Friday, March 30, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #32: Relationships Edition

Ok, so it's been AN ENTIRE WEEK since I blogged and I know you're all sad, distraught, whatevs, because I haven't been around much, but hey guys, spring has spring and I'm crazy busy on account of being so awesome and popular.

True story.

I know I've developed a reputation for doing some man-hating over here, even though I don't hate Men in General, just the specific ones on the list I carry around in my head. Anyway, you can all relax, because this isn't one of those posts. Today is Friday, so these are your Fun Friday Facts (about relationships).

1) In France, it's legal to marry someone who has already died. Of course, you can't just marry anyone who has died.

That would be silly. ~ Tony Chang

You can only have a posthumous wedding if the engagement was agreed upon and the plans finalized before the fiance's death. You have to have set the date, and everything. Officials will require proof of the relationship, including shared lease agreements, shared bank accounts, shared utilities, photos of the wedding dress, engagement rings, etc. Your request for a posthumous marriage must be personally granted by the President of France himself.

He doesn't have anything better to do. ~ European People's Party

Twenty-five percent of these requests are turned down. Nevertheless, a whopping grand total of ten posthumous marriages occur each year in France. The practice apparently began during the first World War, when women began taking advantage of France's marriage-by-proxy laws (which allow someone to stand in for you at your wedding) to marry soldiers who, as it turned out, were already dead.

That's unfortunate.

In the 1950s, civilians won the right to practice posthumous marriage, when a Frenchwoman called Irène Jodart petitioned President de Gaulle to let her marry André Capra, her fiance, who was killed when a dam collapsed in the town of Fréjus.

If the marriage is granted, it's retroactive to the day before the deceased party became deceased. The widow or widower becomes a legal member of the late partner's family. Any children born of the union are legitimized. The widow or widower is not allowed to inherit any of the dead person's stuff, but may be entitled to any pensions that were due.

2) Speaking of marrying the dead, Carl Tanzler, a German-American born in Dresden in 1877, has gained lasting notoriety for stealing, preserving and, possibly, doing the nasty with the corpse of his beloved, Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos.

Tanzler emigrated to the United States in 1926. He had been living in Australia, but was detained in an internment camp throughout the first World War. After his release, he sought out his mother in Europe, and lived with her for three years, until she encouraged him to move to Florida to be near his sister. There, he met the love of his life, whose face, he claimed, had been revealed to him in a dream, by his ancestor Anna Constantia von Brockdorff, Countess of Cosel.


Unfortunately, Tanzler's ancestor failed to mention that the girl would be dying of tuberculosis when he met her in April of 1930. Tanzler totally acted like he knew what he was doing and tried to cure the girl through various displays of quackery. He also showered her with gifts and groveled as only a man in the throes of passion can. It is not certain that de Hoyos returned Tanzler's love.

But he dug her up and stuffed her anyway.
After de Hoyos's death in October 1931, Tanzler received permission from the family to give her one last gift – an elaborate mausoleum. He visited his dead girlfriend there nightly, serenading her corpse and, so he claimed, communing with her spirit. He later claimed that he decided to steal the body from the tomb and take it home with him because the girl's spirit specifically asked him too.

Tanzler replaced the corpse's decaying skin with wax and plaster-soaked cloth, her eyes with marbles, and her hair with a wig. He filled the torso with rags, dressed it in stockings, gloves and jewels, and doused it in perfumes, preservatives and disinfectants, for some reason. He kept the body in his bed and, according to some sensationalized and not at all substantiated reports, had sex with it.

Shoved a tube up her crotch, from what I hear.

3) Anna Haining Bates was the child of Scots immigrants, born in Novia Scotia in 1846. Though her parents, and twelve brothers and sisters, were normal in size, Anna herself reached the astounding height of 7'5.5” (2.27 m). Her average weight was about 350 pounds (159 kilos). When she was trapped in a burning building in 1865, it took eighteen firemen to rescue her, by smashing a hole in the wall and lowering her with block and tackle.


Anna's husband, Martin van Buren Bates, was 7'11” tall (2.41 m), and weighed 470 pounds (213.64 kilos). Bates worked as a schoolteacher before joining the Civil War on the wrong side. After slinking home in defeat, Bates found his home state of Kentucky still kind of fighting the war a little, and decided to move to Ohio, where he joined the circus.

It was while in the circus that he met Anna, who was just visiting the circus as you do when the guy in charge of giants spotted her and offered her a position on the spot. They married in 1871 and returned to Ohio in 1872, where they bought a farm, built a giant-sized house and settled down to raise a family. Sadly, their first child was stillborn and the second died soon after birth. Anna died of tuberculosis in 1888 at the age of forty-two. Martin moved out of the house, eventually remarried, and lived quietly until his death in 1919, at the age of 80.

He was buried with his first wife, which pissed the second one off, I bet. ~Carboncopy
The super-sized house they built to suit their super-sized proportions seems to have since been demolished, which is kinda disappointing, because I would have liked to have seen it.