"Death of a Princess" Photo

It started happening at 9:37 PM GMT on 18 Sep 1997. The first wave of hits came from Finland. Soon, Italy, Spain, and, in great number, South Africa started hitting my web site. Why had my web site suddenly become so popular?

As the morning papers hit the news stands across the differing time zones in Europe, more and more hits came into my web site. Whereas I usually get about 400 per hour, suddenly the number jumped to 775. Then, my server shut me down. My band width limit had been exceeded. Anybody trying to hit my web site got a "500 ERROR" message.

When Best Internet Service opened up my web site again, I received this hit:

inetsys.hipsys.co.za [19/Sep/1997:01:12:02 -0700] "GET /di-dies.htm HTTP/1.0" 200 2666 "http://av.yahoo.com/bin/query?p=DIANA+PHOTOS+FROM+ROTTEN&hc=0&hs=0" "Mozilla/3.0Gold (Win16; I)"

.za stands for South Africa. Clearly, something Rotten was going on.

When I picked up the morning newspapers here in America, I learned the answer. Every newspaper carried the story.

The front page headline of the New York Daily News said: DIANA CRASH SCENE VIDEO

Inside, the paper reported: "a gruesome crash-scene photo purporting to show a dying Diana has surfaced on the Internet. The photo shows a blond woman who resembles the 36-year-old princess, her face bloodied, slumped in the back of a wrecked car surrounded by rescue workers. A hand and what appears to be a balding man's head - presumably Al-Fayed's - is near the woman.

"The roof of the vehicle is absent in the photo, but in news footage of wreckage being hauled away after the crash, the roof is in place.

"The photo was published on a World Wide Web site devoted to stomach turning images. Text with the picture says the photo was sent by e-mail to the web site and did not appear to be altered - though digital images can be faked very easily. A portrait of Diana was superimposed in the lower right hand corner with a caption reading 'Death of a Princess'."

Obviously, everybody was hitting my web page, trying to find that other page. The address of my page is http://www.ishipress.com/di-dies.htm . The title to my web page is: "PHOTOS OF DIANA DYING are something which I do not have."

I tried to find that other page, without success. I believe that the page was at http://www2.rotten.com/rotten/diana . However, I could not get through. Later in the day, my browser reported that there was no such address. Obviously, the page had been shut down and taken off the Internet. Perhaps that service provider had shut it down.

I also noticed that other web sites devoted to pictures of the crash scene started disappearing. They were obviously being shut down. Soon, mine was almost the only one left. That is why everybody started looking at my web site for the photo they wanted.

I now have the photo. My web site was hit 11,104 times in one 24-hour period, primarily by those looking for this photo, so I have an obligation to show it to you. I personally believe that this photo is fake, but that is not something for me to pass judgment on. Be sure to go all the way to the very bottom of this page. BE WARNED: This is only for strong stomachs.

Sam Sloan

Contact address - please send e-mail to the following address: Sloan@ishipress.com