Dead Pool 28th August 2022

Alas, notable deaths have been a bit thin on the ground last week, maybe we’re saving them up for an extravaganza next week! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Brenda Fisher, famous for her record setting crossing of the English Channel, died on August 2nd at the age of 95. Fisher is famous for her victory in the 1951 Channel Race. She crossed Cap Gris-Nez, France to Dover, England in 12 hours and 42 minutes, taking 32 seconds off the existing world record. In 1954, Fisher became only the second woman in history to complete two swims of the Channel. In 1956, Fisher continued her marathon swimming career by earning the top women’s spot in that year’s 29 mile River Nile Race. Four months later she completed a solo 32 mile swim of Lake Ontario with a time of 18 hours and 51 minutes, breaking the existing record by more than 2 hours. Fisher’s feats made her both a local and international celebrity. She made an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show and later received the British Medal of Freedom in the Queen’s New Year Honours. Locally, she swam with the Grimsby’s Mermaid club where she trained under Herbert McNally. She was introduced to open water racing through her older siblings, who both completed the River Humber swim. Her 1951 Channel swim was done in memory of her brother Buster, who was a pilot in World War II. The Channel Swimming Association has described Fisher as “without a doubt one of the true open-water pioneer swimmers of the 20th century”. After retirement, Fisher remained heavily involved in the sport as she became a local swim instructor at her home club in Grimsby, England.     

A Scottish mountain bike champion has died aged just 37 –two days after winning a major championship. Rab Wardell won the men’s title at the Scottish MTB XC Championships at the weekend. Mr Wardell, who was the partner of Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Katie Archibald, had been riding bikes from a young age but did not take up cycling or mountain biking as a sport until he was 15. His win at Kirroughtree Forest near Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire, on Sunday was described as a ‘show of incredible resilience’ by British Cycling after Mr Wardell managed to catch the early race leaders to take the win. During the race he recovered from three punctures to take the gold medal. Last night the Scottish Cross Country Association (SXC), which runs the mountain bike race series, said it was ‘devastated’ to announce that Mr Wardell had died overnight in his sleep. A statement from SXC said: ‘We are devastated to relay to you the tragic news that our friend, our Champion Rab Wardell, has died overnight. He will be truly missed by our community and his determination, talent and friendship will live on in all our hearts and memories. RIP Rab. Our Champion, Our Inspiration, Our Friend.’ In 2020 Mr Wardell, who lived in Glasgow, set the fastest known time for mountain biking the West Highland Way, completing it in nine hours, 14 minutes and 32 seconds. He represented Scotland in the Commonwealth Games and competed in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series. On Monday night he appeared on BBC Scotland show The Nine to talk about his championship win.  

Scientists have reported finding the worlds unluckiest man, being the first known case of a person testing positive for monkeypox, Covid-19 and HIV at the same time. The patient, a 36-year-old Italian male, developed a series of symptoms – including fatigue, fever, and a sore throat – nine days after returning from a trip to Spain, where he engaged in unprotected bum sex. He first tested positive for Covid on 2nd July, according to a case study report published in the Journal of Infection. The following day small, painful vesicles surrounded a rash appeared on the man’s torso, lower limbs, face and glutes. By 5th July, the vesicles had further spread and evolved into pustules, small bumps on the skin, at which point the man took himself to a hospital in Palermo. There, he was tested for monkeypox and subsequently returned a positive result. The patient was also screened for multiple STIs. He tested positive for HIV-1, and the researchers said that “given his preserved CD4 count, we could assume that the infection was relatively recent.” The patient had taken an HIV test in September of last year and returned a negative result. After recovering from Covid-19 and monkeypox, the patient was discharged from hospital on 11th July to home isolation. By this stage, his skin lesions had healed, after crusting over, leaving small scars. “This case highlights how monkeypox and Covid-19 symptoms may overlap, and corroborates how in case of co-infection, anamnestic collection and sexual habits are crucial to perform the correct diagnosis,” the researchers said in their case report. “To note, the monkeypox oropharyngeal swab was still positive after 20 days, suggesting that these individuals may still be contagious for several days after clinical remission,” the report said. “Consequently, physicians should encourage appropriate precautions.” 

On This Day

  • 1859 – The Carrington event is the strongest geomagnetic storm on record to strike the Earth. Electrical telegraph service is widely disrupted.
  • 1898 – Caleb Bradham‘s beverage “Brad’s Drink” is renamed “Pepsi-Cola”.
  • 1957 – U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond begins a filibuster to prevent the United States Senate from voting on the Civil Rights Act of 1957; he stopped speaking 24 hours and 18 minutes later, the longest filibuster ever conducted by a single Senator.
  • 1963 – March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gives his I Have a Dream speech.
  • 1988 – Ramstein air show disaster: Three aircraft of the Frecce Tricolori demonstration team collide and the wreckage falls into the crowd. Seventy-five are killed and 346 seriously injured.


True Love, Even After Death

Carl Tanzler was a German-born radiology technologist at the Marine-Hospital Service in Key West, Florida. He developed an obsession for a young Cuban-American tuberculosis patient, Elena “Helen” Milagro de Hoyos, that carried on well after her death. 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. 

Tanzler grew up in Imperial Germany and later while traveling briefly in Genoa, Italy, Tanzler claimed to have been visited by visions of a dead, purported ancestor, Countess Anna Constantia von Cosel, who revealed the face of his true love, an exotic dark-haired woman, to him. 

However, he ignored this vision and around 1920 Tanzler married Doris Schäfer. Together they had two children: Ayesha, and Clarista. By 1926 they had emigrated to Florida. 

