The strange haunted history of St. Nazianz

St. Nazianz: Haunted Wisconsin Town Founded by Heretic Priest and Mystic Cult Followers

The small town of St. Nazianz in Wisconsin is said to be cursed by the heretic priest of the Catholic mystic cult that founded the town.

Ed Gein's cauldron

Ed Gein Cauldron Up for Auction in Wisconsin

Antique cauldron with macabre history hits the auction block in Wisconsin. You won’t believe the story behind this thing.
An antique cauldron found covered in blood at the Ed Gein crime scene in Plainfield, WI
A cauldron that once belonged to Ed Gein. Photo courtesy of Pientka Auction Service.

In the world of collectible murderbilia, artifacts belonging to Ed Gein must surely be the Holy Grail. I’ve lived here in Wisconsin my entire life, and have never so much as laid eyes on an object that can be positively identified as Gein-related. Besides the jar of grave dirt in the cupboard from my last pilgrimage to Plainfield, of course.

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So you can imagine my excitement when I opened my email earlier this week to find details about an upcoming auction containing a very unique and macabre piece of the Gein story. Amongst the various mundane antiques, the Pientka Auction website contains a photo of a rusted, insignificant-looking old pot. The caption beneath reads “cauldron with story.”

That is a bit of an understatement.

Ed Gein Artifact for Sale

Ed Gein cauldron to be auctioned in Wisconsin

According to Dan McIntyre, the cauldron’s current owner, his grandmother Evelyn Mair purchased the cauldron from the Gein estate sale held in 1958, along with some gardening tools. She painted the cauldron and planted flowers in it as a memorial for Gein’s victims.

McIntyre says it wasn’t until 50 years later that he learned the shocking reality of the inconspicuous flower pot that ended up in his parent’s garage.

Hollis Brown, a friend of the McIntyre family, had been a neighbor of Ed Gein’s. Brown told McIntyre that, after the police had finished photographing the crime scene, they were feeling sick to their stomachs. So he and another neighbor by the name of Howard Lowellyn helped remove the bodies and various remains. It was then that Hollis first saw the black cauldron in a shed, crusted with dried blood and guts beside tubs and barrels filled with what he described as bloody human entrails.

When he saw the cauldron again many years later in the garage, Hollis immediately recognized it. Pale and noticeably shaken, he told his son Carneth about the cauldron, saying that he saw something he had not seen in 50 years, and he wished he didn’t remember where he saw it.

Cauldron that belonged to Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein

Cauldron that belonged to Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein

The cauldron will be up for bidding this Saturday, February 28th in Hatley, WI. For more info go to the Pientka Auction website right here.

Ed Gein Crime Scene

Photo of Ed Gein's house in Plainfield, WI before it burned to the ground.

Following a lead while investigating the disappearance of local hardware store owner Bernice Worden on November 16th, 1957, police ended up on the Gein farm outside of Plainfield, Wisconsin. Eddie had bought antifreeze from the hardware store earlier that day. When investigators arrived to talk to him, they unwittingly stumbled upon the disturbing truth of Edward Gein’s isolated life.

Gein was arrested, and the state crime lab cleared out the grisly contents of his home. Boxes full of human remains were removed, including what was left of Bernice Worden, bar owner Mary Hogan who had disappeared several years earlier, and remains from numerous graves Gein had robbed. For years after his mother’s death, Gein had been gathering body parts to create things inspired by the stories of cannibals and headhunters he was reading in pulp magazines. Among the remains removed from his home were numerous creations, including masks made from real human faces, a female skin suit, a belt made of nipples, skull caps he had used as bowls, and a human skin lampshade.

The Gein Farm

An estate sale was held on March 30th, 1958 to sell off the remainder of Gein’s belongings. The house, which had become a tourist attraction and made the community uncomfortable, mysteriously burned the night before. Emden Schey bought the farm, the outbuildings and the homestead site for $4,658. Over the years he tore down the outbuildings, planted trees, and eventually sold off most of the property. The 40-acre homestead site, however, remained in the family. Schey passed it down to his grandson, Mike Fischer.

In 2006, Fisher attempted to sell the property on ebay, asking $250,000 for “Ed Geins Farm … The REAL deal!” Fisher told the press he was “just a guy who got stuck with this white elephant” and was tired of the “frustrations and the headaches.”

Had I done my research before visiting Plainfield that year, I would have read Fisher’s complaint about the ticks on the property and avoided a wholly traumatic ordeal.

Augusta Gein’s Crucifix

In the documentary Serial Killer Culture by filmmaker John Borowski, collector Rick Staton reveals a crucifix that once belonged to Ed’s overbearing Christian mother, Augusta Gein.

Ed Gein’s Ghoul Car

Sideshow operator Bunny Gibbons bought Gein’s car at public auction for $760. Amidst controversy, the 1949 Ford sedan Gein used to transport his victims traveled around the state. Fair-goers paid 25 cents to see the “Ed Gein Ghoul Car” and have their pictures taken with it. A sheriff shut down the exhibit when it was on display in Slinger, Wisconsin, and eventually the state banned it entirely.

Where is the car now?

The Gravestone of Ed Gein

The gravestone of Ed Gein in Plainfield, WI

Gein’s chipped and vandalized gravestone was stolen from the Plainfield Cemetery in 2000. It was eventually tracked to a band in Seattle who was selling charcoal rubbings of it on their website. It was recovered in 2001, though it was never returned to the cemetery. It currently resides in storage in either the basement of the Wautoma police department or the old jail museum of the Waushara County Historical Society.

