Spotlight: Ed Gein

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  • Edward Theodore Gein – American murderer and body snatcher
  • AKA – The Butcher of Plainfield
  • Born: August 27, 1906, La Crosse, WI
  • Died: July 26, 1984, Mendota Mental Health Institute, Madison, WI
  • Exhumed corpses from local graveyards which he then turned into keepsakes, furniture, masks, etc.
  • Ed had a brother, Henry, who also died in suspicious circumstances while the brothers worked together on the family farm. Ed was never charged or implicated in his brothers death.
  • Confessed to killing local tavern owner Mary Hogan in 1954.
  • Confessed to killing Bernice Worden, a local hardware store owner.
  • When police searched his home they walked into a house of horror. 

Some of the findings: 

  • A belt made from female human nipples
  • Human skin covering several chair seats
  • A wastebasket made of human skin
  • Bowls made from human skulls
  • Worden’s decapitated body in a shed on Gein’s property, hung upside down by her legs.
  • Skulls on his bedposts
  • A corset made from a female torso skinned from shoulders to waist
  • Leggings made from human leg skin
  • Masks made from the skin of female heads
  • Bernice Worden’s entire head in a burlap sack
  • Bernice Worden’s heart “in a plastic bag in front of Gein’s potbellied stove”
  • Four noses
  • A pair of lips on a window shade drawstring
  • A lampshade made from the skin of a human face

Gein was found guilty but legally insane of the murder of Worden and was sentenced to a psychiatric institution.

His crimes gained worldwide notoriety and inspired numerous books and horror films.

Ed Gein’s vandalized grave marker in 1999 before it was stolen.

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