The Secret of Taaffe’s Metal Box

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J Listowel in ‘A Habsburg Tragedy’ indirectly scores the answer to the twin  mysteries of the  Fin de Siecle. What was really locked away in the mysterious metal box of ex-Prime Minister Count  Taaffe? And why was the metal box of Taaffe ordered to be locked away forever?

After Mayerling the Crime of the Fin de Siecle  occurred, why  did Francis Joseph order then Prime Minster CountTaaffe to over see the entire investigation of Mayerling? Then why did Taaffe CALL  OFF the entire investigation hours  before it even began? Then why did Taaffe lock almost  all of the evidence away in a metal box? Why did Count Bombelles, the handler of Rudolph,  die so mysteriously before the year was out and why was his  body not yet cold when his entire home was ransacked for every speck of paper which was then locked away in that notorious box? Why did Latour, the key tutor and confidant of Rudolph,  frantically tell his son to destroy any papers and records before he ended up as mysteriously dead as Bombelles? And why did Count Taaffe haul that metal box  away to Ireland when Francis Joseph fired him some years later?

Why has Taaffe’s descendants refused to open the metal box despite offers of millions to reveal its mysterious contents? Why do the heirs of Taaffe say they are still under mysterious orders to keep the  secrets of the metal box locked away from public view or inspection? Away from historical analysis? From forensic analysis? From ballistic analysis? From modern handwriting analysis? Almost every single  piece of evidence from Mayerling? Including the rumors of a bottle of poison? The mysterious civilian gun found with all chambers previously discharged  on the side table and not by the dead hand of Rudolph?  Every photograph and investigation report  of the crime scene? Every investigstion report on the condition of the unsecured oversized ground level  windows? The autopsy photographs and drawings? The bloody clothing? The suicide notes? Telegrams? Damn near everything?

Despite the fact Galimberti contradicted the official account? Despite the fact other Royals contradicted the official account? Despite the fact other local police at the scene contradicted the official account? Despite the fact other witnesses contradicted the official account? Despite the fact officials themselves contradicted each other? Despite the fact Francis Joseph contradicted his own official account? Despite the fact  the entire right temple of Rudolph’s totally crushed skull was completely  shattered indicating it was an exit wound and not an entry wound? Despite eye witnesses confirming the evidence of bludgeoning with a champagne bottle leaving shattered bits of green glass in Rudolph’ skull? Despite eye witnesses confirming the presence of a second bullet wound found at the back and base of the skull slightly behind the left ear? Despite eye witnesses confirming gruesome  defensive wounds, missing fingers, and a partly severed right wrist? Despite the fact the key witness, Loschek contradicted himself and changed his story endlessly while being contradicted by another key witness, Bratfisch. Despite the evidence that two other males likewise died at the scene and two key females involved were murdered within two weeks of Mayerling?

Despite rumors of a coming assassination of a key royal in 89 being reported to Vienna by Scotland Yard, Belgium Secret Services, and French Secret Services before Mayerling? Despite the fact Rudolph told close friends he was going to be assassinated because ‘I know too much’? Despite the fact reports supposedly confirming witness accounts of Rudolph supposedly talking about suicide have completely vanished from all official records? Despite forged and compromised official court pharmacy ledgers? Despite the fact two forensic experts in the 1950s testified that Mary was bludgeoned so the sworn testimony of two court doctors at Rudolph’s autopsy lied?

Despite the facts the court doctors overseeing the autopsy were not trained in autopsy and contradiced each other and other witnesses while making claims that could not possibly be proven by the actual autopsy? Including implying Rudolph was insane because of syphilis despite the fact the court doctor who was responsible for Rudolph’s care when Rudolph was alive only treated Rudolph once for gonorrhea and never treated Rudolph at all for syphilis which meant he retroactively claimed post death that  he deliberately refused to treat his royal patent for a serious illness in total violation of his oath as a doctor which would amount to high treason as well as criminal malpractice? And instead of bring prosecuted he was promoted to chief doctor of Francis Joseph?   Despite the fact the math submitted on the autopsy report does not add up? Despite the fact no required livor mortis and rigor mortis test or stomach contents test or indeed any legal autopsy test (or poison test)  was done  on Rudolph to prove time of death? Despite the fact that  Mary’s ‘autopsy’ was only a visual eyeballing (including shoving a dangling eyeball back into her eye socket)?

Despite the fact that Bratfisch’s testimony and Wodiczk’s testimony and the Wolfe Brothers’ testimony and the testimony of stable boys  totally contradicts Loschek’s testimony as to the time of Rudolph’s death?  Despite the fact a key witness is missing 24 hours in his nonexistent alibi and his own wife blurted out he must be implicated in royal murder? Despite the fact Francis Joseph told his final heir Archduke Karl that evidence existed to exonerate Rudolph and Karl died firmly believing that Rudolph was murdered? Despite the fact that Victoria and Wales and Prime Minister Salisbury all agreed that Rudolph was murdered? Despite the fact that King Leopold, Rudolph’s father- in- law, said what really happened at Mayerling was too dangerous to be spoken of except in whispers?

Despite the fact Stephanie, the alienated wife of Rudolph, knew a supposed suicide by poison was going to occur at Mayerling six weeks before Mayerling occured to tell her lover Lonyay  who then blabbed the shocking secret to a Catholic Missionary on an isolated ship mid Mediterranean (pre wireless) between 24 and 48 hours before Mayerling occurred? Despite the fact Francis Joseph admitted that what really happened at Mahyerling was infinitely worse than what was broadcasted as the official spiel?

Despite the fact two official memorandums were sent to the Pope asking for Catholic burial and the first memorandum claiming murder/suicide by madness was turned down? Only the second longer memorandum claiming affair of state and not affair of the heart finally got the Pope’s permission for Catholic burial?   Despite the  fact the Nuns of Mayerling are under oath to pray for a man who was KILLED? In the face of all of these questions why is the metal box of Count Taaffe still ordered to be sealed so all of the evidence gathered up at Mayerling can never ever be revealed?

Not even Crown Prince Rudolph’s first official biographer who was also the governmental Hofburg Archivist was allowed to see the ‘suicide notes’ other than photographs of the ‘Stephanie letter’ which was actually undated but written at the same time as an updated last will and testament. And both were confirmed to have been  written by Rudolph two years prior to Mayerling when he was about to visit the Balkans under death threats requiring him to update his will and prepare  letters to his executor  just in case he met the fate of his later replacement Franz Ferdinand. Assassination. The  style of handwriting of the  Stephanie photographed letter proves that the letter predates Mayerling by two years. And that is the only ‘suicide’ letter ever revealed as ‘evidence’. Everything else is gossip and  rumor and oral retelling based on memory of gossip and rumor based on evidence locked away forever …. mostly in the notorious metal box of Taaffe. When is gossip and rumor and hearsay considered evidence in leu of evidence deliberately locked away?

So the  only evidence allowed to escape  being locked up in that notorious metal box is the Stephanie photographic copy of the only letter genuinely proven to be written by Rudolph —- two years prior to Mayerling just before Rudolph left for the Balkans under death threats. Every other supposed suicide letter is locked away from view or analysis or testing or forensic inspection to this very day.

Post Mayerling  no supposed suicide letter has ever been released in its entirety. True! Remarkable is it!  Only official summaries have been issued or else  ‘quotes’ taken out of context from the unseen letters have  been circulated to ‘prove’ the case of suicide. Everything  else is locked away —- mostly in that notorious metal box? Why?

Despite the fact the memoirs of one of Rudolph’s secretaries documents that one of his jobs was tracking down von Holstein/ Petri forgeries of Rudolph’s handwriting.  Despite the fact Rudolph’s hand writing changed drastically in the last six months of his life  because of either a hand injury or else carpal tunnel pain which many Victorian writers and artists often suffered from. Rudolph was an obsessive compulsive letter writer. So carpal tunnel pain is likely. But for whatever reason, his handwriting changed —- but rumors and even samples  of forgeries from Berlin surfaced  featuring Rudolph’s old handwriting because no samples of Rudolph’s new writing could be secured by Berlin. What a fatal mistake for forgers to make if true! If seen, such forgeries would be a dead giveaway! So why not reveal the suicide notes to check the handwriting? It would be so easy? Why not? Why lock away all evidence of suicide letters supposedly writing by Rudolph when proving or disproving forgeries by Berlin would be so very simple?

And just as worryingly, Bratfisch testified he saw only one letter in the out box: Rudolph’s letter to a publisher pleading for more time to finish an article he was struggling with (for which Rudolph asked a secretary to deliver research books to Mayerling to help him finish that pesky article). And later Bratfisch testified he suddenly saw an out box full of letters after Coburg materialized to order the  breaking  down of  the bedroom door by a hysterical Loschek with an axe attacking the door jam and not the door which burly Bratfisch could have simply kicked in so very easily.

And equally troubling, Mary Vetsera is supposed to have scribbled endless suicide letters au natural in a cold bedroom in a cold hunting lodge in cold winter after drinking endless champagne while Bratfisch gaily whistled birdy calls. And some of these supposed suicide letters apparently  joked about suicide or else begged  the Pope to personally come and bless her au natural corpse. Right! That sounds really credible!

Unless of course some of the supposed suicide letters by Mary were really  written by von Holstein/Petri forgers back in Berlin in anticipation of Mayerling. Being  cynical males and Protestants the forgers would just be mimicking a mentally unstable teenaged Catholic girl. And such cynics  naturally would  despised Catholics in general and teenaged Catholic girls in particular.

And von Holstein and Petri could not have anticipated the fact that Rudolph caught a bad cold on arriving at Mayerling. Worse, Rudolph sweated in his heavy fur overcoat while helping Bratfisch get the carriage out of a ditch on an icy road. Rudolph sweated badly so  by the time they reached a village close to Mayerling he was shivering. The sweat had frozen. The sweaty clothes were icy and freezing to his body. This was causing mild hypothermia. This is common and can also be dangerous. Just ask ‘Mountain Men’! Rudolph and Bratfisch went inside the village hotel where they drank by the fire. But that is not the right treatment for mild hypothermia when your sweaty clothes freeze to your body. Rudolph needed to get to Mayerling and undress and seriously warm up. Otherwise that mild hypothermia would  turn into dangerous hypothermia.

