Mountain Madness

Jimmy Dale Taylor, Author, Donald G. Bross, With
Jimmy Dale Taylor, Author, Donald G. Bross, With New Horizon $23.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-88282-148-1
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Bizarre is probably an accurate description for this story of a romantic love that endured beyond the grave. German immigrant Georg Karl Tanzler, aka Count Carl von Cosel, working as an X-ray technician in Key West, Fla., fell in love with a patient, Elena Milagro Hoyos Mesa, who was dying of tuberculosis. A staunch Catholic deserted by her husband, she rejected Cosel's pleas to marry him. She died in late 1931. About 18 months later, Cosel took her decaying corpse from the mausoleum he had built for it and began to ""reconstruct"" his beloved out of wax and plaster of paris and to sleep beside her every night. In 1940, he was discovered, was adjudged sane, but suffered no penalties. In 1946 he wrote his account of the story, quoted extensively here, and died in 1952 at age 75. While Cosel admitted that he often kissed Elena's body, in 1972 a doctor revealed Cosel also had sexual relations with the corpse. Singer/freelance writer Harrison thinks this revelation will not alter the public perception of Cosel as a tragic lover--a debatable conclusion. Not debatable, however, is the awkwardness of the writing (""Despite her condition, Elena's beauty had not faded. If anything, her beauty had been enhanced by the tragedy of her illness, a tragedy which rested in the darkness of her eyes""). Photos not seen by PW. 30,000 first printing. (Nov.)
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