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Ed Gein may be America\'s most famous murderer, although his name is seldom heard and barely recognized today. Three decades have passed since he first made the headlines, but Gein is still with us, in spirit. His crimes inspired the movie Psycho and its sequels, spinning off in later years to terrify another generation as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. (The latter film, billed as "a true story," changed literally everything except the grim decor of Gein\'s peculiar residence.) While other slayers have surpassed Gein\'s body count and notoriety, America has never seen his equal in the field of mental abnormality.
Gein was born in La Crosse, Wisconsin on August 21, 1906 But his family soon moved to a farm outside Plainfield(Woods8). Plainfield being located in Waushara County near the intersection of hwy 51 and hwy 73. This was a very small and quiet town of about 700 in population (Milwaukee Journal). This was a town where every body knew each other or thought they did. Plainfield was soon to be a town that would soon rock the nation.
His father George Gein held jobs as a tanner and carpenter when he wasn\'t working the farm. When he was not working he would often visit the local bars and drink himself drunk(Hotvedt). He was often a coward to his wife and cowered in fear of her. This led him to become an alcoholic to escape the verbal abuse. His wife would often pray in front of their sons for the death of him. Her wishes finally came true when he died in 1940 of causes unknown (Woods 22).
Gein\'s mother Augusta emerged as the dominant parent, settling most family decisions on her own. Devoutly religious, she warned her two sons against premarital sex, but Gein recalled that she was "not as strong" in her opposition to masturbation(Gollmar 31). She always impressed on her children the importance of doing the right thing. She tried to instill in her sons the teachings of scriptures and a deep suspicion of women as deceivers and whores. Augusta later in 1941 suffered a stroke which left her bed ridden for awhile. Ed says it was because of the way his neighbors constantly argued and how much it upset his mother(Schechter 43). Ed was in charge of taking care of his mother. He took care of her for a period at the farm but could not handle it and was forced to put her into a hospital. Soon after, she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and passed away(Woods 34).
In 1945, before his mother died, his brother, Henry Gein, asked him to help him do some controlled burning on a marsh on the family’s property. Ed had taken care of his part of the burning and went looking for his brother, but could not find him. Ed organized a search party, but they found nothing. On his way back to the house, Ed found Henry laying on a brush pile, dead. Ed attributed the death to heart attack or smoke inhalation, and the idea of a n accident was accepted by all(Hensel). No autopsy was performed but many still believe this could have been the start of his killing fanatics. The most common opinion that led people to believe why Ed would have killed his brother are for the inheritance of his parents(Woods 23). Money played a deep suspicion in a few of his murders.
This left Ed alone. He began reading books about the female anatomy as well as Nazi camp medical experiments(Schechter 56). He also became very interested in adventure stories involving head hunters and cannibals. At one point, a well-meaning person brought him back two shrunken heads from the Philippines. Ed found them very interesting and showed them off to many people in the community. From childhood, Gein had been uncertain about his masculinity, considering amputation of his penis on several occasions. He often considered transsexual surgery, but the process was costly and frightening. There must be other ways, he thought, of "turning female" on a part-time basis. As time went on he also became interested in the preservation of the human body after death and read books on the subject (Gollmar 74).
Between 1950 and 1954, Gein haunted three local cemeteries, opening an estimated nine or ten graves in
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Fiction, Human trophy collecting, American people of German descent, Ed Gein, Necrophiles, Film, Crime, English-language films, Exploitation films, In the Light of the Moon, Psycho, Gein
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