Ed Gein Biography
In July 1984, at the Mendota Mental Health Institute in Wisconsin, Ed Gein died of respiratory failure. He remains one of the most horrific killers, 40 years after his death.
Gein inspired several horror movie villains, including Norman Bates in Psycho, Leatherface in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. These movies have further dehumanized Gein since the characters he inspired are hideous and malevolent, without humanity, and exist only to inflict pain.
Ed Gein was also a child. Even the most heinous criminals spent time maturing and learning about the world. Exploring these early years can reveal incidents or experiences that led to crime and bloodshed.
Ed Gein Childhood
Augusta Wilhelmine Gein, a religious mother, gave birth to Edward Gein on August 27, 1906. Ed’s older brother, Henry George Gein, was Augusta’s firstborn.
George Philip Gein, the boys’ father, drank heavily and couldn’t work. Augusta was furious at her husband, but her strong values prevented her from divorcing him. Ed and his older brother Henry were raised in a volatile marriage.
Augusta hated her husband and rarely showed affection to her two sons, believing they would fail like their father. Augusta preached from the Bible to her boys to keep them on the right track, teaching them that alcohol and all women (save herself) were sinful.
Ed and Henry were only allowed to leave the family’s Plainfield, Wisconsin, farm for school. However, Augusta disciplined her sons if they tried to make friends at school, which hindered their social contacts and caused Ed to be bullied.
Throughout their childhoods, the brothers were only friends. They did farm tasks instead of playing with other youngsters. Ed loved his mom despite these restrictions. Henry was unaccepting.
Ed Gein Adult Life
After their father died in 1940, Henry and Ed worked as handymen for local families to supplement the family’s income. Ed got babysitting work when they earned a reputation for hard work and trustworthiness. He enjoyed this since he preferred youngsters to grownups.
Due to his early lack of social development, he found it simpler to relate to children of similar intelligence.
Henry rejected his mother’s beliefs as an adult and worried about Ed’s attachment to her. Henry started publicly criticizing their mother, which startled Ed and soured their brotherly relationship. Both brothers fought a fire near the family home in May 1944. After the fire was put out, Ed said he lost his brother.
After reporting Henry’s disappearance to the police, Ed strangely led them to his brother’s body. Henry’s head exhibited traces of bruising associated with being struck, but authorities ruled out murder and listed asphyxiation as the cause of death.
Augusta had a stroke a year after Henry died, deteriorating her health. She became increasingly bedridden and unpredictable. Ed was her main caregiver and the victim of her violent mood swings. Augusta would insult her kid by comparing him to his “useless” father, then let him sleep in her bed.
Ed Gein Adult crimes
Ed lived with his mother until she died in 1945 from repeated strokes, devastating him. Gein was left on his own after 39 years of serving his mother.
Ed never dated anybody other than his mother since Augusta had spent years teaching her boys that sex and lust were wicked and to be avoided at all costs.
Gein “lost his only friend and one true love,” according to true crime writer Harold Schechter. Totally alone.” Gein’s devotion to his mother turned criminal at this time.
Gein said “a force built up in me” after losing his mother. He visited local cemeteries and dug up dead ladies to make a “woman suit” for himself.
Ed Gein then told police he wanted to become his mother and burrow into her flesh. He fashioned gloves, masks, seats, lips tied to a window shade pull rope, and a belt from nipples from body parts.
Gein killed Mary Hogan (54) and Bernice Worden (58) in addition to grave-digging. Gein shot and killed local bar owner Mary in 1954 and hauled her body home on a sled. Gein killed Bernice at her hardware store in November 1957.
Bernice’s police deputy son suspected Gein and searched his rural farmhouse. Investigators found organs in the refrigerator, a heart on the stove, and skulls turned into soup or cereal bowls. Bernice was found hanging upside down, decapitated, and disemboweled in a shed.
His choice of victims and insulting treatment of their bodies may have been influenced by his mother’s regular indoctrination that women were demons and sinners.