Winfried Kurth

from Mentalities / Mentalités, 13 (1998), 36-49


In the internet, Lloyd deMause has asked whether Lady Diana had to die because she played the role of a poison container, being loaded with sin1. At first sight, this conjecture looks unbelievable, since her death on August 31, 1997, was followed by an unprecedented worldwide wave of mourning and adoration for this "queen of our hearts". This post mortem mass phenomenon has already led journalists to discover the "magic of emotions"2 and sociologists to initiate research projects about the "birth of the Diana mythos"3 after her death.

In this article, I am going to present material telling another story: the now-suppressed story of the days immediately before Diana had to die. It is my conviction that both emotional situations - that one before and that one after her death - belong together; they are the two sides of the same medal. In the end, I hope the reader will better be able to find a well-founded answer to Lloyd deMause's question.

Some readers who might find the associations evoked by the images below too bizarre could suspect me of cheating and could argue that in the mass media you'll find any motif you want if you extend your search far enough. It is therefore important to emphasize that all images and texts which I am going to present on the next pages appeared in print during the last three weeks before Diana's death. More than half of the pictures come even from the last five days of her life. And I have only searched through a relatively small number of newspapers4, a more intensive recherche - including other mass media as well - will probably broaden the evidence.

Di and Dodi

Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, ex-wife of the heir of the British throne, died on August 31, 1997, at 4 a.m. in a hospital in Paris, after the car occupied by her, her lover Emad (Dodi) Fayed5 and two other persons (the chauffeur and Dodi's bodyguard) had collided with a concrete buttress and crashed against a wall inside a tunnel in the centre of Paris6. The crash happened at 0.25, killing Dodi Fayed and the chauffeur immediately. (The bodyguard was the only survivor; he was severely injured, suffered from a loss of memories7 and recovered slowly.) The car must have entered the tunnel, where only 30 mph were allowed, at a rather high speed - estimations made after the crash varied between 90 mph8 and 120 mph9 - and had passed a red traffic light some minutes before10. It was followed by at least seven press photographers on motorcycles8; obviously, a race had taken place. Afterwards, the police found in the blood of the dead driver a level of alcohol of 1.85 promille and traces of Tiapridal and Fluoxetine (psychiatric drugs).

Diana and Dodi knew each other since July 18 and had spent only 12 days together11. However, their love affair was the main theme of the pulp magazines all over Europe during the last three weeks of August. Their "first kiss" was depicted on the front page of The Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and other magazines on August 9 / 10, some of them using images manipulated by computer12, and sexual intercourse was vividly imagined by the public (Fig. 1). The marriage between the 36 years old Diana and the 41 years old Dodi Fayed, citizen of Egypt and son of the owner of the London department store "Harrods", seemed to be only a question of time (Fig. 2).

Fig. 1: "Don't worry: here they can't find us!"
(Le Monde, August 13, 1997)

Fig. 2: "Daddy? Concerning your future daughter-in-law..." - "Tell me instead about her former mother-in-law..."
(Le Monde, August 17, 1997)

However, the affair was not seen in a friendly light. Dodi had the reputation of a playboy - with Brooke Shields and Julia Roberts among his numerous previous lovers5 - and was generally not considered as an adequate partner for Di. On August 31, the day of her death, the magazine News of the World appeared with a headline telling that Prince William, her eldest son, would "today demand from his mother to leave her Playboy Lover, Dodi Fayed"13. Most newspapers in Great Britain retained a certain politeness towards Diana, but nevertheless it was denounced that she took "her third holiday in a month"14 and later that she and Dodi had left "for their forth trip abroad together in five weeks"15.

