Serial Killer. He was convicted of two killings, and is estimated to have killed a total of six persons. He was known for several rather bizarre acts, including cannibalism and making clothing from the skin of his victims. His crimes inspired such movies as "Psycho" (1960) and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974). Born in La Crosse, Wisconsin, his family soon moved to a farm outside Plainfield, Wisconsin, where his father was a tanner and carpenter to supplement the farm income. His father died in 1940, his brother Henry in 1944, and his mother in 1945, all of natural causes, leaving him alone on the farm. From childhood, he had doubted his masculinity, and thought about becoming a female. Now alone, between 1947 and 1954, he visited local cemeteries, opening up to 40 graves, and removing parts or all of the bodies of mostly women. Skulls were mounted on bedposts, human skin was used for lampshades or upholstering chairs. He would often wear female human skin at home, using parts of the women's bodies. On December 8, 1954, he turned to murder to satisfy his need for human body parts, killing Mary Hogan in the tavern she managed, and taking her body. When Bernice Worden disappeared on November 16, 1957, from her hardware store, police traced leads to Ed Gein. Arriving with a search warrant, police found Worden's body hanging in a shed, gutted like a deer. Inside Gein's house were ten human skulls, skins from numerous bodies made into costumes, and other body parts used to decorate the house. Gein quickly pleaded guilty to two counts of murder, and to stealing bodies from three graves. The judge declared him insane, and sent him off to the Central State Hospital at Waupun, Wisconsin. When he contracted cancer, he was transferred to the Mendota Mental Hospital (for the criminally insane), in Madison, Wisconsin, where he died of respiratory failure on July 26, 1984. Police were unable to match body parts for two women found at the house to bodies, and it is believed that he killed at least four women and two men during his time, in addition to the forty some bodies that he dug up.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson