On November 16th, 1957 police found the gutted and decapitated body of a missing hardware store owner inside the rundown farmhouse of local handyman Ed Gein. Since the death of his mother Augusta in 1945, Gein had been living an isolated and lonely life outside the small town of Plainfield. As authorities soon discovered, he had taken up certain ghoulish hobbies to fill the emptiness in his life after Augusta’s passing.
For some of us growing up in Wisconsin, the tragic and terrible life of Ed Gein is something of a nightmarish bedtime story – a real monster, right in our own backyard.
But there’s more to Gein’s story than the average serial killer. Gein was a damaged man, broken by the wicked ways of his overbearing Christian mother so that he had little more than a tenuous grasp on reality by the time she died.
I’ve spent years researching, writing, and photographing the story of Ed Gein. Here is some of that work.