Horrible Feelings

What was the general emotional atmosphere in which this affair took place? Cartoons, title pages of newspapers, and headlines can reveal which subjects the public is occupied with, and what types of deeper emotions and fantasies are prevailing in a large group like a nation16. From this perspective, the last three weeks of August, 1997, were a particularly frightening period - and this seems to hold at least for Great Britain, France and Germany. Newspapers in all three countries showed people in free-fall17. There was a feeling like "Driving blind in the contraflow"18, or, as a report about the series of damages in the Russian space station "Mir" put it into words: "The computer is switched off and there will be no altitude control. We do not know the consequences of this chaotic flight."19 At the same time, massive fears for infection and pollution were expressed. At one and the same day (August 15), the German provincial newspaper Göttinger Tageblatt put out the messages "Aggressive bloodsuckers" (with a close-up photo of a mosquito - the same motif had appeared in the British Times on August 13 20), "Federal Environment Office issues warning of blue algae", and "Worm larvae - fish merchants keep calm"21. Further headlines from this newspaper, appearing some days later, were "Boy starved in the Alps" (this turned out to be a fantasy: in reality, the child had died from a skull fracture)22, "Nursery schools threatened by blackmailer"23, "Priest gives away heroin to addicts"24, "CDU and CSU (German governing parties) in a state of confusion"25, "65 tons of meat suspected of BSE were used"25, "Chaos in Bonn"26, "Tobacco industrialist admits death risk" (of smoking)27, "Ozone dangers"28, and "AIDS congress in Bremen: Life at all costs?"29. The Times published a long report about a "sweating sickness that haunted Tudor England"30. Cartoons showed persons being devoured by a dragon31 or threatened by a gigantic, faceless lion (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3: Le Monde, August 30, 1997, p. 6.

Fig. 4: New Statesman, August 15, 1997.

Fig. 5: Göttinger Tageblatt, August 22, 1997.

Images of death and extreme violence were mixed with this infection / pollution / maw imagery: Reapers (Fig. 4) and mutilated bodies (Fig. 5) appeared. In London, the Royal Academy of Arts felt for the first time in its 229-year history obliged to display health warnings for anyone entering its latest exhibition called "Sensation", which showed "nude, limbless sex dolls" and a much-discussed portrait of the child-murderer Myra Hindley32. Other reports focused on the "notorious bodysnatchers Burke and Hare" who had operated in Edinburgh in the 1820s33 or on the serial killer Andrew Cunanan34. In Germany, a jurist was publicly cited who justified the death sentences of the communist regime in the GDR35, and several articles brought the crimes of the Belgian child killer Dutroux from last year again into consciousness36.

However, do all these findings imply that something special happened in the emotional life of Great Britain, France and Germany in the end of August, or will a sample of headlines and cartoons taken at any other moment from the media yield the same spectrum of feelings and fantasies? As a matter of fact, collective emotional trends can be monitored and objectivized to a certain degree. Based on earlier work by L. deMause16,37 and J. Atlas38, a team around L. Janus, F. Galler and the author is permanently collecting and evaluating all cartoons from a selected sample of German and Swiss newspapers since 1995, counting "strength" and "threat" motifs. (Details of this method and the results obtained for the years 1995 and 1996 are documented elsewhere39,40.) Soon it became apparent that the indices summarizing the "strength" and "threat" content, respectively, do not fluctuate at random but seem to follow a cyclic pattern, which can also be detected in the newspaper headlines and which resembles in its emotional dynamics the group-fantasy cycles discovered by L. deMause16, but on a much shorter time scale: One such cycle has normally a duration between 2 and 8 weeks. Since this is approximately the time scale of the patterns which H. F. Stein had discovered in his pioneering study of the U.S. local newspaper Sunday Oklahoman41, we named this phenomenon "Stein cycle". Each Stein cycle leads from pollution / enclosement / starvation fear through an explosive and violent phase with "birth" imagery to manic strength and potency fantasies. A look at Fig. 6 confirms that in Germany since the middle of August, 1997, "threatening" feelings typical for the "fear" phase of a Stein cycle were accumulating, whereas the "strength index" was on almost continuous decline, after it had passed a maximum in the beginning of the month (belonging to a previous Stein cycle).

Fig. 6: Strength index (unbroken line) and threat index (broken line) from cartoons from German and Swiss newspapers, August 1997. Five-day sliding averages.

Fig. 7: German share index (DAX), stock exchange Frankfurt, August 1997. Daily closing values.

Another "objectified" index of collective fantasies is provided by the stock market. Fig. 7 shows that the German share index (DAX) had a falling trend during August. This was quite a new experience, since the share prices in Frankfurt (and also at Wall Street) had reached an unprecedented historical record at the end of July and had been climbing nearly continuously all the months before. In Paris, the French share index (CAC-40) showed an even more pronounced low at the end of August42. Inflation fears are the usual way how the typical birth anxieties of a Stein cycle are expressed on this economical level43, and in fact, on August 13, The Times headlined "Inflation hits highest level for two years" 44.

