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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer Twin Peaks
The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer
As seen by Jennifer Lynch

(Page numbers come from the first printing, October 1990)


The (almost) complete secret diary of Laura Palmer.


Read the book at


Didja Know?


The book The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer by Jennifer Lynch is purported to be the complete secret diary as written by Laura from the age of 12-17 and left hidden with Harold Smith shortly before her death, as described in season two episodes of Twin Peaks.


Author Jennifer Lynch is the daughter of Twin Peaks co-creator David Lynch.


The diary is seemingly misdated, as it goes through February 1990, whereas the TV series takes place in February/March 1989.


The events of Fire Walk With Me do not conform entirely with what Laura records in the last year of her diary, though it could be argued that the "missing pages" of the diary related to events in that film.


Characters mentioned in the diary


Laura Palmer (also uses the alias "Bernice" at one point)

Sarah Palmer

Leland Palmer

Donna Hayward (also uses the alias "Trisha" at one point)

Dr. Hayward

Jupiter (Laura's cat)

Madeline Ferguson

Troy (Laura's pony)

Mrs. Larkin



Mrs. Hayward

Nadine Hurley

Maddy's boyfriend in 1984 (unnamed)

Audrey Horne

Ben Horne

Bobby Briggs

Norma Jennings

Johnny Horne

Sheriff Truman




Big Jake Morrissey (owner of the Book House)

Leo Johnson

Bobby's uncle (unnamed)

Mayor Dwayne Milford

Ronette Pulaski


Shelly Johnson

Shelly's aunt (deceased)

Mike Nelson

Jacques Renault


Ed Hurley

Hank Jennings

Mrs. Horne

Amory Battis

Harold Smith

Josie Packard

Mrs. Tremond

Dr. Jacoby

Mr. Penderghast

Blackie O'Reilly

Nancy O'Reilly

James Hurley



Didja Notice?


The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer Laura's secret diary Notice that the cover of this edition of the book has the red and gold cover design of Laura's secret diary as found in the TV series.


The diary opens with Laura's first entry on July 22, 1984, when she turned 12 years old. She received the diary as a birthday gift. This matches her birth date as stated in the Twin Peaks collectible card set of July 22, 1972.


Laura has a cat named Jupiter. Is it just coincidence that the cat is named after one of the planets that must be in proper alignment (the other being Saturn) to enter the Black Lodge through Glastonbury Grove as seen in Episode 28: "Miss Twin Peaks"?


Also for her birthday, Laura receives a pony she names Troy, kept at the Broken Circle Stables. Does the name "Broken Circle" have any reference to the Circulars, a secret fraternal order in Twin Peaks, as listed in Twin Peaks: An Access Guide to the Town? The Access Guide states that Circulars were originally a small Amerindian tribe of 50-62 members that believed in a cyclical/circular nature of existence. It's possible that this "circular" idea is part of the "timeline changes" I have speculated as taking place to bring slightly different iterations of the storyline as the Twin Peaks storyline progresses (see The Secret History of Twin Peaks).


Laura names the pony after one in "Mrs. Larkin's photo book"; presumably, Mrs. Larkin is one of her teachers. Laura learns over a year later that Troy was actually a gift from Ben Horne, not her father.


At the end of her birthday day, Laura hopes she will dream of Troy that night and that BOB doesn't visit. Laura usually writes "BOB" in all capital there a reason for this? When writing things he said, or when he takes over her hand and writes things to her in the diary, it is also in all caps.


On July 23, Laura remarks that when she can't sleep, her mother will often come into the room and sing "Waltzing Matilda" to her. "Waltzing Matilda" is an 1895 Australian bush ballad song by Banjo Paterson (1864-1941). The line from the song she quotes is an actual lyric from it.


Also on July 23, Laura writes of a dream in which she is walking through woods by the Pearl Lakes as a strong wind blows. Pearl Lakes is also where her father says a man called Robertson used to harass him during visits to his grandfather's cabin (in Episode 10: "The Man Behind Glass").


Laura remarks that her dreams are frightening, but don't seem so scary when she writes them down, deciding she should maybe write down all her dreams. This provides a reason why so many of her dreams are recorded here.


Laura remarks that she's not going nuts like Nadine Hurley. This implies that poor Nadine was psychologically unstable for years before the beginning of the TV series.


Laura writes that her mother once heard her calling our for her in her sleep and then hooting like an owl. She has also been known to sleepwalk.


