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Censorship Discovered in the Old Edition of The Key

The first edition of The Key, published by Walker & Collier in 2002, was censored by unknown parties. The second edition, published this month by Tarcher/Penguin, contains the dialogue between Whitley Strieber and the Master of the Key as it Mr. Strieber originally transcribed it in 2001. Whitley says, "When I saw what had been done to my edition, I was appalled and I was furious at myself for not noticing it in all these years. But the changes were small and hard to notice, just very important." An astute reader of the Key discovered that there were differences between the first version published through the Striebers' Walker & Collier imprint in 2002, and the new version published by Tarcher/Penguin this month. When the original edition was ready to print, Whitley received proofs from the printer and signed off on them after comparing them to his transcription. The changes were made at some point after that, and appear only in the actual printed book. They are not in any digital file possessed by Whitley Strieber. Whitley went on to say, "this was done by a skilled individual with deep knowledge of the Key. It wasn't a simple act of sabotage. It was careful, thoughtful censorship that was designed to disempower the reader and subtly discredit both me and the Master of the Key. It didn't ruin the book completely however. My edition is still filled with rich information."

References to generalized use of mind control were removed, as were the Master of the Key's explanation of the resurrection, and references to US government complicity in concealing UFO secrets. In addition, when Whitley asked him what the word that began creation sounded like, he actually answered, "I don't know, I wasn't there." This was changed in the printed edition to, "A whine." Whitley says, "I wondered about this when I went through the finished book. I should have checked it again against the transcript, but I didn't."

For a complete list of all the changes that were made, and Whitley's comments on the significance of each one, please click here.


The link does not refer to a complete list, just some of the major changes. As a purchaser of the first edition I will have to go through the text line by line and undo those tangles of confusion that may have settled and were pushed away in the back of my mind. I only hope that the effort provides more illumination of the meaning by examing the 'why that way' of each change.

Also it would help, I think, if Whitley can assure us that the Path was not tampered with either. Thank you.

The first thing I did was look through the Path. It's not been tampered with. The only changes not shown in the journal entry are the typographical errors changed during copyediting of the Tarcher edition, such as changing Moslem to Muslim. All of the substantive changes are listed.

Thank you Whitley for all the corrections, it must have been a bit tedious. I have the pages printed and clipped to my copy of “THE KEY.”

Books — real books, of paper and ink and subtle energies — have power. Knowing about the crippling of Whitley's original manuscript, we should also know that the first edition is, however slightly, a travesty, not truly Whitley's book. So I thank my little voice, for it prompted me, a few weeks back, to preorder the second edition, even though I already owned the first. Yesterday, in perfect synchronicity I finally received it, and promptly put the first edition in the recycling bin. And now I'm tempted to transfer it to the trash bin, where it truly belongs.

Not being one to throw out the baby with the bath water (and quite frankly, from what Whitley is describing here, there's very little bathwater to discard), I certainly can't bring myself to disregard the resonance I had with what was conveyed in the first edition. Perhaps it's just that I'm good at reading between the lines, or perhaps it's that I already subconsciously "knew" most of the concepts behind what MotK was discussing, but I've found that the changes here really only subtly change the meaning of the narrative for myself. Except for the "whine" part: I've always disregarded that statement before, but now it makes sense.
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I'll still be hanging on to my old copy of The Key, along with the new edition: aside from having a rather meaningful signature included on the front page, earlier "imperfect" releases of a product tend to become collectors' items, since they're typically rarer than the more popular runs.

So Whitley, while going through the process of writing then publishing, perhaps you were moving between dimensions. Life so similar and the differences so subtle you would not have even noticed. Perhaps no deception at all. (Trying to make a challenging event feel better.)

Carollee: I doubt this is the case, unless Whitley physically took The Key's proofs along when shifting dimensions. In a case of shifting dimensions, it would only be his memory that would be in conflict with the printed material, with no other record of the discrepancy. But in this case, there are two separate, comparable documents that don't jive.

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