Dance of Death
You may call me Count Carl Tanzler von Cosel. I was born in Dresden, Germany and I moved to Zephyrhills, Florida where the wild winds blow. That was back in 1927, when I already dwelled for half a century on this earth, seeking love, finding none. Oh yes, I had a wife and two daughters...But where were you?
Since my childhood, I was frequently visited by visions of my dead ancestor, Countess Anna Constantia von Cosel. I danced with her and she revealed to me the face of my true love: it was her face; it was the face of this exotic and dark-haired woman I found at last in the US Marine Hospital in Key West, where I worked as a radiologist...
Weird Worm Inspirations
- Carl Tanzler Romancing the Dead - Weird Worm
This story was inspired by the article "Romancing the Dead" on Weird Worm.
April 22, 1930. I danced with the dead on a daily basis; all my
patients succumbed to this deadly disease known as tuberculosis, and
there were you... Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos, only 21 years old, also
known as Helen of Cuba... or Troy, in that other world and that other life of ours.
You were brought to my hospital for an examination by your mother and I danced with you. I said I would cure you thanks to my knowledge of new and advanced untested medical techniques, from herbal medicines to X-ray treatments. I showered you with the gifts of my love and it was all right you didn't ever return my affections in any way.
It was all right. I was sure you
would love me once I had you cured of your fatal disease. And then you died while I danced with you.
I didn't want the water of the cold, cold grounds contaminate your body, and so - with the permission of your family - I built an above-ground mausoleum for your corpse. And there I danced with you. And there I tirelessly attempted to keep your body in a state of stasis. And there I preserved you with formaldehyde, while I talked to you, all night long, every night, for the next two years, sitting by your bed with your hands in mine, whispering in your ears, caressing your lips.
I had a telephone installed in your tomb, so I could speak to you when I couldn't be with you in person. And your ghost visited me and I danced with you and you asked me to remove your body from its grave and that was exactly what I did in 1933, releasing you from your tomb, bringing you home, back home, bringing you all back home again.
I worked furiously day and night to fight the decay of your flesh, applying bottle after bottle of perfume, using oceans of preservatives to stem the tide of decomposition, stringing the bones of your skeleton together with piano wire. I played the organ for you and we danced and I replaced your putrefied eyes with glass replicas and your skin with silk soaked with wax and plaster.
a mixture of nature and my own creation, frozen in time. I danced with
you and they said after each dance you became less the corpse of a lost
loved one and more like a morbid and disturbing doll, a sad caricature of the living
Helen of Troy. And I filled your stomach and chest with rags to help you
retain your shape. And when your hair fell out, I used it to craft a wig.
Your sister accused me of maliciously destroying your grave and removing your body without authorization, but I was never punished and most people called me just an eccentric romantic, just a desperate lover who wanted to save his last dance for you.
Your body was examined by physicians and pathologists, displayed to the public and then buried again in a secret location... where it still remains.