The hotel was small and busy and there are five sinister Prussian officers posing as ‘hunters’. Rudoph’s secretary and his Man Friday Brantfisch Junior had not yet arrived. Rudolph would have recognized the sinister Junkers wearing their brand new hunting togs as if costumes on their ramrod military bodies  from the townhouse of Countess Wimpffen. Wimpffen was  a charming but financially precarious Viennese who had fallen into the clutches of Prussians connected to von Holstein the Spy Master of Bismarck. Rudolph and Bombelles dropped Wimpffen once her townhouse turned into a ‘Nest of Vipers’ because of her dangerous house guests. Rudolph and Bratfisch decided to head off to Mayerling in his frozen clothes. The wine he drank by the fire before seeing those sinister Junkers aggravated   his mild hypothermia. So Rudolph ends up unexpectedly  sick at Mayerling . So he spends the  last few days of his life  sick. Too sick to hunt. Sick and grumpy so he bellowed as he endlessly telegraphed that poor Magyar politican who blotched up the defense bill in Budapest.

So it is highly unlikely that Rudolph would have wanted to party from ten o’clock to two ‘clock before writing endless suicide notes until  three o’clock or else three thirty in the cold AM of  a cold bedroom in a cold lodge in cold winter. Remember, this is an old estate  farm house turned into a cheap hunting lodge sans central heat or any modern convenience. Unless that fireplace was kept stoked (the job of servants ) that room would have been  damn cold. And even with a blazing fireplace that room would still have been  cold ten feet away from that fire place in the wee hours of a January night. Fireplaces in the Victorian Age were not super efficient in heating whole rooms in winter.

Would  anyone with a bad cold and mild hypothermia want to throw a suicide party? No! You want to crawl into bed with hot water bottles and groan with the blankets piled high up over you as you whine. Rudolph was apparently famous for being whiny when sick.

And Rudolph was found in his previously day’s change of hunting togs and shoes with a dressing jacket or else dressing gown  and his throat wrapped against the cold (unless  you believe Loschek’s account of Rudolph dressing himself  in  a dark and freezing bedroom to go out to Loschek’s room around 6:00 A.M. or else 6:30. A.M. where Loschek was sleeping in warm and cosy instead  of doing his job as valet  which meant Rudolph was forced to dress without his valet’s help in a dark cold bedroom  to announce to Loschek  in Loschek’s warm room that  he  was sick and to call him in one hour before going back into his dark and freezing  bedroom which his valet refused to warm by building a fresh fire while whistling  to go back to bed because he was  sick  despised already being dressed though amazingly Loschek later could not remember exactly what his master was wearing despite being a valet so his job is dressing  and maintaining his master’s clothes and in fact had to be corrected by Hoyos that Rudolph was also wearing a dressing jacket or else dressing gown only to be found in a cold and dark and freezing  bedroom sans light or fire because his valet is sleeping in instead of doing his job only to  later be found  still dressed — in clothes that appear to be unchanged from yesterday and shoes. Ok! Let’s pass on over this irrational nonsense!

But regardless, Sick Rudolph  was not warm and  cosy during his last hours of life if the wee hours of night suicide party and 6:30 A.M. sighting are even remotely true. Quite the contrary. Rudolph would not have been a happy camper during that supposed suicide champagne party even if Mary was happily celebrating her upcoming suicide au natural on top of the made bed while toasting Bratfisch with champagne in a freezing bedroom in a freezing lodge in freezing night in freezing January.

Rudolph’s corpse was  found slumped over the left side of the bed  with his hands dangling and his head  slumped into the bed covers instead of sleeping  or reclining or even caught while fornicating so he died anything but cosy or fornicating  even romantic. The Wolfe Brothers later said a massive pool of blood oozed down from the bed there —- among other places. So Rudolph was not in the bed. He was found slumped over the edge of the left side of the  bed by the left ground window.

Coburg presided over the unveiling of the  corpse and declined to say what state the curtains or windows or outside shutters  were in. If Bratfisch said he peered through these windows to check the weather at 6:45 A.M. then the outside shutters were open meaning there was  absolutely  no security whatsoever. There is indirect evidence that one curtain was pulled partly back in the ‘dark’ room. Therefore there was  no fire or candles and  therefore the room was freezing. So either Rudolph had two shockingly incompetent servants to not offer to build a fire and light candles or oil  lamps or offer hot coffee or hot water to wash and shave or to lay out his clothes or comment on Mary’s au natural bludgeoning  or else both Bratfisch and Loschek suspected that Rudolph was already as dead as au natural Mary sprawled on top of that made bed in all of her grisly glory of deadness.

The Wolfe Brothers later  described shattered windows, shattered glass, bullets in walls, furniture tumbled, stuff smashed, blood all over the place instead of just one place, as if a battle scene as they were ordered to literally clean up the crime scene. These Wolfe Brothers were locals who arrived to do the heavy work of house cleaning because Rudolph’s staff was so tiny Rudolph  often helped Bratfisch cook. The Wolfe Brothers along with a local hunter named Wodiczka had been reserved to come to Mayerling for a pre dawn hunt (natural behavior of Rudolph who rose very early for pre dawn hunts ). The Wolfe Brothers planned to clean out the bedroom fireplace and polish and buff and other house cleaning which  could only be done if Rudolph was off hunting. So some key  locals were expecting to appear at Mayerling for a pre dawn hunt which meant Loschek should have been in that ‘dark’ bedroom preparing his master for a pre dawn hunt. The testimony of Wodiczka and the Wolfe Brothers would later contradict Loschek’s testimony when he last saw Rudolph alive —– drastically contradict Loschek’s testimony.

The secretary arrived  with Dr. Widerhofer who gave the chap a ride to Mayerling while exclaiming that Rudolph was killed and shot but not poisoned which was what Hoyos was suppose to be telling everyone back in Vienna while also  exclaiming he could not possibly claim this was a heart attack  now. This secretary (still carrying research books which Rudolph asked him to bring ) said he saw Coburg and other minions hastily ordering the crime scene cleaned up just in case Francis Joseph might take it into his head to want to visit the crime scene — as if that was even  remotely possible. We are talking about a man who  went to bed on the 30th after a nice dinner and slept per his normal routine after being told his son was dead while even telling minions to tell Dr. Widerhofer to brief him about Mayerling the next morning during normal business hours. Francis Joseph  later ordered minions to haul Rudolph’s corpse back to the  Hofburg in the dead of night. Such behavior indicates a man who would never visit a crime scene. In fact only one  mysterious royal female (probably  Gisela)  and Galimberti bothered to investigate Mayerling as the crime scene was hastily sanitized. Coburg and later von Slatin  and other court minions mostly conducted their ‘investigation’ in the billiard room (presumably to better play billiards while investigating).

Mary’s stiff au natural corpse was already hauled off to a lumber room to be shoved into a laundry basket designed to haul sheets and linen back and forth from Mayerling  to  Vienna  because the  crude hunting lodge did not have laundry facilities. The secretary did not say if he saw Mary before he was ordered to leave. No one at the time noticed or commented on the missing cook and the missing wallets and missing  household monies. No one told the secretary that another man were also dead, a servant called Max, his brother Otto was missing,   and Weiner the chief master of the hunt  and keeper of the stables was dead, and the stable boys were  cowering. And  Rudolph’s dog was dead. Coburg and other court minions declared that  these deaths were not connected to Rudolph’s death and that none of the servants other than  Loschek or Bratfisch would be interviewed including neither  Hoyo’s or Coburg’s valets.

The evidence was hastily cleaned up or covered up and  local Catholic church bric-a-brac  was hastily fetched to garnish an instant Catholic  sanctuary for a hardened agnostic.  Rudolph’s corpse  was hastily cleaned  up and patched up and a sheet was pulled up to his neck to conceal the state of his body while a massive white bandage wrapped his shattered skull as if a halo. A gigantic cross was placed on the corpse of a notorious Darwinist  who believed in evolution and science  and  technology rather than religion who was famous for  feuding with ‘blackies’ ie Catholic clerics.

Again there  is no evidence that Francis Joseph ever considered going to investigate how his son died. So why clean up the crime scene before any investigation? Francis Joseph  expressed only mild surprise that Mary was there  and dead. Poison? Oh? So Rudolph died of poison? Oh? Otherwise?  Francis Joseph  dined and went to bed at his normally time and asked minions  to tell Dr. Widerhofer to debrief him about Mayerling next morning during normal business hours. That behavior screams out something!

Francis Joseph  was ashen that Sisi was shattered. The famously fragile Sisi’s emotional balance was notoriously precarious. She had already sustained one or more nervous breakdowns. So Francis Joseph was worried about Sisi’s fragile gripe on sanity as she cried before him. And Francis Joseph  also knew that  Helen Vetsera was  grandstanding in Sisi’s antechamber when only days before Helen Vetsera tried to ambush Francis Joseph at the German Embassy Ball to extort blackmail or some  other shake down from him. Naturally Francis Joseph was worried about what his old cast off mistress might do. But right now  Francis Joseph was  described (by sources of Carl  Lonyay) as remarkably bland. Before the month was out Francis Joseph would be jovially hunting again after Taaffe  successfully locked every last piece of evidence away from public scrutiny including Rudolph’s corpse. If Taaffe could  have shoved Rudolph’s corpse into that  damn metal box Francis Joseph probably would have  let him do it.