Up to now, we have discussed psychological trends during August 1997 which are of a frightening nature but which do not yet suggest a direct connection to Diana's death. The next sections will present more specific material.




Fig. 8. Le Monde, August 14, 1997, p. 1: "Mom, I have shrunk the defense!"

Fig. 9. L'Express, August 21, 1997, p. 3: "What a courageous girl, this Martine! Everywhere where young people are, she is there!" (On the folder: "Jobs for the young")

Women out of control

In France, the newly-elected left-wing government under Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, with several women in his cabinet, had begun to redistribute financial means from the defense sector to the social sector. This was seen as a threat for male potency (Fig. 8). Particularly the activities of the Ministry for Social Policy, Martine Aubry, were felt to disturb somehow the patriarchal order, which had been expected to be revived during the visit of the Pope in France in the middle of August (Fig. 9).

Furthermore, the female capacity to give birth and shelter to children - particularly foreign children - was imagined as a threat for the national, phallic potency (Fig. 10). Some days later, Le Monde brought a photo of Diana, also holding a black child (Fig. 11; we'll come back to this picture).

Fig. 10: Le Monde, August 22, 1997, p. 7.

Fig. 11: Le Monde, August 27, 1997, p. 11.

The Times portrayed a businesswoman as a "beautiful predator"45 and claimed that "ever more children are being viciously attacked by girls"46. On the other hand, "Casanova the thinking man loses his sexy reputation"47. In the "Medical briefing" section, "Coping with precocious puberty" was discussed48. At the same time, the Göttinger Tageblatt brought an article remembering Marilyn Monroe's death49 - who had been a symbol for female sexuality. On August 23, news agencies reported that President Clinton will be accused by Paula Jones for sexual harassment50. The most powerful man of the world was threatened by a woman! At the end of the month, male feelings of loosing control over women were overtly expressed in cartoons (Fig. 12, 13).

The wish for a sacrifice

The visit of the Pope in France was imagined to initiate a "rebirth" of the Catholic Church51. In the history of mankind, fantasies of national or religious rebirth have often been accompanied by human sacrifice (through war, civil war or religious fanaticism), justified by the imagination that the shed blood of the victims would cleanse the polluted national bloodstream52.

Consequently, expectations of a sacrificial rite were expressed in the media, after the Pope had left Paris without any bloody event. First of all, the traditional sacrificial symbol of Christianity, the cross, appeared amazingly often in the media in the end of August, 1997 - and not only in connection with the visit of the Pope (Fig. 14).


Fig. 12: Göttinger Tageblatt, August 27, 1997.

Fig. 13: The Times (Weekend), August 30, 1997, p. 13.


Fig. 14: The sacrificial Cross was a dominating motif during these days. (Top line, from left to right: Le Monde, August 18, p. 7; The Times, Aug. 19, p. 23; Handelsblatt, Aug. 27; L'Express, Aug. 28; below: Tagesanzeiger (Zurich), Aug. 29, 1997.)

On August 26, unknown people bedaubed a cross in Göttingen, standing as a war memorial, with red paint (Fig. 15). A cartoon in Le Monde showed a woman with a cross in her face, thus combining the motifs of woman and cross (Fig. 16). We note in this connection that the instrument of the puppeteer in Figs. 12 and 13 had also the form of a cross.

In another cartoon, we see the female symbolization of the French nation, Marianne, burning and her head bent into a ballot-box ( = urn, tunnel, birth canal? - Fig. 17).

Fig. 15: Göttinger Tageblatt, August 27, 1997, p. 7.

Fig. 16: Le Monde (Supplement), August 25, 1997.

Fig. 17: Le Monde, August 28, 1997.

Finally, one day before Diana's death, the group fantasy reached in France a state where a human sacrifice, the sacrifice of a girl or young woman, was overtly announced: In an ad promoting a book entitled "The Sacrifice of the Butterfly" (Fig. 18), and in a large-size photo showing a young woman with a flower in her hands, threatened by bayonets (Fig. 19).



