ED GEIN, THE PLAINFIELD BUTCHER

By Tim Lambert

Ed Gein was a murderer in Wisconsin, USA in the 1950s. Edward Theodore Gein was born on 27 August 1906 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His father, George Gein was a weak man while his mother, Augusta was domineering. She was also very puritanical. In 1914 the Gein family moved to a farm near the small town of Plainfield, Wisconsin. George Gein died in 1940 and his other son Henry died in 1944 leaving Ed with the smothering presence of his mother. However Augusta Gein died on 29 December 1945 leaving Ed on his own. Ed Gein kept his mother's bedroom as a shrine.

Ed Gein later began robbing the graves of newly dead females. Gein cut off parts of bodies and kept them in his home. He also wore 'clothing' made of human skin. He cut off parts of their bodies and kept them in his home. He also wore articles of 'clothing' made of human skin.

However in 1957 Ed Gein turned to murder. On 16 November a 58 year old woman named Bernice Worden went missing. She owned a hardware store and she disappeared on 16 November 1957. Gein shot her in the head then took the body back to his farm. Gein also took the cash register. Bernice Worden's son Frank found a pool of blood in the store and his mother missing. He also found a sales slip for antifreeze. Frank Worden recalled Ed Gein had recently said he was going to go to the store to buy some antifreeze. Frank told police he thought Gein had killed his mother. The police searched his property and they found the body of Bernice Worden hanging in a shed. Her head was missing. In his home they found parts of bodies that Gein had exhumed. Among other things Ed Gein made face masks of human skin. He also made a lampshade of human skin. Gein also used human skin to upholster chairs and he used human skulls as soup bowls. The police also found a collection of human noses. And they found a belt made of human nipples. Gein attatched human lips to a window shade draw string. Gein also kept vulvas in a shoebox. In the house the police found the head of Bernice Worden and the head of a 54 year old woman named Mary Hogan who vanished in 1954. Ed Gein confessed to the murder of Bernice Worden and to robbing graves. He also admitted killing Mary Hogan in 1954.

Ed Gein was found to be unfit to stand trial. So on 23 November 1957 Gein was committed to an institution for the criminally insane in Wisconsin. Then on 27 March 1958 his farm burned down. Finally in 1968 Ed Gein wads declared fit to stand trial. On 14 November 1968 he was found guilty of first degree murder but he was also found to be insane so he was sent back to the institution. Edward Theodore Gein remained incarcerated for the rest of his life. He died on 26 July 1984.

Meanwhile Ed Gein inspired the 1959 novel Psycho by Robert Bloch. Alfred Hitchcock made it into a film in 1960.

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