Rudolph  died with blood and skeins of brains hurled forward out of the top and front and very slightly to the left  of an entirely crushed skull as if a tin can of beans exploded open. The  lid of the tin can,  ie the top of his skull attached to his scalp, was blown up and back by the upward frontal velocity of the bullet. This  could only be achieved by a bullet shot behind and below, at the base of the skull, slightly left and slightly  behind the left ear. There was also bludgeoning crushing of the left top of the skull indicated by  embedded green glass. The left temple was scarcely damaged. The right temple was massively  shattered but lower down in the temple along the lower scalp line. The most damage was the top front (slightly left) skull indicating velocity which  was upward and forward. Therefore vertical and not horizontal. The upward and forward momentum of the killing shot hurled massive amounts of blood and skiens of  brains out indicating both velocity and killing force.

bullet entry exit graph

bullet entry exit wound chart

bullet exit wound description

bullet entry exit wound

bullet entry and exit wound

The slighter lower horizontal temple shattering wound  was not nearly so horrific in its vomiting of blood or skeins of brains sideways. Mostly the horizontal shot just shattered the bones of the entire right temple and sprayed some blood and bone. No one was initially bothered that the ‘suicide’ shot totally shattered the entire right temple making this an exit wound and not an entry wound.

An entry wound in a temple is amazingly small as the gun barrel tattooed or else gunpowder tattooed  skin puckers back like elastic forming either a tiny drilled hole or else a tiny ‘cleft’ crack drilled  hole. There  is  only a tiny blowback of blood spatter on the gun and hand and cuff and sleeve. It is so small as to be almost innocent.

An exit wound is shattering and hurls blood and bone outward. So coning is directional: INTO and then  OUT OF. No one bothered to check any of this. Nor the color of the tiny entry wound to determine the tattooing or burnt  reddish or greyish or yellowish hue which is crucial. Nor did they study blood spatter on the bed or side table or hand mirror to indicate how  high up the head was from the bed when the horizontal shot was  done. That would have indicated if the head was raise up (Rudolph still alive) or if the head was slumped down (Rudolph was already dead).

The autopsy doctors later declared that the pureed brains vomited outward  proved insanity. The same doctors said the magic bullet went horizontally right to left creating a gigantic entry wound before  circumnavigating  the soft brains creating the frontal top vertical exit  wound which spilled out great volumes of blood and bone and brains  before then exiting through the left temple leaving a tiny drilled wound in  the left temple which  was scarcely damaged at all. Shades of Kennedy’s magic bullet!

PS:  a magic bullet might drastically change direction and  turn 80% off its horizontal  tangent to become a frontal vertical tangent  only if it   hits a bone and ricochets. But the brains are soft as firm tofu. So skull wounds feature straight paths leaving amazingly  small, tightly  drilled entry wounds and large shattering  exit wounds. The velocity is directional as well as destructive.  But no  magic bullet  can  leave two shattering exit wounds in two different directions in two different locations  in the skull even if it can magically change direction 80 degrees.

The blood and skeins of brains poured out onto the left side of the bed where Rudolph’s corpse was found slumped over.  The blood  oozed   down the left  side of the bed into a gigantic pool of blood onto  the floor. The dead hands were found slumped down on the floor  rather than under the slumped over corpse on the bed so he was not shot while praying or with his hands either before his chest  or out from his sides . There was no reference made to the location of the hand mirror of where it was or which hand was supposed to have held it or if it dropped or cracked  even blood spatter. Just that there was a hand mirror and also a glass of brandy on the side table. That was deemed to prove suicide the same way a right temple wound was deemed to be suicide despite being an exit wound  and not an entry wound.

One finger was supposedly found ‘cocked’ but no other fingers were ‘cocked’ or ‘curved’  (which Royal witnesses later said were also  missing along with an all but severed right  wrist). And the limp hand was not holding anything to ‘cock’. Why would just one finger freeze  into a gesture of suicide  and  not the other  fingers?  And it gets worse!

Galimberti later confirmed the mysterious civilian hand gun was found tossed on the side table with all chambers  ‘previously discharged’. He also  confirmed  that Mary was bludgeoned and not shot. Bios of Rudolph scoff Galimberi as a tottering cleric but  forensic experts in the 1950s confirmed his account of bludgeoning and not a temple bullet wound. Dr. Holler. Dr. Hollaender. Dr. Judtmann. PS. Galimberti co-wrote the second longer telegraphic memorandum with Count Esterhasy the Ambassador to the Vatican which Francis Joseph signed off on  so Galimberti knew the secret facts the Pope heard which were locked away in the metal box of Taaffe.

Nor was  the brandy glass inspected for finger prints (admittedly new science) or  for blood spatter.  Rudolph normally inclined to abuse  champagne or tokay or white bubbly and was last seen drinking white bubbly with Hoyos . This is important because the green glass of a shattered champagne bottle is later involved with one or more bludgeonings.

The gun was not tested for blowback blood spatter or  for  ballistics or for bullets to prove if  it was the murder weapon despite the fact it was not Rudolph’s gun and was not found by Rudolph’s hand .  Rudolph owned massive and very loud military hand guns which  would have been heard if fired. No killer bullet was found. Or at least none was searched for.

No evidence was found to  indicate if  anyone wrapped quilts or pillows around the gun to  try (why try?) to muffle the shot or shots which Loschek and Hoyos and Bratfisch all claimed they did not hear (though Loschek changed his story endlessly). The bed was found tidy  and never slept in before the murders. So Mary and/ or her bludgeoning killer wanted her to be found au natural on top of the bed with only a teeny tiny handkerchief and red rose to preserve  her  nonexistent modesty.

The cold dark  room’s temperature was not taken to help calculate rigor mortis. Nor was Mary’s au natural  calculated for rigor mortis (she would freeze  faster) compared to Rudolph’s full state  of  dress (which  would slow  down his rigor mortis).

Blood spatter was not documented at all  but the massive oozing blood dripping down the left side of the bed originated  from a forward and upward vertical wound of a head which  exploded open like a tin can with its lid blown back. Rudolph  was   found slumped down in the bed covers as if that  tin can had blown open and poured out its contents into the bed before oozing down the bed. It  did not come from a horizontal wound (either right to left or left to right). No blood spray across the bed covers was studied. No blood spray of any sort was studied.

The right hand was  not tested for gunpowder. The right cuff was not tested for logical blowback blood spatter. Nor the left hand. The condition of the  wrists were not documented. The entry wound was not  studied for gun barrel tattoo or gunpowder tattoo burn to indicate how close the barrel of the gun was held  to the temple. The  color (burnt darkish or reddish or else grayish or else yellowish) of the small, tightly drilled or else small, tightly cleft entry wound puckered  all but closed because  of the elastic nature of the skin was not documented  which would prove if the horizontal temple wound was delivered post death to mimic a suicide.

Despite the vertical thrust of the velocity of the outward  hurling brains and blood which could only be explained by a bullet shot lower down and  slightly left at  base of the skull no entry wound was searched for in the reddish scalp where a very  small melted clump of furry hair  would be.

Even if Rudolph choose for some reason to awkwardly  shoot himself left to right while using his left hand from slightly  behind his left ear at the back and  base of his skull despite being right handed (perhaps because his right hand was missing fingers at that point ) the barrel tattoo would form a crescent and the  gunpowder tattoo would have burned an angular path across the lower base of his skull in the furry  red hair which would have been very visible. The resulting  huge  exit  wound of such a shot would have been the upper right skull high up above the right temple. It would not have occurred  in the lower right temple. It would  absolutely not occur in the upper frontal ( but very slightly left) crown of the  forehead along the scalp line. The angle factoring the barrel of the awkwardly held  gun would make all of this impossible.

And why would a right handed  man choose to shot himself twice? First at the back and base of the skull slightly behind his left ear and then through his left temple anyway? That is the hardest way to shoot yourself even if you are still alive to take the second shot. It is awkward. It is risky —especially if right handed and not left handed. You  want to be sure you die and don’t linger horribly   so you firmly place the barrel of the gun hard on your right temple resulting a small, tightly drilled hole or else small, tightly drilled ‘cleft’ hole leaving a  firm barrel tattoo and dark or reddish color   on the tightly puckered  skin with minor corning of the drilled hole inward. The damage appears minimal, amazingly tiny,  but it is the safe way to deliver a very fatal death. The entire temple of a genuine entry wound  is not shattered or crushed. Quite the contrary. That is the exit wound. So angling a large military gun (why use a civilian gun you don’t  own and therefore  are not familiar with) with your left hand to shoot yourself in effect from behind is not just awkward. It is ironically dangerous. If you botch it then you survive brain damaged.

Even if Rudolph decided to shoot himself in his mouth which the good doctors denied happened the bullet still would have blown out the top back of his skull and not top front (very slightly left) of his skull. Under his jaw? The bullet wound would exit the top of his skull blowing most of his scalp off. Witnesses described the top of his scalp covered skull blown back like the lid of a tin can. That is why later the morgue was able to stuff the emptied skull and then stitch back the scalp flap exactly like Frankenstein’s Monster with stitches along the scalp hair line. In contrast the scalp hair line along the right temple is gorged out and especially the lower scalp hair line above his ear indicating massive temple and hairline destruction.

So no matter  how  you place the gun, the wound or wounds which killed Rudolph simply don’t make sense.  Now go find a toy gun (make sure it is a large toy gun because Victorian hand guns were large and Rudolph would have wanted to use one of his own military guns)  and play Poirot or else  CSI. Then come back and continue this blog.

Despite evidence of shattered green glass from a champagne bottle no evidence of bludgeoning was studied. No rigor moris or livor mortis (livid spots from blood settling at the lowest points)  test was done. Most bios of Mary describe the sinister dark blotches as if evidence of depraved evil or disease or some such nonsense but it is simply the livor mortis  of blood settling at the lowest points.No test on the stomach’s contents were done. Nor was any poison test done despite early rumors of poison. In fact no test of any sort was done. Zero. Zip. Nada.

So the only evidence for time of death of Rudolph  was Loschek’s testimony despite the fact Bratfisch’s testimony and Wodiczka’s testimony and the testimony of the Wolfe Brothers when they arrived all  proved that Loschek was lying. In fact when caught lying   Loschek kept changing his story endlessly.

In fact no coherent  forensic test was  done at all. Zero. Zip. Nada. Even if Loschek was initially believed why refuse to do required forensic tests?

