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Elena Hoyos: Key West Cemetery

This is the headstone of Otto Bethel (1876-1950). He is one of the men tasked with hiding the body of Elena Hoyos in the Key West Cemetery. I do not have a picture of Elena's burial spot......nobody does.

Count Carl Von Cosel (later changed to Carl Tanzler), a middle-aged German man, fell in love with a 22 year old Cuban girl, Elena Hoyos, in 1930, while living in Key West Florida.

Carl Von Cosel was an x-ray technician at The Marine Hospital where he was treating her for tuberculosis. Von Cosel extracted from Elena a promise to marry him. Her husband had abandoned her when she got the deadly diagnosis and Carl had already left his wife and daughters. Carl promised the girl that he would always care for her even if she died. Elena wanted nothing to do with him. He kept his promise; When she died, he told her family he would pay for her burial....and he did. He paid for an above ground crypt for Elena in the Key West Cemetery, and, two years after she died, in the middle of the night (with a wagon, all by himself under cover of darkness), disinterred her decaying body and preserved her with wax and plaster, and cotton and chemicals for 7 years!! Taking his eccentricity to the next level, Tanzler had plans to create a spacecraft to fly Elena’s corpse into the stratosphere, so that radiation from outer space could penetrate her tissues and restore her.

He kept her at his home and slept beside her until his secret was uncovered 7 years later.

When Elena's sister realized something was up with Elena's resting place in the Key West Cemetery, authorities found the body at Carl's house. So they took it away and had a public viewing and thousands came from all over to further disrespect her body and finally, reburied her at night in the cemetery in a hidden spot so that Carl couldn't find it again.

Otto Bethel was one of three men who reburied her late at night....the others were a Perez, a local cop and Bejamin Sawyer.


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