The Corpse Bride: the true story

Carl Tanzler and Maria Elena Milagro De Hoyos

Tansy Bradshaw


Warning: This story contains abuse of a corpse, necrophilia, and images that accompany it.

Carl Tanzler was born in Germany on 8 February 1877. He grew up in Imperial Germany ended up emigrating to the United States in 1926. His sister was already in Florida which is where he would settle and be joined later by his wife, Doris Schafer, and two daughters.

However, he left his family in Zephyrhillis in 1927 when he took a job as a radiology technician at US Marine Hospital in Key West, under the name Carol Von Cosel.

To say he was an eccentric character would only be putting it lightly, as well as claiming to falsely be not only a doctor and a count, Carl claimed that throughout his life he had been experiencing visions. In these visions, Carl would claim that a long-dead ancestor, Countess Anna Constantia von Cosel, revealed the face of his true love, an exotic dark-haired woman, to him.

Three years later a Cuban-American woman by the name of Maria Elena Milagro De Hoyos, was brought to the hospital by her mother for examination. Tanzler became enamored with her, and took an overly keen interest in her care, despite not having any idea on how to treat tuberculosis.

Carl Tanzler and Elena (in life).

He would smuggle expensive equipment to her home, as well as performing experimental tonics and plant extracts (tinctures) to save Elena. Throughout the time before her death, Tanzler would continually profess his love for her, as well as showering her with gifts and adoration.

Elena NEVER returned the sentiment. In fact, she had a husband who had left her after she suffered a miscarriage.

Despite his efforts, Elena succumbed to her disease on 26 October 1931. Tanzler paid for the funeral and then with the permission of the family, he commissioned the construction of an above-ground mausoleum in Key West Cemetry.

The grave of Elena.

The family most-likely saw this as a kind and thoughtful gesture, not realising that he had made sure that he was the only person who had a key.



Tansy Bradshaw

Murderino. Cat Lady. I write about stuff that interests me. She/Her and They/Them