On April 22nd, 1930, while working at the Marine Hospital in Key West, Tanzler met Maria Elena “Helen” Milagro de Hoyos, a local Cuban-American woman who had been brought to the hospital by her mother for an examination. Tanzler immediately recognised her as the beautiful dark-haired woman that had been revealed to him in his earlier “visions.” By all accounts, Hoyos was viewed as a local beauty in Key West.

Elena was eventually diagnosed with tuberculosis, a typically fatal disease at the time, that eventually claimed the lives of almost all of her immediate family. Tanzler, with his self-professed medical knowledge, attempted to treat and cure Elena with a variety of medicines, as well as X-ray and electrical equipment, that were brought to the Hoyos’ home. Tanzler showered Elena with gifts of jewellery and clothing, and allegedly professed his love to her, but no evidence has surfaced to show that any of his affection was reciprocated by Elena. 

Despite Tanzler’s best efforts, Elena died of tuberculosis at her parents’ home in Key West on October 25th 1931. Tanzler paid for her funeral, and with the permission of her family, he then commissioned the construction of an above ground mausoleum in the Key West Cemetery, which he visited almost every night. 

One evening in April 1933, Tanzler crept through the cemetery where Elena was buried and removed her body from the mausoleum, carting it through the cemetery after dark on a toy wagon, and transporting it to his home. He reportedly said that Elena’s spirit would come to him when he would sit by her grave and serenade her corpse with a favourite Spanish song. He also said that she would often tell him to take her from the grave.

Tanzler attached the corpse’s bones together with piano wire and fitted the face with glass eyes. As the skin of the corpse decomposed, Tanzler replaced it with silk cloth soaked in wax and plaster of paris. As the hair fell out of Elena’s decomposing scalp, Tanzler fashioned a wig from her hair, which he had previously obtained from her mother. Tanzler filled the corpse’s abdominal and chest cavity with rags to keep the original form, dressed Elena’s remains in stockings, jewellery, and gloves, and kept the body in his bed. Tanzler also used copious amounts of perfume, disinfectants, and preserving agents to mask the odour and forestall the effects of the corpse’s decomposition.

By October 1940, Elena’s sister Florinda heard rumours of Tanzler sleeping with the disinterred body of her sister and confronted Tanzler at his home, where Elena’s body was eventually discovered (he was also caught dancing with her corpse in front of an open window). Florinda notified the authorities, and Tanzler was arrested and detained. Tanzler was psychiatrically examined and found mentally competent to stand trial on the charge of “wantonly and maliciously destroying a grave and removing a body without authorisation.” After a preliminary hearing on October 9th 1940 at the Monroe County Courthouse in Key West, Tanzler was held to answer on the charge, but the case was eventually dropped, and he was released, as the statute of limitations for the crime had expired.

Shortly after the corpse’s discovery by authorities, Elena’s body was examined by physicians and pathologists, and put on public display at the Dean-Lopez Funeral Home, where it was viewed by as many as 6,800 people! Elena’s body was eventually returned to the Key West Cemetery where the remains were buried in an unmarked grave, in a secret location, to prevent further tampering.

The facts underlying the case and the preliminary hearing drew much interest from the media at the time, and created a sensation among the public, both regionally and nationwide. The public mood was generally sympathetic to Tanzler, whom many viewed as an eccentric “romantic”.

Though not reported contemporaneously, research has revealed evidence of Tanzler’s necrophilia with Elena’s corpse. Two physicians who attended the 1940 autopsy of Elena’s remains recalled in 1972 that a vaginal tube had been inserted in the vaginal area of the corpse that allowed for intercourse. Others contend that since no evidence of necrophilia was presented at the 1940 preliminary hearing, and because the physicians’ “proof” surfaced in 1972, over 30 years after the case had been dismissed, the necrophilia allegation is questionable. While no existing contemporary photographs of the autopsy or photographs taken at the public display show a tube. 

In 1944, Tanzler moved to Pasco County, Florida, close to Zephyrhills, where he wrote an autobiography that appeared in the pulp publication, Fantastic Adventures, in 1947. His home was near his wife Doris, who apparently helped to support Tanzler in his later years. 

Separated from his obsession, Tanzler used a death mask to create a life-sized effigy of Elena, and lived with it until his death at age 75 in 1952. His body was discovered on the floor of his home three weeks after his death.

It has been recounted that Tanzler was found in the arms of Elena’s effigy upon discovery of his corpse, but his obituary reported that he died on the floor behind one of his organs. The obituary recounted: “a metal cylinder on a shelf above a table in it wrapped in silken cloth and a robe was a waxen image”.

It has been written that Tanzler had the bodies switched (or that Elena’s remains were secretly returned to him), and that he died with the real body of Elena.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Luis Guzmán (66), Armie Hammer (36), Jack Black (53), Brian Thompson (63), Shania Twain (57), Jason Priestley (53), Billy Boyd (54), Barbara Bach (76), David Soul (79), Peter Stormare (69), Aaron Paul (43), Paul Reubens (70), Peter Mensah (63), Reece Shearsmith (53), Chris Pine (42), Melissa McCarthy (52), Macaulay Culkin (42), Alexander Skarsgård (46), Tim Burton (64), Blake Lively (35), Rachel Bilson (41), Tom Skerritt (89), Gene Simmons (73), Billy Ray Cyrus (61), Claudia Schiffer (52), Stephen Fry (65), Jared Harris (61), Rupert Grint (34), Steve Guttenberg (64), Park Chan-wook (59), Ray Park (48), Charley Boorman (56), Richard Armitage (51), Kristen Wiig (49), Ty Burrell (55), Mark Williams (63), Dua Lipa (27), and for the love of god, why wont James Corden (44) die!?!

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