Dhe approach is difficult, but be prepared for that when approaching a Lost Place. Only a black wooden sign shows the approximate direction. “Zum Waldbad” is painted in white. It is nailed crookedly to a maple tree, with an installation hanging underneath: a clock in a metal and glass case is fixed to a sheet of metal, the hands are at 5 to 12, and its metal cover is hanging underneath. A piece of wood is fixed next to it, in which you think you can see a human torso. The whole thing is more of a vanitas staging than a reliable signpost – but that has its symbolic justification for our goal.
The sign points to the pheasant forest, a knoll above Hechingen. It lies to the north of the city and is a quiet corner – in contrast to the southern side, where one of Germany’s top tourist destinations towers, Hohenzollern Castle. A bit of a Swabian Neuschwanstein. In the 19th century, the Prussian rulers had the ruins of their ancestral castle converted into a medieval-style fantasy castle.
Once you took the carriage
When they then traveled from Berlin by train, they stopped at Zollern station. This is the building in front of the strange signpost, also a kind of Lost Place – lost to the public. Until 1977, passenger trains stopped here at the building with its Kaisersaal, which kept the high nobility away from the ordinary railroad people. Since then, the building has been in private hands – once there was a garden restaurant, then a druid lodge had its seat here.
The Hohenzollerns and their entourage clattered away in carriages the rest of the way to the castle. Later, in the 1920s, a carriage stopped at the station again. Moritz Meyer had come to pick up his guests. And to drive her to the forest pool.
Forest bathing, which 100 years later is a trend in our time, was waiting for them there. Moritz Meyer’s guests had followed his ad: “The realization that we have to return more to nature, that above all we have to find our joy and relaxation in it, must become common knowledge among the people. That is why it is precisely those who are most oppressed and burdened in our difficult times who must strive for such liberation! Here the forest bath helps! Here you will find healing from your ailments in a wonderful homeland nature!”
In the self-built wooden house
Moritz Meyer, born in Neuwied, came to the Hechingen court in 1908. The Jewish lawyer had long been a follower of naturopathy, and word soon got around in Hechingen.
Meyer lived in a self-built wooden house that was covered with straw and which he had christened “House Earth”. A whole menagerie of goats, rams, chickens, roosters, cats and tomcats lived with him on the property. For the people of Heching, the estate of “Doctor Straw Roof”, as they called Meyer, was a popular destination for a walk. They also asked for medical advice or homeopathic pellets.
“He was widely regarded as a miracle doctor. People came from near and far to be cured of their ailments or the consequences of conventional medicine. The district doctor tried to take action against him several times. But the number of sick people Doctor Straw helped was in the thousands.”
This was written by his nephew Friedrich Wolf. Even as a teenager, he spent a lot of time exploring nature with his uncle in search of its healing powers. The two collected rare metalloid stones, ground them, diluted them with milk sugar and tried out the healing effect on themselves.