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the Unexplained => Vanishings & Unsolved Murders => Topic started by: Rorschach on November 16, 2007, 11:45:55 pm

Title: Ed Gein: The Inspiration for Buffalo Bill and Psycho
Post by: Rorschach on November 16, 2007, 11:45:55 pm

Edward Theodore Gein (August 27, 1906 July 26, 1984) was an American serial killer. Though only two murders on his part were proven, he gained great infamy due to necrophiliac behavior (which involved the skinning of his murder victims and exhumed corpses, the decoration of his home with parts of corpses, and the creation of articles of clothing and furniture from the skin of corpses). Although he is considered to have engaged in necrophiliac behavior, there is no significant evidence to prove that he engaged in sex with the corpses. Besides the death of his brother in 1944 under mysterious circumstances, six people disappeared from the Wisconsin towns of La Crosse and Plainfield between 1947 and 1957.

Title: Re: Ed Gein
Post by: Rorschach on November 16, 2007, 11:46:49 pm
Edward Theodore Gein was born to Augusta Crafter (18781945) and George P. Gein (18731940) on August 27, 1906, in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His parents, both natives of Wisconsin, had married on July 7, 1900, and their marriage produced Ed and his older brother, Henry G. Gein (19011944). George Gein was a violent alcoholic who was frequently unemployed. Ed and his brother rejected their violent, aimless father, as did Augusta, who treated her husband like a nonentity. Despite her deep contempt for her husband, the atrophic marriage persisted. Divorce was not an option due to the family's religious beliefs. Augusta operated the small family grocery store and eventually purchased a farm on the outskirts of another small town, Plainfield, which became the Gein family's permanent home.

Augusta moved to this desolate location to prevent outsiders from influencing her sons. Gein only left the premises to go to school and Augusta blocked any attempt he made to pursue friendships. Besides school, he spent most of his time doing chores on the farm. Augusta, who was a fanatical Lutheran, drummed into her boys the innate immorality of the world, the evil of drink and the belief that all women (herself excluded) were prostitutes and whores. According to Augusta, the only acceptable form of sex was for biological reproduction/procreation. 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 young Gein became a target for bullies. Classmates and teachers recall other off-putting mannerisms such as seemingly random laughter, as if he were laughing at his own personal joke. Despite his poor social development, he did fairly well in school, particularly in reading and the study of world economics.

Title: Re: Ed Gein
Post by: Rorschach on November 16, 2007, 11:47:52 pm
By the time his father George died in 1940, Henry had begun to reject Augusta's view of the world. He had even taken to bad-mouthing her within earshot of his mortified brother. In March 1944, the brothers found themselves in the middle of a brush fire on property they owned in a neighboring county. When Ed ran to get the police, he told them he had lost sight of Henry, but then led them directly to his brother's corpse. Although there was evidence Henry had suffered blunt trauma to his head, the local county coroner decided he died of asphyxiation while fighting the fire. They did not believe Gein was capable of killing anyone. Gein then lived with just his mother. Less than two years later, on December 29, 1945, Augusta died from a series of strokes, leaving her grief-stricken son alone on the isolated farmstead.

