"Mad King Ludwig II" - by Rev. Weldon Bares


Have you ever heard of Ludwig II? He was king of Bavaria from 1864 to 1886. On a recent trip to see the famous Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany, our group visited one of his palaces, Linderhof Palace.

Ludwig II is one of the most famous historic figures of Bavaria. He built some of the area’s most extravagant castles. But he lived a troubled life, to put it mildly.

There are so many unanswered questions about him. Did he take his own life, or was he murdered? Why was he so obsessed with Medieval fairytales and fantasy? What inspired his amazing collection of fairytale castles, including Neuschwanstein, the castle that helped to inspire the design of Cinderella’s Castle in Disney World. Why was he so obsessed with Wagner and his music?

History tells us that Ludwig’s interest in building spectacular castles developed into a preoccupation that was unhealthy. He was king, but he neglected his royal duties. He became withdrawn and focused all of his energies on building even more impressive castles.

In 1886, he was declared to be mentally insane by four government-sanctioned psychiatrists, hence the name Mad King Ludwig. He was forced to give up his crown. Not long after this, he and his psychiatrist were found dead in Lake Starnberg. To this day, no one really knows what happened.

It sure makes you stop and think. All of that wealth, power, and opportunities. But yet, it ended in tragedy.

Jesus asked a profound question, “What shall it profit a person to gain the whole world, and to lose his soul?” (Mark 8:36) Something to think about this week . . .