Ed Gein's Etsy Shop
In this episode of Tangent Avenue, we’re strapping our seat belts made of nipples on to discuss the real life man who inspired the gruesome characters of Buffalo Bill, Norman Bates, and Leatherface; the Plainfield Ghoul himself, Edward Theodore Gein, or Ed Gein.
So Bryson, do you know anything outside of what I just mentioned about Ed Gein?
So Ed Gein was born in La Cross County, Wisconsin on August 27th, 1906 to George Phillip and Augusta Wilhemine Gein. He had an older brother, Henry George Gein. His father was an alcoholic and unable to hold a job for long, and Augusta resented him. Assumably, they fought all the time. Henry briefly owned a grocery store in La Cross County, but he soon sold it to buy a 155 acre farm in the town of Plainield, Wisconsin, which would become the Gein’s permanent residence. Augusta was a big fan of this, as its location was very isolated, and she turned away anybody who could possibly influence her sons outside of what she specifically wanted to mold them in to. Because of this, Ed really only left the farm to go to school, and most of the time he wasn’t in school was spent doing chores around the farm.
Augusta was a fucking slut for Jesus and was a very devote Lutheran, she preached to her kids that the world was innately vile, drinking is evil, and her belief that all women, except of course herself, were naturally promiscuous and were instruments of the devil. She read them verses from the bible every afternoon, and usually the verses she selected were about murder, death, and divine retribution.
In school, Ed was very shy, and classmates and teachers have said he had strange mannerisms such as random fits of laughter, and his mother punished him whenever he attempted to make friends. Despite that, he did very well in school.
So, so far… are you concerned about these kids and what their parents are shaping them into? Very similar in some aspects to Crowley.
During Ed’s early childhood, he was prohibited from entering the slaughterhouse on their farm, but one day he decided to sneak in and witnessed a pig hanging from the rafters. He witnessed his mother viciously slaughtering the pig and it was at this point, our dear boy Ed, experiences his first ejaculation. Relating his mother and violence to sexuality would carry on into adulthood.
When Ed was 12 years old, his mother walked in on him masturbating in the bath and poured scalding hot water on him immediately to punish him, saying that genitalia was the curse of man.
On April 1st, 1940 Ed’s father, George, died from heart failure caused by his alcoholism. Because of this, Ed and Henry began to work odd jobs around town to help with the bills. Both worked as handymen, but Ed also babysat frequently - and he seemingly loved it. The two were considered very reliable by the townsfolk. Henry also began dating a divorced mother, and had planned to move in with her. Henry was very concerned about the way Ed idolized their mother, even into his 30’s. because of the shitty way she brought them up, and would often vent about her to him. Ed hated this and was shocked whenever he would hear anything bad about his mother.
On May 16th, 1944 Henry and Ed were burning away marsh vegetation and the fire got out of control, and the pair were separated. When the fire was put out, Ed reported Henry missing. They found him lying face down, with no burns and they reported the cause of death as heart failure, despite finding bruises on his head and Ed leading them straight to the body. No autopsy or official investigation was ever performed. In retrospect, the Plaintfield police realized Ed may have killed him.
So, now Ed had only his mother left. For now. She would suffer a paralyzing stroke, and Ed would take care of her - with great pleasure, as he loved it. Sometime in 1945 he and his mother would visit a man named Smith, and they witnessed Smith beat a dog to death. A woman from inside the house came out pleading for Smith to stop, but he did not. Augusta was very bothered by this. Though not for the reason you may think, not for the fact that a guy beat a dog to death, but because there was a woman present; she referred to the woman as “Smith’s Harlot.”
She soon suffered another stroke and her health deteriorated very quickly, and she passed away less than two years after Ed’s brother, on December 29th, 1945 at the age of 67. Ed then had lost his entire family, and his best friend, his dear old mommy.
Ed would hold on to the farm and continue to work odd jobs to make a living as he spiraled into depression, he also boarded up parts of the house his mom mainly used; the living room, upstairs, and downstairs parlor, while he lived in the rest of the house, and his own filth living in one room and not taking care of himself, or the house. Ed became very interested in reading pulp magazines, adventure stories, and Gray’s Anatomy; he became particularly interested in things about human anatomy, murder, true crime, body-snatchers, and nazis. These stories seemed to only inspire his later crimes. He also became extremely interested in stories about shrunken heads and seemed to have taken inspiration from a German woman who killed tattooed men and used their skin as lampshades and other types of furniture.
Although Ed’s entire family was gone, he of course missed his mother the most. Though he acted upon his grief in extreme and very strange ways. He admitted to digging up her grave and, and I quote, “...most nights, I would just stand and have private conversations with my ma. Other times, I couldn’t make myself go home without raising one of them up first.” I’ll uh, get into what that means a little later.
