Edward Gein (1906 – 1984) was a grave rober, a necrophiliac, a cannibal, and also made arts and crafts out of real body parts. He is seen as one of the most weird and bizarre killers ever. His crimes also inspired the movies Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Silence of the Lambs.
Ed Gein lived on farm outside Plainfield in Wisconsin, USA, where he grew up with his brother Henry. Their father George was an alcoholic, and their mother Augusta was a domineering and very religious woman, with a protective attitude against her boys. She discouraged them from women, and kept them busy with farm work.
Their father died in 1940, his brother died in 1944, and their mother in 1945. Ed was left alone. It was then that he sealed off the second floor, the parlour and his mothers bedroom, by boarding it off, and set up his own quarters in the remaining bedroom, kitchen and shed of the large farmhouse.
Ed read books on human anatomy and Nazi concentration camp experiments. Alone in the farmhouse he thought endlessly about sex, until one day he saw a newspaper report of a woman who had been buried that day. He had a friend named Gus, and got him to assist him opening the grave to secure the corpse for “medical experiments”.
Over the next ten years Ed did the same, checked the newspaper for fresh bodies, always visiting the graveyard at the time of a full moon, and got the whole female corpse or just the parts he wanted. His experiments with the dead bodies was bizarre. He would construct objects from the bones and skin and would store the organs in the fridge to eat later. He also committed acts of necrophilia on the bodies. He even dug up his own mothers corpse.
What Ed Gein didn’t reveal to Gus was his own growing desire to become a woman himself. The closest he would get to change into a woman, was dressing up in his full woman bodysuit, complete with mask and breasts constructed entirely of real human skin. Gus was later taken away to an asylum, and Ed was all alone again. Ed thought that fresher bodies would be better for his collection so he turned to murder.
His first victim was a 51 year old woman, who operated a tavern at Pine Grove, six miles from Ed’s home. Ed shot her in the head, placed her body in his pickup truck, and took her back to his shed. The second known victim was a woman who ran a hardwarestore in Plainfield. He shot her, and brought her home in the store’s truck. It was this second murder which led the police to him.
When the police arrived, they found a naked corpse of a woman hanging upside down from a crossbeam, legs spread apart, and a long slit running from the genitals almost to the throat. But the throat, head, genitals and anus were missing. The place looked like it had not been cleaned or tidied in years, there were piles of rubbish everywhere. The few rooms that weren’t nailed off were full of junk.
They also found two shin bones, four human noses, a quart can converted into a tom-tom by skin stretched over both top and bottom, a bowl made from the inverted half of a human skull, nine ‘death masks’ from the well preserved skin from the faces of women, ten female heads with the tops sawn off above the eyebrows. They found several objects made of human skin, a bracelets, a purse, a sheath, a pair of leggings, four chairs, a lampshade, and a shirt. There was found a shoe box containing nine salted vulvas of which his mothers was painted silver, a hanging human head, a number of shrunken heads, two skulls for Gein’s bedposts, a pair of human lips hanging from string, Bernice Worden’s heart in a pan on the stove, and the refrigerator stacked with human organs. It was found parts of at least fifteen female bodies in his house, and the full woman body suit. Ed was definitely one of the most weird murderers of this century.