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"Till the end, she thought that one of her Prince Charmings would come to rescue her. I'll always be sorry it couldn't have been me."
Indiana Jones[src]

Mata Hari was a celebrity, exotic dancer and courtesan from the Netherlands. She was born Margaretha Zelle (nicknamed M'Greet), but took on the stage name Mata Hari in 1905 when she became an exotic dancer.

As many of her lovers included high ranking European government and military figures, she was recruited as a spy by both German and French intelligence. She was arrested, convicted, and executed by the French for being a German spy in 1917.


Early life[]

Margaretha Geertruida Zelle (or Margaretta Gertrude Zelle[2]) was born in the Netherlands in 1876. While growing up, Margaretha was a typical upper-middle class girl, attended a teachers' college and went on to marry an officer in the Dutch army named Campbell MacLeod. Her life seemed altogether normal, but this eventually changed. In 1905, the MacLeod couple returned to Europe following a lengthy stay in Indonesia and separated, leading Margaretha to assume the name of "Lady MacLeod".[1]

Mata Hari[]

Margaretha began her career by becoming a professional dancer in Paris, and shortly afterwards took the name Mata Hari ("Eye of the Day"[1]/"Eye of the Morning"[3]/"Eye of the Dawn"[5] in Malay). She embellished Mata Hari's background with varying origins,[5] including having once been a Javanese princess of priestly Hindu birth in Indonesia, immersed in the art of sacred Indian dance since childhood. Later she would speak of a protector, Yogi Bujun, whom she served by dancing in the temple before she left only for Bujun himself to abandon his order in favor of filmmaking opportunities in Singapore.[4] Mata Hari's performances and photoshoots would circulate worldwide. A young Indiana Jones and his cousin, Frank, admired her image on postcards.[6]

In the spring of 1916, during World War I, Mata Hari became the subject of circulating stories about her espionage activities. She was believed to have spied simultaneously for the Germans, the Belgians and the French. In doing so, Mata Hari seduced any number of public officials and officers into divulging confidential information.[1] By October of that year, Mata Hari was performing as a dancer in Paris, where she was also courtesan to a French undersecretary of war, and a general socialite. While on leave from the front in October, Indiana Jones was introduced to her at a birthday party for the undersecretary of war, when he accompanied Professor Jacques Levi and his wife to the event. Attracted to his young looks, Mara Hari later invited Jones to join her at her hotel room.[4]

Jones became involved with Mata Hari, losing his virginity to her, and spending time with her around Paris during the day. He eventually ended the relationship after jealously following her to a dinner and tryst with a government official as well as being warned to stay away from her by French intelligence, which was investigating her as being a potential spy. During their time together, Mata Hari had suggested to Indy that he try to be transfered to Africa instead of returning to the European trenches as she had heard it was safer there.[4] Jones took her advice, and received a transfer.[7]

Death and legacy[]

Mata Hari's career came to an end when she was arrested in February 1917 by the French authorities. Accused of being an spy, Mata Hari was shot months later.[1] It was in the Middle East where Indiana Jones learned of Mata Hari's execution from Professor Levi and privately wept for her.[8]

Despite her death, Mata Hari's image as a World War I personality endured as a classic example of a wartime seductress/spy.[1] Actress Greta Garbo helped cement her place in popular culture when she played Mata Hari in 1931.[2]

Behind the scenes[]

Mata Hari was played by Domiziana Giordano in the episode "Paris, October 1916" of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

At the beginning of the second half of the series premiere "Young Indiana Jones and the Curse of the Jackal", Indiana Jones and his cousin Frank are looking at a picture of Mata Hari. In the re-edited version Spring Break Adventure, Frank mentions her by name as they are staring at the photo.

Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide by James Luceno inaccurately states that Jones is in Africa in November 1917 which contradicts The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles' chronology which places him in the Middle East around that time as well as Luceno's own novelization of "Paris, October 1916": The Mata Hari Affair.



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