Real Horror – Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Ed Gein. You and many others may not recognise the name, but he’s the “inspiration” behind the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films. His evil deeds served as a model for many of the greatest villains: Norman Bates, LEATHERFACE, and the crazed killer, Buffalo Bill from “Silence of the Lambs”.
Ed, born Edward Theodore Gein on August 27 1906, had a rather troublesome early life, living with his mother, older brother and abusive and alcoholic father in isolation near Plainfield, Wisconsin. His father died in 1940 caused by his alcoholism and his older brother in 1944 caused by asphyxiation after a fire broke out after burning away marsh vegetation on their property. It is suspected that Ed killed his brother due to the nature of his death – especially as the body was neither burned or injured otherwise.
It was soon after his mothers death, the one true love in his life, in 1945 that Ed became troubled. He boarded up rooms used by his mother, including the upstairs, downstairs parlor and living room, leaving them untouched. From then on he lived in a small room next to the kitchen in squalid conditions. He started reading death-cult magazines and stories involving cannibals and nazis.
It wasn’t until 1957 that Gein was suspected of something more. After the death of hardware store owner Bernice Worden, her son told the police that Gein had been to the store some time before and was going to come back the next morning. The police visited Gein’s property and it was here that they found a host of female body parts and tokens.
Some items found inside the house included: a wastebasket made of human skin, skulls on his bedposts, a belt made from female human nipples, nine vulvae in a shoe box and a lampshade made from the skin of a human face.
When questioned by the police, Gein told them that between 1947 and 52 he made more than 40 trips to the local cemetery to exhume recently buried bodies. The bodies were those of females who died at a similar age to that of his mother some years earlier. By grave robbing these women Gein stated that he wanted to create a suit so that he could look like his mother – literally crawl into her skin.
Gein was found mentally incompetent and unfit to stand trial and was sent to Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. In 1968 he was found fit to stand trial and he was found guilty of first-degree murder. In a second trial to deal with his sanity, Gein was committed to Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane after it being ruled he was not guilty by reason of insanity. He spent the rest of his life in mental institutions and died of respiratory failure due to lung cancer at the age of 77 in Stovall Hall at the Mendota Mental Health Institute in 1984.