The character of Ed Gein was a deep significance to my babysitter, and in a monologue of openness and immediacy she achieved a poignant description of his covert life to me, essential to the whole brutality of his doings, to include his lack of humanity, and his bamboozling those around him, in some kind of display of joviality, his lack of compassion penetrated my pores, stained the surface of my skin. To Elisabeth La Rose, her lady friend was of sound mind, quick, and optimistic, the same as she described her friend Ed, whom would come to visit her somewhat regularly, but sparsely.
This was a time the Midwestern cities became filled with fear, during the mid to late fifties, because of a landslide of slayings by some madman. iescort This was the Eisenhower Days, the first age after World War Two, and the Korean Conflict, the Cold War was in the makings, and the once reserved, courageous, and proud period, was diminishing. It was a time, unspeakable and remote, for Minnesota and Wisconsin. The depth in time to which this story reaches back is unforgettable, and was conveyed in the newspapers, on the radio and television, to no end.
I remember well the richness of those younger days, and in particular how Mrs. La Rose dropped me and my brother and her boy Jerome off at school, St. Louis School, in the center of the city of St. Paul. When she came to pick me up, and her son Jerome, from school this one late afternoon, in which she would drive me home usually, she was nearly in tears, speaking her thought aloud in her bewilderment. When she explained what the matter was, the essence of the subject, what had happened, a spell of youth was broken inside of me, and I was but ten-years old at the time. Evil was born, forever-and it was, and it would remain so.
I thought; I stammered inside my body, mechanically -as now my memory reaches back. She said, “Caroline was friends to Ed Gin, you know, the one they captured, who killed all those women, and she didn’t even know it was him doing the killings,” so she declared to me. All I really knew was those words she was speaking belonged to this iron madman, from hell that was all over the media. But then she added something to her monologue, and he become permanently personified as equal to the devil himself to me, “Ed would bring steaks down to Caroline, wrapped in brown paper-quite neatly, off and on, he had for the past year and a half done this, and she said they were delicious steaks, and two days ago she found out…” and Mrs. La Rose hesitated, paused, looked at me as to see if I was mentally prepared for the rest of her monologue, saying:
“…and she found out how he got them. She’d ate them, those steaks, had some left in her refrigerator, and the police officers took them as evidence, I expect for evidence, and she found out they were human protein (meat), and now she’s in the hospital near delirious.”
The misfortune of his life cannot be-by no means figured out solely in the rendering of his character or nature, or morbid fiber, for he was condemned to live trapped inside his own body and mind, cursed, brought captive before his own demons. But for the slayings of all those women, all those families that had to endure suffer, that was the real misfortune; and to a ten-year old boy, with far less power to understand, it was a compellingly realistic picture, an event that would never be forgotten.
Part II: Ed’s Story
The Real Edward Gein
The story untold within the above story (my story, Part I), I shall tell it in brief now, Ed’s Story. Edward Gein was born 1906, he died 1984, at the age of 78-years old. He remained in a mental hospital for 37-years. He lived in a farmhouse near the town of Plainfield, in Central Wisconsin (population 680 at the time). He has been alleged to have killed 15-women. On one cold weekend, in November of 1957, Mr. Gein was captured, and his woodshed checked out and there was found body parts of women, along with one woman who was gutted like a deer, hanging from a rafter by chains. Inside the farmhouse-moments prior to his capture, he was in the process of cooking on the stove human flesh. His lampshades were made of human skin, as was his furniture. He had nine skin faced masks; in certain rooms there were human bones found.
In addition to being a murderer, he robbed graveyards for bodies-female bodies; he was reared by his mother to despise if not hate, women. And so we see in a way, he was experimenting with female organs and body parts, even shrunken heads.
Like the famous movie “Psycho,” of 1959, Ed Gein, had a similar mother-son relationship (Ed’s mother had died in 1945, his father prior to that and his one and only brother, in a fire).
He, Ed Gein, was considered by his neighbors as a little man, a bit odd but harmless and simple, even timid, a farmer on a two-hundred acre farm, who kept a very dark house, when observed from a distance.