In 1954, a woman named Mary Hogan disappeared without a trace. She was a bartender at a bar that Ed frequented, and he would often just sit and watch her in the bar as she resembled his mother, though she differed drastically in personality. Mary was a foul mouthed woman with assumed ties to organized crimes. When she disappeared, most people just assumed her past had caught up to her. No ties were made to Gein until years later, though he admitted involvement in a very strange way long before he was ever connected to the crime through humor. While employed as a handyman for Elmor Huick, Elmor joked “maybe if you spent more time courting Mary, she’d be cooking for you right now instead missing.” Ed then responded saying “she’s not missing, she’s down at my house right now.” He made similar jokes to other townspeople, once straight up saying “I went and got her in my pickup truck and took her home.” Ed was very liked around town, even though they did consider him strange, so most people just assumed he was trying to find some sort of humor in Ed’s presumable crush’s disappearance.
People started to get a little suspicious of Ed when a rumour spread around town that he had a collection of shrunken heads, started by a friend of Ed’s that he hunted rabbits with. His friend told people that he showed him his shrunken head collection and that Ed claimed his cousin fought in the Phillipines during world war 2 and sent them back from there. Ed once considered trading his farm land for a different house and the people came over and asked him about this rumor, he didn’t deny it, in fact said he did have them. I keep finding contradicting articles, some saying he did have them, and some saying he just read about them. I’m fairly confident he didn’t, simply because they’re not listed in the official list of the items found in his house, though they may have genuinely been from his cousin so that might be why the weren’t on the list, so who knows.
Around this time, several Wisconsin residents were disappearing and Gein was a suspect after his arrest, though they didn’t fit his usual criteria and there wasn’t any actual evidence. There were men and women, and none resembling his mother. Though this doesn’t necessarily mean he wasn’t involved, as serial killers will often kill when they get the urge and opportunity even if it doesn’t usually fit their usual profile.
On the morning of November 16th, 1957, Plainfield hardware store owner Bernice Worden disappeared. A Plainfield resident reported that they saw the store’s truck driving away from the rear of the building around 9:30am. The hardware store was closed the entire day, though this wasn’t really cause for concern because the towns residents assumed this was for hunting season and that she was out hunting. Bernice’s son, the town deputy Frank Worden, arrived at the shop around 5pm to find the cash register open and blood stains in the floor.
Frank reported to investigators that Ed was in the shop the evening before and had told them he’d return in the morning for a gallon of antifreeze. The last receipt Bernice had written was for a gallon of antifreeze and Ed was arrested the same evening at a grocery store. A Waushara sheriff would search the Gein farm to discover some very disturbing things.
Whole human bones and fragments
A 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 of 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 pair of lips on a window shade drawstring
A lampshade made from the skin of a human face
Fingernails from female fingers
A belt made from female human nipples
So Ed would wear the skin, he admitted to doing this because he wondered what it was like to be a woman, and felt it brought him closer to his mother. It’s hard to say if he was actually transexual or if this was something else, though he did find extreme interest in somebody he knew who had gender reassignment surgery.
When questioned, Ed was completely silent and refused to talk to anyone about anything. After a 6 hour long raid of Ed’s house, the sheriff didn’t go directly home, and stopped by where Ed was being held and tried to physically coerce him to admit to his crimes. He refused to speak, even though he was shaken up, and didn’t admit to his crimes until 20 hours later. By that time, he was more than willing to talk. He claimed he didn’t remember shooting Warden, and that he fell in some sort of trance during this time, but did admit to what he did to her body. He denied anything to do with Mary’s death, however, despite the evidence of the contrary.
Ed also admitted to digging up several graves and stealing either the whole bodies, or parts of the bodies, to make the things he did. Despite the weird sexual aspects of him stealing vulvas and shit, he claimed to never have sex or eat any of the bodies, though for some reason he said he would salt the vulvas after taking them. Ed claimed to be a virgin his whole life.
I’m not really interested in explaining his trial, but when faced with trial, he was deemed not able to withstand trial due to insanity, for 10 years - and even when he was deemed fit for trial, he was still found not guilty for reasons of insanity. He lived out the rest of his days in Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane until he died on July 26th, 1984. He claimed to love this place and that they treated him well, they also claimed he was a model patient and never had any issues while there
So here’s what I want to end on. When Ed was arrested, the townspeople began to make jokes about them, seemingly immediately accepting his guilt and using these as a coping method for the fucked up things that happened. They called these jokes Geiners, and we’re going to go over some Geiners I found online, some of them are jokes actually told around Wisconsin, and some are made up by people online. Are you ready?
What did Ed Gein say to the cop who arrested him? "Have a heart!"
He was the kind of guy that could help you get a head. Of course, it would cost an arm and a leg.
Why did they have to keep the heat on in Ed Gein's house? So the furniture wouldn't get goosebumps.
What did Ed Gein say as the hearse passed by? Dig you later, baby!
Ed Gein was popular with the ladies. There were always women hanging around the place.
Have you heard the Defense Department has called on Ed Gein? They want him to ship arms to Vietnam!