The Gein family seemed to be a very dysfunctional family; an extreme Lutheran mother, an alcoholic father, and two very shy anti social boys. Everyone in town knew the two brothers, Henry and Eddie Gein, but no one would have ever thought that one of them could have turned out to be a cold blooded killer.
Eddie and Henry were born in the state of Wisconsin, I’m sure they were content with their simple life because it was all they had known. Their mother, Augusta, owned a small grocery store and had bought her family a small house and farm just outside of Plainfield. She did this to prevent anyone from influencing her two sons, she had thought that the world was full of evil and sin, and taught the boys this. She only let them leave the property to go to school, but if it wasn’t required for them to go, I’m sure she would have kept them to herself all day for most of their childhood and early teen years. She didn’t like either of them having friends, and often scolded them if they did. She didn’t have to worry about that with young Eddie, however, because he was a very shy lad, who was often made fun of by classmates for a small growth he had over one eye. Augusta often read the boys excerpts from the Old Testament dealing with death, murder, and “an eye for an eye” type of punishment. She had also tried to teach the boys about women, and how to stay away from them, claiming that they were all evil whores and tools of the devil (except for her, of course). She verbally abused her sons often, but Eddie didn’t mind, he loved his mother, and thought nothing but the best of her, and saw only the best in her, which was just something Henry couldn’t understand.
Although Augusta tried her best to keep her boys around the house, she couldn’t any longer after her husband, George, died of a heart attack in 1940. Something I’m sure she wasn’t too devastated about because there was no love in their relationship, they had just stayed together for religious reasons. After their fathers death the Gein brothers started doing odd jobs around town to scrape up money to help their mother pay the bills. No body in town ever had anything bad to say about either of they boys, the worst was probably that they were fairly shy people. But sadly one of the Boys lives was cut short
in May of 1944 after a brush fire had spread too close to their home, Eddie and Henry both tried to fight the fire, supposedly heading out in different directions to end it quicker, and they lost site of each other before night fall. After the blaze was extinguished, Eddie had no idea where his older brother had disappeared to and became worried, calling the police. After the authorities arrived, Eddie had led them straight to his brother’s body, which was suspiciously found on a piece of earth untouched by fire with bruises covering his head. All suspicions of fowl play were immediately dismissed because no one could believe shy little Eddie was capable of killing anyone, especially his own brother. Personally I think someone should have given it more than five seconds of thought, but the autopsy of Henry’s body later confirmed that the cause of death was suffocation, probably from battling the fire and being engulfed in smoke.
With Henry dead, however, Eddie had his mother all to himself. He loved her, he was attached to her, and never really wanted to let her go. Unfortunately those happy days only lasted a few short months for Eddie, because in December of that same year Augusta died after a series of strokes. He was devastated, after all she was the only person he had left in the world, and when she died Eddie had lost his best friend and true love.
After his mothers death Eddie boarded up most of the rooms in the house, leaving just the kitchen and a small room on the same floor to use. He left most of the rest of the downstairs rooms, and almost the whole upstairs untouched and sealed. It was some sort of shrine to his mother, almost. In what was left of the house, Eddie would spend most of his time reading books about the anatomy and on Nazis, he also learned how to shrink heads, and even how to remove a corpse from a grave, he also enjoyed reading his favorite section of the newspaper, the obituaries.
Can you guess where he spent a lot of nights? If you said the local grave yard, you are right. Eddie would often go and dig up the graves of young women, recently deceased; who he thought resembled his mother. He wasn’t a necrophiliac, but he did do some pretty odd things to these bodies. He would rip them apart and dissect them, tear of their faces and preserve them; he had a blind pull made out of human lips, and a belt made out of nipples. He would often baby sit children, and would show him his “shrunken heads” (which were really the preserved faces of women) and tell them that they were souvenirs from the South Seas, from headhunters. After showing one boy these relics, he went home and told his family about the weird objects that Eddie had shown him, but they just laughed it off, thinking it was just a figment of the boys’ imagination. Soon a few other people had witnessed these things, but shrugged it off as some weird Halloween thing.