The infamous Jack The Ripper Crimes the previous year had revolutionized forensics and crime scene investigation. Forensics and ballistics were advancing along with  fingerprints and  concepts of blood spatter. Barrel tattooing and gunpowder tattooing and coning of bone were understood. Enough people understood exit wounds to raise the alarm when they heard that the entire right temple of Rudolph was shattered. Galimberti could barely contain his scornful laughter when he heard the official spiel. The criminal omission by the Hofburg to do any professional investigation, forensics , ballistics, blood spatter, crime scene photographing, anything, and especially to deliberately refuse to do a formal  rigor mortis or livor mortis or stomach contents test or poison test on Rudolph screams out conspiracy to cover up the Crime of the Fin de Siecle.

Experts who were not experts but worked for the Hofburg cavalierly declared the most amazing conclusions based on no rational or forensic or chemical or scientific  test whatsoever. Syphilis madness  sans a test  for syphilis. Pureed brains caused by bullet or bullets  proved madness. Paralysis sans  any test. Terminal illness sans any test. Conclusions sans any professional test. Conclusions pulled out of the thin air along with the cavalier conclusions concerning  a civilian gun found tossed on a side table of the crime scene with all  chambers previously fired caused the death —- sans bullet and sans tests.

All of this toss and nonsense despite a royal witness (no less than ‘Nando’ Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinand IV) seeing  the  doctors picking out green glass from a bludgeoning wound and also a bullet entry wound at the lower base of the skull. Despite testimony of murder by Galimberti who prepared the second telegraphic memorandum along with Count Esterbazy to the Pope signed off by Francis Joseph which pleaded death by affair of state rather than affair of the heart. Despite Sisi telling confidents her son was ‘murdered’. Despite royal witnesses like Gisela recording crushed skulls and shattered right temples which famous artists like von Angeli declared obviously murder. Despite  Archduchess Marie Theresa reporting partly severed right wrists  and  gloves stuffed with cotton to conceal severed fingers and other defensive wounds.Despite Prince Xavier de Boubon Parme confirming ‘I have it from a reliable source, believe me because it is coming from the mouth of an official person who had entered the bedroom of the drama when the body of the murdered man had just been removed that the Archduke Rudolph’s right wrist had been severed.’ Despite the fact Rudolph told Don Miguel of Braganza that ‘I am going to be assassinated’ so he should not come to Mayerling. Despite the fact that Bratfisch, his official testimony to the contrary, said ‘It is not like they say, it is not a suicide’. Despite the fact that Queen Victoria and Wales were informed by Prime Minister Salisbury that ‘You are certain that Lord Salisbury is certain that poor Rudolph and that unfortunate  young girl were killed.’ Despite the fact Bismarck openly boasted that ‘I have the singular good luck in seeing people who stood most in my way disappear at just the right time’ and ‘A far sighted policy must take into account all eventualities which lie within the realm of possibility.’. Despite the fact that Hoyos offered to fall on his sword and say he accidentally shot Rudolph during a hunting accident and was deliberately turned down.  Despite the fact Prince Heinrick Reuss and von Waldersee were boasting how Berlin Secret Services had infiltrated Vienna Secret Services and known double agents like Beckman and da Fonseca and Florian Meissner were suborning Vienna’s secret police as well as threatening Mizzi Caspar. Despite the fact Francis Joseph told his heir Archduke Karl that evidence existed to exonerate Rudolph and Archduchess Zita said royals told her gloves were stuffed with cotton and orders were delivered that no royal was to touch the gloved hands or wrist or even touch the corpse at all. Despite the fact Francis Joseph later admitted that ‘The truth is even more serious than anything that  anyone has ever said’ and ‘Anything is better than the truth!’ Despite the fact  the son of Taaffe who inherited the infamous metal box said  the truth  was ‘far worse than anyone’s imagination’ before confessing to Group Captain Rudolph Taaffe that Mayerling definitely was a military ordered hit. The metal box of Taaffe to this very day stays locked.

13 Hours was declared  between Mary ‘s death and Rudolph’s death between 6:30 or  6:45 or 7:30 or 8:30 (as Loschek changed his story) despite lack  of rigor mortis test or livor mortis test or test of the stomach’s contents to forensically prove time of death of either victim factoring room temperature and state of dress or undress and if windows were smashed .

That would require Rudolph to pause in his entertainment of Hoyos to go into whatever room Mary was locked up to bludgeon her and then stroll back out without any blood spatter or screams to resume entertaining Hoyos who claimed he heard nothing whatsoever  until 8:30 A.M. when the corpses were  unveiled by Coburg.  So Mary was murdered at 6:00 P.M. ?  That doesn’t work  does it? Ok! Try  ten hours  dead despite the fact the good doctors said 13 hours. That makes Mary dead by  8:30 P.M.? That doesn’t work either! Damn! And Mary’s supposed letter praising Bratfisch’s birdy calls wee hours of night suicide party would put Mary dead around 3:00A.M  or 3:30 A.M. factoring in her writing at least half of her supposed suicide notes including the birdy call notes. That makes Mary  three to four hours dead before  Rudolph?  So where did the 13 hours cowering cravenly by her au natural corpse originate? And Loschek changed his story to claim he heard whispering from both lovers  before two shots. No cowering cravenly at all then. And the rigor mortis of Mary who was au natural would occur faster than Rudolph who was fully dressed. Neither good doctor factored  that.

The room was found ‘dark’ ie no fire or candles or lamps since who knows when. The Wolfes said windows were broken. Therefore freezing. That speeds up rigor mortis. Neither good doctor took a temperature reading of the room. But both launched the  mythic 13 hours cowering cravenly like a dirty little coward by Mary’s au natural corpse until 6:30 or 7:30  or even 8:30 AM. Why? And Syphilis Madness sans evidence? Why? Even though that made Dr. Widerhofer appear to say  he deliberately refused to treat his royal patient for a fatal disease for which Francis Joseph rewarded the good doctor by promoting him to become his own doctor! Just imagine the scene! ‘Oh I say Emperor! While treating your son once for gonorrhea I realized he actually had the far more terrible syphilis but I decided not to treat your son so he would die slowly and horribly! And behold! He did! He died of syphilis insanity while brutally murdering Mary and then himself! But rest assured that while I utterly failed in my duty as  a doctor and totally violated my oath as a physician it was all for the best! Don’t you agree Your Majesty?’ To which Francis Joseph replies ‘Certainly! Certainly! In fact I am so awed by your care of my only son and heir I have decided to promote you to my own personal physician!’ Does that sound sane? Or else the reward for a good doctor lying through his teeth?

Neither good doctor decided that testimony from stable boys seeing a dim Mayerling sudden blaze with lights and popping sounds like champagne corks despite no sight of house guests and no pior arrangement for food or prior arrangement for extra servants beside Max and Otto and Bratfisch and valets and no guest horses in the stables. A very strange sort of party at midnight! A party that gets Weiner and then the servant Max killed and cause Otto to flee! So they ignore the midnight event as completely unimportant. But factoring in a freezing bedroom with broken windows until 8:30 A.M that might actually at least produce a sorta of coherent seven or eight hours for rigor mortis for  naked  Mary. But dang those last suicide notes praising Bratfisch’s birdly call  suicide party! It still does not work! Unless of course the suicide notes are forgeries like the forged invitation Mary waved as she arrived uninvited from a commercial hack! Oh the tangled web we weave once we conspire to deceive!

The supposed ‘cocked’ finger later justified gloves stuffed with cotton and orders for no one to touch the hands and for sheets to be  kept pulled up to the neck of the corpse. Stubborn royals still caressed the dead man (a Victorian death custom) and confirmed the gloves were stuffed with cotton and the right wrist was also all but severed imply defensive wounds ‘from a saber’ such as  a ‘Red’ ie Hussar would weld. Archduchess Marie Theresa said it. Archduchess Zita said other royals told her about it. Gisela said her brother’s entire skull was crushed. ‘Nando’ the best childhood friend of Francis Joseph confirmed bludgeoning by a  champagne bottle and a second bullet at the base of the skull (slightly behind the left ear). But the kicker was the royal order for no one to touch the gloved hands because of a ‘cocked finger’ of a hand not found holding a gun which was not even Rudolph’s which was found tossed on the side table with all chambers ‘previously discharged’.  Why upset poor fragile Sisi with such cruel evidence of suicide?

Except morgues  have tools to break rigor mortis and anyway rigor mortis passes —– but not severed fingers which would necessitate  cotton stuffed gloves. Ditto a partly severed wrist. Classic defense wounds against a ‘Red’ welding a saber. The Victorian post death mourning by  handling and kissing and stroking   the beloved dead was  declared to be vetboten in Rudolph’s case. Not normal! But Habsburgs royals  defied the vetboten and stubbornly reported a totally crushed skull, a totally shattered right temple, a partly severed right wrist, missing fingers, and other defensive wounds. And ‘Nando’ the oldest friend of Francis Joseph reported Dr. Widerhofer picking out shattered  green glass from Rudolph’s skull and refused to recant despite Hofburg pressure. ‘Nando’ was famous for his absolute honesty. He simply refused to lie or recant what he saw. He saw Dr. Widerhofer picking out green glass shards from Rudolph’s crushed skull  plus another bullet wound as the body was prepared for a midnight autopsy minus witnesses by Widerhofer and another court doctor, both doctors lying about Mary’s death as well,  plus a Catholic priest who had the job of  finding an excuse to get Catholic rites for a man already declared an insane murderer suicide before the investigation was held despite an offer by Hoyos to fall on his sword and claim he accidentally shot Rudolph while hunting. Does any of this make any sense?.

Then the investigation  was suddenly canceled. The autopsy results were sealed sans witnesses. Every Habsburg Royal was ordered to toe the official line.  No trained morgue or forensic expert was present. No witness was  present. A scientifically rational autopsy was reduced to scientific and forensic and ballistic gibberish.  Then all  evidence was locked away in Taaffe’s metal box.

Both good  doctors likewise  lied  about Mary’s bludgeoning and none existent temple bullet wound in either temple  despite Galimberi’s testimony which later confirmed by two forensic experts in the 1950s who confirmed that Mary was bludgeoned and no temple  bullet wound was found. Which means they lied under oath! So what else did they lie under oath about? No bullet through temple. No bullet through top of skull. Nor bullet in bones or coffin. So the gun was not placed on top of her skull either to shoot her through her brains . No nicely drilled bullet hole was found on top of her skull. No drilled coning. Even if the bullet was still lodged in her corpse when she was buried there should have been a bullet in those raddling bones by the 1950s!

