Edward Gein was born in 1906 in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Ed was a loner who became
unusually interested in the hideous tortures and experiments that went on at the Nazi
concentration camps in Europe. Gein also became interested in sex change procedures. At first
Gein, who commonly went by “Ed,” developed a fantasy for sex and dismemberment. This led
Edward Gein and his long time friend “Gus” to begin robbing graves for bodies which they used
to perform their own twisted experiments on and to fulfill their sexual fantasies. Ed Gein
dismembered dead bodies in his home and took part in necrophilia and cannibalism. Police later
discovered body parts from at least fifteen different women in his home being used as bowls,
costumes, and chair covers.
On August 27, 1906 in LaCrosse Wisconsin serial killer Edward Gein was born.
Edward’s parents were George and Augusta Gein. The Gein family owned a 160 acre farm.
Edward's father, George, died in 1940 due to alcoholism. Ed’s mother, Augusta, was an
extremely religious and controlling mother. She made a large effort to keep her sons away from
girls as she believed that girls were evil and that they would never truly be able to return love
given to them. She spent a lot of time preaching to Edward and his brother Henry about sins and
the evils of women and sex. She also strongly warned them not to engage in pre-marital sex. It is
suspected that she may have abused Edward when he was younger. Sadly Augusta died in 1946
after suffering from a stroke in 1945. Ed was very close to his mother, he believed she was a
saint, so he did not take her death very well. Edward’s brother Henry was killed in a forest fire in
1946 which Ed is now suspected of starting because Henry had criticized Ed for his close
relationship with their mother. After the numerous deaths in his family Edward chose to board up
the rooms of his parents and brother and to live only in his room and the kitchen. Ed was forced
to continue to work the farm but he decided to stop when he was offered a job by the government
with a soil conservation program. However, Ed eventually gave up his government job and
resorted to working small jobs as a handyman to make a living.
As most serial killers do Edward Gein had a peculiar personality, most people knew that
Ed hated the sight of blood, how ironic that would turn out to be. Gein was a shy man but at first
people didn’t notice any apparent differences between Ed and the other people in the area.
Growing up on the farm he was not seen in town that often; only if he needed to run an errand
for his parents or do some work as a handyman. After a while though people began to notice his
bazaar interests. Some people recall overhearing Edward engaging in discussions, probably with
his only friend Gus, about things such as the Nazi concentration camps and about sex changes.
Rumors were spread about Ed having shrunken heads in his house but the rumors were soon
disregarded and people went back to thinking of Ed as just being a strange old guy who wouldn’t
harm a fly. The overpowering influence of Ed’s mother turned him into a sexually confused
young adult who believed he was destined to remain a virgin his entire life.
Ed had a fascination with the female anatomy and with the cruel experiments taking
place in Nazi concentration camps in Europe. Ed and his friend Gus began robbing graves to
perform their own Nazi-like experiments on the bodies. They even robbed the grave of Ed’s
mother, Augusta. Ed eventually convinced himself that in order to perform his desired sex
change he would need fresher bodies, and so he began killing women. Edward Gein first began
killing in 1954 when he killed Mary Hogan, owner of a local tavern. Gus did not help Ed with
any of the killings as he was institutionalized some time before they started. In 1957 Gein went
to a local hardware store owned and run by Bernice Worden. Gein began to look at a gun in
Bernice’s store, something that Bernice wouldn’t have been worried about as Ed was a usual
customer. Ed slipped his own bullet into the gun and shot Bernice Worden. He then put her body
into the store truck and drove it back to his farm house. Over a period of about ten years Edward
Gein dismembered the bodies of at least fifteen women, eating their organs and using their skin
to make jewelry and costumes.
When Edward Gein murdered Mary Hogan people were aware that it was a murder but
no one really suspected old Ed. In fact Edward Gein wasn’t suspected of anything until the
killing of Bernice Worden. Ed had been to her store several times that week and he showed up
the night before he killed her. While in the store he talked to her son Frank, a deputy sheriff,
about his hunting expedition that was planned for the next morning and he told Bernice that he
would be back in the morning for anti-freeze for his truck. When Frank returned from his
hunting expedition the next day he found a puddle of blood, the cash register missing, and a
receipt for anti-freeze. As the sheriff he immediately ordered an officer to check out the Gein
house where they found the naked, headless body of Bernice Worden hanging upside down in a
shed near Edward Gein’s house. Ed was arrested and officers searched his house finding horrific
things. Within the Gein house officers found human lips hanging, bowls made out of skulls,
upholstery made of human skin, masks and costumes made from human skin, a box of vulva’s
including his mothers which he had painted silver, and the officers found the heart of Bernice
Worden in a pot on the stove. That night officers found body parts from at least fifteen women in
the home of Edward Gein. Ed lived out the rest of his life at Waupun State Hospital.
