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The Disturbing Love Story About A Man Who Stole A Woman's Body And Turned Her Into A Mummy Bride

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Disturbing Details About The Creepy Love Story Of Count Carl von Cosel & Elena Hoyos, His Dead Mummy Bride

Love stories are supposed to be sources of inspiration. A reason to live; something to hope for. 

But not in the case of the man who fell in love with a corpse. 

In Carl Tanzler's — who's also creepily known as Count Carl von Cosel — defense, Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos was alive when they met. 

The beautiful 20-year-old Cuban woman went to the hospital Carl worked at as a radiologist for an examination. She was diagnosed with tuberculosis, which was highly fatal in 1930. 

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But Carl wasn't going to give up, despite her prognosis. See, for years he apparently had dreams about a gorgeous, dark-haired woman who was supposed to be the love of his life, and he believed Elena to be that woman. 

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He pulled out all the stops to save her life. Threw money at experimental treatments, gave her homemade tonics and showered her with love and affection. Her family was all for it I guess, ignoring the fact that he was much, much older than she was. The age difference isn't even the creepiest part of the story.

Sadly, the treatments didn't work, and she died in 1931 at the age of 22.. 

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Of course, Carl paid for her funeral and didn't tell anyone in her family that he would the only person with the key to her expensive mausoleum. 

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For two years he just visited the grave, though it still creeped a lot of people out. He eventually was fired from his job because of his obsession with the now dead Elena and stopped going to her tomb. 

Little did they know that Carl had taken his love's body, put it in a toy wagon and took it to a lab he created inside an old airplane. 

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He "brought her back to life" using plaster of Paris, mortician's wax and glass eyes. He took her back into his home where they lived together for seven years. And this is where it gets really gross. 

He kept her together with wire hangers to preserve her frame, stuffed her abdominal cavity with rags, continuously reapplied her face with wax and sprayed disinfectants and oils to mask that pesky smell of human decay. He was also still playing the role of good sugar daddy by buying her gifts, clothing, and perfume. 

Eventually, people started asking questions, especially when a boy saw him dancing with a "giant doll" through the window. 

Elena's sister went to Carl's home, and she found what she thought was a wax dummy of her sister. Police soon learned it was her corpse. 

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The worst part of it all was when police found that Carl had inserted a paper tube into his beloved to serve as a DIY vagina. It was never officially said that he actually did anything with Elena, but it seems pretty obvious. 

He was arrested for destroying a grave and removing a body, and the trial was a media sensation. For reasons we'll never know, the majority of te public supported him and said he was an eccentric romantic. 


The statute of limitations on his crime expired and he was eventually cleared. Elena’s body was put on public display at a local funeral home until she was reburied in an unmarked grave so that she could — finally — rest in peace. 

You can watch this video to see more details and photos of this demented love affair. 

Emily Blackwood is a writer and editor living in California. She covers all things news, pop culture, true crime.
Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on April 14, 2017 and was updated with the latest information.