The Nightmare closet

Ed Gein

(Killings between 1947 and 1957)

Known as history's most inspirational killer with his character becoming the central theme for many films, including Alfred Hitchcock's thriller "Psycho", "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", and the character of Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs" among others.  He was a serial killer who would skin his victims, exhume corpses and decorate his home with parts of his victims' bodies. Human skin was used to make dustbins, furniture, and clothes.

Ed Gein was born in La Crosse, Wisconsin on August 27, 1906. He had a weak alcoholic father and a domineering mother who was deeply religious. He was said to be very attached to her. She taught them about immorality and the evils of women and sex and discouraged their sexual desires.  In Plainfield, Ed never left the family farm and lived with his brother and mother until they had both died by 1945.  The day his mother died, Ed was thirty-nine years old and still a bachelor.  Alone in the large house, he kept his mother's room untouched and locked, just as it had been before she died. He also sealed off most of the other house, choosing to live only in a bedroom and the kitchen.  Free of his mother's prying eye, he soon began to take an interest in the female anatomy. Ed found medical books, horror novels, pornographic magazines, and books on Nazi medical experiments. Through this media, he was able to thoroughly study that which his mother had hidden from him for so long. He fantasized about having his own woman to study, but his social inhibitions disallowed him from meeting women. A desperate Ed took things a little too far.  Ed went to local cemeteries and began digging up female corpses to take home. He would spend hours studying the corpses and removing parts via dissection. Sometimes, after removing internal organs and the head, he would remove the skin and wear it around the house. He also enjoyed fondling the removed female genitals, sometimes putting them into a pair of women's underwear, which he wore around the house.  

He decided to hunt for another woman in her fifties (about the same age as his mother when she died) and perform the same practice. His only known victim was Bernice Worden, who happened to be the mother of the sheriff's deputy. The deputy heard about Ed being in town (a rare event) on the same day his mother disappeared and went out to the Gein house.

When police finally caught up with him, they found - hanging corpses with throat and heads missing, bowls made of skull, various pieces of jewelry made of human skin, hanging lips, skin upholstery for chairs, masks made of facial skin and vulva, including his mother's, that were painted silver. The most shocking was his mother's heart that was found in a pan on the stove.  Police counted them as 15 women. Gein told the police that he never had sex with any of the dead women as "they smelled too bad." His fascination with women was because of the power they held over men. Gein was admitted to Waupan State Hospital and died of cancer at the age of 78.





"She isn't missing.  She's at the farm right now."  ~Ed Gein