But there was crushing of the skull bones on top of her skull (very slightly top right). And the way her skull disintegrated by the time her corpse was dug up a third  time it would indicate hairline fractures crumbling the top of the skull downwards caused by the impact of bludgeoning. And remember that one eye that popped out? Bludgeoning! And if Mary was arranging herself au natural on top of the right side of  that bed for her glorious exit from life (as Mary in her madness would have planned ) then a Roll Commando could have come up the right side of that bed and effortlessly bludgeoned her with a champagne  bottle resulting  in the slightly right top of her skull being crushed. The gapping crumbling of the shattered crown of her skull is very slightly right indicating the  blow  came from  the right side of  the bed.

Rudolph was found on the left side of the bed and the good doctors time and again insisted Rudolph appeared incapableof walking around the bed to brutally shoot Mary as logic might dictate so how could he find the logic to walk around the bed to bludgeon her?

The supposed but nonexistent  bullet through Mary’s  left temple supposedly proved  Rudolph murdered her. Amazingly, the same doctors claim that Rudolph’s left to right bullet wound which did not hurl his brains horizontally  but rather vertically is a suicide wound and not a murder wound. How can one   left to  right wound  be considered murder but the other left to right wound  be declared suicide?

And supposedly Rudolph  shot Mary  in her left temple  after celebrating  the suicide with a  birdy call party  while drunk on champagne while sick  while  leaning precariously over the bed  to shoot her in her left temple   in a dark room only lit by a fire place instead of walking around the bed to at least rationally shoot her in her right temple by kneeling down by the side of the bed where she was gaily arranging herself on au natural and then pressing the civilian revolver Mary brought against her right   temple — except all chambers that mysterious civilian gun were already ‘previously discharged’ and two forensic experts in the 1950s proved Mary was bludgeoned and the entire birdly call suicide note blows the 13 hours cowering cravenly beside Mary’s au natural corpse to hell and black. Oh wait! Rudolph was incapable  of rationally walking around the bed to rationally shoot Mary! Being crazy he will pick the hardest way to shoot Mary just as he will pick the hardest way to shoot himself  before tossing the mysterious  civilian gun which has previously discharged all chambers  on the side table before dying. Are you now as confused by the official spiel as I am?

Or did von Holstein and Petri write some of  the supposed suicide letters several months previously to manufacture a supposed suicide garnished by a sex scandal which  was their standard modus operandi to dispatch enemies of Bismarck and the Imperial Second Reich? And the modus operandi was to feature sexually nasty death to explain the  ‘suicide’ because unlike Protestant Germany, Catholic  Austro Hungary winked  on love outside of marriage.  If some of  those ‘suicide’ notes were previously written  they could not have anticipated Rudolph getting sick when they dreamed up the birdy call suicide by champagne wee hours of night scenario.

So considering the total incredulity of the official spiel  shouldn’t historians be allowed to confirm if the suspicious letters are authentic? And if the good doctors lied about Mary’s bludgeoning Rudolph’s supposed syphilis  madness  and Mary’s nonresistant temple wound and Rudolph’s exit wound in the right temple  and the entire ’13 hours cowering cravenly’ nonsense while deliberately refusing to do any required forensic tests whatsoever then why is everyone still believing their autopsy report?

But you are sputtering! I can hear you sputtering!  You are sputtering! You are sputtering   that Francis Joseph would not cover up a conspiracy to murder his own son! But Francis Joseph himself contradicted his own spiel repeatedly! ‘I couldn’t do otherwise! The Monarchy’s existence was in danger!’ He contradicted himself  in a second longer telegraphic memorandum composed by Galimberti and Esterhazy which Francis Joseph signed off on to the Pope confessing it was an affair of state and not of the heart and that Rudolph was killed. Francis Joseph contradicted himself in the founding of the Nunnery at Mayerling where nuns pray for a man who WAS KILLED. If Francis Joseph was contradicting his own official spiel while ordering Taaffe to confiscate every last iota of evidence to lock it all away forever in that notorious metal box while deliberately declining Hoyos’ offer to fall on his sword and claim he accidentally shot Rudolph during a hunting accident then Francis Joseph was conspiring in the military execution of his own son. A military execution he had to sign off on per his Red Book of  Regulations. A military execution which was connected to  or else highjacked  by a  von Holstein/Smutty Petri plot originating in Berlin from orders of Bismarck aided and abetted by Willy who wanted his birthday present of Rudolph horribly dead.  A military hit packaged by the ‘Gravedigger of the Habsburgs’ and  Roll Commandos who probably  featured ‘Reds’ who hated  Rudolph. So a straight forward military hit  turned into a sordid and brutal hit by a foreign country allied  to Austro  Hungary.  A military hit which his enraged population who loved their Shining Prince as much as they did not love Francis Joseph were all but openly howling in protest about. Of course Francis Joseph was conspiring to cover up the Crime of the Fin de Siecle! The only question was why did a straight  forward military hit spiral out of control which required Francis Joseph to conspire to cover up the gruesome murder of his own son?

And some of these supposed suicide notes beg a local ‘Blackie’ ie cleric to come and bless the suicides. Except of course Rudolph was feuding with the fellow! And another supposed suicide note asks for a telegram to be sent to the Pope from the closest village with a telegraph office —-but names the wrong village. It is like the birdy call notes. Obviously written in Berlin and not entirely correct in local details or unforeseen events occurring on the ground. Like the recent change of Rudolph’s handwriting. And  the fact that Bratfisch only saw one letter from Rudolph  in the out box and only saw other letters after Coburg arrived to unveil the corpse only clinches  the sham.

Rudolph, who was shooting off telegrams all day long on the last day of his life, knew the right village where the telegraph office was located —- but only telegraphed Budapest to bellow at a poor Magyar politician who blundered at a German Command Language bill. And Rudolph was so busy bellowing at that poor man to come to Vienna pronto to meet Rudolph at his office! Rudolph booked a meeting in Vienna to confront him personally to bellow! So Rudolph  found no time to bother to telegraph the Pope to come to pray for his soul. Ok! Let’s pass over the illogic to more illogic! And being a hardened agnostic Rudolph would never have written any suicide note to beg any ‘Blackie’ to come and pray over his dead body anyway. And Rudolph was also feuding with the Pope! So if such suicide letters even  exist why not let historians and handwriting experts and forensic specialists inspect them?

Why lock the evidence away forever in that notorious metal box? What is there to hide? Why even hide the evidence  from Rudolph’s first biographer and official Archivist to the Hofburg? Even the official Archivist admitted  he was not allowed to see the evidence? Why?

Why after decades, damn near a century, is there no statute of limitations to allow the historic record or the contents of the metal box to be opened and studied and revealed? What is so secret about a supposedly  open and shut murder/suicide? If it is such an open and shut case of murder/suicide then why lock up all of the evidence and keep it secret down to the present day? What is the big mystery if there is not suppose to be a mystery?

And while Rudolph’s bullet riddled skull was horrific  in its blood and gore people described Mary cleaned up as remarkably  good looking for a corpse  once dressed in a coat with a hat shoved down her slightly  bloody hair. No  massive damage like Rudolph at all despite the fact  both skulls sustaining crown  damage.  But bullets cause more obvious damage than bludgeoning.   The force of bludgeoning is downward and inward instead of  outward. And remember the green glass found being picked out of Rudolph’s skull? Two bludgeonings by a champagne bottle   in one night? Chance? I don’t think so!

And if the assassin bludgeoned giggly Mary au natural with a blow to kill her then the bottle might have  shattered. So  when the killer  then welded it as a weapon on Rudolph’s skull the impact was less. Rudolph is not described as stabbed by bottle glass but rather bludgeoned to imbed glass in his skull. The result would be that Rudolph was not killed. If killed then why shoot him twice?  A redundancy of death!

Instead the wounded Rudolph would have  fallen  to his hands and  knees dazed and swaying because of that all but severed wrist and missing fingers caused  from natural defensive wounds of a right handed man naturally raising his right hand to ward off saber blows.

Now think about how a dazed man fallen to his hands and knees looks to  a  contemptuous ‘Red’ of a  Roll Commando  assassin who  is standing over him with his spent champagne bottle which has failed to do the job. Why not finish the job with his military revolver if he is standing over  the dirty dog of a ‘tailor’ of a cowardly and dishonorable cur of a  ‘traitor’. It  is as  if the ‘Red’ is an executioner standing  over a fallen man after a firing squad has failed to kill the ‘traitor’ of a blackguard of a dishonorable officer!  The fallen ‘traitor’  is dazed, his head hanging down,  swaying back and forth on his hands and knees because of that wounded right hand. So  the wounded and fallen  man would be swaying back and forth on his hands and knees  slightly  toward the right with his injured head hanging down… dazed …. Then read my final blog called the Crime of the Fin de Siecle. But use your toy gun and act out the scenario in the meantime….. Then come back and discover what other secrets Judith Listowel found out!


Well! Judith Listowel prior to 1978 hunted down one of the last known descendants of Count Taaffe. He arranged to be interviewed in a transcript done under oath. Group Captain Rudolph [how ironic] Taaffe then testified under oath that the contents of the metal box was seen by himself with its then living guardian Count Edward Taaffe in Ireland. Group Captain Rudolph Taaffe told Listowel under oath that while he was not allowed to read its contents he was verbally told the contents by the guardian of the metal box:  Count Edward Taaffe. That oral debriefing was allowed per the oath of secrecy taken by the Taaffe family as the official guardians of the metal box. How mysterious! And it gets even better!

Group Captain Rudolph Taaffe under oath told Listowel that ‘I do not think that Crown Prince Rudolph committed suicide. I believe he was murdered…. By personal of the Austrian Army.’ When asked for more details Group Captain Rudolph Taaffe explained that Supreme Commander Archduke Albrecht believed that Rudolph committed high treason in a conspiracy with Hungarians.

