Carl Tanzler bibliography

Carl Tanzler, also known as Carl von Cosel (February 8, 1877 – July 23, 1952) was a German radiologist at the United States Marine Hospital in Key West, Florida who developed a morbid obsession for a young, Cuban-American tuberculosis patient, Maria Elena Milagro "Helen" de Hoyos (1910–1931), that carried on well after Hoyos succumbed to the disease in 1931. In 1933, almost two years after her death, Tanzler removed Hoyos' body from its tomb, and lived with the corpse at his home for seven years until its discovery by Hoyos' relatives and authorities in 1940. 

He was born as Karl Tänzler or Georg Karl Tänzler on February 8, 1877 in Dresden, Germany. Around 1920 he married Doris A. (1889–1977) and he was listed as "Georg Karl Tänzler" on the marriage certificate. Together they had two children: Ayesha Tanzler (1922–1998), and Crystal Tanzler (1924–1934), who died of diphtheria. Tanzler grew up in Germany, and spent time in Australia around the time of World War I, where he may have been held on detention. Tanzler emigrated to the United States in 1926, sailing from Rotterdam on February 6, 1926 to Havana, Cuba. From Cuba he settled in Zephyrhills, Florida, where his sister had earlier emigrated, and was later joined by his wife and two daughters. Leaving his family behind in Zephyrhills in 1927, he took a job as a radiologist at the U.S. Marine Hospital in Key West, Florida under the name Carl von Cosel.

  • Oakland Tribune; Oakland, California; October 8, 1940; Key West, Florida, October 7, 1940. Fantastic story of an old man who sought to restore life to a young woman he loved, attracted throngs ... an undertaking establishment for a glimpse of the corpse he kept in his bedroom for seven years. More than 2,000 Key Westers yesterday filed past the remains, which Carl Tanzler Van Cosel said he wax moulded into a likeness of the beautiful matron who died nine years ago at the age of 19. Van Cosel, 70-year-old X-ray ... formerly employed at the Marine Hospital here, remained in jail in default of bond. He faced a hearing in Justice of the Peace Court today on a charge of "maliciously" disturbing the contents of a tomb, but County Solicitor Allan B. Cleare Jr., said that, regardless of the outcome, a sanity hearing would be held. Reaction Feared. "I wouldn't like to assume the responsibility of turning loose this man without an examination by a competent psychiatrist and a decision by a board of Cleare declared.
  • Gettysburg Times; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Thursday, October 10, 1940; Man Who Preserved Girl's Body Is Declared Sane. Key West, Florida, October 10, 1940. Court-appointed commission ruled today that Karl Tanzler Van Cosel, who kept the carefully preserved body of a young woman beside him for seven years, is sane. The sanity commission discharged the 70-year-old unemployed X-ray specialist after a lengthy, private examination at which he was reported to have answered technical scientific questions. Van remained in jail, however, pending a peace justice's decision on charges of removing the corpse from its tomb. The aging man clung to a hope that he might regain possession of the wax-encased body of the girl; even though County Judge Raymond Lord told him it would be reburied at the request of the girl's sister, Mario Medina.  
  • United Press; October 13, 1940; Scientist who stole body freed from jail. Key West, Florida; October 12, 1940 (United Press)  Friends today posted $1,000 bond and obtained release from jail of Carl Tanzler von Cosel, aged scientist who stole the body of a young woman he loved from her burial vault and kept the body in his home for seven years. Von Cosel will be tried in county criminal court in November on charges of "maliciously disturbing" the grave of Mrs. Elena Mesa, who died in 1931.
  • Helena Independent; Helena, Montana; Sunday, November 10, 1940. Key West, Florida. Monroe County grand jury today failed to indict Karl Tanzler Van Cosel for keeping the body of Elena Hoyas Mesa in his bedroom for seven years. In a report to Circuit Judge Arthur Gomez the grand jury said the statute of limitations barred prosecution. The body of the young woman [was] discovered in Van Cosel's modest home several weeks ago, and he told authorities he had kept it there for several years, having removed it from its crypt shortly after burial. Van Cosel told of trying to [restore the body to life] and said he could not bear the thought of the body lying in a grave.  
  • Freeport Journal-Standard; Freeport, Illinois; Tuesday, November 12, 1940; Aged X-Ray Expert Who Tried To Revive Corpse Of Young Woman Is Freed Key West, Florida. Karl Tanzler Van Cosel, aged X-ray technician, will not be tried for removing the body of Elena Hoyas Mesa from its crypt and keeping it in his bedroom for seven years. County Solicitor Allen B. Cleare, Jr., said. "I find no law under which Van Cosel can be tried which is not barred by the statute of [limitations], Cleare informed Criminal Court Judge William V. Albury. The prosecutor directed that the remains be returned to the dead woman's sister, Mrs. Nana Medina, who said that the body would be buried. Van Cosel said he removed the body with the hope of restoring it to life. 
  • Tampa Tribune; Tampa Florida; Wednesday, May 11, 1977; Tanzler, Zephyrhills. Funeral services for Mrs. Doris A. Tanzler, 87, Zephyhills, will be held Wednesday, (today) at 4 p.m. in the Chapel of the Lair-Kelly Funeral Home, with the Reverend Paul M. Stewart, Pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Zephyrhills, officiating. Burial will follow in Oakside Cemetery. Mrs. Tanzler had been a resident of Zephyrhills for the past 50 years; and was a member of the First United Methodist Church. Mrs. Tanzler is survived by 1 daughter, Mrs. Ann Bucey, Portland, Oregon; 3 grandchildren including Mrs. Paul (Susan) McKee, Zephyrhills and 3 great-grandchildren.
  • St. Petersburg Times, December 31, 1998; page 8; Ayesha T. Bucey (Ann), 76, of Zephyrhills, died Sunday (December 27, 1998) at East Pasco Medical Center. She came here 71 years ago from her native Dresden, Germany. She was a waitress and homemaker. She was graduate of Zephyrhills High School and a member of the Zephyrhills Alumni and Friends. She was Methodist. Survivors include her daughter, Susan McKee, Zephyrhills; two sons, Jon Clendening, Portland, Oregon, and Gary Clendening, Hallowell, Maine; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Whitfield Funeral Home, Zephyrhills.