Monday, May 26, 2008

Beauty and the Body Snatcher

I almost didn't post this due to the yeech factor, but this story is so bizarre, so ridiculous so freaking weird that I couldn't resist. It's true, too.
In 1933....
  1. Key West resident Carl Tanzler had a wife in Europe, but he was more interested in a young lady named Elena. He knew they'd end up together. Some day.
  2. There was a problem. Elena had died two years earlier.
  3. Always the "out of the box" thinker, Carl snuck into the cemetery, opened her mausoleum, and took her home.
  4. He cleaned her up. He covered her skin with silk dipped in Plaster of Paris and wax to maintain a healthy glow. Glass eyes, a wig, a nice dress and jewelery completed the makeover.
  5. Disinfectants and perfumes kept his home smelling Springtime Fresh.
  6. He kept her in his bed and slept next to her...
  7. ...for almost seven years!
  8. Then, (rather stupidly) he showed off his handiwork to her sister. She called the police. Carl went to jail.
  9. Instead of being freaked out, many folks felt sorry for him. They saw him as an eccentric romantic kook. People sent fan mail!
  10. Elena was on display at a local funeral home. Thousands (children included) swung by to check her out. Later she was was buried in an unmarked grave.
  11. The statute of limitations for grave robbing had expired, and Carl was freed.
  12. He died 12 years later. An Elena-like doll was found near his body.
I've heard a lot of strange stories, but this is one of the strangest.
Here's the Wikipedia link (including pics of Carl, Elena and her mummy) if you want to know more. Don't want to know more? I can't say I blame you.


GhostBuild said...


(tried to type a text skull in here to emphasize my point, looks like Blogspot is too stuck on proportional fonts)

Namowal said...

Could Blogspot be ASCIIphobic?

Creepy is the word. I'm surprised its not more famous. Okay, nobody was murdered, and there's no "who done it" mystery.
There is a "what was he thinking‽ mystery.

stray g said...

Sounds like a Faulkner story. Actually, it is kind of interesting the way some churches have preserved relics of saints....

Namowal said...

I thought of "A Rose for Emily" too, stray g. Ironically, I think that story was written about the same time Tanzler hooked up with his mummy friend.

Linda said...

Of COURSE i had to see the pictures. Are you sure that isn't Sigmund Freud and Michael Jackson?

Sally said...

EEK! (But another great illo.)

Namowal said...

Ha! Good one, Linda. There is a resemblance!

Thanks for the comment about the illustration, Sally.:)
As for the actual events, I'd say "EEK!" pretty much sums it up!

luci said...

Namowal, I’ve been reading your blog posts and enjoy every one of them. Your art is great and so is your writing. This story is morbidly fascinating. But, I must admit that it is just so creepy weird that not even two cups of cocoa will wash off its eeky-feel.

Namowal said...

Thanks, Luci,
I agree that the story can leave a creepy-cootie residue on you. I first read about it a few weeks ago in a trivia magazine called Mental Floss. It's right before bedtime. I turn to the page were there's Elena's freaky glass-eyed mummy staring back. And they say reading is a good way to wind down for the evening!

adam k. said...

thats..creepy alright haha

Namowal said...

Thanks for swinging by, Adam.

adam k. said...

no's an interesting blog :)