The Guglmänner are a Bavarian secret society who identify themselves as guardians of the monarchy and who fervently believe that the eccentric King Ludwig II of Bavaria was assassinated. Ludwig who reigned from 10 March 1864 to 13 June 1886 was deposed from his throne on the official basis that he was mentally ill and so unable to rule. He was found dead by the shore of Lake Starnberg with the official ruling being suicide from drowning but this ruling has been brought into question by new information such as the accounts of Ludwig’s personal fisherman Jakob Lidl (1984-1933) who witnessed Ludwig being shot. Whatever the real cause of Ludwig’s death it is still shrouded in mystery and controversy in equal measures and the Guglmänner still champion what they believe to be the true account of Ludwig’s cause of death.

In public on the anniversary of the death of King Ludwig II, the Guglmänner follow a tradition inspired by the funeral rites of Bavarian kings and form processions reminiscent to that of the traditions of Spanish Easter processions. The Guglmänner wear distinctive black monk’s robes with a hood that obscures the face completely called the “Gugl” (pronounced with a long “U”) and chant “Media vita in morte sumus” which translates: “In the midst of life we are embraced by death.”

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