Ludwig II's younger brother Otto was the kind
of host only a prince can be, and there was a time
in Bavaria when an invitation to one of his soirees was "the shit" among the cool kids. Nothing was
too elaborate, fanciful or risqué for Otto's entertainments and many were the debutantes and young cavalry officers who decorated his ballrooms and shared a dawn with him.
His cachet began to dwindle, though, when he began to insist that immediately before dining,
his guests join him in a ritual called "embrassez
la belle vache morte*". One by one and two by two, his invitations were regrettably refused until
he dined alone.
It was only later they would learn that Otto
was taking advice from the spirits who lived in
his dresser drawers. These spirits also said that
to maintain his health, he should shoot a peasant every morning which he did until their numbers were much reduced. It was only then one servant suggested he load the prince's gun with blanks and another servant should pretend to drop down dead when he fired.
Gradually, the "half-witted Prince" became
afflicted with "melancholia". He was declared insane in 1875, and never truly ruled as King. Some said he was not even aware that he had become King. By 1876, the condition was so acute he was "placed in restraint" and two years later was "committed to a more rigorous confinement"
at Berchtesgaden. Years later, he would be declared the last true King of Bavaria.
* kiss the beautiful dead cow