Mebes grew up in Liebenwalde and Pritzerbe and began studying watchmaking in Brandenburg in 1857. During his apprenticeship, he travelled extensively and, according to his own account, committed “some evil deeds” which he later sought to redeem by following a pious way of life. Mebes finally settled in Pritzerbe, opened his own watchmaker workshop and married a widow with whom he had four children.
After the death of his son, Mebes had his first episode, which was followed by two years in a mental hospital. Ten years later (1888), Mebes was back in the clinic. He turned to art relatively late, having spent 11 years in a facility in Eberswalde. He completed several small hand-made books with revelatory texts and carefully drawn and painted symbolist miniatures.
Heinrich Hermann Mebes died aged 76, 30 of which he had spent in a mental asylum.