MEYREUIL, France—Ghislaine Maxwell, 57, comes from a family by turns brilliant and accomplished, deceptive and doomed. Her backstory is full of sex and science, money and magical illusions. And today she is the world’s most wanted woman—at least by the media and Jeffrey Epstein’s victims.
She is the youngest child of the notorious and disgraced British media mogul Robert Maxwell, rumored after his mysterious death in 1991 to have been an Israeli spy. She was the alleged paramour-turned-pimp for Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire pedophile who reportedly committed suicide in his cell on August 10.
But there are no known criminal charges against her, only allegations in a civil suit. Indeed, there is speculation she may be cooperating with federal prosecutors. And while she might have decided to hide out here in Provence at her sister’s house in the shadow of Cézanne’s favorite mountain, she was spotted Thursday in California eating a burger while reading a book about CIA heroes.
As we looked for her in France in recent days, she was, of course, nowhere to be seen. But we did discover enough skeletons in the family closet (including those of her in-laws and their families) to fill a house of horrors.
But France is still where Ghislaine Maxwell’s family history begins. Both she and her mother, the elegant and long-suffering Elisabeth Maxwell, were born here. And while some French officials have called for an investigation into Epstein’s activities in Paris, where he had an opulent apartment, Ghislaine’s French connection goes back decades in the south.
And it includes Ghislaine’s very interesting American in-laws who moved back and forth between Provence, the Dordogne and the United States. Their roots involved the pioneering, often reckless rocket scientists of the 1930s who were called the “Suicide Squad” for their risky work at the Jet Propulsion Lab. Among their circle: L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology fame; the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman; and Briton Aleister Crowley, known for black magic and a sex cult.
Maxwell family observers don’t find it strange that Ghislaine and some of her sisters were drawn to larger-than-life, certifiably strange men.
“They attach themselves to bizarre psychopaths like their father,” says a researcher who delved into the family years ago. “Ghislaine wasn’t the only sister to hook up with a weird guy.” – READ MORE