The death of Princess Diana shocked the world. I will never forget where I was the moment I learned of the tragic car crash on August 31, 1997.
But strangely enough, I learned today that her car-crash death is a prominent theme inside the brand new funhouse called “National Enquirer Live!” which is located in what is known as the ‘amusement park capital’ of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Right on the edge of the Smoky Mountains and just four miles down the road from Dollywood.
Museum operators hope “Enquiring minds” in Tennessee want to know more about tabloid news. This new park is named for the notorious supermarket tabloid the National Enquirer of course.
The park opens an May 24 and has exhibits dedicated to some of pop culture’s more sensational stories, such as the O.J. Simpson murders, the JFK assassination, Michael Jackson’s eccentric behavior and even conspiracy theories surrounding the 1997 Paris car crash that killed Princess Diana.
Apparently you can relive the moment Princess Diana’s Mercedes Benz S280 sedan smashed into a concrete pillar in Paris’ Pont de l’Alma tunnel if you should so desire.
When asked about the attraction, creator Robin Turner spoke with The Daily Beast :
“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, who is invested in the park, insisted that the Princess Diana exhibit is sensitively handled.
“There’s no blood. There’s none of that. You see the car crash through computer animation,” he explained, adding that viewers will be invited to entertain various conspiracy theories surrounding the tragedy. “You will be polled on what you believe was the cause of her death and who was behind it. We ask questions like, ‘Do you think the royals were involved? Do you think she was pregnant?’ All we do is ask questions on: what’s your opinion?”
Asked if the exhibit respects Diana’s memory and the feelings of her two sons, who were 15 and 12 at the time of her death and have repeatedly said how painful it has been to be forced by media outlets to relive the tragedy, Turner claimed it does.
“It’s done in a positive fashion,” he said. “It brings attention to the different theories behind it that the Enquirer has covered over the years…The biggest sensitivity of all is, do you think she was pregnant with Dodi’s baby?”
“There’s a built-in audience in Pigeon Forge looking for things to do,” Ricky Laney, spokesperson for National Enquirer Live!, told NBC News on Thursday. “Whether you love the National Enquirer or despise the National Enquirer, it outsold Campbell’s soup. People are interested in the stories they cover.”