Title: Re: Ed Gein
Post by: Rorschach on November 16, 2007, 11:49:59 pm
Police suspected Gein to be involved in the disappearance of a store clerk, Bernice Worden, in Plainfield on November 16, 1957. Upon entering a shed on his property, they made their first horrific discovery of the night: Worden's corpse. She had been decapitated, her headless body hung upside down by means of ropes at her wrists and a crossbar at her ankles. Most horribly, the body's trunk was empty, the ribcage split and the body "dressed out" like that of a deer. These mutilations had been performed postmortem; she had been shot at close-range with a .22-caliber rifle.
Searching the house, authorities found:
   **** magazines
   Human skulls mounted upon the cornerposts of his bed;
   Human skin fashioned into a lampshade and used to upholster chair seats;
   Human skullcaps, apparently in use as soup bowls;
   A human heart (it is disputed where the heart was found; the deputies' reports all claim that the heart was in a saucepan on the stove, with some crime scene photographers claiming it was in a paper bag);
   The head of Mary Hogan, a local tavern owner, found in a paper bag;
   A window shade pull consisting of human lips;
   A "mammary vest" crafted from the skin of a woman's torso;
   A belt made from several human nipples, among many other such grisly objects;
   Socks made from human flesh.
   A sheath made from human skin.
   A box of preserved vulvas that Ed admitted to wearing.
Gein's most notorious creations were an array of "shrunken heads." Various neighborhood children whom Gein occasionally babysat had seen or heard of these objects, which Gein offhandedly described as relics from the South Seas, purportedly sent by a cousin who had served in World War II. Upon investigation, these turned out to be human facial skins, carefully peeled from cadavers and used by Gein as masks.
Gein eventually admitted under questioning that he would dig up the graves of recently buried middle-aged women he thought resembled his mother and take the bodies home, where he tanned their skin to make his macabre possessions. One writer describes Gein's practice of putting on the tanned skins of women 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, who had been missing since 1954.
Shortly after his mother's death, Gein decided he wanted a sex change, although it is a matter of some debate whether or not he was transsexual; by most accounts, he created his "woman suit" so he could pretend to be his mother, rather than change his sex.
Harold Schechter, an author of several true crime books, wrote a best-selling book about the Gein case called Deviant. In this book, Schechter mentions that Plainfield police officer Art Schley physically assaulted Gein during questioning by banging Gein's head and face into a brick wall; because of this, Gein's initial confession was ruled inadmissible. Schley died of a heart attack at the age of 43 shortly before Gein's trial. Many who knew him said he was so traumatized by the horror of Gein's crimes and the fear of having to testify (notably about assaulting Gein) that it led to his early death. One of his friends said, "He was a victim of Ed Gein as surely as if he had butchered him."

Title: Re: Ed Gein
Post by: Rorschach on November 16, 2007, 11:51:39 pm
Gein was found mentally incompetent and thus unfit to stand trial at the time of his arrest, and was sent to the Central State Hospital (now the Dodge Correctional Institution) in Waupun, Wisconsin. Later, Central State Hospital was converted into a prison and Gein was transferred to Mendota State Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1968, Gein's doctors determined he was sane enough to stand trial; he was found not guilty by reason of insanity by judge Robert H. Gollmar and spent the rest of his life in the hospital.

While Gein was in detention, his house burned to the ground. Arson was suspected. In 1958, Gein's car, which he used to haul the bodies of his victims, was sold at public auction for a then-considerable sum of $760 to an enterprising carnival sideshow operator named Bunny Gibbons. Gibbons called his attraction the "Ed Gein Ghoul Car" and charged carnival-goers 25 cents admission to see it.

On July 26, 1984, Ed Gein 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 would chip off pieces of his gravestone before the bulk of it was stolen in 2000. The gravestone was recovered in June 2001 near Seattle and is presently displayed in a Wautoma, Wisconsin museum.

Title: Re: Ed Gein
Post by: Rorschach on November 16, 2007, 11:52:32 pm

A photo of Ed Gein's gravemarker as it appeared in 1999.

Title: Re: Ed Gein
Post by: Rorschach on November 16, 2007, 11:53:51 pm
The story of Ed Gein has had a lasting impact on popular culture as evidenced by its many appearances in movies, music and literature. Gein's story was adapted into a number of movies including Stephen Johnston's In the Light of the Moon, later to be retitled Ed Gein for the US market as well as Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield and Deranged. Gein also influenced the nature of characters such as celluloid serial killers Buffalo Bill (The Silence of the Lambs), Norman Bates (Psycho), and Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre).