Gein’s grave is now marked by the vacant space between his mother and brother, in the same cemetery where Bernice Worden lies, and graves once pillaged by Eddie still remain empty.

Skull Bowls and Skin Gloves

Though it is common to see photos online or find people claiming to own one of Gein’s macabre creations, Judge Robert H. Gollmar, who convicted Gein of first-degree murder in 1968, asserts in his book Edward Gein: America’s Most Bizarre Murderer that those particular pieces of evidence were destroyed after the investigation.

Plainfield Roadtrip

Ed Gein roadtrip to Plainfield, Wisconsin

If you are planning a roadtrip to Plainfield, you likely won’t find anything remaining that once belonged to Ed Gein. But you can still see the place where the Gein house once stood, visit the family in the cemetery, and see the old Worden hardware store. I recommend obeying the no trespassing signs and avoiding destruction in the cemetery.

Also, I hear it’s not a good idea to ask for antifreeze in the hardware store.

Update: Ghost Adventures star Zak Bagans Buys Ed Gein’s Cauldron

Do you have Ed Gein artifacts or stories? Email info@cultofweird.com

Spend the Weekend in a UFO in Northern Wisconsin

Looking for an unusual getaway? A retro flying saucer-shaped Futuro house is available to rent for a weekend retreat in Northern Wisconsin.
Futuro house UFO-shaped getaway available to rent in northern Wisconsin

When you think of getaways in Northern Wisconsin, camping or cabins usually come to mind. However, I think most Cult of Weird readers would agree that a lakeside UFO sounds much more interesting.

The late 1960s bore witness to a strange but efficient architectural concept: The UFO-shaped Futuro House. Only 96 of these odd homes were ever made, so getting the opportunity see one in person is rare, much less spend the night in it. Many of the remaining Futuro houses became space-themed amusement rides, roadside attractions, or were abandoned in the woods to become to fuel of local legends and campfire stories.

In Wisconsin, however, you can actually live in one for a weekend. That is, if you don’t mind sharing the woods with Wisconsin’s various monsters, ghosts and ghouls.

The Poggemann Pod, as it is called, is located on Sumach Lake in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin. It is an original Futuro house with a furnished living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom around a central fireplace. And it even includes 80s sci-fi movies on VHS and DVD for a true retro experience.

The living room of the Futuro UFO house in Northern Wisconsin

Wisconsin Futuro house dining

Kitchen of the Wisconsin Futuro house

Futuro bathroom

The space age UFO toilet of the Wisconsin Futuro house
UFO toilets are remarkably similar to standard Earth toilets.

Wisconsin Futuro house bedroom
They say the bedroom is where the magic happens. In this case, it’s probably more like probing.

UPDATE: The Poggemann Pod is under new ownership and is no longer available to rent.

Ancient Shrines for Divination Discovered in Armenia

Excavations within a hilltop fortress in Armenia have revealed an ancient occult center with shrines used for various forms of divination.
Ancient shrines for divination discovered by archeologists in Armenia

Archeologists have unearthed three ancient shrines which they believed were used for divination rituals in a hilltop fortress in Gegharot, Armenia 3,300 years ago. Each shrine consists of a single room holding a clay basin filled with ash and ceramic vessels.

Clay idols with horns, stamp seals, censers and other artifacts were also found at the site.

Horned clay idols and other artifacts found at the Armenia divination fortress

Seeing the Future

Evidence of three separate forms of divination were found in the Gegharot fortress. Knucklebones of cows, sheep and goats were found to suggest the practice of osteomancy, and smooth, round pebbles found in a basin were most likely used for lithomancy. An installation for grinding flour in the east citadel of the fortress may have been used for aleuromancy, since there was no oven for baking.

The fortress may have served as the occult center for rulers of the time.

via Live Science

Scan Reveals Mummified Monk Inside 1,000-Year-Old Buddha Statue

A CT scan has revealed the mummified remains of a monk inside a 1,000-year-old Chinese Buddha statue with paper scraps in place of his organs.
CT scan reveals mummified monk found inside 1,000-year-old Buddha statue

A recent CT scan of a 1,000-year-old Buddha statue has revealed the mummified remains of a Chinese monk believed to have died around 1100 AD. An endoscopic examination of the thoracic and abdominal cavities revealed scraps of paper with Chinese writing were used to replace the organs.

Researchers suggest this may be a case of self-mummification, a long and gruesome process that, if done successfully, would elevate a monk to Buddha status for worship.

1,000-year-old Buddha statue contains the mummified remains of a Chinese monk

Self-Mummification

The most well-known cases of self-mummification are the Japanese sokushinbutsu, though it was also practiced in China and India as far back as the 12th century. The slow, 3,000-day process of mummifying oneself to death involved a diet of things like nuts, seeds, bark and roots, as well as extensive physical activity to starve the body of nutrients and eliminate fat and moisture. A poisonous tea made from the sap of the Urushi tea would induce vomiting to expel body fluids, and serve to kill bacteria and maggots that cause decay after death.

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The monk would then lock himself in a tomb just large enough to hold his body. Seated in the lotus position, he would enter a state of meditation from which he would not awake. A tube would provide air, and he would ring a bell every day to signal he was still alive. When the bell stopped ringing, the tube was removed and the tomb sealed.

It was opened again after 1,000 days to see if the self-mummification ritual had been successful. If the monk was found preserved, it was believed he had achieved a death-like trance and would be placed in a temple for worship until it was time for him to reawaken.

CT scan shows the mummified remains of a monk preserved inside an ancient statue of Buddha

via Ancient Origins