With election season in full swing, it may be time to take a step back and be happy that none of the candidates are hanging around with bodies or believing they have glass bones. Whether they were born with mental illness or slowly went insane from a tragic life, these eleven rulers definitely make most US presidents look better.
1. Queen Maria I of Portugal
Queen Maria (1734-1816) exhibited eyebrow-raising behavior prior to her husband / uncle’s death in 1786, but it was this sad occurrence that really drove her on the path to madness. When her eldest son and only daughter soon followed, Mary’s already fragile state of mind made a crack in her nose. The religious fanatic, convinced that she was going to Hell, reported visions that the blackened corpse of her late father was being tortured by demons. Visitors to their apartments would complain that they were tired of yelling and whining all the time. She also reportedly enjoyed wearing children̵
2. Charles VI. From France
Charles (1368-1422) had many manic episodes, including one in 1392 in which he slaughtered four of his own men after being terrified when a page dropped a lance. After the massacre, Charles fell into a comatose state for two days and had to be brought home in a cart. But the most interesting delusion King Charles had was that his bones were made of glass. In order not to break, the king had iron bars sewn into his clothes.
3. Otto of Bavaria
Otto was used as a substitute for his insane brother, King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Nobody trusted that Otto (1848-1916) was actually in a worse mental condition than his sibling. The New York Times reported on November 5, 1913 that Otto was replaced after he was found in a “wretched” condition: “He stammered a few inarticulate words. When [members of the delegation] As they retreated from the room they heard a great crash, and when they saw what had caused it, they found that Otto had knocked a tea tray that had been set up for the MPs on the floor and smashed the expensive china . “
Newer theories suggest that both brothers were in perfect mental health; The “crazy” behavior was entirely invented to make it easy to overthrow.
4. Vlad the Impaler
Anyone who tortured people to the extent and in numbers that Vlad of Wallachia (1431-1476) did must be both insane and cruel. His favorite form of torture, impaling, was not only used as a death penalty. he enjoyed it to the point of utter obsession. When Vlad and his evils were finally brought to an end by house arrest in Hungary, he continued to torture and impale all living creatures unlucky enough to cross his path – birds, rats, mice.
5. Joanna of Castile
Although Joanna’s marriage was arranged by her famous parents Ferdinand and Isabella, she fell completely in love with her husband Philip the Handsome (you are the judge) from Austria, a Habsburg duke. In fact, Joanna (1479-1555) was so in love that when Philip died of typhus in 1506, Joanna had his grave reopened several times so that she could see her husband’s face, which was certainly not quite as beautiful as it was had been once. When she had to flee the city to escape the plague, she asked for Philip to be taken with her and had the tomb reopened to make sure he was still inside. It was still there and probably still decaying, but that didn’t stop Joanna from kissing and caressing the body.
6. Erik XIV from Sweden
Erik’s (1533-1577) paranoia completely consumed his life and sanity. It was not uncommon for people caught laughing, smiling, or whispering within earshot of Erik to be sentenced to death for treason. He had an entire family locked up in his castle and later murdered just because he believed they were too influential. After the executions, Erik went outside into the woods and disappeared for three days. He believed he was his own brother for a period of time, and that brother actually took the throne in 1568 after advisors found Erik too compromised to wear the crown. Although Erik took his paranoia to extremes, it may have been justified: when it came to an end in 1577, it was the result of a poisoned pea soup.
7. Fyodor I of Russia
Fyodor the Bellringer (1557-1598), son of Ivan the Terrible, was not enthusiastic about the rule and left most of it to his brother-in-law Boris Godunov. Known for his “empty look”, Fjodor’s downfall appears to have happened when his only daughter died at the age of 2. He set out to wander up and down Russia obsessed with ringing all the church bells in the country.
8. Princess Alexandra Amalie of Bavaria
Alexandra von Bayern (1826-1875) was a lovely, charming princess who was convinced that she had swallowed an all-glass piano as a child. It is said that she is obsessed with cleanliness too, and that she only wears white clothes. It’s a shame she never made it across the sea to meet Emily Dickinson – the two could have compared notes (through a door, of course) on how to make their whites whiter.
9. Maria Eleonora from Brandenburg
Maria Eleonora (1599-1655) was eager to give her husband a son, but after a few miscarriages and stillbirths she somehow lost him when the baby she finally gave birth in 1626 was a girl and screamed, “Instead of a son, I have a daughter, dark and ugly, with a great nose and black eyes. Take her from me, I won’t have such a monster! “
She tried several times to kill baby Christina, “accidentally” dropping her or pushing her down the stairs. Although King Gustav Adolf was happy to have a daughter, he was killed in battle less than two years later. Maria Eleonora responded with hysterical grief, which included holding her husband’s body above the ground for 18 months so that she could touch it regularly. She also let Christina sleep under a golden coffin that contained her father’s heart.
As if by a miracle, Christina grew up to be a fully functional woman and queen.
10. Mustafa I from Turkey
You can’t really blame this guy for being crazy: if you’ve been locked in a room for 10 years at your own brother’s behest, a screw or two can come loose. After the death of his brother Mustafa (1591-1639) was released from his “golden cage”, but was sent back after a few months when his brother’s son ascended the throne instead. When his nephew was murdered just four years later in 1622, Mustafa was again dragged from the safety of his cage to allow the crown to fall on his head. He was often found running around the palace, knocking on doors and yelling for his dead nephew to come back and rule Turkey again.
11. Ferdinand I of Austria
The product of inbreeding – his parents were double cousins - Ferdinand (1793-1875) had epilepsy and encephalitis, rarely spoke, and had trouble completing simple tasks. As an emperor, it was claimed that the only words he uttered were, “I am the emperor and I want dumplings.” Ferdinand, however, kept a perfectly cohesive diary, suggesting that he was not insane at all, just a man unfortunate enough to be born into a family obsessed with keeping the bloodline “pure”.