Ed Gein is a name that many horror fans know. He influenced the creation of several fictional killers, including Norman Bates (Psycho), Leatherface (Texas Chain Saw Massacre) and Bloody Face (American Horror Story: Asylum), just to name a few.
It is said that the death of his beloved mother in 1945 was the event that prompted Ed Gein to begin his devilish shenanigans. He began to develop an unhealthy interest in the anatomy of the female body and would feed his interest through medical encyclopedias, anatomy books and adult magazines. It wasn’t long before the community Gein lived in, Plainfield, Wisconsin, began to call him “weird old Eddie”.Ed Gein’s female anatomy fascination grew and he began exhuming corpses from local graveyards. He would dissect the bodies and fashion trophies and keepsakes for his home. Gein would tear the skin from the body, sometimes draping over a tailor’s dummy before deciding what to make and other times, even wearing the skin himself to dance and cavort around the farmhouse.
In 1957, the police had been given a tip off, coupled with preexisting suspicion that led them to believe Ed had something to do with the disappearance of local woman Bernice Worden. Upon searching his farmhouse the police made their first horrific discovery of the night: Bernice 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, her ribcage was split and her body “dressed out” like that of a deer. As well as that horrendous discovery the officers also found a lampshade made from the skin of a human face another nine human skin masks, whole human bones and fragments, nine vulvae in a shoe box, a belt made from female nipples, and Mary Hogan’s head in a wooden box.
When Ed Gein was taken in for questioning by authorities, he told investigators that he had made as many as 40 nocturnal visits to three local graveyards to exhume recently buried bodies while he was in a “daze-like” state. On about 30 of those visits, he said he came out of the daze while in the cemetery, left the grave in good order, and returned home empty handed. On the other occasions, he dug up the graves of recently buried middle-aged women he thought resembled his mother and took the bodies home, tanning their skins to make his paraphernalia.Gein confessed to killing two women–tavern owner Mary Hogan on December 8, 1954, and a Plainfield hardware store owner, Bernice Worden, on November 16, 1957. Initially found unfit for trial, after confinement in a mental health facility, in 1968 Gein was found guilty by reason of insanity for the murder of Worden and was confined in various psychiatric institutions, lastly the Mendota Mental Health Institute where he died of cancer-induced liver and respiratory failure on July 26, 1984. He is buried in the Plainfield Cemetery, in a now-unmarked grave, not far from the final resting place of his last victim, Bernice Worden. Below are replica’s of the horrific keepsakes Ed Gein made out of the human flesh and body parts he fashioned from the corpses he exhumed. It has also been said Gein kept skulls as soup bowls!