Fig. 18. The thriller of the summer: The sacrifice of the butterfly (announced one day before Diana's death: Le Monde (Suppl.), August 30, 1997).

Fig. 19: The sacrifice of the young girl is imminent (Le Monde, Suppl., August 31, 1997).

The victim's last activities

Princess Diana was a sensible person. During several years, she had suffered from being enclosed in a social environment consisting of people (the members of the Royal family) who had had a much harsher childhood than she had experienced5. She claimed that she "feels to be close to the people, whoever they are", that she has "the same wavelength" the people53. Consequently, she must have noticed that something was brewing around her, that she was in danger of becoming a sacrificial victim of the group fantasy - like President Kennedy who had noticed the death wishes towards him when he went to Dallas in 196354. Her activities during the last three weeks of her life support this conjecture. She visited a clairvoyant55 and the leader of the Greek Orthodox church56 - obviously, she was fighting an uncertainty. Both visits didn't remain unnoticed by the public. The date with clairvoyant Rita Rogers in Derbyshire, who claims to be able to contact the spirits of dead children and was reported to be "utterly depressed" after the meeting with Diana55, was satirized in a cartoon (Fig. 20): Here, the blonde Princess is already in the position of a sacrificial victim, shackled with strings of pearls around her arms and neck to the couch and being completely at the black-haired, threatening woman's mercy.

Fig. 20: Diana as victim of the terrifying woman (The Times, August 16, 1997, p. 18).

Diana's last interview53, which she made with a reporter of Le Monde and which was published four days before her death, reads in large parts like a legacy - or like an obituary. She presented herself from her best side, emphasizing her humanitarian activities in the past. She complained about the "ferocious press", but accepted her role as a victim of the press (i.e., of the public), since she "had her sons" in Britain - otherwise, she would have fled the country. The photo appearing with the interview (Fig. 11) was chosen by herself (" 'it shall be this one' she said, without any hesitation") and shows her holding a little Pakistani boy, sick of cancer, who was known to have to die within a few days. Hence she must have unconsciously realized her connection with death, which was already ascribed to her subliminally by the public. At the end of the interview, she spoke of "a sort of destiny", and the last words were "I will go whereever I am called"53.

We did not yet discuss Diana's political role in favor of a ban against landmines. Her participation in this campaign was probably not the main reason for her sliding into the role of a sacrificial victim, but it does well fit in. First of all, Diana disregarded the historical taboo which tells the nobility to be utterly restrained in political affairs, and which goes back to the very beginnings of the modern democratic societies of the West. She had directly attacked the Tories for their position against the mine ban treaty; later, when she had noticed her breach of the rules, she tried to calm the waves and emphasized that her concerns were only "humanitarian" and not political57. But even more important, she had brought to our consciousness that we are involved in the mutilation and killing of thousands of children per year all over the world through landmines. (In fact, the German state is still financing the development of new mines in 1998 with nearly 100 million DM, while for minesweeping only 18 million DM are available58, the situation in other industrialized countries being similar.) Our responsibility for the permanent mutilation and slaughtering of children in distant countries is obviously an issue which we would have liked to be kept secret - like Mr. Dutroux and his allies in Belgium were not interested in letting the public consciously know about their child rapes and murders.

Another important reason for Diana's latent, but growing unpopularity during August was of course her affair with the Egyptian Dodi Fayed - a Moslem.

A historical connection

Exactly 425 years and one week before the car with Diana and Dodi collided in Paris with the tunnel wall, another Princess in the same town came together with a man of a different faith: Margaret Valois, daughter of the Catholic Catherine Medici and sister of the French king, married Henry Navarra, the Huguenot59. This event on August 23/24, 1572, known later as the "Night of St. Bartholomew" or the "Bloody wedding of Paris", was connected with so intense anxieties in the people at that time that massive violence - partly organized by the nobility for political reasons, partly spontaneous - against the religious minority of the Huguenots in France was the immediate consequence. During the massacres, about 20,000 of them were killed in the country, 3,000 in Paris59.

