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Key West’s most romantic legend involves grave robbing and a mummified corpse. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Amber McDonald as Elena Hoyos and Jamie Callahan as Carl von Cosel in the new production of 'Undying Love' at The Studios of Key West.
Amber McDonald as Elena Hoyos and Jamie Callahan as Carl von Cosel in the new production of 'Undying Love' at The Studios of Key West.

This Valentine’s Day, spending quality time with your beloved is a wonderful idea. Pop some bubbly. Indulge in an elegant, romantic dinner. Play your favorite baby-making music.

Read More: How to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Miami

Here’s what you shouldn’t do:  Body-snatch your dead girlfriend’s rotting remains out of a mausoleum and live with them intimately for seven years.

But of course, this is South Florida, so you know it happened. Yes. One of Key West’s most famous romantic legends -and by “romantic” we mean “grisly AF” – involves that scenario.

And Key West, being Key West, has mounted a new musical about it.  We cannot confirm that the song list includes “I Am Not Throwing Away My Corpse.”

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Amber McDonald as Elena Hoyos and Jamie Callahan as Carl von Cosel in the new production of 'Undying Love' at The Studios of Key West.

WLRN reports that a new production, “Undying Love,” about the lovelorn and super creepy Count Carl van Cosel opens Feb. 14 and runs through March 3 at The Studios of Key West.

This bracing tale of love, obsession and deeply unsavory behavior will make you feel pretty good about the ups and downs in your own relationship.

WLRN reports that the count – whose name was Karl Tanzler and who wasn’t really a count because even in the 1920s people in Florida were shady as hell – met the beautiful Cuban-American Elena Hoyos at the hospital. He was a radiologist. She was a tuberculosis patient who died tragically.

Into the mausoleum she went. Two years and 50 shades of decay later, the fake count dug her up, brought her home and mummified her body, according to WLRN. He even gave her some new glass eyeballs. His plan was to fly her to the stratosphere to cure her.

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There are only three more things you need to know. One: The Count was busted by his own sister, who called the cops and had him arrested. But the statute of limitations had run out. A medical board declared him sane, anyway, indicating there were already weirder things happening in Key West than grave robbing and necrophilia.

Two: There was a public viewing nine years after Elena’s death and more than 6,000 people showed up. This is somewhat troubling until you realize the margarita and Jet Skis hadn’t been invented yet.

And last but not least: Yes. He got freaky with her.

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A fake count stole his beloved's remains from a mausoleum - and kept them for seven years. Then a funeral home held a viewing. No, we're not making this up. Why do you ask?

“It wasn’t found out about until 20 years later when the doctors finally confessed,” singer songwriter Ben Harrison, author of “Undying Love,” told WLRN. “You just didn’t talk about things like that.”

Harrison also says that the count didn’t think he was having sex with a dead person.

“He was, in fact, having sex with this woman he had restored life to.”

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Carl Tanzler (von Cosel) left with Louis Harris center, Dr. Julio dePoo standing and an unknown man who was obviously thinking, "Dude. WTF?"
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