.
Opal Whiteley's work and writings were Forgotten.
Finally, Opal's book caught the attention of best selling writer Benjamin Hoff,
Author of the "Tao of Pooh". Hoff spent years researching Opal's life.
Much of her diary was found to be True - but that is not the Whole Story ...
Enjoy the Haunting Mystery of "Princess Opal Whiteley".
To this day there is controversy - "What Happened to Opal?"
\Different people see her Differently - like the Opal Gemstone.
Was Opal a Mystic or was she Mad? A Princess or a Fraud?
Those Questions - and Others Remain Unanswered ...
If you are interested in Education, the Environment, the Mind
Or, simply like a good Mystery, then explore the
Inspiring and Tragic Mystery of "Princess" Opal Whiteley.
Steve has done a really good article on Opal.
It's a bit dated, written in 1997. We know a lot more about her today,
but this is still
an excellent, balanced article of Opal
and the controversy of her best-selling diary by a respected Lane County author. It was also published in the Lane County Historian.