Edward Gein: An American Icon of Horror July 26, 1984: Edward Theodore Gein, a deranged necrophiliac serial killer responsible for several grave robings and the grisly murders and mutilations of two women dies of cancer after spending sixteen years in a mental facility (History). The heinous crimes committed by Gein served were so grotesque and bizarre that they served as an inspiration to many of todays most popular horror films and have had a lasting impact on popular culture as a whole (Wikipedia; An American Psycho). Ed Gein was born in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, on July 27, 1906.
His father was an alcoholic who had reportedly beat and abused Ed and his brother (Wikipedia). His mother, Augusta Gein, suffered from religious mania and had constantly preached to her sons about the immorality of the world and raised them to believe that nearly all women were evil prostitutes (Wikipedia; Hist). His mother moved to a secluded farm in the outskirts of Plainfield, WI in hopes of keeping her children secluded from the evils of the outside world; Ed left only to go to school (Wikipedia). In school, Ed was bullied frequently and was extremely unsocial (Wikipedia). Some of his teachers and fellow class-mates recalled “seemingly random laughter, as if he were laughing at his own personal jokes.
” but he made good grades in school overall, especially in reading (Wikipedia). In 1940 Eds father died of a heart attack, because of this Ed and his brother Henry did odd jobs frequently to make up for the lack of income (Wikipedia). After a while, Henry began to worry about his brothers relationship with their mother (Wikipedia). Henry had views different from that of his mother on the nature of the world.
He would often say bad things about her behind her back to Ed (Wikipedia, Hist). On may 16, 1944, the Gein brothers went out to extinguish a nearby brush fire. As darkness fell the Gein brothers were reportedly separated in their attempts to extinguish it (Wikipedia). After the fire was extinguished Ed told the police that his brother was missing (Wikipedia). After the police came to search for him, Gein led them directly to the spot of his brother, who was lying dead on the ground (Wikipedia). Despite the fact that Henry was untouched by fire and that he had bruises on his head, police ignored the possibility of foul-play and his cause of death was listed as asphyxiation (Wikipedia). On December 29, 1945, Geins mother died (History).
On this day Gein had “lost his only friend and one true love, and he was absolutely alone in the world.” (Wikipedia). Gein remained on the farm by himself after the deaths and boarded up all the rooms used frequently by his mother so that they would remain untouched (Wikipedia; Hist). On November 16, 1957, after the disappearance of a local hardware store owner Bernice Worden, the unthinkable happened (Hist). Wordens son told the police investigators that he had seen Gein in the store before her disappearance, saying that he would “return for a gallon of anit-freeze in the morning.” (Wikipeda). Police searched Geins property and found Wordens “decapitated body in a shed, hung upside down by ropes at her wrists, with a crossbar at her ankles and was gutted like that of a deer.”(Wikipedia).
She was murdered with a rifle, then the mutilations were preformed (Wikipedia). After further investigation, the authorities discovered the remains of ten mutilated women in his home including bowels made of human skulls, womans skin and hair woven into furniture, nine masks of human skin, Mary Hogans head in a paper bag, Wordens head in a burlap sack, nine vulvas in a shoe box, organs in the refrigerator, a pair of lips on a drawstring for a window-shade, and a “womans suit” made from human skin (History; Wikipedia). Gein was linked to the murders of only two women, but was found guilty of grave-robbing the other eight (Wikipedia; Hist). Gein was sent to a state hospital until 1968 when he was deemed sane enough to stand trial (Hist).
The judge found him guilty by “reason of insanity” and Gein was sent off to spend the rest of his days in a state facility (Hist). Geins story has served as an inspiration to popular culture including many famous horror films and characters such as Norman Bates in Psycho, Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs, Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and himself in Light of the Moon and Deranged (Savage Pastimes; Wikipedia; Hist; An American Psycho). The bizarre, grotesque accounts of murder and mutilations preformed by the nefarious Ed Gein have, and will continue to go down in history being remembered as one of the most shocking, horrific tragedies in American history. WORKS CITED:”An American psycho: the real Norman Bates; Under Cover.” Sunday Times [London, England] 14 Dec. 2008: 7.
Custom Newspapers. Web. 11 May 2010″Ed Gein.” Wikipedia Online.
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2010 Fishwick, Marshall W. “Savage Pastimes: A cultural History of Violent Entertainmen.” Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA) 28.3 (2005): 337. Literature Resource Center. Web. 11 May 2010.
“Real life Psycho Ed Gein dies.” History Channel Online. July 2009. 13 May.