Listowel in her 78 book details Albrecht’s increasingly senile obsession that Rudolph was involved in treasonous plots with Magyars related to Andrassy’s offer of a Junior Kingship which was entirely legal and above board.  Rudolph declined it  because it would have forced him to enforce the 48 Hungarian Constitution which was unjust to non Catholic  Magyars. Rudolph also turned down the entirely legal offer  because Albrecht warned him that it would be construed as treason by Francis Joseph. Whether or not Francis Joseph construed it as treason the ‘Gravedigger of the Habsburgs construed it as treason. And ever after that event Albrecht was obsessed that Rudolph was committing endless plots and plans and ploys of treason with mysterious Hungarians and Magyars despite protests by Andrassy whom Francis Joseph trusted as much as the bitter old tyrant trusted anyone. And no one has ever found any evidence to prove any Magyar conspiracy outside of rumors spread by Albrecht and his  aides de camp and  Stephanie who had absolutely no evidence whatsoever to prove anything she claimed.

But Stephanie  is implicated in Rudolph’s death. How else can someone know about a ‘spontaneous’  suicide six weeks before Mayerling  to  tell her lover about it to gossip to a  Catholic  Missionary about it on the Paramatta Steamer between 24 and 48 hours before Mayerling occurred  (pre  wireless) ? [Please read the Paramatta Mystery]. Albrecht saw Magyar conspiracies the way the 1950s Red Scare saw Commie conspiracies. Everywhere! So the chief accusers of this supposed Magyar conspiracy which Andrassy debunked and Francis Joseph never embraced are tainted. Albrecht was going senile and paranoid. His Roll Commandos featured ‘Reds ‘ie reactionary Catholic First Estate hussars of the Hochadel who despised ‘Blues’ like Rudolph. Stephanie just wanted Rudolph dead so she could marry her lover Lonyay. Unless the aging Stephanie could  tie her gigolo to her by a Catholic marriage he would sooner or later abandon her for someone younger and prettier and richer. And despite  the fact that Supreme Commander Archduke  Albrecht ‘The Gravedigger of the Habsburg’s  was increasingly senile   Francis Joseph was so scared of his uncle he never dared to fire him.  Joseph was pathologically afraid of the ‘Gravedigger of the Habsburgs’. So while the military  execution/assassination/hit is now confirmed and the justification for the military  execution/assassination/hit is also confirmed, a charge of ‘treason’ implying some sort of paralegal star chamber court martial  over new years,  the question is still unproved if Albrecht’s increasingly senile accusations were true which were used to justify the military execution/assassination/hit.

Vicious newspaper wars post War Games  until Mayerling  accused Rudolph of every sort of treason. But  no public trial was ever held. How could it? Especially if Rudolph refused to play the mute swan like Benedek? But a military hit on a crown prince required the top of the chain of command to sign off on the hit: Francis Joseph. And something happened over new years.  Albrecht and his minions were shocked when Rudolph brazenly attended the first military staff meeting after new  years. Everyone assumed that of course Rudolph would not come despite the fact his job required it.

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Group Captain Rudolph Taaffe then testified under oath that officers of the Roll Commandos encircled around Mayerling  while acting ‘under orders’ .Group Captain Rudolph Taaffe was  asked who issued the orders. The Army High Command? The General Staff?  Supreme Commander Archduke Albrecht? Group Captain Rudolph Taaffe replied all three. ‘They would have known about it—- connived at it….I also believe that Taaffe (Prime Minster) was aware of the plot and it was he who informed the Emperor after Mayerling.’

Group Captain Rudolph Taaffe then explained the source of his oral debriefing by Count Edward Taaffe ‘He (Edward Taaffe) talked about Mayerling but he never showed me the papers for he had given his word to his father that he would not show them to anyone.’

Group Captain Taaffe told the author that the papers ended up at the Vatican. The transcript sworn under oath by  Group Captain Rudolph Taaffe is dated November 24, 1974.

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Judith Listowel  pursued the lead to the Vatican where she was informed the contents of the metal box formally guarded by the Taaffes now did indeed reside at the Vatican. But  the Vatican could not yet make the papers available ‘at this period as they are not being free yet.’

Intriguingly the second longer confessional telegraphic memorandum prepared by Galimberti and the Ambassador to the Vatican Count Esterhazy signed off by Francis Joseph which explains that Rudolph’s death was other than murder/suicide caused by madness, an affair of state, on which the whole of the monarchy was at stake, is also still secreted away at the Vatican and cannot be produced despite the fact the Ambassador and Galimberi confirmed it was sent to the Pope and also confirmed that the Pope only allowed Catholic burial and masses after this second plea was given to him by Francis Joseph. The Pope refused Catholic burial and masses for mere murder/suicide during insanity. The Pope only allowed the Catholic burial and masses when a different version of Mayerling was presented to him. No pope or Catholic Prince of the Church can allow Catholic burial for murder/suicide. And indeed it is confirmed that the Nuns of Mayerling formally pray for a man who was KILLED. was obsessed-that-rudolph-was-part-of-hungarian-conspirachy-with-andrassy and he commanded the roll commandos --- and he had messed up the final Mannlicher prototype gun causing millions in cost over runs - which Rudolph had to salvage per his job as inspector general .jpg was obsessed-that-rudolph-was-part-of-hungarian-conspirachy-with-andrassy and he commanded the roll commandos — and he had messed up the final Mannlicher prototype gun causing millions in cost over runs – which Rudolph had to salvage per his job as inspector general .jpg

The Author also said  that some Habsburg family sources confirmed   that Albrecht arranged for  ten officers  to preside over the  Mayerling execution/assassination/hit. Two of the ten were Roll Commandos  executed Rudolph per insiders of Albrecht.  The two Roll assassins  were ordered to execute Rudolph if Rudolph was not dead by 6:30 A.M. on January 30th. So the official end of Rudolph’s life was death by Roll Commando by  6:30 A.M. on January 30th. Underline ‘official’ because of course the official termination was 6:30 AM on January 30th UNLESS RUDOLPH WAS ALREADY DEAD. However, Albrecht apparently assumed that Rudolph would not go quietly which is why he drew a time of 6:30 AM unless Rudolph was already dead while warning the assassins Rudolph would likely not go quietly.

This anticipation  of Rudolph not going quietly was based on Rudolph’s behavior. Defiance. The first staff meeting right after that star chamber court martial over new years saw  Rudolph calendar a meeting Berlin to piss off Willy and Bismarck and then force himself into the first staff meeting of 89 as everyone sat slack jawed, amazed by Rudolph’s uninvited and unwanted and unexpected presence. Why was the presence of Inspector General of Infantry uninvited and unwanted and unexpected?And Rudolph’s conduct since the autumn war games likewise confirmed Rudolph’s defiance.

Since the War Games Rudolph had been defying ultimatums of Albrecht, Francis Joseph, Willy, and Bismarck to resign his job in disgrace as Inspector General of the Infantry which oversaw gunnery among other things. Most of Rudolph’s job up to the War Games was  overseeing the unveiling of Austro Hungary’s crucially important gunnery and ammo modernization program. [Please check out The Gun Crisis]. The 88 War Games witnessed the army armed with ultra modern guns and ammo which tied the fuddy duddy old army in FIRST PLACE with France! Drum Roll Please! And the state of the art repeater rifles and ammo worked brilliantly! The Mannlicher Repeater Rifle was the fastest gun par none to load and fire and the Steyr 1610 8 mm bullet was the second best bullet in the world. Because the French Lebel repeater was so mediocre and slow to load and fire it neutralized the rumored brilliance of the unseen Vielle nitro bullet. So mano y mano the fuddy duddy old Austro Hungarian Army tied the French Army in first place! Drum Roll Please! And throw in a blare of bugles while you are at it!

The Junkers were boasting of their supposed Spandau Miracle but until anyone actually saw that Spandau Miracle the Austro Hungarian Army was tied in first place. And how  could Spandau come from behind and  all but dead last to become top of the totem pole in one year?  That really would make the Spandau Miracle a miracle indeed!

The 88 War Games was suppose to test both modernization programs: Spandau and Steyr. Mano y mano. And the Austro Hungarian Modernization program unveiled the best repeater in the world firing the second best bullet in the world in the hands of every soldier fully trained. And also  fully (if expensively ) salvaged after a disastrous order by Francis Joseph and Albrecht to order the state of the art gun to shoot obsolete 11 mm ammo to use up old stockpiles. Another Drum Roll Please!

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But then the arrogant and overbearing Junkers declined to pony up their modern state of the art gun and ammo. They simply bellowed and boasted and insulted! But they  did not produce! Why? Then Willy condemned the entire Austro Hungarian Army’s modernization program out of hand!

willy war lord

Count  Lamsdorff wrote that ‘The German Emperor made his inspection [of the Austrian Hungarian Army during the 88 War Games ] not as a guest Monarch but as an inspector assigned the task of carrying  out a most careful review . The results of the inspection proved  unfavorable and His Majesty  did not conceal his displeasure: he particularly criticized the infantry the chief inspector of which was at the time Archduke Rudolph. Wilhelm II did not spare the heir to the throne and expressed his opinion to the Emperor and Empress with extreme openness. The latter was offended and declared that she did not wish to remain in the presence of the German Emperor, who was obliged to apologize. On his return to Berlin His Majesty wrote a letter [drafted by Bismarck] to the Emperor Francis Joseph in which he explained that he had the right and was obligated to draw the attention of his ally to the state of affairs in his army, because they must defend their common interests, shoulder to shoulder, and asked that a more experienced person than the Archduke Rudolph should be appointed to the post of chief inspector of infantry. A result of this letter was a violent scene between Francis Joseph and his son who refused to retire voluntarily.’ (my bold).

