15 People Who Were Found Living with Dead Bodies

This list of stories about people found living alongside the dead bodies of their relatives or friends is shocking proof that some people just can’t let their loved ones go. It’s straight up unnatural – even elephants bury their dead – but these news stories about people who keep dead bodies come out time after time. Many involve spouses unwilling to let go, but others involve panicked murderers, depraved lunatics, and many sad lonely people who just want someone to sit next to them and point their lifeless eyes at the NASCAR. The list includes people living with dead wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends, mothers, sisters, and brothers, but – happily – no dead strangers. Keep your eyes on the people closest to you.
Woman Makes Boyfriend’s Corpse NASCAR Buddy

Sometimes, all a girl wants is to maybe meet some guys, some Michigan guys, y’know… watch NASCAR and stuff. But when 67-year-old Charles Zigler died in December 2010, that didn’t put an end to his TV watching days. His longtime girlfriend Linda Chase, 72, kept his mummified corpse propped up in a living room chair, glassy eyes trained on the fast cars going in circles on the screen. When police discovered Zigler’s body in July 2012 – 18 months post-mortem – Chase admitted that she had been cashing his social security checks. “I’m probably going to prison,” she said.

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Vietnamese Man Turns Wife’s Corpse into Real Doll

This is kind of sweet, but in the creepiest way possible. Like Let the Right One In sweet, maybe? Maybe cute-coworker-who-somehow-knows-where-you-live creepy.

Anyway, after Le Van’s wife died and was buried in 2003, he began sleeping on top of her grave every night. When the weather got nasty, he dug a tunnel down to the casket so he wouldn’t get rained on. In November 2004 – more than a year later – he finally dug up the body and took it on home. To keep his wife’s corpse nice and fresh, Van molded her skin with plaster and clay, dressed her up, and put on a little lipstick. In 2009, he reported that she slept on the bed with him, and that his eldest of three children hugged her every night before turning in.

A neighbor described Van as “a normal and well-behaved man.” They always are.

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Though married with children, radiologist Carl Tanzer (aka Count Carl Von Cosel, aka Georg Karl Tänzler) fell in love with raven-haired tuberculosis patient Elena de Hoyos in April 1930. He was convinced he had been dreaming about her for decades, and he gave her many gifts. He tried to save her with several unorthodox methods, but she eventually died in October 1931 at age 22. Tanzler designed and built her a crypt, and he sat by her coffin every night to talk to her. She talked back, begging him to exhume her body.

So he did. Then he tied her body parts together with piano wire, fitted her with glass eyes, made her a wig of human hair (her own), and covered her skin with wax. In time, she looked perfect. For the next seven years, he played music for her at night and slept beside her.

Tanzler was eventually arrested, tried, and somehow declared “sane.” Only then did doctors examine Elena’s body. They found that Tanzler had fitted her hoo-ha with a tube wide enough for him to stick his no-no into it. They also found sperm inside it.

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Legally Blind Brooklyn Hoarder Unknowingly Lived with Her Son’s Corpse

“It’s like some reverse Psycho scene,” an unnamed law enforcement official told Fox News after a woman in Brooklyn was found living with her son’s corpse in September, 2016. The woman, Rita Wolfensohn, a legally blind hoarder, may not even have been aware her son died in her house. Maybe her sense of smell was gone, too.

The remains were discovered by Josette Buchman, Wolfensohn’s sister-in-law, who found what was described as a “completely intact” human skeleton wearing jeans, socks, and a shirt, lying on a mattress in a second floor bedroom, surrounded by clutter. The state of decay indicated the man died maybe 20 years earlier.

The family has yet to comment on whether they’ll keep the remains for Halloween, to make use of them as part of a porch display for trick-or-treaters.

Little Old Lady Lives with Husband and Sister, Both Dead

When Jean Stevens’s husband James died around 2000, she still had her twin sister June for company. But when June passed away in 2009, Jean, 91, was very lonely. She somehow had the graves of both her husband and her sister exhumed (whoever helped her got in trouble later) and brought their bodies home so she could see and talk to them.

Stevens sat James down on a couch in her detached garage in rural Pennsylvania, and she propped June up in a spare room in the main house. She spoke to the two corpses, dressed them up in “accessories” (funny mustaches and hats, probs), and spritzed them with perfumes that they liked / made them stink less.

When questioned, she said, “I think when you put them in the (ground), that’s goodbye, goodbye. In this way, I could touch [them] and look at [them] and talk to [them].” Sad.

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Man Murders Girlfriend, Hides Body on Bedroom Floor

Some men dump the bodies of the girlfriends they murder. Others lay them out on their bedroom floors, cover them in sheets, and surround them with taxi cab air fresheners to combat the stench of decomposition. That’s how police found 39-year-old Melinda Raya in July 2011, two months after Erik Grumpelt, 35, punched her in the stomach one too many times. In his defense, she cheated on him, and hiding a body is hard.

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Widower Leaves Corpse in Bed for 5 Months

In 2005, loving husband Howard Lewis, 68, kept his wife Elizabeth’s death a secret from friends and neighbors. He went on working at a shop in South Wales, and when asked, said she was “fine.” When police were finally called in after five months of no-sees, they found the body of Elizabeth, 79, still in the bed where she died, surrounded by air fresheners. Friends speculated that Howard was in shock and denial.

