Ed Gein 08 November 2010 Edward Theodore “Ed” Gein was an American murder and body snatcher. His crimes, which he committed around his hometown of Plainfield, Wisconsin, garnered widespread notoriety after authorities discovered Gein had exhumed corpses from local graveyards and fashioned trophies and keepsakes from their bones and skin. After police found body parts in his house in 1957, Gein confessed to killing two women: tavern owner Mary Hogan in 1954, and a Plainfield hardware store owner, Bernice Worden, in 1957.
Initially found unfit to stand trial, following confinement in a mental health facility, he was tried in 1968 for the murder of Worden and sentenced to life imprisonment, which he spent in a mental hospital. The body of Bernice Worden was found in Gein’s shed; her head and the head of Mary Hogan were found inside his house. Robert H. Gollmar, the judge in the Gein case, wrote: ‘Due to prohibitive costs, Gein was tried for only one murder—that of Mrs. Worden. ’ With fewer than three confirmed kills, Gein does not meet the traditional definition of a serial killer.
Regardless his real-life case influenced the creation of several fictional serial killers, including Norman Bates from Psycho, Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs. Gein was born in La Crosse County, Wisconsin. His parents, George and Augusta Gein, both natives of Wisconsin, had two sons: Henry George Gein, and his younger brother, Edward Theodore Gein. Gein was a frequently unemployed alcoholic who physically abused his sons. Despite Augusta’s deep contempt for her husband, the marriage persisted because of the family’s religious belief about divorce.
Augusta Gein operated a small grocery store and eventually purchased a farm on the outskirts of the small town of Plainfield, Wisconsin, which then became the Gein family’s permanent home. Augusta Gein moved to this location to prevent outsiders from influencing her sons. Edward Gein left the premises only to go to school. Besides school, he spent most of his time doing chores on the farm. Augusta Gein, a fervent Lutheran, preached into her boys the innate immorality of the world, the evil of drinking, and the belief that all women (herself excluded) were prostitutes and instruments of the devil.
She reserved time every afternoon to read to them from the Bible, usually selecting graphic verses from the Old Testament dealing with death, murder, and divine retribution. With a slight growth over one eye and an effeminate demeanor, the younger Gein became a target for bullies. Classmates and teachers recalled off-putting mannerisms, such as seemingly random laughter, as if he were laughing at his own personal jokes. To make matters worse, his mother scolded him whenever he tried to make friends.
Despite his poor social development, he did fairly well in school, particularly in reading. Gein tried to make his mother happy, but she was rarely pleased with her boys. She often abused them, believing that they were destined to become failures like their father. During their teen and throughout their early adulthood, the boys remained detached from people outside of their farmstead, and so had only each other for company. On November 16, 1957, Plainfield hardware store owner Bernice Worden disappeared, and police had reason to suspect Gein.
Worden’s son had told investigators that Gein had been in the store the evening before the disappearance, saying that he would return the following morning for a gallon of anti-freeze. A sales slip for a gallon of anti-freeze was the last receipt written by Worden on the morning she disappeared. Upon searching Gein’s property, investigators discovered Worden’s decapitated body in a shed, hung upside down by ropes at her wrists, with a crossbar at her ankles. The torso was ‘dressed out’ like that of a deer. She had been shot with a . 2-caliber rifle, and the mutilations performed after death. Searching the house, authorities found a number of items: * Four noses * Whole human bones and fragments * Nine masks of human skulls * Ten female heads with the tops sawed off * Human skin covering several chair seats * Mary Hogan’s head in a paper bag * Bernice Worden’s head in a burlap sack * Nine vulvas in a shoe box * Skulls on his bedposts * Organs in the refrigerator * A pair of lips on a draw string for a window shade These artifacts were photographed at the crime lab and then were properly destroyed.
When questioned, Gein told investigators that between 1947 and 1952, he made as many as 40 nocturnal visits to three local graveyards to exhume recently buried bodies while he was in a ‘daze-like’ state. On about 30 of those visits, he said he said he had come out of the daze while in the cemetery, left the grave in good order, and returned home empty handed. On the other occasions, he dug up the graves of recently buried middle-aged women he thought resembled his mother and took them home, where he tanned their skins to make his “paraphernalia. Gein admitted robbing nine graves, leading investigators to their locations. Because authorities were uncertain as to whether the slight Gein was capable of single-handedly digging up a grave in a single evening, they exhumed two of the graves and found them empty, this corroborating Gein’s confession. Shortly after his mother’s death, Gein had decided that he wanted a sex change and began to create a ‘women suit’ so he could pretend to be female.
Gein’s practice of donning the tanned skins of women was described as an ‘insane transvestite ritual” Gein denied having sex with the bodies he exhumed, explaining, ‘They smelled too bad. ’ During interrogation, Gein also admitted to the shooting death of Mary Hogan, a tavern operator missing since 1954. A 16-year old youth whose parents were friends of Gein, and who attended ball games and movies with Gein, reported that he was aware of the shrunken heads, which Gein had described as relics from the Philippines sent by a cousin who had served in World War II.
Upon investigation by the police these were determined to be human facial skins, carefully peeled from cadavers and used as masks by Gein. Waushara Couth sheriff Art Schley allegedly physically assaulted Gain during questioning, by banging Gein’s head and face into a brick wall, causing Gein’s initial confession to be ruled inadmissible. Schley died of a heart attack in December 1968, at age 43, only a month after testifying at Gein’s trial. Many who knew him said he was traumatized by the horror of Gein’s crime and that this, along with the fear of having to testify, led to his early death.
On November 21, 1957, Gein was arraigned on one count of first degree murder in Waushara County Court, where he entered a plea of not guilty by insanity. Found mentally incompetent and thus unfit to stand trial, Gein was sent to the Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, a maximum-security facility in Waupun, Wisconsin, and later transferred to the Mendota State Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1948, lasting one week. He was found guilty of first-degree murder by Judge Robert H.
Gollmar, but because he was found to be legally insane he spent the rest of his life in a mental hospital. On March 20, 1958, while Gein was in detention, his house burned to the ground. Arson was suspected. When Gein learned of the incident, he shrugged and said ‘Just as well’ In 1958, Gein’s car, which he had used to haul the bodies of his victims, was sold at a public auction for $760 ($5,718 when accounting for inflation) to a carnival sideshow operator Bunny Gibbons. Gibbons later charged carnival goers $. 25 admission to see it.
On July 26, 1984, Gein had died of Respiratory and heart failure due to cancer in Goodland Hall at the Mendota Mental Health Institute. His gravesite in the Plainfield cemetery was frequently vandalized over the years; souvenir seekers chipped off pieced of his gravestone before the bulk of it was stolen in 2000. The gravestone was recovered in June 2001 near Seattle and is now in a museum in Waushara County. In conclusion, Ed Gein was a very sick man. I cannot believe that a person would ever do something like this.
I think the reason why he turned out to be like this is because it was the way that his mother raised him and how his father was very abusive. If it was not for his parents, than I think he would have turned out to a “normal” human being and not turned out to become this disgusting nasty freak of a character that he was.
Bibliography Page http://www. houseofhorrors. com/gein. htm http://crime. about. com/od/murder/p/gein. htm http://www. trutv. com/library/crime/serial_killers/notorious/gein/bill_1. html http://www. carpenoctem. tv/killers/gein. html