4 Infamous Necrophiles And The Dark Details Of Their Sordid Activities
The British TV presenter Sir Jimmy Savile might be one of the most well-known necrophiles of the 21st century but, shockingly, there are others.
It’s safe to say that in the case of most necrophiliacs, their dark and twisted desires are kept secret. Here are four people who brought their ghoulish sexual interests into the public eye.
Sir Jimmy Savile
Britain Jimmy Savile
FILE - This is a Dec. 17, 1986 file photo of British disc jockey and BBC TV presenter Jimmy Savile at Madame Tussauds museum in London. The BBC is struggling to contain a crisis sparked by allegations of serial sexual abuse against the late Jimmy Savile, a longtime children's television host. Dozens of women have come forward to say that Savile, who died in October 2011 aged 84, sexually assaulted them when they were as young as 13. London's Metropolitan Police, which is leading a national investigation, says it has identified 40 potential victims. (AP Photo/John Redman)
1986 file photo of Jimmy Savile (AP Photo/John Redman)
He was a presenter for popular English TV shows Top of the Pops, a teen dance show, in the 1960s, and Jim’ll Fix It, on which he granted the wishes of children, from the seventies till the mid-90s. He was also a DJ and is credited with being the first to use two turntables.
He was awarded the prestigious Order of the British Empire award in 1971 and was knighted in 1990. When he passed away in 2011 at age 84, he was a popular and beloved figure who was known for philanthropy and charity work. There had been a few accusations against him over the years, either for sexual misconduct or inappropriateness with children and teenagers, but nothing stuck, and he often sued his accusers.
About a year after his death, a documentary came out that explored some of the allegations against him, and all hell broke loose. Within a few months, a report was released that included more than 450 separate victims alleging rape and other sexual abuse. But those were his live victims.
For decades he did volunteer work in hospitals, including Broadmoor, Stoke Mandeville, and Leeds where he was best friends with the chief mortician who would allow him unsupervised access to the morgue while working as a volunteer porter. He also was given private apartments in the hospitals.
A former nurse at Broadmoor reported that Savile told her he had had sex with corpses in the morgue, and also arranged male and female corpses into sexual positions with each other, taking photos and joining in with them. He also specifically told her that he performed oral sex on the cadavers. She reported: “He was saying that they used to put the bodies together, male and female, and he also said that they took photographs and also that he got involved in some of the photographs … I was a little bit upset because I had no concept, in those days, of necrophilia. Several of the Broadmoor patients would have been diagnosed with that, but I didn’t fully understand what it meant, and partway through I just wandered off.”
He also boasted of stealing glass eyes from the dead and making rings out of them, which he wore openly. An anonymous statement was made by someone who knew him, who said, “I looked at his hands, and he had these gross, big silver rings with bulbous things, and I sort of went, ‘Yes, mm,’ always be polite to your superstar, ‘Yes, Jim.’ And he said: ‘D’you know what they are? They are glass eyes from dead bodies in Leeds mortuary where I work, and I love working there, and I wheel the dead bodies around at night and I love that.'”
An investigation into sex-abuse allegations at Leeds concluded that, “Savile had publicly disclosed his interest in the dead, that he was friends with the chief mortician, and that there was a lack of stringent procedures regarding access to the mortuary.”
A former hospital therapist claimed to have actually seen Savile attempting to have intercourse with the dead. A staff nurse confessed to investigators that she had been told by her superiors not to go downstairs to the morgue when, as they described him, “the pink haired man,” was there. A 2015 report revealed that he was once seen in the 1970s wheeling a deceased four-year-old in a baby carriage into the mortuary.
It’s been estimated that he interfered with at least 60 bodies. Investigators determined that Savile’s interest in the dead was “not within accepted boundaries.”
His behavior, with live victims and deceased, was an open secret, but he was regarded as no more than a dirty old man who could be a bit of an inappropriate pest. People would say, “Oh, that’s just Jimmy.” It came to be known as the “Just Jimmy” phenomenon. His many years of charity work and his knighthood further protected him. He counted Margaret Thatcher and the Royal Family as friends.
Savile was a lifelong bachelor with a close attachment to his mother, whom he called “The Duchess.” He told a journalist once that when his mother was alive, he’d had to share her with other people, but once she’d died, he said, “She was all mine. The best five days of my life were spent with the Duchess when she was dead. She looked marvellous. She belonged to me. It’s wonderful, is death.”
She worked as an apprentice embalmer, and in 1979 was driving a hearse to a cemetery to inter the body of a 33-year-old man named John Mercure. Greenlee found dead bodies of men in their twenties and thirties to be sexually attractive. On this day, she couldn’t contain her desire, and instead absconded with the body, taking it back to her house and having sex with it for two days while high on codeine. When the authorities caught up with her, they found her with the body and a note she’d written detailing her sexual activities with up to 40 dead men, in which she referred to herself as a “morgue rat.”
At the time, necrophilia was not illegal in California, so she only spent 11 days in jail for the theft of the hearse and interfering with a funeral. She later admitted that in addition to molesting the bodies she had access to in the course of her work, she would also break into tombs and other funeral homes to satisfy her urges.
What makes Greenlee really unusual, though, is an interview she gave in 1987 published under the name “The Unrepentant Necrophile,” in which Greenlee openly discussed her proclivities and history. She explained that what makes her happy is “the cold, the aura of death, the smell of death, and the funereal surroundings.” She would be stimulated when she was on top of a body “making passionate love to it,” as she says, and blood would purge out of the mouth. She claimed to have been caught performing sexual acts inside funeral homes several times, but no one ever reported it or followed up on it even if they suspected it was her, as the businesses didn’t want any bad publicity. Her interview inspired a short story that in turn inspired a feature film called “Kissed.”