Is this historical parallel - the "sinful" connection between Di and the Moslem Dodi in 1997, between Margaret and the Huguenot Henry in 1572, and the bloody result of both affairs - of a merely accidental nature? The historical Massacre of St. Bartholomew was mentioned in the newspapers in France in August, 1997, on the occasion of the Pope's visit. But there is also a direct connection to Diana, which is, however, of a strange nature: On her visit of the island of Chios in the Aegean on August, 17, Diana had a meeting with a high-ranking priest, the leader of the Greek Orthodox church - and the name of this priest was Bartholomew I!56

Now it would be silly to believe in a magic spell of the name itself without people being touched by it, but it is nevertheless interesting to notice that Diana was brought into connection with the name "Bartholomew" in the mass media. The further association "bloody sacrifice", coming from historical background knowledge or from the media discussion around the Pope's visit, is not so far away then.

We should also have in mind that Di and Dodi were visiting a country where violent attacks against Arab immigrants have become quite normal for the last several years, and where the right-wing extremist party "Front National" is getting more and more votes for their anti-immigrant policy. Similar tendencies against non-European minorities exist in Germany and other European countries. Just on August 27, 1997, the newspapers again reported attempts on foreigners' lifes in France, Switzerland and the Netherlands60. Undoubtedly, the liaison between Diana and the Arab Moslem Fayed provoked deep anxieties and rage in a lot of people in all these countries, who are not able to maintain their psychic equilibrium without scapegoating people who are different. Even in the academic community, many agreed upon the thesis that Islam will be the main future enemy of Western civilization61 and will substitute for the Soviet bloc in this role. From this perspective, a serious affair with a Moslem would not only be indecent and blasphemous, but also a political betrayal!

But after all, there remains the question: Can a road accident be a sacrificial rite? Indeed, Diana's accident was, and in such an obvious manner that even the mass media mentioned it. Diana was "haunted by the press", but the press photographers were nothing but delegates of the public. The press is normally only the communicator of the collective fantasies and wishes, but in this case it was directly involved in acting out the main group fantasy in Europe in the last weeks of August, 1997. And the delegate function of the "Paparazzi" was vividly felt: a British fan of the Princess confessed in the radio, "I killed her because I bought magazines with her photos!"62

However, the role of the photographers after the crash was mainly that of scapegoats whose "guilt" had to prevent us from deeper insights into the dynamics of the sacrifice. A closer look at the circumstances of the accident in the tunnel reveals that other persons had to behave in a quite irregular manner to make possible the chain of events leading to Diana's death. The car had a crazy speed, the driver and at least his chief, Dodi, must have wanted the race, if they didn't even provoke it. Normally it is not too difficult to cut off a car with prominent persons from following press photographers with the help of a second car blocking a narrow street for a while63. But the occupants of the car were not able to make rational plans in this night; they were probably in a trance, with the driver drunk, and Diana and Dodi also not completely sober (they had champaign before64). Furthermore, Henri Paul, the driver, was possibly an ideal candidate9 to pick up the subliminal public wishes urging for the sacrificial death of the Princess and to elect himself (unconsciously) our delegate - in a similar manner Reagan's near-murderer John Hinckley did when death wishes against the President appeared in the U.S. media65. In the final section we will now see that all essential elements of Diana's "accident" were indeed present in the media before the crash happened.

Elements of Diana's death, anticipated

Fig. 21: Advertisement announcing the day of Diana's death. (The Times, August 12, p. 3; Aug. 14, p. 6; Aug. 16, Magazine; Aug. 20, p. 6; Aug. 23, Magazine). On August 16, it was accompanied by a whole-page ad promoting travel to Paris.

Fig. 22: The stage is prepared
(The Times, August 28, 1997, p. 34).

Early in the month, the Times spoke of a "tunnel vision"66. The date of Diana's death was predefined by an advertisement which appeared several times in August and showed a car in an hour-glass, with a black background (Fig. 21). The hour-glass, a traditional death symbol, appeared again in the Times later in another connection67, and in Germany, the Göttinger Tageblatt had also the headline "Time is running out"68. It was evident that an upper-class woman had to die, with some male individuals somehow around her (Fig. 22).

On August 27, a trial action69 took place: In Manchester, an "out-of-control Ferrari kills couple walking hand in hand"70. Since the female victim was a French citizen, this accident was probably also reported upon in France. We ensured ourselves that we would deny our part in the approaching sacrificial killing (Fig. 23).



Fig. 23: We won't see anything
(Le Monde, August 29, 1997).

