Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October Spookfest-The Strange Love Of Count Carl Von Cosel

I want to warn you that this story may be a bit disturbing. Its not a ghost story really, but just a really strange love story that took place in Key West in the early 30s. I use the term 'love' loosely. The more proper term would be 'obsession' or more technically 'necrophilia'. If that doesnt gross you out already than please read more.

Count Carl Von Cosel was a bit of a fraud to begin with. He wasnt a count and his real name was Karl Tanzler. He emigrated from Germany in the 20s and began working at a tuberculosis hospital in Key West. In 1931 a beautiful young woman came to him for treatment. Her name was Elena Hoyos and she was only 22.

Elena Hoyos

Von Cosel fell madly in love with the Cuban beauty, even though she did not return his sentiments. She was dying of TB and Von Cosel was determined to save her. He tried everything but eventually she passed.

In his grief, Von Cosel convinced Elenas family to let him build her a mausoleum. They trusted him and could not afford it otherwise. Though they knew of his fondness for Elena, they were not aware of just how obsessed he really was. They were also unaware that he had preserved Elenas body in formaldehyde and made a special key to her tomb so that he could visit her every night.

Von Cosel

At this point people started to notice that Von Cosel was spending an awful lot of time at Elenas tomb. His visitations became so frequent in fact that he lost his job at the hospital. It was at this point though that he disappeared. Some assumed that he had died, but he had actually moved to another part of town. His neighbors would see him going in and out with large packages, and would also hear him playing his organ and singing late at night. However no one wanted to pry so they just let him be. His strange behaviour did make the rounds though, getting back to Elena's family. It was at this point that they noticed that her body was missing from its tomb.

Elena's sister, having heard about Von Cosel's strange behavior, went to his house and confronted him. Rather than deny it, Von Cosel invited her in and took her upstairs to Elena. What she saw though, was not Elena, but rather a wax dummy that looked just like her. She was lying a bed big enough for two people. Von Cosel stated that Elena was happy and that they were in love and invited the sister to return and visit whenever she liked. Needless to say the sister was horrified and called the police.

The police arrived and took the Elena doll to be examined. What they discovered would shock and horrify people for decades. The 'doll' was actually the decayed body of Elena. Von Cosel had gone to extreme methods to 'preserve' the beauty. He had wired her bones together, inserted fake eyes, and covered her skin in wax and perfume. But that wasn't all...

It gets way worse. Not only had Von Cosel reconstructed the exterior of Elena, but her interior as well. He had attempted to preserve Elena's, ahem, sex organs. He had also inserted a tube that had allowed him to have intercourse with her for 8 years!!!

Grossed out yet?

Von Cosel did go to trial for these attrocities, however the public, especially women, supported him. They saw the whole thing as romantic. Von Cosel simply loved Elena so much that he couldnt let her go even in death. He spent only a short time in prison and it was decided that Elena would be buried in a secret location so as to avoid any further romanticisms. Before they buried her though, they decided to have a public viewing. Because that was the only logical thing to do, of course.

You gotta love all the smiling children!

Apparently the public was not informed of the necrophilia until after Elena was buried. If they had been maybe their sympathies would have gone to Elena and her family instead of the "romantic" Von Cosel. Instead, he was declared sane and sent on his way to live out the rest of his days in Tampa, FL. With a life sized dummy of Elena compete with death mask of course. She was by his side when he died in 1952.

Elena # 2


  1. That was soooo creepy! I love it. Keep it coming! :)

    Also, I think I might be a doll this year, as I have been thinking about it for years, and I am a living doll and all....whhaaa haaaaaaa haaaaaa. My question is, how did you make the wind-up thing for your costume?

    Dollie D.

  2. I took cardboard and drew two outlines of a winder. Then I cut them out and glued them together. Then I covered them in tin foil, but you can paint them silver too. When I made my drawings I included a flat surface at the bottom of each, but didnt glue them together. That way they would lay flat against my back. I took a knife and cut two slits on each of these flaps horizontally, then I ran ribbons threw the slits. Then I tied each ribbon around my shoulder, sort of like fairy wings.

    I'm sure there are other ways to do it but I didnt want to cut up my costume or anything. This way worked for me!

  3. Wow. Holy Sh*t! That is creepy! I studied Latin American literature in college and one of the short fiction stories we read was very similar to this. It was about a guy who created a doll that took on a life of its own. There was another short story about a man who met a woman at a masked ball and she was actually a zombie-like/living dead woman. Crazy stuff for sure.

    Apparently, the body of Eva Peron was so well preserved she looked like a doll too. When the Peron government fell for the second time in the 70s, Eva's body went missing when Peron was exiled to Italy. The body was recovered but the face was smashed and there rumors of "relations." Gross.

    This is a great theme you have for your blog right now! I am going to keep reading for sure!

  4. Ew Ew ewwwwww! That is one sick story! Loving these spooky/grim tales though, more please ;)!

  5. OMG, that's crazy!!!!! I love these crazy, creepy stories! lol

  6. Ive read this exact story before but as a short story, and never knew there were pictures as well. So creepy and not romantic but psychotic I hope he didnt freak out any old ladys in florida caring a doll around the house. Thanks for sharing.


I love reading your wonderful comments and opinions!! Feel free to ask questions and I will happily answer them as fast as I can! Any negative comments will be deleted.

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