Gein's influence can also be seen by the number of musical groups drawing inspiration from his crimes. On The BloodHound Gangs album "Use Your Fingers" in the song titled "Mama Say" rapper Jimmy Pop says the lyrics "Cause I'm in your face like Ed Gein" which is a double entendre reference to Ed Gein and Ed's likening of wearing faces like masks. There are a number of songs written about Gein including Slayer's "Dead Skin Mask", Mudvayne's "Nothing To Gein", Blind Melon's "Skinned",  and Macabre's "Ed Gein",  to name a few. In addition, a number of band names were derived from Gein including a band by the name of Ed Gein, and a New York punk band by the name of Ed Gein's Car. Gidget Gein, a former bassist for the band Marilyn Manson even derived his stage name from Ed Gein. The band Plainfield, which includes the drummer and bassist of Mr. Bungle, took their name from the town that Gein lived and murdered in, as well as a North East England **** band by the name of The Plainfield Deathcount. Also, a track in guitarist John 5's album The Devil Knows My Name, Dead art in Plainfield, is a reference to Gein.

Title: Re: Ed Gein
Post by: Rorschach on November 16, 2007, 11:56:17 pm

   I like this place, everybody treats me nice, some of them are a little crazy though.
   Speaking about the mental institution he was in.
   Not too long, I had other things to do.
   When asked if he wore skin face masks, taken from his victims, over a prolonged period of time.
   I had a compulsion to do it.


   When I see a pretty girl walking down the street I think two things. One part of me wants to take her out and talk to her and be real nice and sweet and treat her right, while the other wonders what her head would look like on a stick.
   In Bret Easton Ellis' book American Psycho, the title character Patrick Bateman (himself a serial killer) uses this quote when asked about women and attributes it to Ed Gein. This statement was actually said by Ed Kemper.

Title: Ed Gein: The Inspiration for Buffalo Bill and Psycho
Post by: Rorschach on November 16, 2007, 11:59:40 pm
Ed Gein: The Inspiration for Buffalo Bill and Psycho


On November 17, 1957, police in Plainfield, Wisconsin arrived at the dilapidated farmhouse of Eddie Gein, who was a suspect in the robbery of a local hardware store and disappearance of the owner, Bernice Worden. Gein had been the last customer at the hardware store and had been seen loitering around the premises.

Removal of evidence at Gein's house

Gein's desolate farmhouse was a study in chaos. Inside, junk and rotting garbage covered the floor and counters. It was almost impossible to walk through the rooms. The smell of filth and decomposition was overwhelming. While the local sheriff, Arthur Schley, inspected the kitchen with his flashlight, he felt something brush against his jacket.

When he looked up to see what it was he ran into, he faced a large, dangling carcass hanging upside down from the beams.  The carcass had been decapitated, slit open and gutted.  An ugly sight to be sure, but a familiar one in that deer-hunting part of the country, especially during deer season.

It took a few moments to sink in, but soon Schley realized that it wasn't a deer at all, it was the headless butchered body of a woman. Bernice Worden, the fifty-year-old mother of his deputy Frank Worden, had been found.

Policeman in Ed Gein's kitchen

While the shocked deputies searched through the rubble of Eddie Gein's existence, they realized that the horrible discoveries didn't end at Mrs. Worden's body. They had stumbled into a death farm.

The funny-looking bowl was a top of a human skull. The lampshades and wastebasket were made from human skin.

A ghoulish inventory began to take shape: an armchair made of human skin, female genitalia kept preserved in a shoebox, a belt made of nipples, a human head, four noses and a heart.

The more they looked through the house, the more ghastly trophies they found. Finally a suit made entirely of human skin. Their heads spun as they tried to tally the number of women that may have died at Eddie's hands.

All of this bizarre handicraft made Eddie into a celebrity. Author Robert Bloch was inspired to write a story about Norman Bates, a character based on Eddie, which became the central theme of the Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller Psycho.

Tony Perkins as Norman Bates in the movie "Psycho"

In 1974, the classic thriller by Tobe Hooper, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, has many Geinian touches, although there is no character that is an exact Eddie Gein model.   This movie helped put "Ghastly Gein" back in the spotlight in the mid-1970's.

Years later, Eddie provided inspiration for the character of another serial killer, Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. Like Eddie, Buffalo Bill treasured women's skin and wore it like clothing in some insane transvestite ritual.

Title: Re: Ed Gein: The Inspiration for Buffalo Bill and Psycho
Post by: rockessence on November 17, 2007, 12:22:13 am
A & E Biography - Ed Gein Part 1