Ed Gein was born in 1906 and was brought up by a very religiously strict mother who threatened him with going to hell if he did anything wrong. His father was a drunk and had no say in how the kids were raised by his domineering wife, Augusta. Ed was the second of two sons. His brother was seven years older than him. Augusta tried to keep the boys sheltered from the outside world but couldn’t do that completely because they did have to go to school. The boys were not allowed to have any friends so they just kept to themselves. Ed was picked on in school often because he was effeminate and kept to himself. He was an average student but excelled with reading and reading was his escape from home life.
Henry Gein, Ed’s older brother, was a hard worker and had a strong moral compass and Ed tried to emulate him. In 1940, their father died and the boys took on odd jobs to help supplement the household income. One day there was a brush fire that was burning dangerously close to the house so the brothers fought it. They soon separated and when the fire was out, Henry was no where to be found. Ed called the police because he was worried about his brother. They were shocked when they finally found Henry because he lay dead on a piece of ground that wasn’t burned and he had bruises on his head. The police soon ruled out foul play because they never dreamed someone as meek as Ed could kill and the coroner later ruled the death as asphyxiation.
Ed was now left alone with his mother and he was fine by that because he simply adored her. However, that would soon end as his mother died a year or so later due to the many strokes she had. Now, Ed was alone. He had never been alone before and wasn’t sure he could handle it. He remained on the farm and lived on the small income he received from doing odd jobs. He boarded up the rooms that were upstairs and just lived downstairs. He soon became obsessed with anatomy books, pulp fiction novels, newspaper obituaries and even often visited the cemetery at night and this was how he dealt with his loneliness.
He would even exhume the bodies of local women as he had never had any experience with the opposite sex. He said that he never had sex with the bodies as they smelled too bad but he did collect parts from their bodies.
He had often wondered what it would be like to be a woman and was fascinated by them and their power they had held over men. He even had a collection of shriveled heads in his bedroom and told visiting people that they were relics from the South Seas headhunters. People began to gossip about the strange collections he had but no one really thought anything about it until a woman named Bernice Worden disappeared years later. Police then found her body decapitated and gutted and hanging upside down from the rafters in his kitchen like a deer. They searched his house because there were disappearances of young women and men in the area of Plainfield, Wisconsin. The only other murder he would admit to besides Worden’s was that of a bar keeper named Mary Hogan. They did an exhaustive search of his property but could not find the bodies of the other missing people and he would not admit to anything.
Ed Gein would spend the rest of his years in a mental hospital for the criminally insane where he lived quite comfortably and quite contently. The families of the victims felt robbed of the justice that they felt was due them. Ed Gein finally died in 1984 from cancer and was buried in the cemetery next to his mother and not far from the graves he had robbed. He was a model prisoner in the hospital and died peacefully.
Ed Gein‘s story fascinated many. So much in fact that the Norman Bates character in the Hitchcock movie, “Psycho”, was based on Gein as was the character Buffalo Bill in the movie “The Silence of the Lambs”.