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.


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 [email protected]

31 replies
  1. Avatar
    Kevin Marchant says:

    The entire farm needs to be cleared, plowed over and planted with crops. Hopefully in a couple of generations people will lose track of the actual site and the sick bastards’s memory will just go away.

  2. Avatar
    ed says:

    i can tell you for sure that not all on they property from ed house was destroyed there where many officers that where in charge of the evidence.i knew a lot of the old officers over half of the stuff did not make it to the crusher

  3. Avatar
    J.E.B. says:

    I think it’s absolutely SHAMEFUL that ANY artifacts belonging to serial killers like this are being auctioned off to the highest bidder, thus glorifying these sadistic insane killers. This cauldron should be tossed into the deepest part of the ocean, or melted down and scrapped!

  4. Avatar
    crissy kafer says:

    Whenever we get up that way we swing by Plainfield and make the Rounds…great town… Hope the Ice Cream shop opens back up soon… Breakfasted at the local Bar-Eatery and really enjoyed the meal… Never mention (the incident) there though, although terribly fascinating to us, it would turn off the locals…

  5. Avatar
    acidiumSixx says:

    $2800? obviously the story couldnt even be slightly traced to any relation to Gein! I sold a magazine that had leonard Lakes address tag on it for $3000 to a collector. Surely if there could be even the slightest verifiable connection between these people and Ed Gein this cauldron would have sold cor upwards of $5000 …. hell if someone could prove the woman attended the estate sale i would pay $6000 for it myself. there must have been an extreme amount of doubt floating in the auctions atmosphere for it to go for such a meager price.

    • Avatar
      curtis carpenter says:

      If find the whole story of the Cauldron to be a bunch of Bull, Gein Killed Two Women, Tavern Owner Mary Hogan and Hardware Store Owner Bernice Worden ( who is Buried right Next to him ) All the other Body part and skin came from his Grave Robbing. How much Blood and Entrails are in a body after it’s been embalmed ? I grew up in Plainfield , some of my Family still live there I live about 10 miles away but I’m there about twice a week I NEVER heard of this and Gein Dug up a G Aunt of mine or at least they found the eye glasses with her name on them at his home can’t think of how else he got them and she was buried with them. My Grandparents chose not to exhume Her, Wise. What confuses me is one story says she got it in 84′ after Gein died another that she bought it at the Auction . If someone TRULY wanted something of Geins there IS STILL ONE of the Original Sheds on the property and I’m sure there is stuff on the property a metal detector would certainly find a bunch just hope you don’t find the 2 Men from IL and their Dog who went missing in 55′ while Hunting on Gein’s Land or close to it , they were never seen or heard from again/ and Yup you would think it would have sold for more I also don’t recognize the names/ It’s a small town pop, around 750

      • Avatar
        henryedwardotto says:

        • Hollis Brown wasn’t quite a ‘neighbor’- he lived in the next township (Deerfield). At least he did in 1940 when he was 4 yrs old. But his account of being there in 1957 falls short on numerous details.
        • The hunters disappeared in ’52.
        • Curtis ~ would like to learn the name of your G Aunt and any more information about her you would be willing to pass on.

    • Avatar
      Mike L says:

      I just purchased colored Kodachromes of the estate sale if interested. Shows the outbuildings and the police fence around the house which burned down the night before. They should be hitting eBay tonight.

  6. Avatar
    Elley says:

    I would just like to say I have lived in Wisconsin my entire life and never seen anything of Ed’s. Also I can understand everyone fascination and want to see or try get a concept of a man who could such horrible things. But consider this if we wanted to be know for such a gruesome person dont you think we would have started a museum by now its been a long time. This man still haunts the people of Plainfield. They cant help what one man did many years ago. If they wanted to be a tourist attraction dont you think they would have opened the farm for it?

  7. Avatar
    Bill Durks says:

    Not buying this story at all. Any cauldron in a shed that was seen back in the 50s that “had blood and entrails in it” would have been confiscated and become state crime evidence.

    Absolute hooey.

    • Avatar
      curtis carpenter says:

      Thank You , My thought also . Since Gein Murdered only 2 Women ( Not Only but ..) and they were killed years apart and the rest of the body parts were from bodies he dug up and they were embalmed how much Blood and how many entrails would there be. You read the story and it says Barrels full . WTF Hey I was grew up in Plainfield and lots of my Family still are there this is a bunch of S%^T for a TV show that’s also a bunch of S%^T!

      • Avatar
        Marguerite Farrell says:

        When Zac interviewed the guys on TV, involved in the sale of the cauldron, they said that the witness at the crime scene, Hollis, had seen the cauldron near 2 SMALL barrels with blood and entrails, next to the cauldron and the body. So I don’t think they are talking about huge barrels full. Plus, the entrails could have been from an animal. That does not mean the cauldron was not there. IDK, after watching the interviews, I tend to believe them.

  8. Avatar
    katy says:

    I live in the Plainfield area and I don’t believe for one minute this stuff belonged to gein. Its a good story and a good way to make money. But the people in Plainfield don’t talk about or offer up artifacts.

    • Avatar
      curtis carpenter says:

      So do I . I live on Harding and Cty Trk D I don’t believe it either what a bunch of crap , Barrels and tubs of entrails from two Women he killed years apart and Cadavers he dug up? Get Real/ !

  9. Avatar
    entity247 says:

    We are Sauk County Paranornal, We went to the auction and put in a few bids, but we couldn’t out bid Zak Bagans – Ghost Adventures Crew (GAC) with the winning bid of $2800. We did however win Ed`s skies for a bid of $175. Ed`s shovel also went with his cauldron. It seem that Ed had quite an attachment to his shovel, as we both whir overwhelmed by the extreme energy coming off it. Maybe he’s still digging up graves on the other side of the vale. We wish Zak Bagans all the luck with items.

  10. Avatar
    Doubting Thomas says:

    Without an itemized receipt from the auction in 1958 (conducted by professional auctioneers), this old pot can’t be connected to Gein…people make up stories every day to turn a buck, and fools part with their money. Why is this item any different?

  11. Avatar
    thewiscokid says:

    I thought the gravestone was taken earlier than that? I forget. Couple years ago when I visited I was told by the director of the Waushara County Historical Society that the headstone is in the basement of the Wautoma p.d.

    • Avatar
      entity247 says:

      Sauk County Paranormal:
      We went to this auction and put in a few bids, but we couldn’t out bid Zak Bagans – Ghost Adventures Crew (GAC) with the winning bid of $2800. We did however win his skies for a bid of $175. Ed`s shovel also went with his cauldron. It seem that Ed had quite an attachment to his shovel, as we both whir overwhelmed by the extreme energy coming off it. Maybe he’s still digging up graves on the other side of the vale. We wish Zak Bagans all the luck with items.

      • Avatar
        Wobbler says:

        If that shovel’s got so much energy coming off it, I could have done with it a few days ago when I had to dig up the roots of a couple of old conifers. As it was, I was overwhelmed by the lack of energy coming off my own shovel.


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