Fig. 24: "Nothing goes anymore", or: The killed soul
(Der Spiegel, August 25, 1997).

Fig. 25: In the tunnel.
(Süddeutsche Zeitung, August 19, 1997).

The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel first announced an "encounter with death" on its title-page71, and on the following issue, it depicted a smashed, dead soul at a wall, however in a rather encoded manner (Fig. 24). But there were more explicit images of motorcycles or cars going to crash or already damaged (Figs. 25, 26). On the two subsequent days before Diana's crash, the Göttinger Tageblatt presented photos of demolished cars on the front pages (Fig. 27), as if one of them wouldn't have been enough.

Fig. 26: Süddeutsche Zeitung, August 30, 1997 (one day before Diana's death).

Fig. 27. Two, resp. one day(s) before Diana's death: Crashed cars were the main issue.
(Göttinger Tageblatt, left: August 29, 1997, p. 1; right: August 30, 1997, p. 1.)

If our hypothesis is right that the actions of the persons participating in the sacrificial process were inspired by the media messages, then this massive crashed-car imagery must have had an effect not only on Henri Paul and the Paparazzi, but on other drivers as well. And in fact it had. Fig. 28 shows the German statistics of serious road accidents (with people killed or injured or with severe damage to the car), where a distinct increase in the last week of August is apparent. (It would be interesting to check this in French and British statistics, too.)

Fig. 28: Road accidents with severe damage in Germany72. The difference to the long-term average for the respective weekday is shown (to eliminate the weekly periodicity). Five-day sliding averages.

Fig. 29: Inspiration for chauffeurs.
(The Times / The Directory, August 30, 1997.)

Fig. 30: "No photos, please!"
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, August 30, 1997, p. 4).

It is nearly unnecessary to mention that drinking was encouraged (e.g. by the Times bringing reports about "Mother's little liquid helper" on August 2073 and about wine cellars on August 3074; see also Fig. 29). Even the rage against photographers, which was the main emotional reaction immediately after the crash, was anticipated by a cartoon before (Fig. 30)! To finish our citations from August 1997, we present the main headlines of the Göttinger Tageblatt from the day before Diana's death, which happen to summarize the whole group fantasy in short:

Deadly bacteria threaten children / Infection
Massacre with 98 fatalities in Algeria
Person assassinated in Banja Luka
"It has to bang in the box"

The "bang" in the tunnel in Paris, which brought the fulfillment of the here-documented fantasy, was not the product of a transcendental fate or of a magic spell - at least in the opinion of the author (though the presented material might have a certain potential to stimulate adherents of esotericism). Nor was it the result of a consciously planned "conspiration" (like many people believe76). It was the consequence of the determined, coordinated action of numerous people who enacted a strong wish of the group - but were not conscious of doing so. Even Diana herself participated; in her last interview she told us that "being on the same wavelength with the people" was essential for her and that she accepted - reluctantly - her role as a victim of the press53. The whole (transnational) group gave itself a kind of hypnotic command. The only means by which such a coordination of group action is possible are the media. The philosopher Peter Sloterdijk described this sort of phenomenon in a recent analysis of the notion of "Nation":

"The modern mass media produce directly the modern national populations and national empires in the same degree as they have success in evoking these large political bodies into life as communities of thematic stimulation...
...the nation is a hysterical and panic-stricken information system, which must continuously stimulate itself, cause stress in itself, even terrorize itself and put itself into panic, with the aim to impress itself and to ensure itself of its real existence as a stress community oscillating in itself...
Modern nations are communities of stimulation which ... keep themselves in form by synchrone stress generated telecommunicatively..."77

This "synchronicity" is nowadays extending over several countries like France, Great Britain and Germany, as our material has demonstrated; hence we are in a process of formation of a European (or even global) nation. If we understand "nation" in a more conventional sense - i.e. differentiating between the historically formed political entities commonly so called -, then we have to acknowledge that the Diana phenomenon was a transnational emotional movement.