Willy’s accusations included the lack of modern drill manual  —- which was prepared by Rudolph but languishing on the desk of Albrecht). Also  sloppy drills by infantry —  because Rudolph refused to order his proud ‘Blues’ to goosestep before the arrogant and grandstanding Willy. Also  because Rudolph caused the 11 mm Blunder —- which was actually caused by Francis Joseph co-signing off on an order by Albrecht to use up old supplies of ammo despite the fact 11 mm was now all but obsolete (over objections by every  expert)  for which Inspector of Infantry Leopold took the fall as royal scapegoat. Also because  the Mannlicher Repeater Rifle was inferior to the Mauser 71/84  — which was actually grossly defective and an acute embarrassment to Mauser. Also because   the Spandau Commission Rifle was brilliant  —-when it was actually  blowing up in top secret tests back at Spandau. Also  because  the  Steyr 8 mm should be 7.92 and  rimless  — despite the fact  Rubin who invented the full metal jacket rifle bullet choose 8 mm and was still perfecting  rimless so jumping rashly into rimless was reckless as proved by the fact the Spandau rimless bullet was fatally defective. Also because the  Steyr 1610 fps full metal jacket bullet was obsolete  — when in fact  it was the second best bullet in the world behind the top secret French Vielle. Also because  the Spandau 7:92 mm nitro full metal jacket bullet was the best — when in fact  it was a bad  knockoff of Vielle and was blowing up. Also because   the Austrian Hungarian Army was welding obsolete and defective gunnery and ammo because of a grossly incompetent weaponry modernization program over seen by Leopold and Rudolph — when in fact the modernization program actually  tied Austro Hungary in first place with the French. Also because Rudolph was preventing  (tooth and nail)  Francis Joseph from  junking the entire Austro Hungarian gunnery and ammo modernization program which Leopold and Rudolph had worked on since 86 to buy sight unseen the Spandau gunnery and ammo because of Willy’s bullying —- which was blowing up and  in 89 would prove to be so fatally flawed Bismarck was forced to call off his war resulting in Willy firing him. Rudolph was also damned for endangering the Prussian Austrian Treaty and insulting crucial allies —-  after demanding that Steyr be cut a sweetheart deal in leu of suing Spandau for patent and copyright from industrial espionage to mass produce the dubious Commission Repeater Rifle for Spandau because no damn Prussian Austrian Treaty allowed Spandau to loot patents and pilfer copyrights with impunity.

Wales later said Rudolph’s refusal to resign his job (which primarily oversaw the in fact highly successful  gunnery modernization program   in the face of ultimatums by Willy and Bismarck lead to events unfolding at Mayerling.

And indeed every gunnery expert backed Rudolph’s  (and his predecessor Leopold’s) highly successful weaponry modernization program. The  88 War Games proved  that Austro Hungary  had  a great bird in hand so tossing it aside for a defective Spandau bird  in the bush (clearly hiding because it was so foul  a fowl) would be folly. I could use more f- words but the next logical f – word would be f#$%. After Rudolph’s death both Rudolph and Leopold  would be  vindicated by gunnery experts such as Paul Scarlata  if not by Bismarck, Willy, Albrecht, and Francis Joseph. The roll out of the Spandau Mirage throughout 89 and 90 absolutely vindicated Rudolph and Leopold  and proved that Willy was a technological ignoramus and bullying blowhard who was being lied to by Bismarck.

Albrecht and his ADC Beck Rzikowsky lied to Francis Joseph during this dreadful crisis of ultimatums during what should have been a glorious  88 War Games when they  denied the existence of Rudolph’s drill manual’ and blamed Rudolph for the 11 mm Blunder caused by Francis Joseph and Albrecht for which Leopold had already taken the fall as well as other gross incompetence by Rudolph. Rudolph’s defense of the Austro Hungarian Modernization Program and his support for the Mannlicher Repeater Rifle and Steyr 1610  8 mm full metal bullet and also for the Streyr R & D Program to develop a hybrid nitro bullet by 90 and full nitro bullet by 95 was also attacked.

Francis Joseph was faced by Albrecht (and Beck Rzikowsky) and Bismarck and Willy ALL demanding the removal of Rudolph from his job as Inspector General of Infantry who first  oversaw  the  weaponry modernization program  and then had to defend it  against a royal blowhard and  a lying  chancellor   and a senile supreme commander and a royal fossil  in chief.

And if Rudolph was removed then the only protector of the Mannlicher Repeater Rifle and Steyr 1610 8 mm full metal jacket and Steyr R & D Program into nitro  would also be removed. Francis would toss  the glorious bird in hand for a foul fowl in the bush which would f#$% his army and endanger his nation.

As only Leopold and Rudolph understood the weaponry modernization program and had in fact delivered the BEST REPEATER RIFLE IN THE WORLD AND THE SECOND BEST FULL METAL JACKET BULLET IN THE WORLD WHICH TIED AUSTRO HUNGARY IN FIRST PLACE WITH FRANCE  their combined termination would leave Austro Hungary at the mercy of a senile and a paranoid Albrecht and an ass -kissing Beck Rzikowsky and a technologically challenged Francis Joseph who caused the 11 mm Blunder to begin with (which became the expensive  11 Debacle which delayed the unveiling for over a year). None of the above ignoramuses damning Rudolph (and Leopold)  produced any gunnery or ammo modernization whatsoever which is why Leopold and then Rudolph ended up leading the program to modernize the weaponry for an imperial army hamstrung by obsolete weaponry which caused countless disastrous defeats such as the infamous Koniggratz.

And unbeknownst to all but Rudolph, the much vaulted Spandau weaponry modernization program was turning into an unmitigated disaster. The Spandau Miracle was turning into the Spandau Mirage even as Willy The Blowhard bellowed at Francis Joseph to junk a successful program and fire one of its architects  after Francis Joseph and Albrecht terminated the other architect!

By 89 post Mayerling Bismarck’s Veil of Secrecy would tatter to expose defective gunnery and ammo so bad even Pan German reporters  called weaponry a worst threat to the German soldiers welding them than to the French facing them. In fact the Steyr R & D program produced their top notch nitro BEFORE Spandau finally salvaged their disastrous nitro. And the Mannlicher 95 appeared before the Mauser 96. And the Mannlicher 95 still loaded and shot FASTER than the Mauser 96. Steyr actually had to salvage the Spandau Commission Repeater Rifle for sales overseas and to the Ottoman Empire as well as for use in the German Reserves. So if Francis Joseph had capitulated to Willy’s bullying in 88 to junk the Mannlicher Repeater Rifle and Steyr 1610 fps 8 mm full metal jacket bullet and also the Steyr R & D into nitro he would have destroy his own army’s ability to wage war and left them welding defective Spandau  guns and ammo in 89 alongside the embarrassed and humiliate Reich.

The fact Francis Joseph and Albrecht and Beck Rzikowsky all totally failed to understand the situation in 88 during and after the War Games and even entertained the idea of junking their modernization program  while terminating  Rudolph  after  terminating  Leopold  while  also allowing Spandau to wage industrial espionage and loot Mannlicher patents and Steyr copyrights with impunity while  adopting sight unseen the disastrous Spandau gunnery and ammo (which was blowing up during the 88 War Games) all proved they were shockingly ignorant of gunnery and ammo developments and also grossly incompetent — the very thing they accused Rudolph and  Leopold  of. In  fact Paul Scarlata  would go on to explain why Austro Hungary’s army kept falling behind despite a brilliant gun inventor and Steyr Industries which was the best and largest weaponry manufacturer in the world. FOSSILS LED THE ARMY WITH NO TECHNOLOGICAL VISION OR  EXPERTISE  AFTER  95 AND 95 WAS THE CLIMAX OF THE 86-88 MODERNIZATION PROGRAM OVERSEEN  BY INSPECTOR OF INFANTRY LEOPOLD AND INSPECTOR GENERAL OF INFANTRY RUDOLPH. This explains what Rudolph does next.

Rudolph refused to reign his job stubbornly despite such overwhelming pressure in defiance of point blank orders by Francis Joseph to resign in disgrace. Rudolph refused ultimatums from the end of the 88 War Games through January of 89. Rudolph refused to resign and refused to allow ignoramuses to gut or destroy the highly successful weaponry modernization program while forcing Spandau to cut Steyr a sweetheart deal in leu of paying patent and copyright infringement. Rudolph also  defended Steyr against charges of manufacturing defective Commission Rifles prototypes  as the first prototypes were tooled and then rolled out by Steyr. Meanwhile Loewe who manufactured for Mauser was also accused of manufacturing defective prototypes. In fact Spandau was stonewalling overwhelming evidence that their top secret tests of over 20 prototypes had failed —- disastrously. Fatally. Up to and including maiming and killing testing shooters. The much vaulted Commission Repeater Rifle was fatally defective. So was the much vaulted Spandau 7.92 mm nitro full metal jacket bullet. And both were even more fatal when combined together into one lethal disaster. Bismarck started to scapegoat Loewe and Steyr and especially Rudolph. Why? Scapegoating to save his own neck. All the while  the reputed ‘hiccups’ and ‘teething pains’ revealed endless fatal flaws as a state of the art rollout of modern gunnery derailed into a horrible debacle throughout  89 .

Rudolph along with Mannlicher and Steyr and Mauser and Loewe and soon every gun expert in Europe knew by January 89  that Bismarck disastrously stampeded Spandau into committing industrial espionage to steal patents and copyrights from other nations’ weaponry modernization programs to cobble them together into a Frankenstein gun and bullet. But as January 30th at 6:30 AM moved closer and closer Rudolph’s ‘I told you so’ was still only a tiny voice in a storm of Wily’s blowhard bellowing. All Francis Joseph heard was Albrecht’s senile paranoia and Beck Rzikowsky’s silky lies and Willy’s bellows and Bismarck’s icy ultimatums to terminate Rudolph —- or else. If Francis Joseph was so intimidated by men he pathologically feared to ask and then order Rudolph to resign in disgrace for sins committed by others then it is a very small step to take to order Rudolph’s life as well as his honor and reputation destroyed.

