Biography of Famous Sexual Figure and Spy Mata Hari Part 2

About the famous sexual figure Mata Hari, German spy and lady of intrigue, her biography, history, and lovers.


Not always had Mata Hari been so. Strange as it may seem, she was an innocent, even drab Dutch housewife before becoming a spy. Behind the facade provided by the pseudonym "Mata Hari" was the rather prosaic Margaretha Geertruida Zelle. The future spy was born on August 7, 1876, in a small town in Holland, her religious parents enrolling her in a Catholic convent when she was only 14. But while on vacation in The Hague 4 years later, she met Capt. Campbell MacLeod, a handsome Scot who served in the Dutch Colonial Army. The chance meeting was to change her life. Though more than twice her age--he was over 40--this drunken roue somehow appealed to Margaretha. He married her, but even prior to taking her to Java, he revealed his essentially brutal nature. Before their 1st child was born Margaretha suffered many beatings at MacLeod's hands. He threatened her with a loaded revolver on one occasion, and he betrayed her so often with other women that she soon turned elsewhere for affection.

Nothing is recorded of Margaretha's love affairs in Java, but it is known that she studied the Vedas and other Oriental books describing the joys of sensual love, becoming adept in the ancient arts they taught. More important, those years in Java introduced her to the suggestive ritual dances that the Javanese bayas performed in the Buddhist temples. A new personality was already emerging as she practiced her own interpretations of these Indonesian dances. The transformation became complete when her 1st child was poisoned by a nurse holding a grudge against MacLeod. Margaretha later claimed that she strangled this servant, but, in any event, the dead child marked the emergence of a new woman. Even the birth of her daughter Banda failed to temper her hatred for MacLeod, who she felt was responsible for the death of their infant son. Deserting her husband after the family returned to Europe, she left Banda with relatives and began the career that was to make her life a legend.

No one really knows on what stage in Paris Margaretha 1st danced naked and lied to the world, saying she was born "in the south of India . . . the child of a family within the sacred caste of Brahma." But it was in about 1905, 10 years after she had sailed from the Orient, that she 1st told her audiences in soft, seductive tones that her name was Mata Hari, "the Eye of the Dawn," and that she would perform daring ritual dances never seen before outside Indian temples. Skeptical or not, editors knew good copy when they saw it and soon her stage name and photographs were a common sight in Paris newspapers. The photos of course were taken when she began her performances, for Mata Hari artfully shed her diaphanous coverings during each dance, the gossamer veils falling one by one until she stood almost wholly naked on the stage. The only part of herself she didn't expose was her breasts, which she always claimed her husband had disfigured in some way and she kept them covered with jeweled breastplates barely affixed to her body. Some of her dances were graceful, others frankly lewd, but all were immensely popular.

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