Ludwig started with his fantastic castles, which are marveled at today, his self-presentations, the “scenery” of his life. His “identification with Lohengrin,” which annoyed and ultimately led to the loss of his bride ‘Sophie in Bavaria’ because he demanded that she play the role of “Elsa,” Lohengrin’s bride, became tangible with the building of Neuschwanstein (1869), together with the “Tannhäuser world.” Schloss Linderhof (1870), the purest French Rococo, represented Ludwig’s second major theme, the world of the Bourbons, which he acted out in lonely nocturnal sleigh rides dressed up as Louis XIV, even with a scepter and crown. The Schloss Herrenchiemsee (1873) houses a representation of Ludwig’s godfather genealogy, which became increasingly important to him but which he tried to hide from the public . He felt that through his baptism, he was descended from the Bourbons (godfathers in reverse order: King Ludwig II; godfather: grandfather Ludwig I; godfather of the Bourbon Louis XVI; back to Louis IX, the “saint”). Herrenchiemsee is an unfinished but faithful copy of the Palace of Versailles, although it is ~10% larger in almost all dimensions. In contrast to the expected purpose, the furnishings do not serve the “Gloire” (“glory”) of the Wittelsbachers but rather that of the Bourbons from Louis XIV to XVI, Marie-Antoinette, Madame Pompadour, etc.
Was this art world already outside the norm? Did it border on the paranoid? It probably did! For example, Wagner said to his wife Cosima (November 5, 1869, ), “…we will have to give away [our son] Siegfried when he becomes a man, he must spend time with people because he must become acquainted with adversity, romp around and misbehave, otherwise he will become a fantasist, maybe a cretin, like we are seeing happen with the King of Bavaria…” (author’s translation). In the given context, this is indeed a distancing from but not a demeaning of Ludwig; rather, it is a father’s fear expressed in the medical concepts of the time (see also August 24, 1871).
Cosima’s diary  often refers to Ludwig. Her rather brief, sober eye witness reports—in contrast to the “effusive, elevated diction”  (p 231) of the very extensive and historico-culturally relevant exchange of letters between Ludwig, Richard, and Cosima—portrays the ups and downs of their relationship: on the one hand, Wagner’s material dependence on the king, on the other, the over-idealizing importance of Wagnerian arts and ideas to the king. For Ludwig, an end to his friendship with Wagner, despite many a bitter disappointment, would have amounted to a loss of his “center of gravity” [17, p 232]. However, Cosima’s diary supports the general, early suspicions that Ludwig was ill: it records fears of a swift end to Ludwig’s kingship by early death or madness (September 1, 1871; November 8, 1872; June 14, 1873). His identification with the Bourbon Ludwig XIV is noted with astonishment (November 7, 1872; September 1, 1878; November 27, 1881). In contrast, Cosima appears rather to be shocked when she records reports from the king’s environment, e.g., “Recently, he ordered a dinner for twelve people near Partenkirchen, came alone, greeted the empty seats and sat down” (August 21, 1873; author’s translation). This is similar to the imaginary company at the table in the driving snow in 1881, which was included in Gudden’s expert opinion (see Table 1). She continues: “He also never exited his castles through the doors, but through the windows. What lies in store for us here and how soon?” (author’s translation). The early thoughts of some responsible parties about having to set up a guardianship for Ludwig, but who in the end never ventured to take such a step, are documented (March 19, 1878), as are Ludwig’s lack of interest in women (November 21, 1870) and his homophilic tendencies, which were already being publically criticized (October 17, 1875).
We do not know when the perhaps legitimate but “overvalued” idea of the baptismal lineage from the Bourbons transformed into a systematic delusion. In any case, Ludwig did not attend the 700-year Wittelsbach jubilee in 1880 because of his high state of arousal and highly pathological ambivalence that lasted for months . Witness accounts that give a clear description of him are very rare. The 1882 “interview” by the American journalist and author Vanderpoole, in which Ludwig seemed by and large normal, was very likely a fabrication, like two of his other works .
With a rather mysterious aura, Ludwig quoted more and more often a verse from Schiller: “I wish to remain an eternal enigma to myself and others,…” This shortened version rather appears to hide the actual meaning. The literary connoisseur Ludwig quotes Beatrice from Schiller’s “The Bride of Messina” (forbidden love): “I do not know them/and I do not want to know them, who call themselves the benefactors of my days…an eternal enigma…” This quote describes Beatrice’s denial of her ancestry .
On February 5, 1884, Ludwig was treated by Dr. Franz Carl Gerster, a young doctor and dentist who, at the request of the Bavarian administrative government, was also trained in psychiatry by Charcot in Paris. Because it was no longer possible to use gut strings to attach any kind of artificial teeth to Ludwig’s few remaining molars, Gerster suggested fitting a palate plate. Ludwig immediately asked if Louis XIV also wore a palate plate. Gerster describes with psychopathological competence the 4-h-long night meeting with Ludwig. He determined that Ludwig had an accelerated flow of ideas, flight of thoughts, alogical stringing together of thoughts, delusions, and illusory and hallucinatory phenomena. He informed the responsible authorities, who told him clearly that his strong suspicion of mental illness “was interpreted and branded by all as high treason.” Gerster published his experience anonymously in 1886, using only his first and middle name [8, 22]. Gudden was probably not aware of Gerster’s observations.