Necrophilia seems to be the cornerstone of every psycho…but a damn creepy idea to the rest of us. After all who in the world would want to have sex with a dead person? There are actually a number of different reasons; some are more understandable or romanticized and others more ghoulish and stomach-turning. Whatever the reason though it’s pretty safe to say that this love/sexual preference/fetish is not the norm and likely (if not certainly) indicates some serious mental, emotional, and social problems in those that have it.
Romancing the Remains
The first category of those with this philia don’t so much love the dead as they loved the person when he or she was living so much that they sort of just take that last kiss goodbye a little too far. Famed American author, Ralph Waldo Emerson, confessed in his journal to be being so distraught over the death of his young wife, Ellen, that shortly after she was buried he dug her back up. What he did after that is anyone’s guess (he never said), but should he have done more than look he’d fall into this category.
On the far more grotesque end of love gone to the burial ground is that of Carl Von Cosel in 1930’s Key West, Florida. The radiologist worked at a sanitarium where he fell deeply in love with a twenty-two year old patient of his, Maria Elena de Hoyos, and his love carried over into her death of tuberculosis. He snatched the young woman from her burial place and brought her back to his place to keep as his love, and lover, for the next seven years or so. Even as the woman’s body began to discompose. Over the years Cosel was forced to use piano wire to hold her bones together, replace rotting skin with wax and silk, use glass eyes to replace ones long gone, and even insert a tube between her legs to have a “vagina” to continue having sex with her. When his activities were finally discovered and what was left of Maria Elena was returned to rest in peace Cosel continued to love, and lust after, her using a personalized sex doll in her place. When he died in 1952 he was found clutching said doll, which had a death mask of his dearly departed on it.
The next type of necrophile has a slight more, um, “open relationship” with the dead…still not violent, but not one to settle down with just one corpse either. It’s with these folks that we tend to find those misbehaving morticians and gravediggers who get busy with the bodies they’re trusted to care for by loved ones. These types love the dead not because they’re dead per say, but because they can’t say no. These men (there are some cases of female necrophiles, but the vast majority are men) don’t do so well with the living ladies – too shy, too weird, etc – and so turn to those that they’re certain won’t (can’t) reject them.
Viktor Ardisson was a mortician and gravedigger who supposedly had sex with over a hundred of the dead – or, in some cases, at least parts of them. He was caught when the smell of a decomposing three-year-old girl, who’d he’d been performing oral sex on since digging her up, alerted neighbors enough to call the police. Also found at his place of residence was his “bride”…the severed head of a thirteen-year-old girl that he kept on his beside table and was known to kiss from time to time. (It’s important to remember, despite the ages of the two defiled mentioned, Ardisson was not a pedophile – it was the fact they were dead, not their ages, that aroused the man.)
Another such corpse loving creep, Henri Bolt, was caught fast asleep after having dug up and had sex with a recently deceased ballerina. While on trial the judge commented that what Bolt had done was depraved to which Bolt was quoted as replying: “How would you have it? Every man to his own tastes. Mine is for corpses.”
The final form of necrophile being covered is the dangerous, violent, killing kind. At the core these types are al the same in that they use sex with the dead as another form of power over their victims. Frequently all that comes prior to the death – the rape, the torture, what have you – is just foreplay for the main act of killing. Once the person is dead they want that one last form of “owning” their victim in performing some sort of sexual act upon them whether it be intercourse or giving or receiving sexual pleasure in some other manner.
Some big names in the serial killer world were involved in doing the dirty deed with the dead. Ed Kemper not only would rape his dead victims, but also was said to have done so after decapitating one of them. The “Sunset Slayer” Douglas Clark (with the help of his girlfriend Carol Bundy) would pick up hookers for oral sex and then shoot them in the head during the act, climaxing with the now dead woman’s mouth over his member – he kept one victim’s head in the freezer as a morbid sex toy. After strangling his victims – leaving them with the common “Angel Lust” erection seen in male strangulation cases – Jeffery Dahmer would perform oral sex on his victims…he was also known to cut the bodies open to have sex with the innards.
…While mentioned at the start of this section these killers are the same at the core, there are subtle differences that are to be made. For those like Dennis Nilsen the murder’s more just a means to an end; the end being a lover they have power over and that will never, ever, leave them. Others, like Ted Bundy and Andrei Chikatilo, the raping of corpses is just an extension of their sexual sadism, another way to completely dominate their victims. It will hardly matter to the victim’s families, of course, but for those in law enforcement these small differences may help not only in catching the killer, but also possibly getting them to confess and/or convicting them of their crimes.