The shared fantasies, however, which are the essence of the "hysterical" communication by the media, are probably as old as mankind. The Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek was certainly right when she related Diana's tunnel death with the old Greek myth of Persephone / Kore: the wheat-blonde goddess of fertility who had to descend into the subterranean kingdom of the death at the side of a dark lover (Hades) of dubious, dangerous origin78. This was one of the myths celebrated most intensively in ritual cults during antiquity79. On another level of interpretation, we find connections with the individual life-history of everyone participating in the fantasy, with the tunnel corresponding to the birth canal and the crash symbolizing our fear of being crushed which we experienced when we had to pass this canal during our own birth - feelings which are regularly expressed in the media also in phases preceding war and which seem to be stimulated by growing prosperity52. More psychohistorical research will be necessary to find out precisely what determinants cause such fantasies to be enacted in war, in economic depression, or in individual human sacrifice as it happened to Diana.

This study being strictly limited to a short time-interval in August, 1997, it would be interesting to extend it and to clarify the embedding of the found sacrificial fantasy in the long-term emotional development. Another question for future research is: What was the range of this fantasy (geographically and culturally), and is it possible to prove that the people who participated most intensely in it belong to a specific psychoclass (i.e., had similar childhood experiences)?


The author expresses his thanks to Ludwig Janus, Florian Galler and Frank Horstmann for their help in collecting cartoons and for fruitful discussions, and to Lloyd deMause for giving him access to a preprint of the first chapters of his new book in progress.



1. Lloyd deMause, "Seven Psychohistorical Questions", Message to Mailing list "Historical motivation utilizing psychoanalytic principles", October 2, 1997, & L=psychohistory & P=2507.

2. Der Spiegel, September 22, 1997 (headline of title page).

3. Research project at the Free University of Berlin, cf. Michael B. Berger, "Der Versuch, den Mythos Diana zu enträtseln" (Göttinger Tageblatt, December 31, 1997).

4. Seven German, two French, two British and two Swiss newspapers and newsmagazines were considered.

5. Andrew Morton, Diana 1961-1997: Ihre wahre Geschichte in ihren eigenen Worten. Munich: Droemer Knaur, 1997.

6. Stern, September 11, 1997, p. 44.

7. Ulrike Droll, "Diana - war der Unfall ein Mord?" Bunte, November 13, 1997, p. 16-22.

8. Stern, September 4, 1997, p. 23.

9. Bunte, November 13, 1997, p. 18.

10. Stern, September 11, 1997, p. 43.

11. Andrew Morton (Bunte, Nov. 13, 1997, p. 24).

12. The Times, August 11, 1997, p. 2.

13. cited in Süddeutsche Zeitung, September 1, 1997.

14. The Times, August 18, 1997, p. 3.

15. The Times, August 22, 1997, p. 1, and again on August 23, p. 1.

16. Lloyd deMause, Foundations of Psychohistory. New York: Creative Roots, 1982.

17. Stern, August 28, 1997, titlepage; New Statesman, August 29, 1997, titlepage; Le Monde, August 30, 1997, titlepage.

18. The Times, August 21, 1997, headline of p. 31.

19. The Times, August 19, 1997, p. 10.

20. The Times, August 13, 1997, p. 7; the subject was treated again on August 21 (p. 14).

21. Göttinger Tageblatt, August 15, 1997, p. 1 and 8.

22. Göttinger Tageblatt, August 18, 1997, p. 1; August 19, p. 6.

23. Göttinger Tageblatt, August 18, 1997, p. 1.

24. Göttinger Tageblatt, August 21, 1997, p. 2.

25. Göttinger Tageblatt, August 22, 1997, p. 1.

26. Göttinger Tageblatt, August 23, 1997, p. 1.

27. Göttinger Tageblatt, August 23, 1997, p. 12.

28. Göttinger Tageblatt, August 26, 1997, p. 2.

29. Göttinger Tageblatt, August 29, 1997, p. 2.

30. The Times, August 18, 1997, p. 14.

31. The Times / The Directory, August 16 - August 22, 1997, p. 12.

32. The Times, August 18, 1997, p. 18, and August 20, p. 3.

33. The Times, August 12, 1997, p. 33.

34. "Cunanan offered to kill me". The Times, August 22, 1997, p. 17 (whole page).

