By: Terri Talley Venters
Mary ascended the secret stairwell to her lover’s ornate bedroom in Neuschwanstein castle. As she eased the door open, her ice-blue eyes glistened with joy.
King Ludwig II of Bavaria turned his head at the noise. A smile filled his pudgy face as he spotted the welcome intruder. “Meine Liebe,” he said.
Mary ran to his comforting arms and let him twirl her around the room. Her long golden hair floated in the air as she said, “Mein König.”
“Why do you cry, my dear?” he asked. He lifted Mary’s chin up and peered into her tear-filled eyes.
“It’s father. He wants to move north to Darmstadt. He’s arranged for me to marry a scientist at the University,” she said, clinging to her king.
“Was?” The king asked, shocked at the notion of his love marrying another.
Mary nodded quietly, looking down in defeat.
“Nein! Nein! Nein!” he said. “You will marry no one but me. I’ll make you my Queen of Bavaria. We shall live in my beautiful new castle.”
“Ich Liebe dich,” Mary said, smiling up at her king.
“First, I must go to my doctor in Berg. We will wed here in Neuschwanstein when I return,” he said.
Mary danced alone in the grand ballroom of the castle. She envisioned the elaborate parties she’d throw when she became the Queen of Bavaria. She knew her eccentric future husband craved solitude, but she intended to change his ways. She twirled around in her beautiful new dress, dreaming of her new life with her king.
“Fraulein Mary, the King is dead!” a servant said, entering the ballroom.
“Was?” Mary asked. Her hand instinctively went to her throat, shocked at the horrific news.
“They stripped him of his throne and declared him insane. They found him and his doctor, drowned in the shallow water in Berg,” he said.
Mary ran out of the castle to escape the news of her King’s death. She ran through the woods and ascended the cliff above the ravine. She stood on the embankment, looking down at the beautiful castle her King built. It looked like a fairy tale, her dream come true. King Ludwig II intended to marry her and make her the Queen of Bavaria.
Now her dream turned into a nightmare, her king was dead. She couldn’t live without him. A wave of sadness filled her with agony. Her heart ached just knowing she’d never see her King again. The pain never eased, it only worsened with each passing second. She must make this pain go away before her heart exploded with grief.
Mary looked at the bottom of the ravine. A blue-green pool of water collected the water from the mountain’s waterfall a hundred feet below. It looked so peaceful, so inviting. She saw her King’s face in the water below, calling her, “Meine Liebe.”
“Meinen König,” Mary said. She stepped off of the cliff and joined her king in the water below.
“There’s no way in hell I’m walking across that bridge!” Britta said. Fear filled her as she looked across Mary’s bridge. The narrow walking path, suspended near Fussen Germany, provided the best view of Neuschwanstein castle.
“You’ll be fine, watch,” Tilo, Britta’s husband, said. He jumped up and down on the bridge to demonstrate its strength.
“Tilo, no! Are you crazy?” Britta asked, terrified Tilo’s act would break the bridge.
“But you’ll enjoy a fantastic view of Neuschwanstein castle if you just walk out a few yards onto the bridge,” Tilo said.
“I have a great view of King Ludwig’s castle from here, thank you very much,” Britta said. Her eyes mistakenly peered down at the steep ravine below. “Besides, this place gives me the heebeegeebees. It’s as if something awful happened here.”
“You don’t believe the story about King Ludwig’s secret lover falling to her death after she heard king Ludwig drowned do you?” Tilo asked.
“It’s so sad. He was about to marry her and make her is queen. The beautiful castle was barely lived in,” Britta said, admiring the fairy tale castle nestled on the side of the mountain. The castle which supposedly inspired Cinderella’s castle at Walt Disney World.
“Oh my God, please come off of the bridge. This place scares me. I sense a tragic sadness here,” Britta said. A freezing breeze flowed through her. A strong sense of loss filled her heart with grief. She cried mournfully at the heart ache filling her soul. She teetered on the edge of the cliff. She fought the urge to hurl her depressed form down info the ravine. The waterfall poured into a blue-green pool below the bridge. It looked so peaceful down below. She’d break free of her sadness. All she had to do was take one step.
She couldn’t stop crying. She heard a whisper from the pool below, “Meine Liebe.” Britta saw an image of a man’s face in the pool of water below, inviting her in. “Mein König,” a voice whispered from inside her. The unbearable pain forced Britta to lift her foot into the air, hovering above the hundred foot drop.
“Britta. No!” Tilo said. He rushed towards her, tackling her backwards into the safety of the cliff’s embankment.
Britta felt the cold sadness leave her body as she watched the apparition fall into the ravine below. The ghost of Mary, the almost queen of Bavaria.
The characters Mary and Mary’s spirit are fictional. All other characters, places, and events are based on facts. To this day, no one knows how King Ludwig II of Bavaria drowned in shallow water near his palace in Berg. He emptied the coffers to build his ornate homes-Linderhof and Schloss Neuschwanstein. The fairy-tale castle took 17 years to build. The King of Bavaria only lived there for 102 days before the doctors declared him insane, stripped him of his throne, and confined him to the Palace in Berg shortly before his mysterious death.
My husband and I toured Neuschwanstein in 1999. Although I refused to step one foot on Mary’s bridge, I did not experience any paranormal activity.
Scientists synthesized the last named element, Darmstadtium, in 1994 in Darmstadt, Germany.
Sources: Neuschwanstein tour, Wikipedia, Rick Steve’s Germany, and Frommer’s Germany