Monday, April 30, 2012

Carl Von Cosel and Elena Hoyos - Undying Love or Morbid Obsession ?

There are many types of stories about love, some about unrequited love, others about mutual but tragic love. This is none of those stories, or maybe it is a bit of both. However, one thing is certain, it’s definitely a story about obsession, an obsession that defies death: Karl Tanzler obsession for Elena Hoyos.

Karl Tanzler becomes Carl Von Cosel 

Karl Tanzler left his wife and children in 1927 and moved in Florida. There, he changed his name to Carl Von Cosel and started working in a hospital where patients with tuberculosis were treated. He also claimed that during his childhood he had visions of his dead ancestor Countess Anna Constantina Von Cosel (one of the reasons why he changed his name) who told him that his true love will be a dark haired exotic woman. Whether that claim is true, we do not know, but he did meet his exotic love.

Meeting Elena Hoyos

It all started when Elena Hoyos was committed to the hospital, suffering from tuberculosis; she was known to be a great beauty and Von Cosel was one of those who fell in love with her. This was the beginning of his struggle to keep her next to him, no matter what the consequences were. He tried all the treatments possible to save her, even unorthodox treatments like herbal medicine, X-Ray treatment, and other types of treatment that involved electrical equipment. One of his most unusual treatments involved a potion that contained gold flakes but he also administered electric shocks to her. On a more personal level, he did his best to please her and make her happy, showered her with gifts, but it seems that she didn’t return his affection. However, he hoped that if he managed to cure her terrible illness she would eventual come to love him.

The death of Elena Hoyos

In 1931, just before Halloween, Elena died and was buried in an above-ground mausoleum ordered by the doctor, because he thought that groundwater would have contaminated her body. He would regularly go to her grave and take care of it, which didn’t alarm her family since they trusted him and knew his special connection with her. Little did they know that he was trying to take Elena’s corpse from the grave as his connection with her was more than anyone could possibly imagine. During his visits to Elena’s grave he had long conversations with her and he even installed a telephone so that he would feel close to her even when he was away. Apparently, he also had seen her ghost telling him that he needed to take the corpse and he was also trying to preserve her body with formaldehyde.

When obsession becomes pathological

In 1933, he stole her body from her tomb and brought it home after losing his job from the hospital. He attempted to preserve her body the best way he could using big amounts of preservatives; this proved difficult since she was already dead for two years but he used a lot of perfume to conceal the smell of her rotting flesh. Piano wires were used to string her bones together and keep her skeleton intact somehow, her eyes were replaced with glass replicas because they had also gone rotten, he also created a type of skin for her made from a mixture of silk with wax and plaster, and used rags when her insides became so putrefied she had lost her shape. He continued this process to preserve what was left of his dead obsession, including making a wig for her when her hair was almost gone. All this led to the creation of a macabre doll with some remains of her that was meant to give him some comfort through the illusion that she was still somehow with him.  He spent his days talking to her while she was placed on a large bed and wrapped in cloth veil, acting like they were together and playing music for her on the organ, adding to the creepy scenery. What’s even most shocking is the fact that after the discovery of her body, the doctors also discovered during the autopsy that he had created a tube that somehow resembled a vagina, so he also had sexual intercourse with Elena’s dead body. After his arrest one of the doctors who performed the autopsy declared:

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.

The discovery and arrest

Elena’s sister wasn't seeing doctor Von Cosel at the tomb anymore and there were also some rumors that he was behaving bizarre, so she began to believe that something might have happened, especially since he showed a morbid obsession since the beginning. She asked the authorities to open the tomb and was surprised to see that the body of her sister wasn’t there anymore. When confronted Von Cosel, he invited her inside and she was obviously shocked at the sight of the sinister image created by him. He was soon arrested and found mentally capable to stand trial on the charge of "wantonly and maliciously destroying a grave and removing a body without authorization." However, the case was dropped and he was released. Elena's body was showed to the public, almost 6,800 people, before her last burial.

