London, Jan 25 : Princess Diana was fixated with astrology and consulted several clairvoyants, including one she dubbed "Fergie's witch woman," to boost her personal development, the inquest into her death has heard.
Diana's former private secretary Patrick Jephson told the inquest that outlandish and eccentric predictions fed her sense of paranoia.
He cited an account from his book Shadows of a Princess, in which he said that Diana would "pay heed to predictions by astrologers, the more dire the better, particularly where the Prince of Wales was involved - skiing accidents, helicopter crashes that obstinately refused to befall him".
Jephson, who was an aide from 1990 until 1996, said that the princess' interest in alternative disciplines was harmful to her.
He said the "paranoid" princess fell for more and more outlandish claims toward the end of her life.
Questioning him, Jonathan Hough, the Diana inquest counsel, said that the princess consulted one unidentified clairvoyant who had been recommended to her by the Duchess of York, who predicted that the Prince would not become King and that the Duke of York would become regent.
The identity of the "witch-woman" was not revealed in court. But it is likely to be either psychic Rita Rogers, who met Diana through the duchess and told her the brake cables of her car would be cut, or Madame Vasso, a Greek mystic who encouraged her clients to sit under a Perspex pyramid.
Jephson said that the Princess consulted a "bewildering cocktail of alternative therapists" including reflexologists, astrologists and soothsayers.
"They robbed her of her equilibrium at times of distress," Times Online quoted him, as saying.
He added that he was worried that Diana put so much faith in astrologers and soothsayers because this "fed the paranoia that never lurked far beneath the surface".
Jephson earlier told the inquest that Diana feared the royal family, and felt like a "lamb to the slaughter."
He said that Diana felt isolated after her marriage in 1981 and the establishment ignored her many pleas for help.