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Teenager Cuddles and Desecrates Mother’s Corpse

In 1890 Paris, while CĂ©zanne and Gauguin painted lovely things and ladies and gentlemen made merry at the Moulin Rouge, a teenage boy slept contentedly beside his mother. The twist was that she was dead, and he had just completely disemboweled her with his bare hands. And also raped her corpse.

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Indian Man Hides Wife’s Suicide from Children

One Sunday night in 2011, Parthasarathy argued with his wife, beat her soundly, and left the room. When he returned some time later, he found his wife Saraswathi, 28, hanging from the ceiling fan with a noose made of her sari. Rather than call for help, he cut her down himself, and she died soon after. For the next four days, he kept his wife’s body locked in the bedroom, slept in the hallway, and told his children (8 and 5) that their mom was sick. Neighbors eventually called police to investigate the foul smell of her decomposition.

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Man Lives with Wife’s Corpse After Failed Murder-Suicide

Early one week in 2010, Phoenix police got a bizarre call from a 56-year-old man who said he had shot his wife. When they arrived at the house, they found the body of the 66-year-old woman in question, who had been shot with a handgun the Friday before. They also noticed that the caller had shot himself in the face, but was still alive. It went down as one of the worst weekends ever.

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Women Share Homes with Dead Husbands

In June 2009, a concerned neighbor summoned police to the house of a 70-year-old Pasadena woman who was acting strange. There, they found her husband’s badly decomposed body sitting upright on the couch. The deterioration was so bad, they could not tell if he had been dead for two months or four. The woman was taken in to be treated for dementia.

Around the world in Copenhagen, a 66-year-old woman failed to report her husband’s death from cancer. Instead, she kept his body around for two months – until family members called the police in July 2012.

Across the other pond (the Pacific one), news broke in March 2012 of a woman in Khabarovsk, Russia, also living with her dead husband. When the 72-year-old needed medical assistance, doctors showed up to her apartment and were surprised to find a mummified corpse lying in a bed.

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Grieving Widow Sleeps Next to Dead Husband for a Year

In November 2013, a grieving Belgian widow was discovered to have been living with her dead husband’s body for nearly a year. Too traumatized to report his death, the woman, 69, slept beside her husband Marcel’s corpse, despite its smell and advanced stages of decomposition. A forensic pathologist reported, “The body had rotted in the bed and his internal organs had melted and liquefied.” The couple was discovered when a landlord noted that they hadn’t paid their rent since 2012. Marcel, 79, was suspected to have died of an asthma attack.

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Tokyo Family Keeps Grandfather Around to Collect Checks

In 2010, Tokyo resident Sogen Kato lived* to see his 111th birthday, making him the oldest man in town.† When local officials went to his house to honor him, they were turned away by family members. Upon investigation, police found Kato’s mummified skeletal remains dressed in pajamas lying in his bed, where they had been for an estimated 30 years.

*did not live
†not the oldest man in town

As for their side of the story, Kato’s daughter and granddaughter claimed innocence. They said the Man of the House had retreated to his bedroom more than three decades ago to become a “living Buddha,” shutting himself behind a door that couldn’t be opened from the outside without food or water. Fair enough… But after his wife died in 2004, Kato began receiving widower’s pension payments, totaling more than $100,000 – nearly 3/4 of which was withdrawn by the time his body was discovered. Kato’s grandaughter, Tomiko, was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for fraud, but never served time. What she did do is live for 30 years in a house with a dead body.

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Colombian Woman Hides Husband Until He Resurrects

On his deathbed, Lucio Chacue, 61, asked his wife to keep his body hidden in their house in the Colombian countryside because he “would be coming back to life.” Thirty days later, there was still no sign of a revitalized Lucio, and neighbors began asking where his body has gone. Wife Alba simply said she didn’t know. But she did. It was wrapped in a sheet in her bedroom, decomposing just as quickly as it pleased and emitting a stench that would bring The Undertaker himself to his knees. She later asked for permission to bury the (embalmed) body in her patio.

90 Year-Old Lives with 3 Dead Siblings

When Elaine Bernstorff died in the late 1970s, her surviving siblings Anita, Frank, and Margaret kept her body around the Evanston, IL home they shared. Notoriously private, and known for being packrats, the Bernstorff’s never let others enter their cluttered house, though they occasionally accepted help carrying in groceries. Everyone assumed it was because the Bernstorffs were embarrassed of their messy home. They had no idea that the family had been concealing their sister’s dead body for more than three decades.

Frank died in 2003 at age 83. The remaining sisters covered him with blankets and put him in another room, away from Elaine. Then Anita died in May 2008 at age 98, leaving the last sister all alone.

Even with all three of her dead siblings living decaying under her roof, Margaret was sweet to neighbors. She handed out crackers to trick-or-treaters, made small talk, and gave flowers from her garden as gifts. When the neighbors asked about her siblings, Margaret said one was upstairs sleeping and the other moved to Indiana to live with relatives. That wasn’t true. They were everywhere.