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Transcript of Ed Gein
By: Nick Franks
Gein's father died April 1, 1940. No one in his immediate family respected the man. Ed and Henry Gein were kind of glad when he died since their father would go off on drunken rampages and beat them. He also couldn't hold down a job or do work on the family farm. Ed and Henry Gein had to do their chores and their father's chores.
Ed Gein had a good relationship with his brother and looked up to him however, there was one thing Ed Gein couldn't stand about his brother and that was his brother constantly bringing up the subject of his unhealthy relationship with his mother. Ed Gein loved his mother and thought of her as a perfect. This led him to be too attached to her and his brother would constantly tell him that it was an unhealthy relationship.
To better control her family, Augusta bought and managed a small grocery store. There she constantly watched her family always issuing commands. She constantly demeaned them believing that they couldn't do anything right. There was one problem with this. Her family was exposed to people outside of her small family. She thought they would corrupt their minds.
To get away from society, Augusta sold the grocery store and bought a farm in Plainfield where the family was relatively excluded from society.
Ed Gein killed two people and robbed multiple graves. That alone didn’t send him into infamy. What sent him into infamy was what he did to the corpses of his victims. He would take the skins from the victims and wear them along with making the skin into lamp shades, curtains, or just butcher the corpses and keep the remains in random collections of body parts. He would wear the skins and there are reports that he would dance around when he wore them as well. His actions inspired films such as
The Silence of the Lambs
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
making him one of America’s most famous serial killers.
With the death of his brother, Gein now had his mother all to himself. Even though she constantly demeaned him, he worshiped her and tried to hold every belief she held. However, she soon fell sick to a series of strokes. In some ways, Gein enjoyed this because he got to take care of his mother and show her that he could do something right.
Gein's mother died of a final stroke on December 29, 1945. Gein did not take his mother's death well at all and soon after his mother's death, Gein started exhibiting odd behaviors.
The effects of Augusta's death could clearly be seen in Gein. He no longer kept up with the farm or his own personal hygiene, and he even blocked of whole sections of his house as a shrine to his mother.
He even started weird new hobbies such as reading death-cult magazines and adventure stories along with robbing graves and steeling the bodies.
Gein also started having hallucinations. He described it as a dream that he couldn't wake up from. The leaves on the trees disappeared and as puts it, there was a black, slack-necked buzzard that glared at him with blood-red eyes. Piles of leaves would appear as a bunch of human faces that laughed at him evilly and he smelt awful smells for no apparent reason. He sometimes even heard his mother's voice in these hallucinations. He would usually run frightened by these hallucinations.
At one point, Gein even admits to killing Mary Hogan to his employer but his employer rights it off as more of Gein's crazy talk.
His next living victim was Bernice Worden, a widow who ran a hardware store. She, like many of Gein's victims whether he dug them from a graveyard or killed them himself, looked like his mother. This crime scene was much like the last. There was blood on the floor, a missing cash register, and tire tracks to a pickup truck but, this time there was a receipt which identified Gein as the last customer at the store. With this, police took an interest in Gein and showed up at his house.
Gein's first living victim was Mary Hogan, a tavern keeper. To Gein, Hogan seemed like the ultimate evil. She was a course woman who would swear and use foul language just like any man but she looked like his mother. He couldn't stand Hogan defiling his mother's name like that so when opportunity presented it, he killed her. At the crime scene, there was a spent .32-caliber bullet casing, a pool of dry blood, a missing cash register, and drag marks that led to outside where there were tire marks of a pickup truck.
When police showed up at Geins house, they found all the things Gein had collected over his years of robbing graves and killing two people. There were decapitated heads, skins of people's faces made into masks and other things such as lamp shades, curtains, bowls from the skulls of the dead, and so on. Gein was immediately arrested.
He was put on trial for the murder of Mary Hogan and Bernice Worden. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He spent the rest of his life in Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. During his stay in the hospital, he constantly complained of chest pains, stomach aches, and other somatic ailments but they had no real cause.