35. Göttinger Tageblatt, August 19, 1997, p. 2.

36. L'Express, August 14, 1997, p. 18-21; The Times, Aug. 28, p. 9.

37. Lloyd deMause, Reagan's America. New York: Creative Roots, 1984.

38. Jerrold Atlas, Was in Deutschland passieren wird. Düsseldorf: Econ, 1992.

39. Winfried Kurth, "Analysis of German group fantasies (1995-1996): An empirical approach," Tapestry, 1 (1998), 5-24.

40. Winfried Kurth, "Quantitative und qualitative Ergebnisse der Analyse deutscher Gruppenphantasien 1995-96," in: Edmund Hermsen and Ludwig Janus, Eds., Die psychohistorische Dynamik von subkulturellen Bewegungen am Ende des Jahrtausends. Heidelberg: Textstudio Gross, 1997, pp. 1-52.

41. Howard F. Stein, "Trumpets and drums: Some issues in interpretation and methodology in the study of American group fantasy," The Journal of Psychohistory 9(1981): 199-236.

42. Handelsblatt, November 17, 1997, Diagram of CAC-40 index.

43. Florian Galler, "Inflationsängste als Aktualisierung früher Traumen," in Ludwig Janus, Ed., Psychohistorie und Geschichte der Kindheit. Heidelberg: Textstudio Gross, 1995, pp. 60-68.

44. The Times, August 13, 1997, p. 1.

45. The Times, August 20, 1997, p. 27 (about Georgette Mosbacher).

46. The Times, August 26, 1997, p. 12.

47. The Times, August 18, 1997, p. 12.

48. The Times, August 18, 1997, p. 7.

49. Göttinger Tageblatt, August 19, 1997, p. 7.

50. The Times, August 23, 1997, p. 1; Göttinger Tageblatt, August 25, 1997, p. 1.

51. "Catholic Church is ready to be born again," The Times, August 30, 1997, p. 10.

52. Lloyd deMause, Psychohistorical Evolution. Forthcoming book, Chapter 3.

53. Annick Cojean, "La princesse au grand coeur," Le Monde, August 27, 1997, p. 11.

54. Lloyd deMause, Psychohistorical Evolution, chapter 1, p. 10.

55. "Princess jumps queue for the crystal ball," The Times, August 14, 1997, p. 3.

56. Carol Midgley, "Princess adds religious twist to an earthly tale," The Times, August 18, 1997, p. 3.

57. The Times, August 28, 1997, p. 1.

58. Friedensforum, 1 / 1998, p. 10.

59. Hermann Kinder and Werner Hilgemann, dtv-Atlas zur Weltgeschichte, Vol. 1. Munich: dtv, 1974. p. 247.

60. Göttinger Tageblatt, August 27, 1997, p. 2.

61. E.g., Samuel P. Huntington, "The clash of civilizations?", Foreign Affairs 72(1993): 22-49.

62. from a report broadcasted on NDR4 (Germany), August 31, 1997.

63. G. Sipahioglu, in Stern, September 11, 1997, p. 43.

64. Stern, September 11, 1997, p. 42.

65. Lloyd deMause, Psychohistorical Evolution, chapter 1, p. 14.

66. The Times, August 14, 1997, p. 13.

67. The Times, August 30, 1997.

68. Göttinger Tageblatt, August 21, 1997, p. 4.

69. cf. Casper Schmidt, "Two specific forms of trial action," The Journal of Psychohistory 11(1983): 209-224.

70. The Times, August 28, 1997, p. 6.

71. Der Spiegel, August 18, 1997.

72. Raw data from: Statistisches Bundesamt (ed), Fachserie 8: Verkehr, Reihe 7: Verkehrsunfälle, Wiesbaden, August 1997, pp. 14-15.

73. The Times, August 20, 1997, p. 13.

74. The Times / Weekend, August 30, 1997, p. 10.

75. Göttinger Tageblatt, August 30, 1997.

76. "Diana - was it murder?" Bunte, November 13, 1997.

77. Peter Sloterdijk, "Der starke Grund, zusammen zu sein. Erinnerungen an die Erfindung des Volkes." (The strong reason for being together. Commemorations of the invention of the nation.) Die Zeit, January 2, 1998, pp. 9-12.

78. Elfriede Jelinek, "Prinzessin in der Unterwelt". Die Zeit, January 2, 1998, p. 7.

79. Herbert Hunger, Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie. Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1969.