Before you knew it rumors had spread around the town about Eddie and his odd relics, they had even joked around with him about it. Most times Eddie would just smile, and sometimes he made comments about them being in his bedroom, of course no one believed these things, they had all just thought they were rumors and tall tales; That is, until the disappearance of Mary Hogan, a Plainfield tavern keeper, in the winter months of 1954. Mary was murdered in the tavern, but there wasn’t enough evidence to trace it anywhere, nor was there any body. The only clue they really had to go by was the blood found on the floor.
Two years later, another disappearance had occurred in Plainfield, Bernice Worden, a local hardware store owner, had been shot and killed. At first you would have thought this would have been a robbery gone bad due to the missing cash register, but it goes a little deeper then that.
Eddie had decided that he needed fresher flesh for his twisted experiments (which we’ll get into more detail about later), and had been visiting the hardware store more and more often as the year went by. He knew Bernice, and had seen her often as he loitered around the store, sometimes until closing. Of course Bernice had never really thought anything about it, knowing that Eddie was a little slow and just an overall friendly character. One day he had went in to purchase some antifreeze, but it was a little too late, so he decided he would stop by and get it in the morning, which he did, along with Bernice and a cash register. He had come in the store, like he did often, looking around, minding his own business, and decided to take a .22 rifle from the display racks. Now Ms. Worden probably didn’t think anything of this, until Eddie loaded the rifle with his own bullet, and shot her dead. He dragged her body to the company truck, and took off with her to his house, coming back later for the cash register, but he forgot one thing… The receipt for the antifreeze he had purchased earlier, Bearnice’s son had remembered Eddie saying he was going to purchase antifreeze, and since he was a cop, that led them straight to Gein’s house. What they would find would be a shock to everyone in the little town of Plainfield, Wisconsin.
When they had entered the household, they had expected to find what they would at any other house, but what they had stumbled upon was a house that reeked of death and decay. When they entered the kitchen they had found a corpse hanging upside down from the ceiling cut and clean like a deer; But this was no deer, it was the corpse of Bernice Worden, the hardware store owner that had been shot and killed earlier.
Not only did they find her dead body hanging upside down from the ceiling, split in half, they found her heart on a plate in the kitchen, her intestines and head in a box. He had preserved ten human head skins, skin from the upper body of a woman was rolled up on the floor, a belt made of carved off nipples, a chair that had been upholstered with human skin, and a bowl made out of the crown of a human skull. When police walked into his bedroom they found every post of his bed was fashioned with a human skull, and a head hanging from the wall next to nine more preserved skins off of the faces of women. When they searched further they found more skull bowls, a shoebox full of woman genitalia, and heads stuffed with newspaper and mounted like trophies.
The police found at least ten bodies in Gein’s house of horror, but he had only claimed to have murdered two, the rest, he said, were souvenirs from the local grave yard. After much controversy, the police did manage to dig up the graves Gein had reportedly robbed, and found him to be telling the truth.
Although Gein was found guilty of these murders and robberies, he couldn’t remember all the details of them, he didn’t always remember how he would wind up at the cemetery, or why he was digging out graves. He also loved to try on the skins of women and pretend to be his mother, which is why all the women he had were in their late-forties and mid-fifties. He had an unhealthy fixation to his mother, and couldn’t seem to let her memory go, or the fact that she was truly dead. Some people suspected he was also a necrophiliac, but Gein complained that “the bodies smelled too bad” for that, he was just very interested in the woman anatomy and women who looked like his mother. Why he had decided to murder two people, I don’t think anyone will ever really figure out.
Personally, I think Eddie Gein was crazy, and that it was his mother’s fault that he had become this way. Because of his fixation and obsessions towards her, he never got over her death, and the fact that she taught her sons to pretty much hate women just gave Gien even more reason to kill. Reports say that Gien was also diagnosed with schizophrenia, which is a disease where you hear and see things that aren’t really there, while this may be true, there is no solid evidence in any of his biographies, or in the reasons of murder. But he did seem to suffer from blackouts before the murders and grave robberies. But he really could have just been faking all his insanity; He could have just been a cold blooded killer. Eddie died in a mental institution in 1984 due to a heart failure, and all the doctors had said he was a model patient, nice, calm, quiet, and he kept to himself.
So, which was he?