On the night of July 27, Laura, Donna, and Maddy have a campout in a fort they built in the Palmers' backyard and the three sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat". "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" is a nursery rhyme and children's song since at least the mid-19th Century.


During the campout, Maddy tells Laura she has also been having bad dreams and Laura wonders if she dreams about the long-haired man and wind, too?


On July 30, Laura remarks that Ben Horne is not very attentive to his daughter, Audrey, but is very attentive to Laura herself.


On August 11, Laura describes how she hides cigarettes and other things in her bedpost where the knob comes off. Maddy tells Donna she found some of Laura's tapes for Dr. Jacoby in there in Episode 6: "Realization Time".


Laura says the kids in school often refer to Twin Peaks as T.P. and Bobby Briggs says, "The world wipes its butt with T.P."


On August 31, Laura writes that sometimes she thinks there is someone inside of her, another, stranger part of her, and she comments, Sometimes I see her in the mirror. In the TV series, Leland sometimes sees BOB in his own reflection, as does Cooper in Episode 29:_"Beyond Life and Death".


On September 15, Laura somehow realizes that someone has been reading her diary and she writes an entry telling whoever it is to stay away. She does not write in it again for over a year.


On October 3, 1985, Laura begins writing in the diary again, stating she has found a hiding place for it she will not mention. Jupiter got hit by a car that day. That night, Laura's mother fixes her one of her favorite meals, potato pancakes with creamed-corn topping. Creamed corn is later seen to be a symbol of "garmonbozia", the pain and sorrow that residents of the Black Lodge feed on.


Laura says that sometimes she and her mother have the same thoughts and the same dreams.


The final paragraph of page 30 contains the passage that Harold Smith reads to Donna in Episode 11: "Laura's Secret Diary".


    On October 12, Laura records how she and Donna pretended to be older than they were and met three young men at the Book House, Josh, Tim, and Rick, and the men introduce the girls to their first marijuana cigarette. While high on marijuana, they all talk about all kinds of things, including the idea of the existence of other universes and how they'd like to meet people from those other places. This may be a allusion to the Man from Another Place (the dwarf) seen in the Red Room in Cooper's dream in Episode 2: "Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer" and in person in Episode 29:_"Beyond Life and Death". It may also be meant to touch upon the concept of alternate timelines previously mentioned (from my study of The Secret History of Twin Peaks).

    Laura and Donna return to the Book House to meet the three young men again on October 20 and learn that the men are 22 years old; Donna tells Harold about this second meeting in Episode 12: "The Orchid's Curse", but she says it was at the Roadhouse instead of Book House. She claims the young men were "about 20 years old."


    On October 20, Laura wonders about the kind of pain that lives with you, can it ever be a friend? She specifically states it's not the kind of pain when a cat is killed or when an aunt dies. Laura's cat, Jupiter, died just a couple weeks before this entry. Did she have an aunt that died at some point (probably before she started the diary)?

   Laura refers to the pain that lives with you as a shadow or companion.


Laura refers to Highway 21 through town as "Lucky Highway 21". The highway is also written this way in one instance in the original script of the pilot episode.


    On November 10, while brushing her pony at the stables, Laura suddenly gets an address she's never been to before stuck in her head and feels she must go there. She rides Troy to 1400 River Road, which turns out to be an old, abandoned gas station. The Log Lady is waiting for her there; a dream told her to meet Laura there so they could talk. One of the things the Log Lady tells her is "Things are not what they seem"; this is obviously similar to the Giant's warning to Cooper in Episode 8A: "May the Giant Be With You", "The owls are not what they seem."

   Laura goes on, "Here are some of the things she told me. She said that sometimes the woods are a place to learn about things, and to learn about yourself. Other times the woods are a place for other creatures to be, and it is not for us. She said that sometimes people go camping and learn things they shouldn't. Children are prey sometimes...she told me that she would be watching, and someday people will find out that she sees things and remembers is important to remember things you see and feel...owls are sometimes big...and I listened to her hum this song that I had never heard before, but I thought it was very nice. It made me feel safe, which I think she was trying to make me feel."

   In Episode 20: "Checkmate", Major Briggs says that all he really remembers of his abduction is the image of a giant owl, similar to Laura's statement here of "owls are sometimes big". And in The Secret History of Twin Peaks, Wayne Chance, in his journal from around 1875-80, describes something that may have been an owl screeching and flying out of Owl Cave and that, if it was an owl, it was "the biggest damn owl I ever seen."