Contrary to  Myth of Mayerling enthusiasts, Rudolph  dug in stubborn defiance for months against The Gravedigger  of the Habsburgs, Francis Joseph, Willy, and Bismarck. So  why would he go to his  death quietly? Albrecht assumed Rudolph would not go quietly and ordered his Roll Commandos to shoot Rudolph. And indeed it was confirmed that two Roll Commandoes did shoot Rudolph. Translation: military hit. Execution. Therefore NOT SUICIDE.

taaffe 60

Of course if Rudolph refused to resign his military job then there could be no other end but execution. The  only way to remove the unmovable Rudolph was  an  execution /assassination /hit unless  Rudolph agreed to ‘do the right thing’ as an officer and gentleman and shoot himself. Minions of Albrecht confirmed two Roll Commandos executed Rudolph. The how is confirmed!  Roll Commando. Now the question is when?  January  30th by 6:30 AM. The next question is where? A military  hit at the Hofburg or Military Headquarters or defensive  Laxemburg  Castle would prove it was an insider job and embarrass the Royal Family. The flat of MC? Potentially messy. Mayerling is remote and not secure. The bedroom is ground level with large windows with shutters hung outside. The staff is small. Perfect. The why?  The Gun Crisis  caused four powerful men to demand (for differing reasons) the termination of the immoveable Rudolph. Everyone had crossed the Rubicon.  It was now too late to salvage the situation.

In short, unlike Archduke Leopold the ex- Inspector of Infantry who agreed  to  take the fall and  General Benedek who agreed  to stand mute at his court martial,  Rudolph threatened to defend himself against all accusations  from gross incompetence to endangering alliances with dubious and betraying allies to insubordination  to mutiny to treason by airing everyone’s piss shit dirty linen. And for that  Rudolph must die.


And Rudolph would not accept a top secret star chamber court martial as legal. So  Rudolph’s stubborn defiance had  Francis Joseph between a rock called Albrecht and  a hard place called Wilhelm II & Bismarck. Both Junkers were just as endangered as Albrecht and Francis Joseph . In fact Bismarck had secretly trained in the wee hours  of night to confront Rudolph. And Willy was treating Rudolph like his mortal enemy.

And the newspaper minions of  Bismarck and Willy as  well as the Pan Germans were hysterically accusing Rudolph of treason against the German Race, the Imperial Second Reich,  dreams of the Reich taking over all German speaking nations like Austria into the Greater Germany, aiding and abetting  Jewish and Freemason and French and Anglo plots  to cage the Hohenzollern Eagle, stopping the proposed  war set to occur in  89 or 90, opposing the proposed war, advocating staying neutral in the proposed  war, siding with the enemies of the Reich in the proposed war, or sabotaging the Reich’s ability to wage war in the proposed war. And oh yes! Mysterious rumors of causing guns and ammo blowing up at Spandau.

So the military execution/assassination/hit for treason could be  for any treason charge  real or imagined.  The Magyar Conspiracy was imagined. The byproducts of the Gun Crisis was all too real. Even if the treason charge was just threatening to spill the beans which might embarrass four powerful men. Even if the treason was just the mutinous defiance of refusing to resign and fall on his sword.  Rudolph had to die. But if the mighty Bismarck came to confront  Rudolph in the dead of night then something very real was going down and four powerful men felt threatened by Rudolph. Remember what Rudolph told one kindred? ‘I am going to be assassinated. I know too much….’


So when push came to shove  Francis Joseph saved  himself by sacrificing his on son  on  the altar of political and military necessity. ‘I command  to be obeyed!’  Rudolph’s refusal  to sacrifice  his honor and reputation to save Francis Joseph’ honor and reputation in  the face of the combined ultimatums of Albrecht, Bismarck, and Willy condemned Rudolph to death.

So we have the why and wherefore and the how and the where as well as part of  the when. There is only one question left: why did Rudolph end up leaving for  Mayerling on the 28th to calmly wait for midnight on the 29th knowing that he  would be shot to death on January 30th at 6:30 AM unless he shot himself as an officer and a gentleman first? There are two answers. Answer number one is that by January 27 when Rudolph finally kissed his father’s gloved hand at the German Embassy ball while Willy smirked he knew that the Veil of Secrecy was tattering rapidly. Very soon Bismarck’s Spandau Miracle would be exposed as the Spandau Mirage. Once exposed then Francis Joseph would grow a spine and at least ignore Willy’s bellowing threats about lousy modern gunnery rollouts when his own lousy modern gunnery rollout was exposed to the world. Willy would be exposed as an idiot very soon. An idiot who was being lied to and made a fool of by Bismarck. An idiot whose behavior during the 88 War Games would recoil back in his blowhard face and expose him as an idiot. Every gun expert was already laughing at Willy. Soon the world would be laughing at Willy. Perhaps even threatening Willy. Francis Joseph would find the balls to laugh at Willy. The Gunnery Modernization Program was safe. In fact Francis Joseph would even order that damn drill manual to be dug out and used.

Reason number two was probably this: an oily double agent working for both Taaffe’s secret service and von Holstein back in Berlin was increasingly breathing down the neck of MC. If Rudolph did not agree voluntarily to go to Mayerling to die then he would be shot in MC’s flat and MC (and Mrs. Caspar) would die with him.

So despite a full calendar of events and a general staff meeting and even buying an engagement gift for Valerie’s engagement party  Rudolph suddenly decided to go to Mayerling while quietly seeing every single close friend he could within some three days. Rudolph negotiated with his father to cut a Victorian deal to  save his honor and reputation as an officer and gentleman and as a Habsburg. Francis Joseph could balm his conscience for signing Rudolph’s death warrant as required by the Red Book of regulations.

Yet Rudolph’s workaholic behavior up to early evening when  he finally calmed down to wait with Hoyos for Coburg The Sinister to train back to Mayerling from that famously  early sentimental engagement dinner in the Hofburg implied that Rudolph still hoped against hope that  the final decision for either death or else a change   of  heart by Francis Joseph might bring a commutation instead of execution.

Could Francis Joseph change  his mind and commute  Rudolph’s death sentence set for  January  30th at  6:30  AM? It would be reasonable to wait for Coburg, he  of  the famous 24 hour missing alibi. Coburg was  the signal. Red light. Green light. Proceed with  the hit  or else stop the hit.  Rudolph would not be a coward to wait for Coburg. The Roll Commandos would be fools to proceed with  the hit before Coburg arrived back at Mayerling  just in case  the one man who could  stop  the  hit and still might want to stop  the hit might change  his mind. The five Prussian ‘hunters’ seen by Bratfisch junior  the Man Friday to Rudolph’s  secretary saw the Berlin agents raise  up and post themselves outside the cold front gates of Mayerling between 6:00 A.M. and 7:00 A.M. to loiter as if waiting for a cue. Everyone  was waiting for Coburg and that January 30th 6:30 A.M. hit.  Red Light? Or Green Light? As Albrecht  and  Bismarck and Willy already had  their  minds made  up the only  person who might possibly change  his mind and call  off  the  hit was Francis  Joseph.

Coburgs’ half  hour commuter train would bring him back to Mayerling by around midnight. Cowering stable boys said something suddenly went down around midnight. Bright lights .Voices. Popping sounds. The Roll Commandos posted right inside Mayerling  armed and  ready  (probably killing Weiner who might have unleashed  the guard  dogs and  pointed his shot gun  at  them) must have joined Coburg as he entered  Mayerling  to tell Rudolph if his life was spared  or else if  he should prepare  to shoot  himself as an officer and a gentleman.

Rudolph is both expecting  the worst, prepared to ‘do the right thing ‘ to save  his honor and reputation per a quid pro quo and yet is hoping against  hope  if he still worked  so hard on this last day of his life while even writing a letter to an editor pleading for more time to finish that article. Pleading for more time. So Freudian isn’t it? .

It is midnight. Per Hoyos Mary is still supposedly locked away as if she does not exist. The  only female servant is  the part  time cook  so  it is logical that she has been told to baby sit  Mary in her madness upstairs in the Stephanie Suite which connects to Rudolph’s bedroom  on the ground floor by a locked back staircase. Hoyos  would later gibber about this and also  Mary’s hysteria and threats to take  her own life.

The valets are probably told to stay  in their  rooms. Max and  Otto,  who are local  servant,s are in the main room serving wine and smokes while keeping  the fire stoked  and lights  burning. Bratfisch might be there. He was  Rudolph’s genuine friend. Rudolph’s dog  is  there. Hoyos  is probably  playing the piano.  Rudolph is coughing  badly because of his heavy smoking and asthma which  the bad cold and mild hypotherma  is  making worse. There is a suddenly pounding at  the door. The dog jumps up to protect his master’s territory . The  door. Rudolph checks  his pocket watch and nods  to  Hoyos.

Six and a half hours to death. Time to prepare for  his  death as an officer and gentleman and a Habsburg. Or else life! Will his father really order Rudolph’s death?

So what  goes so terribly wrong? So horribly, horribly, horribly  wrong? Why  does  Rudolph end  up dying like a ‘tailor’ ie coward or  dishonorable cur? Shot down while wounded  and dazed  on his  hands  and  knees , bloody, his  head hanging down exposing the back  and base  of his skull (slightly  tilted right) to a brutal execution shot before  being dragged  to the left side  of a bed already garnished by Mary’s sordid au natural bludgeoned  corpse  for a final farcical ‘suicide’ shot through  his left  temple as  a final  gesture of utter contempt knowing  that the authorities would clean up the crime  scene and lock everything  away  in  that  damn  metal  box .  Then  Coburg  The  Sinister, still  in his evening  white  tie and  tails, minces  over  to Mary’s gruesome corpse to pluck out his red  rose from  his buttonhole to place in her dead  hand. How did it all go so terribly wrong?

And while Francis Joseph could order Taaffe to lock away all of the terrible evidence in that notorious metal box of his, could Francis Joseph lock away his conscience as  well  as he spent the rest of his life covering up the Crime of the Fin  de Siecle?


2 thoughts on “The Secret of Taaffe’s Metal Box”

  1. I think what went terribly wrong was Rudolph realizing that his executioners were planning to make his death look like a sex scandal culminating into a murder-suicide. Also, how many people actually saw Mary up close come to Mayerling, and were there reliable witnesses? Another reason for her to die much earlier could be that she was killed elsewhere and transported to Mayerling.


    1. I agree! I think Rudolph actually believed his father’s promise that he could die like an officer and a gentleman. The messy brutality and incoherence of conflicting witness lies meant that everything derailed into a mess. Alas Hollywood continues to embrace the BIG LIE. JF


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