Monday, July 18, 2011

I Spy.

This blog post is going to be short, because it's too hot in my old Victorian house to be sitting in front of a heat-radiating computer.

So, without any introduction, witty segue, etc., I'm going straight into my blog topic: Mata Hari

She was born Margaretha Zelle in the Netherlands, but moved to the Dutch East Indies after answering an ad from an old man looking for marriage. That was a mistake because the guy turned out to be a total drunken abusive idiot. To escape from her married life, she studied the native Javanese and Hindi dance styles. She created acts that involved "exotic" and barely there costumes. By 1905 she gained notoriety as an exotic dancer and adopted the stage name Mata Hari.

In 1907 she divorced her husband and moved to Paris. Because she was a Dutch subject, she was able to move freely about national borders during the outbreak of the first world war. She began to form relationships with high ranking military officials in Germany, Spain and Belgium. For this reason, the French government accused her of being a spy for the Germans. To save her skin, she agreed to work for the French government. Her first mission was to travel to then neutral Spain and get "close" to some Germans. And she did. But, the French intercepted a check that was written to her from a German bank. She claimed it was for sexual favors and not espionage.

The French didn't quite buy this. Also, they raided her hotel room in Paris and found invisible ink. She claimed it was an antiseptic, but they didn't believe this either. 

In February of 1917, Mata Hari was tried as a spy and executed before firing squad in October of 1917.  Several rumors surround what she did during her execution. Some say she wore a trench coat and flashed the squad (atta girl!). Other rumors state that she blew a kiss to her executioners right before she was fired upon. Whether these rumors are true or not, it makes for a great story.

Here's the deal, though: she was probably not a spy and most likely was innocent. It's actually more likely that she was prostitute at the wrong place and the wrong time. Bummer.

OK, have to go stand in front of our sad, ancient air conditioner as my fingers are starting to melt onto the keyboard. So, here's the necklace: Want it? Buy it at

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