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Ed Gein's Death

Ed Gein

The life and death of Ed Gein:

He's the real life person that Norman Bates from the movie "Psycho" was based upon.

Ed Gein

And his nickname was "The Mad Butcher'. What more needs to be said about Ed Gein?

Edward Theodore Gein, whose name rhymes with keen, was born in Lacrosse County, Wisconsin. He was the second son of George and Augusta Gein. Mom and Dad had a lousy marriage – she hated him because he was a drunk who couldn't hold a job. Augusta sold the small grocery she own and moved the family to an isolated farm in Plainfield, Wisconsin.

Ed Gein house

She took advantage of the remoteness of the family home to keep her boys, Ed and his older brother Henry, away from outside influence. Ed left the farm only to attend school and to hear his deeply religious Mom rant about immorality, the evils of drinking and of woman – who she told them were all whores and tools of the devil.

Ed was bullied in school and had an off-putting habit of laughing out of the blue. Socially inept, he made it through school because he was good at reading.

When father George died of heart failure, Ed and his brother Henry started taking odd jobs in town to bring some money into the family farm. Henry started dating a divorced mother of two and when he bad mouthed Mom to Ed; his little brother was hurt and angry.

Ed reported Henry missing in May, 1944 and it was thought he died of heart failure. Police dismissed speculation about foul play when bruises were found on Henry head and the official cause of death for the older Gein brother was listed as asphyxiation because the two had been burning away marsh underground on the family property. Some suspected Ed, but charges never stuck.

Now living alone with Mom, who soon suffered a debilitating stroke, Ed threw himself into caring for her. When she died in the final days of 1945, Ed was alone in the world.

Ed Gein mother's grave

He kept the farm, boarded up rooms his Mom used and lived his life out of s small room near the kitchen. He also started reading magazines about Nazi atrocities and cannibals.

Fast forward to November, 1957 when hardware store owner Bernice Worden disappeared

Bernice Worden

Police suspected Gein because her son said he was in the store just before she vanished. They went to the Gein farm…

Ed Gein's farm

…searched it, and found the woman's decapitated body.

newspaper report of dead body found on ed gein's property

She was hung upside down by ropes, dressed out like a deer and had also been shot.

They searched the rest of the horror house and found: skulls on bedposts, chairs, and waste baskets covered by human skin and other evidence featuring mutilated female body parts.

newspaper report of human remains found on  ed gein's property

Gein also admitted to killing local tavern owner Mary Hogan, in December, 1954.

Mary Hogan

Ed also told police he'd been digging up graves and admitted robbing nine of them.

newspaper report of ed gein digging up graves

He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to murder charges and sent him to the Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane for the rest of his life. He died there of respiratory failure due to lung cancer,

newspaper report of ed gein's death

Gein's life formed the basis of the Norman Bates character in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho".

Another movie, specifically of Ed Gein's life was made, starring Steve Railsback in the title role

His grave at the Plainfield Cemetery was vandalized several times until it was nearly chipped to nothing but his name.

ed gein grave