Who was Ed Gein?
Ed Gein, the notorious Mad Butcher of Plainfield, robbed graves and murdered two women around his home town of Plainfield, Wisconsin. Living alone in his decrepit farmhouse after his mother died, Gein used the body parts to create a variety of objects, including a skull bowl, a nipple belt, a lampshade made of human skin, and a “mammary suit” which he dressed up in to appear like a woman. Gein’s final victim was Plainfield hardware store owner Bernice Worden, whom authorities found hanging upside down, gutted and decapitated, in Gein’s old farmhouse on November 16, 1957.
Ed Gein is buried in Plainfield Cemetery in the family plot beside his brother and mother, surrounded by the same graves he looted for his grotesque craft projects.
Ed Gein FAQ
Here is a selection of the most commonly asked question about the life and crimes of Ed Gein. Have a question? Send a message.
Where was Ed Gein born?
Edward Theodore Gein was born on August 27, 1906 in La Crosse, Wisconsin where his family owned a grocery store.
Is Ed Gein’s house still there?
No, none of the buildings that once stood on the Gein family farm remain. Ed Gein’s house mysteriously burned down in the early morning of March 20th, 1958. The property and all of Gein’s possessions were auctioned off the following day. It was suspected that locals burned the house down to prevent it from being turned into a tourist attraction rumored to be called the “House of Horrors.”
At the March 30th auction, a man named Emden Schey bought the 155-acre property for $4,658. Over the years he tore down the outbuildings, planted trees, and eventually sold off most of the land. 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.”
There is a story about workers discovering human remains on the property in the early 1960s, and other artifacts that belonged to the Gein family have been found on the property in the decades since Gein’s arrest.
The foundation of the house and other items may still exist beneath decades of dirt. The land is private property, however, and trespassing is not tolerated.
Where is Ed Gein’s grave?
The grave of Ed Gein is located in Plainfield Cemetery in Plainfield, Wisconsin. He was buried in the Gein family plot beside his mother Augusta, brother Henry, and father George, just feet away from a now empty grave that Gein had once robbed.
It was rumored that he had been buried at midnight to avoid media coverage, but Betty Petrusky, who served as the Plainfield Cemetery caretaker for 30 years, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that was not accurate.
“That wasn’t true because I buried him,” Petrusky said. “It was 4 in the afternoon.”
Where is Ed Gein’s gravestone?
Ed Gein’s gravestone, which had been defaced and vandalized over the years, was stolen from Plainfield Cemetery in 2000. It was found in Seattle the following year in the possession of Shane Bugbee, founder of the Ed Gein Fan Club.
How did Ed Gein die?
Ed Gein died at the age of 77 of respiratory failure due to lung cancer at the Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison, WI on July 26, 1984.
Was Ed Gein a grave robber?
Soon after the death of his mother Augusta in 1945, Ed Gein began digging up graves in three nearby cemeteries (Plainfield Cemetery, Spiritland Cemetery, and Hancock Cemetery) to exhume the freshly buried remains of middle-aged women who reminded him of her.
He used the remains to fashion furniture and clothing which he was at least partly inspired to create by the pulp magazines about cannibals, headhunters, and Nazi atrocities that he enjoyed reading.
After Gein’s arrest, he admitted to as many as 40 visits to local cemeteries to rob graves between 1947 and 1952, most of which he left intact as he said he came out of his “daze-like” state and returned home.
Gein confessed to having robbed 9 graves total. He lead investigators to the those graves, and three were opened to confirm Gein’s claims. They were found disturbed or completely empty as he had described.
There were rumors that Gein had help from another local man to dig up the graves, but that has never been substantiated.
Where did Ed Gein kill?
Ed Gein committed all of his known crimes in and around Plainfield, Wisconsin. He killed Mary Hogan on the night of December 8th, 1954 in her bar just a few miles from Plainfield in the town of Bancroft. He killed Bernice Worden on November 16th, 1957 in the Plainfield hardware store she owned.
How many people did Ed Gein kill?
Ed Gein admitted to killing just two people: Mary Hogan and Bernice Worden. He was tried and convicted only for the Worden murder. However, he is suspected of murdering his brother Henry, and may be responsible for the disappearances of two hunters who vanished near his property, and well as several missing girls who’s remains may be among those that were found in Gein’s home but never identified.
Where is Ed Gein’s car now?
Ed Gein’s maroon 1949 Ford sedan was bought from the auction in 1958 by a carnival sideshow operator from Rockford, Illinois named Bunny Gibbons. Up against 14 other bids, Gibbons won the car for $760. Gein had used the car to transport the bodies of his victims, as well as the remains he exhumed from the grave. Gibbons immediately saw the opportunity to make money from the macabre curiosity Gein’s recently revealed crimes generated.
Gibbons put mannequins in the car to represent Gein and his final victim, Bernice Worden, and exhibited it at county fairs around the state that summer as “Ed Gein’s Ghoul Car.”
Anyone could get a look at the car that “hauled the dead from their graves” for 25 cents. It made its first appearance at the Outagamie County Fair in Seymour, WI in July 1958. Over the course of three days, some 2,000 visitors parted with their quarters for a glimpse inside the tent. The exhibit caused considerable controversy, as many were unhappy with Gibbon’s exploitation of such a horrible crime.
Ed Gein’s car made it’s final recorded appearance in Slinger, WI, where the local sheriff shut down the exhibit. It was then banned entirely by the state, and Gibbons returned home to Illinois defeated. He and the car faded into obscurity. What became of Gein’s old Ford after that is unknown.