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The famous and macabre case of necrophilia by Carl Tanzler

The famous and macabre case of necrophilia by Carl Tanzler

September 27, 2022

Few cases of necrophilia are as famous as that of Carl Tanzler. The real story of a man who, surprisingly, carried his obsession for a woman beyond death.

Carl Tanzler (later known as Carl von Cosel) was able to exhume the corpse he considered the woman of his life, to continue having sex with her.

What is necrophilia?

The necrophilia or necrosexuality is a type of paraphilia that is characterized by a high level of excitement through contemplation, contact, mutilation or the mental evocation of a corpse .

Having sex with corpses is not only considered as socially unacceptable, but is punishable by jail, it is understood that the dead person had not consented to that act while alive.


Carl Tanzler: a famous case of necrophilia

The United States was considered the land of opportunities. For decades, many immigrants settled in the United States of America in search of a better future. This is what Carl Tanzler, a radiologist of German nationality, did.

Tanzler emigrated to Zephyrillis, a city in Pasco County, Florida. He arrived with his wife and two daughters, but a little later left his family to move to the Island of Key West, near Miami. There he rented an x-ray machine at the US Navy Hospital, and changed his name to Carl von Cosel.

One day in 1930, Tanzler's life changed forever. He was fifty-something at the time and had an affair with his patient Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos. She had tuberculosis and her mother took her to the hospital to seek treatment for her pathology. .


Tanzler had visions during his childhood of the woman of his life

As a child in Germany, Tanzler reported that he had visions of an exotic girl, the supposed woman of his life . When he met María Elena, he thought she was the woman of his visions. That is to say, that this 21-year-old Cuban woman was her true love.

Thanks to his crush and despite the fact that Tanzler did not have enough training to deal with this pathology, and in addition to the patient's limited healing possibilities, he himself performed Elena's treatment from his parents' house.

But María Elena Miracle de Hoyos worsened due to her illness, and October 25, 1931 died. Then, the good Tanzler he paid for the funeral and built a mausoleum for María Elena in the cemetery of the Island of Key West, all this with the consent of his family. He visited his grave every night for a year and a half after his death.


His obsession with María Elena and the exhumation of the corpse

But soon the obsession with Maria Elena turned macabre. Tazler later told that the spirit of Maria Elena sang for him in Spanish as he sat near the grave, and begged her to take it with him. In April 1933, Tanzler exhumed the corpse of the Cuban girl and took him home with a toy cart.

When the body was at home, he dedicated himself to preserve it in unimaginable ways . Since he was in a considerable state of putrefaction, he stuck his bones with hangers and cables, put crystal eyes in the eye sockets, and replaced the rotten flesh with silk cloth treated with wax and white plaster. Tanzler introduced rags into the abdominal cavities and chest to maintain the illusion of the human form and put a wig that Maria Elena used to wear. To hide the rotten smell, the radiologist used liters and liters of perfume.

Tanzler had sex with the corpse of Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos

I spend days and nights with the body, I even danced with him. In addition, Tanzler had sexual relations with the corpse.

After a while, the rumors reached Maria Elena's family. His sister Florinda went to Tanzler's house, and to his great surprise, discovered the body of his sister. Without thinking, he called the police and Tanzler was arrested.

The case became very famous and had a lot of media coverage . After her arrest, María Elena's body was buried in the cemetery so she could rest in peace. When Tanzler was released from prison, he wrote an autobiography that was published in Fantastic Adventures.


Iconic Corpse: Elena de Hoyos & Carl Tanzler (September 2022).


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