While working in the Marine hospital he met a 22-year old Elena Hoyos, a beautiful young Cuban girl who contracted tuberculosis. Even though she consistently resisted his advances, he fell madly in love with Elena. Von Cosel knew that Elena only had a short time to live and convince the young woman’s family that he could cure her with his special machines combined with daily doses of tonics.
Count Von Cosel began administering his unconventional treatments to Elena along with a proposal of marriage, which was met with strong disapproval from her father. Von Cosel was obsessed with Elena and gave Elena’s family many gifts with promises that he could restore her life. Tragically Elena’s disease took her life. She was first buried in a common grave but the grieving Von Cosel obtained approval from her family to move her body to a above ground mausoleum of his design. Discovering Elena’s body had never been embalmed he hired a local mortician to clean and fix-up the body before placing it in the new tomb that he alone had the key for.
Von Cosel visited Elena every night bringing gifts and flowers, and so he would sit and talk with her. He believed that she could communicate with him through voice and song.
"Ever since the moon began to wane, Elena had begun to sing in her casket with a very soft clear voice which became just a little bit stronger from night to night. It was always the same old Spanish song about a lover who opens the grave of his dead bride. I could distinctly hear and understand it’s every word.
This always lasted for no longer than perhaps ten minutes and then she fell silent as if expecting me to speak."
“Darling, I would say, very soon now the moon will change, the hour approaches when I shall take you home with me. I will clean you and wash you and I will put on your bridal dress, with veil and crown and all. Thus, as my bride, you will stay with me forever.” – Von Cosel