Over the past several years there has been an unusual trend of bizarre stories emerging from the state of Florida, so much so that it has developed a reputation for weirdness. Whether it be a man arrested for trying to shoot heroin in a police station bathroom or another man arrested for trying to ride a manatee, there seems to be no shortage of tales from the sunshine state. Here are just a handful of some Florida’s most unusual stories.
Carl Tanzler was a German bacteriologist living in Key West, Florida. In 1930, he fell in love with a young Cuban tuberculosis patient named Elena Milagro de Hoyos. Despite his best efforts to save her, Elena ended up dying on October 25, 1931. Two years later Tanzler broke into Elana’s tomb and removed her corpse. Tanzler pieced together her bones using coat hangers and wires. In an attempt to preserve her, after stuffing her body with rags, Tanzler encased her body in wax and plaster. Tanzler kept Elena’s body next to him in bed where it remained for the next seven years. Although arrested for grave robbing, the case was eventually thrown out. Elena’s body was returned to her tomb, but not before being put on display at a funeral home where some six-thousand people were allowed to view her. Tanzler died in 1952. Police found his body on the floor of his home holding on to a life-sized effigy of Elana which he had created from her death mask.
Malachi Love-Robinson was the Doogie Houser of his time. A doctor by the age of 18, he was bringing in a huge salary when most people his age were just starting college. In June of 2015, he was Program Director at New Directions Treatment Center in Boyton Beach, Florida where he counseled patients. The only problem was that his credentials were bullshit. Eventually, the hospital officials not only learned that Love did not possess the PhD listed on his resume, they were also unsure whether or not he had finished high school.
On May 26, 2012, a naked Rudy Eugene was found attacking a homeless man by the name of Ronald Poppo under a tram crossing in Miami. The attack, which stemmed from Eugene’s mistaken belief that Poppo had stolen his bible, ended when police were forced to shoot and kill Eugene. During the 18 minute ordeal Eugene ended up eating nearly eighty percent of Poppo’s face. The 65-year-old Poppo, a former honor student from a prestigious Manhattan private school, had been living on the streets since 1976. Despite his severe injuries, Poppo survived the attack.
On May 12, 2015, an extremely distraught Geoff Gaylord walked into a Jacksonville Sheriff’s office to confess that he had stabbed his friend Hap to death with a knife before dismembering him with a hatchet and burying him in his backyard. The longtime friends had been on the outs recently when Gaylord grew tired of having to pick up after his BFF who had a habit of leaving his empty vodka bottles and baggies of cocaine all over their apartment. Up until the incident the pair enjoyed going to the local park where they played on the playground or staying home where they enjoyed listening to heavy metal music all night. When Gaylord showed up at the sheriff’s office, they were more than happy to take a killer off the streets. The only problem, Hap’s full name was Mr. Happy, and he was completely imaginary. That’s right, Gaylord had murdered, dismembered, and buried his imaginary friend…and then turned himself into police.