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A Particularly Gruesome Inspiration

Sometimes the most mundane things, can set me off on a blog post, on this occasion, it was a simple post on a Facebook group. Zoe from Powys Paranormal, one of the many FaceBook groups I frequent, posted up this image

Now my birthday is in May, looking at the image, I realise that its the Bates House, from the film "Psycho", in fact I do believe that all the houses on there, relate to horror films, although I could not name them all.

but May is most definately Norman Bates home address!!

Now, this set my tiny brain whirring, as I recalled something from the memory vaults

Its not so paranormal, but its a lovely gruesome tale, so I decided it might be fun to share it with you

Psycho, an excellent film, was based on a book, by an author called Robert Bloch

Bloch lived in Wisconsin, in fact he lived just 35 miles away from a town called Plainfield, and this is where our gruesome tale begins. Bloch had already begun his book, and was almost finished, when he heard some stories doing the rounds, about some murders that took place, down the road in Plainfield, some other strange stuff had been going on, there too. Rumour had it , that the murderer was making himself a set of women's clothes, so he could pretend to be his dead mother. Bloch, hearing this tale, inserted a line alluding to it, into one of the final chapters. The story was based on "the notion that the man next door may be a monster unsuspected even in the gossip-ridden microcosm of small-town life, He only discovered years after, just how close his book was, to the real life tale of one of America's most notorious murderers, so lets meet the real life "Psycho" His name, in case you had not already guessed, was Edward Theodore Gein, and here is his story.

Ed Gein, also known as "The Butcher of Plainfield" was always just a little bit unusual!!

His teachers and classmates at his elementary school recall him being shy but having strange mannerisms, such as bursting out in fits of laughter, apparently at his own internal monologue.

To make matters worse, his mother punished him whenever he tried to make friends. Despite his poor social development, he did fairly well in school, particularly in reading. Ed always did everything to try to make his mother happy, with little success. She often abused both Ed and Henry, believing that they were destined to become failures like their father, an abusive alcoholic who died of a heart attack in 1940.

His mother, Augusta, was fervently religious, she would reserve the afternoon, to spend hours with them reading segments from the bible, mostly Old Testament verses about death, murder, and divine retribution She preached to her boys about the innate immorality of the world, the evil of drinking, and her belief that all women (except herself) were naturally promiscuous and instruments of the Devil. During their teens and throughout their early adulthood, the boys remained detached from people outside of their farmstead, and only had each other for company,

On May 16, 1944, Henry and Ed were burning away marsh vegetation on the property, the fire got out of control, drawing the attention of the local fire department. By the end of the day – the fire having been extinguished and the firefighters gone – Ed reported his brother missing, a search party looked for Henry, whose dead body was found lying face down. Apparently, he had been dead for some time, and it appeared that the cause of death was heart failure since he had not been burned, but there were some bruises on his head The police dismissed the possibility of foul play and the county coroner later officially listed asphyxiation as the cause of death.The authorities accepted the accident theory, but no official investigation was conducted and an autopsy was not performed.Some suspected that Ed Gein had killed his brother.

Shortly after the death of his brother, Gein's mother suffered a paralysing stroke, and he devoted all of his time to looking after her. On December 29th 1945, at the age of 67, his mother had another stroke, and this one killed her. Ed was totally devastated by her death, and he found himself completely alone in the world.

Despite his loneliness, Gein remained on the farm, supporting himself with earnings from odd jobs. He boarded up rooms used by his mother, including the upstairs, downstairs parlor, and living room, leaving them untouched and pristine. He felt he wasn't "good enough" to live in the quarters of a "saint", so he confined himself to a small room next to the kitchen. To occupy his time, Ed became interested in reading death-cult magazines and adventure stories. It was also around this time that Gein decided he wanted a sex change, and began to create a "woman suit" so he could pretend to be a female. On November 16, 1957, after Plainfield hardware store owner Bernice Worden disappeared, police began a massive search to find her. Worden's son led investigators to Gein, saying that he had been in the store the evening before, telling Bernice he would return the following morning for a gallon of anti-freeze. A sales slip for a gallon of anti-freeze was the last receipt written by Worden on the morning she disappeared. Upon searching Gein's property, investigators discovered Worden's decapitated body in a shed, hung upside down by ropes at her wrists, with a crossbar at her ankles. The torso was "dressed out" like that of a deer. She had been shot with a .22-caliber rifle, and the mutilations were made after death. He was immediately arrested.

The Police began to search the house, which was by now, a complete and utter mess, and unearthed some truly horrifying items

Those discoveries include: whole and fragmented human bones, a wastebasket made of human skin, human skin covering several chair seats, skulls on his bedposts, mutilated female skulls, bowls made from human skulls, a corset made from a female torso skinned from shoulders to waist, leggings made from human leg skin, masks made from the skin of female heads, Mary Hogan’s (another victim of Gein’s) face mask in a paper bag, Mary Hogan’s skull in a box, Bernice Worden’s entire head in a burlap sack, Bernice Worden’s heart “in a plastic bag in front of Gein’s potbellied stove,” a belt made from female human nipples, four noses, a pair of lips on a window shade drawstring, a lamp shade made from the skin of a human face, cutlery made from human bones,and fingernails from female fingers.

Whilst being questioned, Gein admitted to police that he made as many as 40 nocturnal visits to three local cemeteries to exhume recently deceased bodies while in a "daze-like" state. He told authorities that on about 30 of those visits, he came out of the daze and left the cemetery empty-handed, having restored the graves to their original state. However, the other times, he stole bodies of middle-aged women, who he believed looked like his mother. and took them home, where he proceeded to tan their skins and make his sadistic paraphernalia, including lampshades, bowls, chairs, and must gruesome of all. a female body suit, this was essentially an attempt to rebuild his dead mother, and he often wore this “woman suit” to just chill and dance around his house…but also to dig up the bodies. Gein insisted he robbed nine graves and even took the investigators to their locations. They weren't totally sure Gein was even capable of such a thing, but they got all the answers they needed when they exhumed two of the graves and found them empty. Despite the rumours, to the contrary doing the rounds, Gein denied having sex with the bodies he exhumed, explaining that they "smelled too bad". During his interrogation, Gein also admitted to the shooting death of Mary Hogan, a tavern operator missing since 1954. Ed Gein pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and was declared unfit to stand trial. He was sent to the Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

He was retried once, after doctors believed he could participate in a trial, but was again declared mentally insane. He was confined to spend the rest of his life in a mental hospital, and died as one of history’s most disturbing serial killers at the Mendota Mental Health Institute at the age of 77 on July 26, 1984.

Gein's gruesome tale has gone on to inspire other Hollywood films, not only inadvertently providing the background tale for Norman Bates in "Psycho'

He has also provided inspiration for the villains or perhaps I should call them monsters, in a few other films...Leather Face in the "Texas Chain Saw Massacre," and who could forget , Buffalo Bill in "Silence of the Lambs" who like Gein, was making his own female body suit.

Hard to believe such horrors, could be found in reality, but there they are, in Ed Gein's somewhat gruesome life story So next time you are visiting that creepy "abandoned" old house, or wandering around in graveyards after dark, just watch out for lonely looking old men, acting a bit strangely!!!

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