“I find the odor of death very erotic. There are death odors and there are death odors. Now you get your body that’s been floating in the bay for two weeks, or a burn victim, that doesn’t attract me much, but a freshly embalmed corpse is something else. There is also this attraction to blood. When you’re on top of a body it tends to purge blood out of its mouth, while you’re making passionate love.”
Karen Greenlee didn’t kill men to get the corpses, but she certainly had an attraction to them once they were dead. In 1979 in California, Greenlee was to deliver the body of a 33-year-old man to a cemetery for a funeral, but instead she drove off in the hearse, abducting the corpse to keep for herself. She was found and charged with stealing a hearse and interfering with a funeral, and apparently it wasn’t the first time she’d felt such a sexual attraction to the dead. Into this casket she had put a long letter that detailed her erotic episodes with what she estimated had been over 20 male corpses. Calling herself a “morgue rat,” she didn’t understand why she felt so compelled to touch dead bodies, but it was an addiction she couldn’t seem to break. Because the letter was found, Greenlee was kicked out of the profession. In an interview later with Jim Morton, she told him that the erotic moment involved the entire atmosphere: the aura of death, the smell, the funeral home, the mourning, and all the trappings. It wasn’t just about sexual stimulation, it was about a complete mindset. She enjoyed the odor of the freshly embalmed corpse of a male in his twenties, and even the blood that might come out of his mouth as she got on top of him. She admitted having broken into some mortuaries and tombs in order to pursue her habit, and once she was nearly caught with the goods. Ashamed at first, she’d later accepted her desires.