Tag Archive for: Ed Gein

Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures Takes Home Ed Gein’s Cauldron

Ghost Adventures star Zak Bagans put in the winning bid on the cauldron once used to hold human body parts by Wisconsin deviant Ed Gein.
Ghost Adventures star Zak Bagans takes home a cauldron once owned by Wisconsin deviant Ed Gein

An item believed to have been owned by Ed Gein hit the auction block in Wisconsin last weekend. The object was a rusty cauldron said to have been purchased from the Gein estate sale in 1958. A former neighbor named Hollis Brown saw the cauldron in a shed on the property while assisting police with cleanup in the wake of Gein’s November 16th, 1957 arrest.

It was filled with blood and human remains.

Related:

Following the auction, a member of the Sauk County Paranormal group was kind enough to drop by and give us an update. It turns out Zak Bagans, star of the Travel Channel series Ghost Adventures, had his eye on the cauldron. Not surprisingly, he had the winning bid at $2,800.

He told TMZ later that he thinks the cauldron will “make a nice conversation piece for guests” while on display in his home.

A cauldron that belonged to Ed Gein was bought by Ghost Adventures star Zak Bagans
The Ed Gein cauldron bought by Zak Bagans

Skepticism Over the Cauldron’s Authenticity

Naturally, there has been some skepticism over the authenticity of the cauldron. In the comments of my original article, even a resident of Plainfield, where Gein lived and committed his bizarre acts, expressed doubt in the claims. Katy said “I live in the Plainfield area and I don’t believe for one minute this stuff belonged to gein. It’s a good story and a good way to make money. But the people in Plainfield don’t talk about or offer up artifacts.”

The cauldron’s previous owner, Dan McIntyre, whose grandmother claimed to have purchased the cauldron from the Gein estate sale in 1958, says “there will always be skeptics.” He doesn’t seem to let it bother him. It was his friend Hollis Brown who told him about helping Gein’s parents render hog fat in the cauldron in the years before he saw it filled with human remains in the shed.

McIntyre does, however, seem to be relieved to be rid of it. He believes it may be filled with a dark energy that went dormant while sitting covered in his garage. While preparing it for the auction, though, he thinks the evil was awakened. He blames the cauldron for a mysterious illness and disturbances of his electrical devices in the month leading up to the sale. He wonders if he should have kept the cauldron and planted flowers in it, let it be forgotten by time, rather then send that evil out into the world.

Besides the cauldron and a shovel, which were both won by Bagans, a pair of skis and other items that once belonged to Ed Gein were also sold at the auction.

Bagans is known for being a collector of macabre and presumably cursed objects. In 2014 he purchased a house in Gary, Indiana known as the “Portal to Hell” where claims of demonic activity made headlines in 2012. Later that year he reportedly put his Las Vegas home, complete with secret dungeon, up for sale after fleeing it two years earlier. He believed a demonic entity had attacked himself and his girlfriend after he brought home a human skull.

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.

Related:

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 to the ground not long before the auction. 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 disposed of 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

Serial Killer Trivia Board Game

Serial killer trivia board game

If you’ve ever had the urge to slaughter your friends in a friendly board game, you need the Serial Killer Trivia Game from Culture Heroes, Inc. Players choose from Richard Ramirez, Aileen Wuornos, Ed Gein, Albert Fish and Ted Bundy as their game pieces, and embark on a murderous rampage to be the first to claim five victims.

Enjoy hours of family fun as you break into houses and reveal pick scenario cards to reveal your murder methods!

Buy Here