Edward Gein was born on August 27, 1906 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His father George Philip Gein was a weak man and an alcoholic. His mother, Augusta Wilhelmine Gein, was a strong willed, controlling woman who constantly imposed her beliefs on her sons. His mother also didn't allow the boys to make friends or associate with other people. His brother was Henry George Gein. Gein's mother tried to keep the boys away from women and taught them that all women were evil and sinners.
Gein died on July 26, 1984 from respiratory and heart failure due to cancer.
Throughout Ed Gein's life, he exhibited a lot of odd behaviors. He had an over attachment to his domineering and abusive mother. He was also awkward which could be clearly seen when he talked to people and he didn't know how to act around people. He was impulsive when he killed his two victims when opportunity presented itself. His poor hygiene and unkempt appearance coupled with him boarding off whole sections of his house as a shrine to his deceased mother were also very disturbing symptoms.
Gein could be diagnosed with schizophrenia. Odd smirk, laughter at odd times, and odd answers to questions that seemed random or irrelevant were symptoms he showed which could be part of disorganized speech.
Most disturbing is that when he robbed graves or killed victims and skinned them, he wore their skin and sometimes would dance around elated with what he had done showing not a sign of remorse for his victims.
Gein's hallucinations can be classified under a delusional disorder. His hallucinations included a pile of leaves turning into a pile of evil laughing heads, hearing his mother’s voice, a buzzard staring him down, and awful smells. APA (2013) describes individuals with this disorder as having an irritable or dysphoric mood which can be seen by how Gein runs frightened by the hallucinations. The hallucination of smelling awful smells along with complaining of ailments that have no physical proof also fall under the somatic type of schizophrenia. Somatic schizophrenia occurs when delusions of bodily functions occur.
According to the APA (2013), Symptoms of schizophrenia must occur for at least a one month period and Delusions, hallucinations, or disorganized speech must be in the presence of other symptoms.
His lack of hygiene and blocking of sections of his house as a shrine suggest bipolar or depressive disorder but this is not so since these mood episode had little to do with his delusions or lasted for a very short period of time in his delusions.
Gein's domineering mother most likely played a role into developing his schizophrenia although one factor can usually not be blamed for it. Schizophrenia is usually inherited from your family. Gein wasn't really conscious of his awkward behavior such as laughing at inappropriate times or his babbling on unrelated subjects. These aspects could be considered as psychosis according to the APA (2013).
Anyone who had ever met Ed Gein would have said that he was very awkward. When he talked, his eyes would dart around and he would nervously clench his hands. Most people would just pass this off as shy but he also had a bad timing for laughter and usually had an awkward grin no matter what he talked about whether it was gruesome or not. Worst was the fact that people didn't know what Gein was talking about most of the time. He would talk about unrelated subjects to people and most people just labeled it as his crazy talk.
Henry and Ed Gein were fighting a brush fire one day when they supposedly got separated. Gein immediately went to the police to find his brother but when police returned to the site of the brush fire, Ed Gein somehow knew exactly where his brother was and pointed him out immediately. The search ended and upon exhuming the body, it was reported that it had bruises and no burn marks but it was found on burnt ground. The county coroner reported that Henry Gein died of asphyxiation. Gein was never questioned on this.
Impulsively killing his two victims shows signs of disorganized behavior. He felt no remorse for the killings and almost a responsibility to rid the earth of Mary Hogan since he thought of her as a perversion of his mother. Bernice Worden also looked like Gein's mother but he didn't hate her. In both cases the victims were killed in their place of business when no one was around and opportunity presented itself to Gein.
Gein was a sick man. He had a rough child hood growing up and when his mother died, he was haunted by his loneliness which intensified his illness. Although his mother was a bad parent (and his father almost a non-existent parent), she did keep him in line. The worst part about Gein's case is that he could have been caught so many times but his friends and neighbors just pretended that his symptoms were nothing and because of that, they allowed one of America's most infamous serial killers to develop. In all, don't ignore odd behaviors like disorganized speech and behavior. They can be clear symptoms of serious illnesses.