Carl Tanzler And His Corpse Bride
Carl Tanzler’s story is one that is both fascinating and disturbing. Tanzler was a German-born radiology technician who worked in a Florida hospital during the 1930s. He is most known for his bizarre obsession with a young woman named Elena Hoyos, who he had treated in the same hospital he was employed in. She later became his corpse bride.
The Tale Of Carl Tanzler And Elena De Hoyos
The tale of Carl Tanzler and Elena de Hoyos stands out as an example of something unprecedented in terms of obsession – one that goes beyond what is considered socially acceptable. This is not a narrative involving stalking and murder, as the individual in question had already passed away.
Our story begins at the Marine Hospital in Key West, Florida, where twenty-two-year-old Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos, called Elena, is brought in by her family after feeling ill. At the hospital, Elena meets the radiologic technician Carl Tanzler, otherwise known as Count Carl Von Cosel. Little did they know, their meeting at the hospital would start off a bizarre and tragic tale that would take an unexpected twist.
Despite knowing he was not a doctor, Dr. Carl Tanzler was set on finding a way to cure Elena de Hoyos, who was unfortunately diagnosed with a terminal case of tuberculosis. With the approval of de Hoyos’ family, Tanzler experimented with various concoctions and remedies, some of which included potions and tinctures. According to Ghost City Tours’ website page, “The morbid tale of Count Von Cosel and Elena de Hoyos”, Tanzler even attempted a rather painful treatment with a device that contained electrodes with the belief that charging her body with oxygen electrons could potentially lead to a cure. Unfortunately, all of Tanzler’s efforts were in vain.
When Carl Tanzler desperately tried to win over Elena, he showered her with gifts and expressed his love. However, Hoyos was not interested, and made her feelings on the matter quite clear. Tanzler was persistent in his advances, but Elena steadfastly refused, leading to an awkward impasse between the two.
Despite Tanzler’s best efforts, Hoyos died on October 25, 1931. Tanzler insisted on paying for her funeral complete with a large mausoleum. Her family consented but weren’t aware that Tanzler alone had a key to the mausoleum. Elena de Hoyos was embalmed and interred in the Key West Cemetery.
Carl Tanzler’s relationship with Elena Hoyos was quite extraordinary, to say the least. After her internment, Tanzler would visit de Hoyos’ grave nightly, leaving gifts such as flowers and jewelry, and even had a telephone installed in her tomb for direct communication with her spirit. Despite her death, and with the exception of his unexplainable firing from the hospital where he worked, Tanzler kept up his visits for the next two years. His relationship with de Hoyos was something he would cherish until his death and has become a folktale in the area of Key West, Florida.
Over the course of the following two years, Carl Tanzler’s conduct increasingly began to appear unusual. As time went on, his peers began to grow suspicious. Reports of Tanzler purchasing women’s fashion and perfumes circulated. Additionally, a neighbour reported witnessing him dancing with what appeared to be a life-size doll in broad daylight, visible though his window. Subsequently, Tanzler stopped visiting de Hoyos’ grave and rumours began to arise of Tanzler living with her corpse in a bizarre display of obsession.
In 1940, the heartbreaking rumor of Carl Tanzler’s obsession with his former patient Elena Hoyos reached Elena’s sister Florinda and caused her to visit Tanzler. When confronted by Florinda, Tanzler showed her Elena’s body, deceiving her into believing it was merely a replica he made. It was not until later that Florinda learned the devastating truth– that what Tanzler had shown her was in fact Elena’s corpse.
In April 1933, Tanzler confessed to entering de Hoyos’ tomb and using a cart to bring her remains to his abode. He devoted the subsequent seven years to keeping her body in the most optimum state.
The autopsy of Carl Tanzler’s beloved Maria Elena Hoyos uncovered an incredible amount of modifications to her body. To retain Hoyos’s shape, Tanzler had inserted coat hangers, wires, and stuffed her torso with rags. Her face was reconstructed with plaster of Paris, and adorned with wax from a mortician. Her eyes were substituted for glass ones, and a wig was made from some of Hoyos’s mother-given hair stapled to her head.
Tanzler used plenty of perfume and flowers, as well as disinfectants and preserving agents, to cover up the smell of decay. The absolutely chilling detail of a tube inserted into her vagina suggested an untoward connection between Tanzler and Hoyos, however, there was no evidence to suggest that he committed any acts of necrophilia. He kept her in his bed, adorned in jewelry, despite her state.
Tanzler had a morbid dream of being able to bring his lost love, Elena Hoyos, back to life. He took her remains home and built a makeshift laboratory in the shape of an airplane, which he called “Elena’s Airship”. Tanzler believed that if he flew high into the stratosphere, the radiation from outer space could penetrate her tissues and bring her back to life. Although this plan was highly unlikely, it did not stop Tanzler from dreaming of resurrecting his love from death. Due to his obsession, he continued to keep Hoyos’s body at home, desecrating her corpse in his crude laboratory.
The Curious Case of a Doctor’s Passionate Mystery
Carl Tanzler’s strange and disturbing obsession with Elena Hoyos never resulted in legal repercussions as he was never charged for his actions until the discovery of her missing body. Even then, he was not charged with any crime related to his possession of her body but rather for desecrating her tomb. While the media sensationalized his odd behavior, depicting him as both a mad scientist and a hopeless romantic, Tanzler was never held accountable for what he did prior to her corpse being found.
A Historical Examination of Love and the Dead
Carl Tanzler’s unhealthy fixation on Elena Hoyos may seem extraordinary yet it is not the only example of the longevity of love and the dead in history. Ancient Egyptians were fascinated with preserving life even after death while today’s cultures observe certain funerary customs. In Tanzler’s case, it serves as evidence that obsessive love can ultimately lead to immoral actions and criminal behavior. His story can be seen as a warning for anyone who might become too attached to someone and lets it consume them, completely erasing their understanding of reality.
The story of Carl Tanzler’s obsession with Elena Hoyos is beyond strange and shocking. His infatuation with the young Cuban woman, even after her death and his extraordinary efforts to keep her with him in the form of a life-size doll, prove that love can take many forms and can sometimes lead to unhealthy or even dangerous behavior. It is essential to recognize when emotions or feelings stray beyond reasonable thoughts and ideas, and to seek help to address them before it is too late. This bizarre story of Carl and Elena is a reminder that love, however extreme or misguided, should be addressed before it spirals out of control.