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Fast Eddy (Redux)
December 31, 2012
Long before there was Hannibal Lechter in that movie “Silence of the Lambs” or Ted Bundy in real life or any of those kinds of characters, there was Ed Gein, better known as “The Butcher Of Plainfield.”
Ed Gein circa 1957. CLICK TO ENLARGE
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Eddy Gein (August 27, 1906 – July 26, 1984) was a budding serial killer and an accomplished grave robber in the 1950’s and was said to have been the inspiration for the character Norman Bates in the book and later the movie, “Psycho.”
The crimes which he committed around his hometown of Plainfield, Wisconsin, received massive coverage in newspapers and on TV and radio after authorities discovered that Gein had exhumed corpses from local graveyards and fashioned trophies and keepsakes from their bones and skin.
Gein ran the family's 160-acre farm on the outskirts of Plainfield after his brother Henry died in 1944 (some suspected Ed Gein murdered his brother) and his mother passed in 1945.
Sometime after both his brother and mother were gone Gein began digging up female corpses at night in various Wisconsin cemeteries.
Eventually Gein began killing women, many of who were around his mother’s age. Victims included 54-year old Mary Hogan, who disappeared from the tavern she ran in December 1954, and Bernice Worden, a woman in her late fifties who ran the local hardware store. She vanished on November 16, 1957.
The sheriff paid a visit to the Gein farm where authorities discovered the skins from ten (preserved) human heads and another skin taken from the upper torso of a woman. This skin was rolled up on the floor.
Investigators also found a table propped up by human shinbones, a refrigerator full of human organs and the four posts on Gein’s bed topped with skulls as well as a human head hung on the wall alongside nine death masks – which were the skinned faces of women - and decorative bracelets made out of human skin.
They also found human faces stuffed with newspapers and mounted like hunting trophies on the walls.
Gein confessed to killing both Mary Hogan in 1954 and hardware store owner Bernice Worden in 1957 and was Initially found unfit to stand trial but following confinement in a mental health facility for years, he was tried in 1968 for the murder of Worden and sentenced to life imprisonment, which he spent in a mental hospital.
On July 26, 1984, Ed Gein died of respiratory and heart failure due to cancer at the Mendota Mental Health Institute.
His gravesite in the Plainfield cemetery was frequently vandalized over the years; souvenir seekers chipped off pieces of his gravestone before the bulk of it was stolen in 2000.
The gravestone was recovered in June 2001 near Seattle and is now in a museum in Waushara County.