When it comes to the back bone of horror movie inspiration, Ed Gein’s name is at the top of the list. A psychopathic serial killer who’s crimes inspired the likes of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1974, and the iconic Buffalo Bill character from 1992 masterpiece, The Silence of the Lambs.
Edward Theodore Gein exhumed bodies from three local graveyards from 1947 and 1952. Claiming he usually made these late night trips in a ”daze-like” state, 75% of the time he immediately left the graveyards and returned home. Though the other 25% of his trips ended far more sinister.
Admitting to making 40 trips to grave yards, 10 of those trips yielded results for his unstable mind. He would exhume bodies of recently buried middle-aged women he thought may resemble his deceased mother.
His reign of terror came to an end in the morning of November 16, 1957 when Bernice Worden disappeared from her hardware store. Worden’s son, the local Deputy Sheriff, Frank Worden, noticed the cash register was open and there were blood stains on the floor when he visited the store later that day.
Gein had been in the store the previous night, stating he would return in the morning for a gallon of anti-freeze. Finding the last receipt issued by Bernice being for a gallon of anti-freeze, law enforcement put the pieces together and Gein was apprehended at a grocery store in West Plainfield.
With Gein in custody and not knowing the fate of the Sheriff’s mother, the Waushara County Sheriff’s Department searched Ed Gein’s isolated farm.
What they found was nothing any of them could have ever imagined.
They found Bernice Worden in his home, but she had been completely mutilated. Her head had been severed and put in a burlap sack and her heart in a plastic bag in front of Gein’s stove, suggested he may have had plans to cook and eat it.
Upon more searching, law enforcement force a huge array of body parts, bones and even paraphernalia made from human skin. Some of the findings included:
A wastebasket made from human skin.
Human skulls made for bedpost covers and bowls.
Masks made from skin.
A corset made from human skin.
Leggings made from human skin.
A belt made from human nipples.
A pair of lips used on a drawstring for a window shade.
A lampshade made from a human face.
Chair covers made form human skin.
Further more, there were 4 noses and 9 external female sex organs.
The discovery was grim and something that earned Gein the name, The Butcher of Plainfield. Gein admitted murdering two women over his spree, but most of his victims were already deceased.
Gein was found guilty, but was confined to a psychiatric institution. In 1984, Gein died of liver cancer and respiratory issues, age 77, at the Mendota Mental Health Institute. Gein’s body now lies in an unmarked grave in Plainfield Cemetery.
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