    When Laura gets home, she tells her mother about having met the Log Lady and her mom tells her that her husband had been a fire fighter who "was killed fighting a fire...he tripped over a root or something and fell headfirst into hot coals and burned himself to death, face first. They had just been married a little while when he died, and since then Margaret has been very quiet and has kept her pain to herself. Mom also said that she didn't have her log until after her husband died." All of this seems generally true of what we know of the Log Lady, but the Twin Peaks collectible card set says that her log was a wedding gift from her husband, so she presumably had it before he died, if only for a day. A log is certainly a strange gift to give someone. Episodes of the series generally hint that the spirit of Margaret's dead husband resides in, or communicates through, the log. Maybe he had a premonition of his death at some point in the near future and gave her the log knowing he would be able to continue to communicate with her through it.

   The story Sarah tells Laura of the death of the Log Lady's husband is generally similar to that described in The Secret History of Twin Peaks


On December 16, Laura decides to take a break from her diary for a while and does not write in it again until April 23, 1986 when she dreams of wanting to be a tree. Could this be a metaphor, in a sense, for wishing she was dead? In the study of Episode 29:_"Beyond Life and Death", I wrote, "After telling Cooper she'll see him again in 25 years, (Laura) says, "Meanwhile," and makes a hand gesture that is similar to the symbol for "tree" in American Sign Language. Since trees or wood seem to house spirits in the world of Twin Peaks (e.g. the Log Lady's log, Josie in the wood of the Great Northern Hotel, the name of the forest around Twin Peaks is Ghostwood), her "meanwhile" might suggest that she or Cooper or both will live out those 25 years as a tree!


On July 25, Laura writes that she has begun dating Bobby Briggs.


On page 66, Laura describes humiliating Bobby and making him cry after the first time they made love. This is the incident touched on briefly during Bobby's therapy session with Dr. Jacoby in Episode 5: "Cooper's Dreams".


On August 4, Laura describes herself as a girl of 15, but she would just barely be 14 at this time.


On September 10, Laura describes BOB as "entering dressed in the clothes of one who could be a best friend. A neighbor. A traveling salesman who casually invites himself in, goes as far as to request coffee, regular, before dissolving into the daydream he sometimes is?" In the TV series, Phillip Gerard, who acts as the unwitting host of Mike, is a travelling shoe salesman. Did Laura have encounters with Mike as well?


On October 1, Bobby takes Laura to a party where she first meets Leo Johnson. She also finds Ronette Pulaski there, already drugged out, whom she recognizes from school; it seems as if Ronette is already in the habit of coming to Leo's parties.


On October 3, Laura leaves a note for her mom that she is going to ride Troy to a clearing she discovered and maybe nap over Nancy Drew. Nancy Drew is a character in a series of books for juveniles about a teenage girl who is an amateur sleuth.


Laura makes mention of Bobby borrowing his uncle's truck. We have never met or heard of this uncle in episodes of the TV series.


Leo remarks to Laura that the last time he saw her, old Dwayne Milford was awarding her for "Finest Performance/Five Consecutive Years." Presumably, this was a scholastic award. Dwayne Milford is the longtime mayor of Twin Peaks.


Laura remarks on having a physical attraction to Ronette and has a lesbian experience with another, unnamed, girl at Leo's party.


On February 3, 1987, while Laura is writing in her diary, BOB takes control over her and writes things to her. This continues to occur intermittently throughout the rest of the diary.


On June 24, Laura sets her pony, Troy, free, feeling she doesn't deserve him and not wanting him to have to continue experiencing the beginning and end of each day in a small square box. She later has feelings of regret about setting a tame animal loose to try to survive on its own.


    On November 12, Laura remarks on she, Bobby, and Leo driving out past Mill Town and deeper into Low Town. Low Town is mentioned on the show and various other sources; it is a neighborhood on the south end of town and is implied to be a lower class neighborhood. This diary entry is the only mention of Mill Town I've found for Twin Peaks.

   Laura describes Bobby's face while he's driving this night as like something out of the Twilight Zone. The Twilight Zone was a TV series of 1959-1964, an anthology of fantasy, horror, science-fiction, and suspense.

    They arrive to meet some people for a drug deal, which goes bad, and Bobby winds up shooting a man who has jumped into the back of their truck as the three of them flee. This is presumably the incident Laura mentions to James Hurley about Bobby killing a guy, as related by James in Episode 0B: "Northwest Passage", but it is quite different from the shooting incident later presented in Fire Walk With Me.

