This is an inside look at a new theme park that uses the car crash that killed Princess Diana - among Bigfoot and alien conspiracy theories - to lure visitors. Critics have called the Diana attraction vile, tasteless and sick, but the outrage hasn't stopped people from visiting the National Enquirer theme park.
A section called The Royals includes a 3D recreation of the August 1997 crash in Paris, showing a car travelling into a tunnel and slamming into a divider. After touring the exhibit, visitors are polled over whether they think the Royals were involved in Diana’s death, which was ruled as an accident by investigators.
Britain's Royals are a main attraction at National Enquirer Live! which opened this month in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, with the downmarket US tabloid magazine hoping to cash in on the tragic crash that killed Diana. Adult admission costs £21 per person, while tickets for children cost £13. Other features in the royals exhibit include front pages with photos of the Queen, Diana and Prince Charles, and a digital closet showing pieces of the monarch's wardrobe over the years.
When visitors enter the section they are greeted by mannequins dressed as guards in fake British military outfits. The video tour was posted online by travel bloggers Will and Dawn of Yankee in the South, who attended the grand opening last week. In the footage, Will says: “We’re about to head into 'The Royals'. The Royals is one of the biggest headliners that the Enquirer has ever had. They love picking on the Royal Family.”
Creator Robin Turner said of the Diana exhibit: “It’s a 3D computer model, and you’re looking down on what looks just like Paris, but it’s three-dimensional. “It’s projected, and you see the buildings and everything in a 3D presentation. “And it shows the pathway as she left the Ritz hotel, and the paparazzi chasing her, and the bang-flash that we think blinded the driver and how it happened.”
Turner, one of the principal investors in the theme park, argued that the Diana exhibit will be sensitively handled despite its macabre theme. He said, visitors will be spared close-ups of Diana’s body. “There’s no blood,” he told America’s Daily Beast website. “There’s none of that. You see the car crash through computer animation.” Turner said visitors will be invited to look into various widely-debunked conspiracy theories about the accident. They include a claim that Diana was pregnant by her Egyptian boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, and murdered by the British intelligence services at the direction of Buckingham Palace.
Defending the attraction, Turner insisted: "It’s definitely not in poor taste. It’s just showing the route of what happened." He argued the attraction was respectful to Prince William and Prince Harry, who were 15 and 12 at the time of their mother's death and who have repeatedly said how painful it has been to relive the tragedy. The Royal Family have not commented on the attraction.
British expats in the US have labelled the attraction grotesque, and Twitter users have hit out at it as tasteless and sick. Christopher Dickey, a Paris-based journalist who covered the crash, wrote that 'turning fake news into a tourist attraction' was 'vile'.
Diana, 36, was killed alongside Fayed, 42, in the backseat of a Mercedes Benz S280 driven by Henri Paul, 41, who also died. Investigators said the vehicle crashed at an estimated 65 miles per hour into a concrete pillar in Paris’ Pont de l’Alma tunnel.
In addition to the Royal Family, National Enquirer Live! has exhibits dedicated to conspiracy theories surrounding Bigfoot, aliens and UFOs, the assassination of JFK, and the moon landing. It also features a mock-up of Michael Jackson(MJ) in a hyperbaric chamber. The mannequin turns its head and opens its eyes, revealing yellow and black eyeballs like those from the pop star's Thriller music video.
One MJ mannequin holds a baby doll with a towel over its head on a balcony, recreating the scene when the singer dangled his son Blanket out of his hotel room in Berlin in 2002. Another exhibit is dedicated to the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, and the trial of OJ Simpson.
Others focus on the murder of six-year-old child beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey and the killing of pregnant Laci Peterson. The latter exhibit includes a fishing boat containing a 'body' wrapped in a tarpaulin and a concrete weight. Mrs Peterson was murdered by her husband Scott - who is on death row in California - just before Christmas in 2002.
During his trial, prosecutors said he murdered his wife, who was eight months pregnant and then dumped her body in San Francisco Bay with homemade concrete anchors to weigh her down on the ocean floor!Read More