In the interview she admits that she questioned her desires for a while, wishing that she could be like other people. She said, “I went through all that personal hell and finally I accepted myself and realized that that’s just me. That’s my nature and I might as well enjoy it.”
She saw a therapist after she got out of jail who she says helped her realize that her anguish wasn’t about her desires but the inability to accept herself. She said, “These people who are always trying to change me only helped me get myself more in touch with my feelings. I used to go from the therapist’s office to the funeral home. It didn’t work, folks!”
Despite being a bit of a champion for necrophiles in this revealing interview, she eventually regretted going so public, changed her name, and moved to a different city.
He was a model, porn actor, and escort who yearned for fame. Magnotta had an online modeling portfolio set to a soundtrack of “True Faith” by New Order.
When modeling and porn wasn’t getting him where he wanted to be, he auditioned for reality shows. He didn’t get any of those jobs, and his desperation for fame was getting worse.
Magnotta evidently thought that infamy was as good as fame, so he tried to get attention by uploading videos to the internet in which he killed kittens and a snake. Magnotta’s MO in those cases was to try to generate advance buzz, using dozens of fake online identities, making reference to the videos before they were actually available. On March 3, 2012, a post referring to “necrophiliac serial killer Luka Magnotta” showed up on Blogspot. Over the next couple of months, posts referring to Magnotta or the title of his new video, 1 Lunatic 1 Icepick, were made in various online forums. But it wasn’t until May 25, 2012, that the video actually surfaced.
In 1 Lunatic 1 Icepick, which Luka shot, edited, and scored with “True Faith” by New Order, he is seen with a victim, a man named Jun Lin. Lin is bound, stabbed dozens of times with an icepick, decapitated, dismembered, cannibalized, and even fed to a dog.
Magnotta filmed himself having sex with Lin’s dismembered corpse, penetrating him with a bottle, and masturbating with his severed arm. In his last desperate bid for fame, he unleashed his atrocities on the internet.
Carl Tanzler von Cosel
In 1931, a radiologist and bacteriologist working at a tuberculosis sanitarium in Key West, Florida, became obsessed with a 22-year-old patient, Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos. He would buy her gifts and dote on her, and did everything in his power to heal her, but she succumbed to the illness.
After her death, he built her a vast mausoleum. He visited her almost every night and had a telephone installed so that he could speak with her. It went on like this for two years, until his desires overcame him and he disentombed her body and took it home with him. He installed her corpse into a small airship that he had been building for her. The purpose of the airship was to fly her “high into the stratosphere, so that radiation from outer space could penetrate Elena’s tissues and restore life to her somnolent form.”
In 1947 he wrote a version of his story for Fantastic Adventures magazine in which he detailed how Elena’s spirit implored him to retrieve her body and take it home, even instructing him in how to accomplish it. He goes into specific detail about how he cleaned and attempted to restore her body.
“Decay had set in in the most disheartening manner. Only with the greatest care was I able to peel the pieces of textile from the body; this took hours … I now proceeded to sponge her face with a specially prepared solution.”
He restored her frame with piano wire and coat hangers, gave her glass eyes, and filled her body with rags soaked in formalin and other chemicals. He claimed to give the corpse nourishment and fluids, often from his own mouth like a mother bird feeding a baby. He boasted that, under his care, Elena’s corpse gained 60 pounds of weight and was restored to its former beauty, and a smile of happiness appeared on her face.
He does however, acknowledge the “ever present insect pests,” and says he slept by her side to protect her from them. He used wax to patch her up when her body leaked fluids. At one point he discusses examining her and noticing that she was leaking what he referred to as menstrual blood. He covered her body completely with silk and wax in an attempt to preserve her, using the silk from a wedding dress he’d optimistically bought her (incidentally, he was already married). One detail that he doesn’t mention in his account, which was discovered later during the autopsy, was that he’d installed a tube into the vaginal area of the cadaver, presumably to facilitate intercourse. It was lined with cotton, which was found to contain sperm.
“Then, kissing her dry lips and breathing deeply into her lungs until her bosom rose, I unpacked her bridal gown and covered her body with it. I draped her with the silk veil and adorned her head and hair with a golden crown. She looked so wonderful now, I could not resist. The wondrous spell, and trembling with burning love, I sank gently into the coffin to her, and kissed her as if she were alive.”
He kept Elena’s body with him for seven years. He would have kept her with him forever if he weren’t eventually arrested for disturbing her tomb and stealing her corpse. During his trial, Elena’s remains were exhibited to the public at the Dean-Lopez Funeral Home, for which each person paid $1. Von Cosel claimed that 6,850 people viewed her and that she became the biggest tourist attraction Key West had ever known.
After he was released from prison on bond and back at his home where he’d kept Elena, he says tourists and fans came to visit him and give him their support, asking for pieces of her bridal gown as souvenirs. He sold them photos of her and plaster of Paris death masks he’d made from her corpse. Somehow, instead of a creepy, predatory grave robber, he was seen as a sentimental and eccentric romantic.
He despaired that he was no longer allowed to have her body, but he still had her casket at home, and into that, he put plaster of Paris model of her corpse, with one of the death masks, and dressed it in another bridal gown. He lived with this approximation of Elena’s body until he died in 1952.
He wrote, “Human jealousy and hatreds have robbed me of the body of my Elena …. Nobody could take her away from me for God Almighty has united our souls. She has survived death; forever and ever she is with me.” He may have even agreed with Sir Jimmy Savile, who once famously said, “It’s wonderful, is death.”