   After Laura reveals she snagged a bag of cocaine from under the noses of the dealers, Bobby calls the two of them a couple of regular "Bonnie and Clyde's". "Bonnie and Clyde" refers to Bonnie Parker (1910-1934) and Clyde Barrow (1909-1934), an infamous girlfriend-boyfriend couple who (along with a larger gang) robbed stores, gas stations, and banks during the Great Depression.


On page 94, Laura mentions the NRA. The NRA is the National Rifle Association.


On page 95, Laura records Leo as having said the drug dealers at the deal-gone-wrong had referred to her as a bimbo. "Bimbo" is a slang term in the U.S. for an attractive, dumb female.


Page 96 states that the local Cash & Carry is just two blocks from Leo's house.


On page 97, Laura alternately refers to her deceased cat Jupiter as both "he" and "she". In all other instances in the diary, the cat is referred to as a male.


On page 98, reflecting on her recent decision to set Troy free, Laura refers to him as a horse instead of a pony.


Also on page 98, Laura writes that she's not racking up the brownie points this week. "Brownie points" is a slang term in the U.S. for earning favor by doing a good deed for another.


On November 13, Laura mentions Sleeping Beauty and Stuart Little as children's books. Sleeping Beauty is a fairy tale written by French author Charles Perrault in 1697. Stuart Little is a 1945 children's novel by E. B. White.


Also on November 13, BOB writes in Laura's diary that he knows about her sex and drug use the night before, adding, "AN OWL TOLD ME.'


On December 15, Laura writes that she has begun tutoring Johnny Horne three times a week, being paid $50 a week for it by his parents. He likes her to read to him, especially his favorite book, Sleeping Beauty. But, at Laura's funeral in Episode 3: "Rest in Pain", he is seen clutching an old copy of Peter Pan instead (a deleted scene in the pilot episode also has Dr. Jacoby mentioning Peter Pan was Johnny's favorite book to have Laura read to him).


    On December 16, Laura remarks that Ben Horne seems to have her father working very hard on some new plan of his. When asked about it, her father just rolls his eyes. The plan is probably Ben's scheme for the Ghostwood Development project, seen in episodes of the series.

    Laura comments that Donna has begun dating Bobby's friend, Mike Nelson.

    Laura says that Jacques told her that, like Bobby, he used to play football. Presumably, this was in high school, or maybe college, probably in Canada since Jacques seems to be a canuck.


    On December 23, Laura has a desire for some Valium, which Jacques had given her a couple weeks before. Valium is a trademarked name of a drug used for the treatment of anxiety, sleeplessness, or alcohol withdrawal. It is also used illegally recreationally to achieve a high.

   Leo tells her that Shelly just came back from her aunt's funeral and she didn't get the inheritance he thought she would.

   Page 119 implies that Leo sometimes stays at Jacques' place when he wants to be away from Shelly, telling her he is on a trucking run out of state. This may be why Shelly was so sure Leo wouldn't be home when Bobby drives her home from the diner, only to be rudely surprised at Leo's truck parked in front of the house in Episode 0A: "Wrapped in Plastic".


    On December 24, 1987, Laura sees an old woman at the Double R diner reading a book called Shroud of Innocence. As far as I can tell, this is a fictitious tome.

    Laura overhears that Norma's husband Hank killed a man on the highway last night. This is the vehicular manslaughter crime that Hank had been in prison for when he is released on parole in Episode 5: "Cooper's Dreams".


    On January 20, 1988, Laura remarks today is a Saturday. However, the actual calendar shows that date to have been a Wednesday.

    Johnny Horne speaks his first-ever sentence: "I love you, Laura."


On February 1, Laura writes down the initials of every person she's had sexual experiences with. It's missing J. and R., the 22 year olds with whom she had what you might call "heavy petting" when she and Donna were 13. The initials I can identify are: B = BOB, B.B.= Bobby Briggs, L.J. = Leo Johnson, R.P. = Ronette Pulaski, J.H. = possibly Jerry Horne, another J.H. is possibly a misprint and should be J.R. for Jacques Renault. Some of the initials might be in-joke references to writers/creators associated with the show: J.C.L. = Jennifer Chambers Lynch, the author of the book; D.L. = David Lynch, M.F.= Mark Frost, D.D. = Duwayne Dunham, H.P. = Harley Peyton, B.E. = Bob Engels.