Edward Gein’s psychological problem was that he perceived people as objects rather than
as human beings. Psychologists believe that consciously Ed loved his mother but hated other
women, as she had taught him but unconsciously he despised his mother and actually loved other
women. Dismembering women who resembled his mother was a way for him to destroy the
source of his distress and to keep his mother with him at the same time. Gein was diagnosed as a
schizophrenic and clinically insane. Gein was declared unfit for trial and he waited ten years in a
mental hospital before he would be tried.
I think that Edward Gein’s crimes were sick and disgusting but yet I think that his story is
still extremely interesting. I think that if Ed had not had such a strange family he would not have
been so emotionally messed up. One thing that I would really like to know is the true story of
how his brother died; it would be really interesting to find out if Ed took advantage of the forest
fire and used it as a way to cover up the killing of his brother. I think it’s really incredible how
Edward Gein stole bodies and killed people, storing them in his house, cutting them up and
making costumes out of them for ten years before he was caught. In conclusion I actually really
enjoyed writing a paper about this serial killer as it was actually a really interesting topic.
Montaldo, Charles. "Ed Gein - Serial Killer Edward Gein." Crime and Punishment Home Page. Web. 27
Oct. 2010. <http://crime.about.com/od/murder/p/gein.htm>.
Perry, Teena. "Ed Gein-Serial Killer." (2002): n. pag. Web. 27 Oct 2010.
Lacie, Quinn, Nikolaus Emily, Monroe Katie , and Stockinger Lyndsi.
"Biography of Ed Gein." LSU n. pag. Web. 27 Oct 2010.
"Ed Gein." Crime & Investigation Network n. pag. Web. 27 Oct 2010.
Troy, Taylor. "Wisconsin's "Psycho"." Dead Men do tell Tales (2004): n. pag.
Web. 27 Oct 2010. <http://www.prairieghosts.com/ed_gein.html>.
Edward Gein was born in 1906 and had an older brother, Henry. Ed’s older brother criticized him
for his strong attachment to his mother, Henry later died in a fire which Ed is suspected of starting. After
his mother died Ed became obsessed with females and sexual fantasies. Edward began robbing graves
and performing experiments on the bodies and he developed the desire to turn himself into a woman.
When the police finally caught Gein they found hanging corpses with their heads and necks cut off,
bowls made out of skulls, and chair upholstery made out of skin.
Ted Bundy became famous as a serial killer for his good looks and his ability to charm women
which helped him rape and murder so many people. Bundy would drink alcohol before approaching his
victims regardless of the setting and would often fake a broken arm to gain sympathy from his victims.
After luring his victims Bundy would hit them over the head with a crowbar, rape and assault them
sexually, then strangle and mutilate them. He would often revisit the bodies of his victims at the dump
Charles Manson was born to a 16 year old mother who left him to live with his aunt and uncle.
At the age of 34 he started the “Charles Manson Family” which attracted troubled young girls whom he
gave drugs. These girls began to call Manson “Jesus Christ” and would perform any task he asked of
them. He expected the Manson Family to rule the world and when that didn’t happen he had his family
members kill people. Manson was given the death penalty but was reduced to a life sentence when
California banned the death penalty.
Albert Fish was one of the most vile serial killers in America’s history. Fish’s parents put him in
an orphanage where he was beaten which most people believe led to his desire for physical pain. He
engaged in homosexual relationships at the age of twelve and would go to public baths to watch young
boys undress. He began pushing needles into his body and later x-rays found more than 35 needles in
his body. He believed that god had ordered him to castrate young boys and that led to the several
mutilations and murders.
David Berkowitz was a serial killer in New York who gained fame for his letters to the media and
police. Berkowitz began to believe that howling dogs were demons asking him to kill women. He wrote
letters to the media and police about the details of his killings. Berkowitz was originally told that his
mother died giving birth and the guilt of that may have been what drove him to kill people but he later
found out that his mother was alive and he had a sister. However, he was too consumed by his isolation
and delusions to care.