Skip to comments.Today in history--1952--Count Von Cosel dies
Posted on 08/13/2005 2:46:09 AM PDT by jsh3180
In 1927, the 50 year old Karl Tanzler arrived in Key West, Florida. Originaly from Dresden, Germany, and having recently abandoned his wife and two daughters, he now called himself 'Count Carl Von Cosel' and claimed to have nine university degrees. He found employment as an x-ray technician and bacteriologist at Marine Hospital; in his spare time he built an airship, tinkered with curious electrical devices and played music on his home-made organ. Then, at the hospital in April 1930, he met the woman of his dreams. Her name was Elena Milagro Hoyos, a beautiful twenty year old Spanish Cuban. She was dying from tuberculosis From this moment on Von Cosel was obsessed. Convinced he had dreamed about her for decades and that she was destined to be his bride, he lavished her with gifts (which she accepted), proposals of marriage (which she rejected) and set about trying to cure her with electric shock machines and potions of his own devising, which included specks of gold amongst their ingredients. Elena died in October 1931, aged just 22. The heartbroken Von Cosel paid for a lavish funeral for his beloved, and she was buried. However, unable to stand the thought of his darling Elena rotting underground, Von Cosel designed and built for her an ornate mausoleum. Her body was disinterred, placed in a new metal coffin and housed in the crypt. Night after night, Von Cosel sat next to her coffin and began, he believed, to communicate with Elena. She begged him to release her from her 'prison' so they could be together. Unable to resist, one dark night in April 1933, Von Cosel stole Elena from the crypt and took her to his airship (which he had christened 'Countess Elaine' - one day, he planned to fly with Elena to the stars). Here, he began the job of resurrection. For the next seven years, he held her body together with piano wire, put glass eyes where her real ones used to be, made a wig of her own hair and, piece by piece, strenthened her skin with wax and silk. He treated her with lotions and potions and electrotherapy. Amongst his ressurection tools was a million volt tesla coil. He serenaded her with his home-made organ and slept beside her. By 1940 the rumours could no longer be ignored. Elena's sister confronted Von Cosel and found the body. The Count was arrested and imprisoned to await trial for 'malicious and wanton disfigurement of a grave'. Public interest in the case was huge. The local funeral home spotted an opportunity and put Elena's corpse on display. Over 6000 peaple came to view her body in three days. Incredibly, the public were largely sympathetic. Many people thought that what the Count had done was marvelously romantic. He had many visitors to his cell offering gifts and support. At one time, a gang of giggling Cuban prostitutes turned up, offering their services to him for free. Two local friends posted the $1000 bail and he was released. In court, the grand jury found no law under which Von Cosel could be tried which was not limited by the statute of limitations (two years was the statutory limitation for molesting a grave, and Elena had been with the Count for seven years). Having been declared 'sane' he was released without charge. After declaring him 'sane', the same doctors performed the autopsy on Elena. What they discovered remained secret till 1972, when Dr. DePoo made his confession. "I made the examination in the funeral home. The breasts really felt real. In the vaginal area, I found a tube wide enough to permit sexual intercourse. At the bottom of the tube was cotton, and in an examination of the cotton, I found there was sperm. Then I knew we were dealing with a sexual pervert." Elena's body was buried in a secret, unmarked grave. Facing financial difficulties, the Count left Key West to live with his sister in Zephyrhills, where he spent his days writing his memoirs and telling his story to tourists, selling them mementoes and showing them a wax replica of Elena he had made using her deathmask. In July 1952 Von Cosel was found dead, slumped over the effigy of his beloved Elena. In a final twist, evidence has come to light that one of those responsible for the secret burial of Elena's corpse made a switch, burying a weighted box and returning Elena to Von Cosel, which means the image of Elena he proudly displayed to tourists was not a replica at all...
From the truth is stranger than fiction category...
Strange enough to appreciate without paragraphs.
Where's Vincent Price now that we need him?
"blame it on the bossanova" ping.
your friend"" You know ....I did post preview on this and it showed paragraphs properly done........then when I hit post...it came out like it did. How would one know that it would not post like it looked in preview? I know it's hard to read like that, any advice on how to avoid a repeat would be appreciated. Scott Haskell
I hope this isn't where Key West got its reputation as a haven for queers.
Good question. Maybe the FR software hiccuped? You might FReepmail John Robinson on this. Maybe he has an idea. The article posting software is supposed to handle implied paragraphs properly. But it did not in your case.
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