On March 10, Laura learns that Troy was found malnourished and with a broken leg on the train tracks by the border and had to be put down.


By April 7, Laura and Bobby are not seeing each other as often as they used to, she having partially pushed him away. This is largely unknown to the student body of Twin Peaks High School, who vote them best couple for the semester. At this point, Laura suspects that Bobby is having an affair with Shelly Johnson.


On April 10, Donna tells Laura about a trip she's taking out of town the following week to check out colleges. Does this mean Donna left Twin Peaks after graduating from High School? Maybe we'll find out on the new episodes to air on Showtime in 2017!


On April 21, Laura and Ronette have Jacques take some Polaroid photos of them to send into Flesh World magazine. Polaroid is the company that introduced instant film to the camera community in 1948 and the photos taken on this film were often referred to as Polaroid prints or just Polaroids. The Polaroid company has not manufactured instant film since 2008 due to falling sales as a result of the popularity of digital cameras.


On July 22, Laura finds out she's pregnant and does not know who the father is. She has an abortion at a clinic a couple weeks later. Her parents never know anything about it.


Laura begins working at One-Eyed Jacks in August. She also says she is going to start keeping a second diary in which she will present herself as the innocent Laura "everyone" expects. (Well, not everyone...certainly many of her acquaintances at this point now know better.)


    On August 23, Laura describes her and Norma's meeting to set up the Meals on Wheels program. Laura suggests the name as if she thought of it. But the term has been used widely around the world for such programs since at least 1943.

    Laura makes her first Meals on Wheels deliveries this day. 

    On the same day, Laura volunteers to tutor Josie Packard in English to improve her speaking skills.

    Laura says that Harold Smith had told her he just awoke one morning to find himself agoraphobic. Agoraphobia is a fear of certain environments or of even leaving one's home, which is what afflicts Harold. Laura remarks, "He believes death is just outside the door, and that late at night it calls to him from outside like a strange bird."


On November 13, Laura records that she has begun seeing Dr. Jacoby for therapy, unknown to anyone else.


On January 3, page 127, BOB tells the 15-year old Laura, "I don't need anything. I want things." This is echoed by Mr. C in season three, Part 2: "The Stars Turn and a Time Presents Itself", when he tells Ray Monroe that he doesn't need, he wants.


On January 13, 1989, Laura writes that Dr. Jacoby gave her a hot-pink tape recorder for Christmas so she can talk to herself in it and listen to the tape later. Then she sends the tape to him. What happened to the tape recorder? Recall that in Episode 5: "Cooper's Dreams", Maddy finds some of Laura's tapes and calls Donna to tell her, agreeing to meet up the next day, and she tells Donna to bring a tape recorder, implying there was not one around. Maybe it was taken by the Sheriff's men as part of the murder investigation?


On June 4, Laura writes that Josie used to be a dancer and prostitute in Hong Kong when Andrew Packard met her there 6 years ago. She says that Josie still has more of that lifestyle in her and is a darker person than most people realize, writing that Josie shows little sign of improvement of her English skills, putting more effort into trying to seduce her than into her studies. It's not clear whether Laura ever allows a sexual encounter to occur between them; she says she loses more respect for Josie every time she tries. She also feels sorry for Sheriff Truman, implying she knows of the relationship between the two.


On October 5, Laura writes she was fired from One-Eyed Jacks after humiliating Blackie in a sexual encounter. She also writes that someday she'll have to tell the world about Ben Horne. Presumably, she is referring to all of Ben's illegal and illicit dealings.


On October 31, Blackie's sister, Nancy, brings her clothes and the money she was owed after leaving One-Eyed Jacks. Laura says Nancy wanted to speak to her outside, but we never learn what the meeting was about.


    An undated entry reveals that Laura has begun secretly seeing James Hurley, whom she has known for a while, but not well. She believes James' purity may be able to lead her out of the darkness.

    Laura also writes that she basically raped Harold in his home, the only place he felt safe. She leaves his home feeling terrible about it and, as she does, Mrs. Tremond's grandson, Pierre, walks up to her and pulls a gold coin out of her ear, then walks away. 

    The entry states that she has been telling Dr. Jacoby about BOB and what he does to her. Why does Jacoby never mention BOB to the authorities in episodes of the series?


In her final, undated entry, Laura says she knows exactly who and what BOB is. Having found pages torn out of the diary, she writes that she is leaving it with Harold for safekeeping.


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