The White Lady of the Hohenzollerns is said to have haunted Europe’s most powerful rulers for over four-hundred years. Once believed to be the ghost of an evil murderess who slaughtered her children in cold blood, the truth about The White Lady is actually much sadder. Learn what really happened and how her hauntings came to be in the exciting new book “White Lady of the Hohenzollerns” by R.B. Swan. The book hasn’t been released yet, but you can check back here for exclusive sneak peeks and more information. Now, are you ready to learn a little bit more about the White Lady? Read on in this tantalizing excerpt from the prologue:
Depression enveloped me like a shroud: I couldn’t sleep or eat or take any interest in my children or in the sewing and charity work that had once filled my days. I brooded about Albert and relived every word and gesture and caress that had passed between us. I wondered why he’d asked me to marry him if he hadn’t meant to follow through. I also wondered why, if he’d loved me as madly as he’d told me he did, he was willing to tamely give me upon his parents’ orders. I thought about him and I talked about him until everyone around me thought that I was going mad. I thought that I was going mad too.
When Rudolf and Johann came down with a fever, I was, God help me, grateful at first, grateful that their illness would take my mind off of Albert’s cowardly betrayal and cruel letter. I nursed the children myself, nursed them carefully and, as they grew worse, with desperation. The doctor spoke to me in a soothing voice, and the servants seemed nervous around me and kept encouraging me to eat and to rest and to let someone else look after my boys. I ignored their advice and stayed with my children as my mind reeled from stress and disappointment and worry. I stayed with my children and looked into their trusting blue eyes that were so similar in shape and color to my own. I studied their eyes until I became convinced that they resembled my late husband’s cruel eyes. I also continued to brood over Albert’s faithlessness and to wonder what I could do to win him back.
My children died in the wee hours of the morning when I was all alone with them.I lay down on the bed between their two small bodies, gathered them into my arms, and went into a daze. When Ernst accused me of killing them, I said nothing and felt nothing and did nothing but stare at him as if I were one of the grey stone gargoyles that decorated the local church and its burying ground. He told everyone who would listen about Albert’s letter and its cryptic reference to “two pairs of eyes” and then he told everyone about my descent into madness, which he claimed was triggered by Albert’s rejection of me. Everyone decided that I’d madly believed that my two children had been standing in the way of my marriage to Albert and that I’d killed them for that reason. My fair name became mud. I lost every friend that I’d ever had, and the servants treated me with disgust, like an unclean thing. The deaths of my boys were also to some degree blamed on Albert and on the cryptic phrase he’d used in his letter, so the fair name of Hohenzollern was tarnished too. The scandal was horrific.
A scaffold was built in front of the castle, right beneath my bedroom window. I stared at it and felt no fear, nothing at all, because I believed that I had nothing whatsoever to live for. It was while I was under house arrest that word came that the House of Hohenzollern had taken an interest in my situation. The Hohenzollerns claimed that if I submitted myself to their judgment, I would be treated with fairness and with as much mercy as I deserved. They also announced that Albert had become engaged to a young and very rich young lady. I did not react, could not react, for I was lost in a daze, and I frightened everyone with my utter lack of interest in my fate. Ernst accepted the Hohenzollern offer and sent me to my doom.
I was brought under guard to the Schloss in Berlin, the stronghold of the Hohenzollerns. Albert was not there to meet me and wrap his arms around me and swear to protect me forevermore. I told myself that I wasn’t surprised and that I didn’t care. I didn’t see anyone there except the guards who led me inside. They took me to the subterranean part of the building, which was where the gloomy and cavernous dungeon was. Lit only by torchlight, it was like my worst imaginings of hell. Fresh and ancient bloodstains were on the walls, on the floors, everywhere, because foul deeds were the order of the day in that dungeon. What was done to me there was a very foul deed.
My ordeal began when my hair and eyebrows were shaved off as if I was about to join a convent and become a nun. Dazed as I was, I couldn’t help but struggle when I saw the sharp shining razor so close to my eyes and I received several cuts as a result. I was then forced to put on an old-fashioned white mourning dress, cap, veil, and gloves. The veil was a double veil: one side fell in front of me and the other side fell behind me, enclosed me as a shroud would have done. As hot blood dripped down my neck and my face and my head, my hands were tied behind my back with a piece of stout rope and I wished that I’d never been born.
They dragged me to a small cell that had a single burning candle sitting in a puddle of wax on its stone floor. They threw me inside so hard that I slammed into the stone wall and saw bright dancing stars before everything turned black. When I eventually woke up, the doorway to my cell had been bricked up. I’d been buried alive, sentenced to death without a fair hearing. I snapped out of the daze that I’d been in since my boys had died, and I belatedly decided to fight for myself. I begged the guards and the Hohenzollerns and Albert not to do this to me. I screamed Albert’s name over and over. When he failed to come to my rescue, I finally accepted that his eyes had been vulpine rather than kind. I also accepted that he and his devilish beard had played me for a fool from first to last.
I tried to crawl to the doorway in the hope that I could kick the fresh brickwork down,but my head was throbbing and having my hands tied behind me didn’t help. It also didn’t help that I hadn’t been eating properly for a long time. I’d once had a sturdy body but I was now weak and emaciated. There was blood caked on my face, even in my eyelashes, and my body felt like one huge bruise. I stared at the careful rows of bricks and gave up, just as I’d given up when my late husband had beaten me, just as I’d given up when I’d read Albert’s letter. How I wished now that I’d hit my husband back when he’d hit me. I also wished that I’d commandeered a horse and galloped forth to confront Albert. Of course, if I’d attacked Otto, he could have beaten me to death with impunity, I told myself. If I’d taken one of the horses, Ernst would have sent his men to fetch me back and he would have punished me, I also told myself. There is nothing so corrosive to the soul as regret.
I stared at the flickering candle and wondered just how much longer its feeble light would last and whether eating the melted wax would keep me alive and, if so, for how long. I also wondered whether someone might have been left standing outside the walled up entrance to act as a guard. I thought that if I explained my side of the story, that person might take pity on me and find a way to help me. I started talking and found that it eased my mind even though, after a while, I realized that no one was standing behind the wall. I could not stop talking even though there was no one to hear me but God, and I was not sure, in my devastation and distress, that He was really there. I talked for hours in spite of my throbbing head and hands, talked after the candle went out and I was left alone in the dark, talked for days as my body went through the slow and agonizing process of dying from hunger and thirst.
I talked about the dreams I’d once had of finding a loving husband.
I talked about the useless pity meted out to me by my friends and servants, my so-called supporters, as Otto beat me black and blue.
I talked about how much I loved my children.
I talked about how I’d fallen in love with Albert.
I talked about how terrible I felt when he rejected me.
I talked about what it did to me to see the life going out of my children’s small bodies, flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone, to see their eyes glaze over and their innocent souls go where I could not follow.
I talked about my need to make my pain and rage felt by Albert and the House of Hohenzollern.
When Death finally claimed me, there was no Heaven and no Hell and no Judgment, just long periods of nothingness that were interrupted by disconnected visions in which I drifted through strange palaces while wearing the bloodstained clothes that I’d been wearing when I’d died. There were times when I knew where I was going but I usually drifted, lost and alone amid the splendor.
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