Ed Gein…The Man Who Made his Own Furnishings

November 17, 2016

Written by Capt McNeely

Georgia Division ZADF Twitter: @ZADF_ORG

Image result for ed gein


Back in 1998 I watched my first actual horror movie.  I had always had a secret love of terror and an unaccepted fascination with horrors, but hid them from public until that night.  I slipped the DVD of the classic: Psycho into the DVD player and was mesmerized for the entire 109 minutes.  Watching Norman Bates changed my life.  I delved into everything I could get my hands on!  I knew that I had a lot of catching up to do for missed years of macabre immersion.  I watched Silence of the Lambs, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of 1000 Corpses and other horror movies.  Imagine my absolute cryptic delight when I realized that one man, one real-life man, served as the inspiration for all of these villains.


Ed Gein.  One of the truest, most horrific villains ever to stain ground red with blood.  One of two sons born to a religiously fanatic mother and an abusive, leather-tanning father, Ed grew up in a petri dish that fostered sociopath and violent characteristics.  Gein hid these for a long time and was known as a quiet – if not mentally slow – handyman who would take odd jobs around his home of La Cross County, Wisconsin to earn money.


For unknown reasons, Ed was obsessely attached to his mother (Norman Bates, anyone?) and spiraled into terrifying insanity after her dead in 1945.  He remained living alone in his family home and sealed up his mother’s bedroom.  The downfall of Gein started with grave robbing so that he could lob off body parts with surgical precision and save them as trophies.  This soon turned to murder, necrophilia and human taxidermy.  Upon investigation, police found:

  • Whole human bones and fragments
  • Wastebasket made of human skin
  • Human skin covering several chair seats
  • Skulls on his bedposts
  • Female skulls, some with the tops sawn off
  • Bowls made from human skulls
  • A corset made from a female torso skinned from shoulders to waist
  • Leggings made from human leg skin
  • Masks made from the skin from female heads
  • Mary Hogan’s face mask in a paper bag
  • Mary Hogan’s skull in a box
  • Bernice Worden’s entire head in a burlap sack
  • Bernice Worden’s heart “in a plastic bag in front of Gein’s potbellied stove”
  • Nine vulvae in a shoe box
  • A young girl’s dress and “the vulvas of two females judged to have been about fifteen years old”
  • A belt made from female human nipples
  • Four noses
  • A pair of lips on a window shade drawstring
  • A lampshade made from the human skin of a face
  • Fingernails from female fingers

Gein died in 1984 due to cancer complications while serving a life sentence in a mental hospital.  His legacy of terror and disgust lives on in some of the greatest horror icons to ever grace the screen, but oddly enough, (other than a couple of films that are wildly inaccurate and dreadfully made) the man remains as aloof from the dogma of horror as he did from the emotions of his crimes as he followed his “compulsion to do [them].”


Share This Article

You May Also Like…