Later life and death

He moved in Pasco County, Florida in 1944 where he apparently used a death mask to create a life-sized effigy of Elena. It has been speculated that he had taken the body of Elena even after his arrest but there was no evidence that the effigy he created contained any human material. However, his morbid obsession continued until his death in 1952 as he lived the rest of his life with the second doll that resembled Elena.



Undying Love: The True Story Of A Passion That Defied Death

Skullduggery: 45 True Tales of Disturbing the Dead

A short documentary about this case: 


  1. Hi, hope your studies are going well! This is a creepy story, but interesting read about twisted human behaviors.

  2. hi andrea, OMG, sooo scary- remembered how it started and wonder who told him in his dream about the woman..must be the devil.. have a nice day

  3. Best read of the day!! Thankful that I discovered this blog

  4. OMG!!! This story is as far removed from "Love" as you can get!!!
    Seeing how bizarre and pathologically obsessive this madman's behavior was after her death makes it HIGHLY unlikely that she died of natural causes.
    All those strange "treatments" were more likely poisons and ways to inflict pain on her. Electrical? Give me a motherfucking break!
    The only thing this sick fuck was trying to "cure" her of was her failure to accept his twisted, psychotic "affection".
    I have dealt with obsessive freaks like this, and their M.O. is to immediately swamp a woman with deceptive, manipulative tactics attempting to gain her affection, met with sneaky, underhanded ways to "punish" her whenever she fails to comply.

    This guy obviously was drawn to the medical profession because it gave him complete power over people who were in a weak and vulnerable position, especially working in a home for people who were committed involuntarily due to the contagious nature of their illness and therefore had no way to escape him. This is so classic for an obsessive sadist, they naturally gravitate to professions like cop, priest, doctor, teacher--positions that come with a ready-made cover of "I'm the good guy, I'm here to help, and you really need my help." combined with the fact that the people under his control have very limited ability to challenge his control, and limited likelihood of being believed if they make an outcry ('Oh well, all kids hate their teachers', 'oh well, of course prisoners don't like cops', 'Oh well, the church says listen to your priest, and he's SUCH a samaritan for running that orphanage, who else would care for those ungrateful brats?' Of course kids don't like going to the doctor.'). Many, many psychopaths/sadists/narcissists are drawn to those professions for exactly those reasons.

  5. Part Dewx:

    I will never believe that this woman simply succumbed to her illness. This guy knew that making her well meant she would be able to leave him, and no fucking way was he going to let that happen, not even in death. This guy was not a corpse-fucker, he was a MURDERER and TORTURER of ill and vulnerable women. What kind of prick makes advances on a helpless, ill woman like that? No doctor who had any respect for his patients or professional boundaries would ever consider behaving like that, no matter how hard his dick was!
    I bet you my right arm that if it were possible to check the records, we'd find many instances where the health of pretty (oh god thank you for sparing me from the curse of being pretty)female patients progressively worsened under his care to the point of death, despite his "selflessly devoted round the clock care and desperate attempts to save her with bizarre experimental treatments like hooking her nipples up to a battery and burning her with cigars and administering medical-grade semen, orally and vaginally".
    --Okay I exaggerated that last bit for effect, but I'm just saying, there's no way that a doctor this mentally degraded could possibly provide reliable, impartial medical care to anybody, and there's overwhelming evidence of his psychosis and total lack of respect for women and for his patients.
    No fucking way this lady just died from her illness. Nope.

    Here's clip that I think applies to poor Ms. Hoyo;
    "thank god" this woman is pretty because she can't sing, (trailer-park-tori-amos) but she is clever and she knows how to write, lol.

    Here's an especially disturbing one:
    Can you imagine how many of this guy's victims told their moms "The doctor hurt me.", only to be dismissed with "No, doctors are here to help us, he was helping you. That was good for you. Always do what the doctor says."

    Here's a few. I find the contrived snarkiness of to be extraordinarily tedious, but they make fun lists.

    And there's this creepy piece of you-know-what:

    And these, if you like pets:

    They are everywhere.