Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Soon cops will raid Edward Gein's house, and what they find there won't just disturb them, it'll break them. Many will never be the same after that, but today, Edward scoops one last spoonful of soup from a bowl he's fashioned from a human skull. He then empties the remnants of the soup into a wastebasket made from skin. Today is a big day for Ed; he's finally finished stitching together a very special suit he's made. Illuminated by the light of a lamp that's covered with what looks like faces, Ed first slips on a pair of leggings that look like, er, legs. Next, he slips into his corset, a garment that once served as part of the torso of a woman. He pulls everything tight with a belt decorated with, you guessed it, bits of what used to be a person. He's almost ready now, there's just one last piece to his new outfit to put on: a human face mask. He looks in the mirror and thinks, “Perfect.” He's finally become his mother; his masterpiece is complete. Reeling with joy, he runs into the garden and dances under a full moon. We are talking now about possibly the strangest serial killer to have ever walked the planet. His story is like no other. Ed was truly unique in his depravity, and that's why he's inspired movies such as “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” and “Silence of the Lambs”. But if there's one movie that fits Ed's life like a glove, it's “Psycho.” We are sure you'll agree after you've watched this story that Mr. Edward Gein was a true American psycho. The question is, how did he get away with his crimes for so long. Did no one in that small town of his not wonder if there was anything a little bit strange about the man? His entire house was full of things made from human body parts. To do that he needed quite the stock of bodies. How did he get them? How did he manage to do it without the local cops noticing? But first, let's go back in time and talk about the young Ed. How did a young man become such a monster, a guy that would become known as the “Butcher of Plainfield?” Edward Theodore Gein was born on August 27, 1906, in a place called La Crosse County in the state of Wisconsin. His parents, George and Augusta, had one other son named Henry. Life wasn't easy for the family. George couldn't hold down a job for long and support his wife and sons for the simple fact he devoted much of his time to something other than his family. That thing was whiskey. Augusta, someone who you might call a controlling matriarch, wasn't happy with the life she had. To try and improve matters, she made the decision to move the family across counties to the small rural village of Plainfield. There they would work on an isolated farm, barely ever seeing the 700 or so other residents of the village. The two boys went to the local school, but it seemed to the teachers that there was something wrong with the boys. Ed had this habit of just laughing out loud for no good reason. He didn't have many friends, and even if he did make friends his mother would soon put a stop to the relationship. You see, to understand Ed's later behavior you really need to know a thing or two about his mother. She might have had an alcoholic husband who often returned home stinking of the demon liquor, a man who could barely put food on the table, but she was no angel herself. She not only despised her own husband, but she despised everyone besides her kids. The only reason she didn't ask for a divorce was that it went against her religious beliefs. When not in school both Ed and Henry weren't allowed off the farm. Augusta's reasoning was that most people were evil. She preached to the boys daily about the depravity of mankind, reading chapters from the bible about the fires of hell awaiting most folks. She told her kids that those who take to the bottle will meet with eternal damnation. She told them that women were loose, they couldn't be trusted, and they too would one day have a date with the devil. Of course, Augusta said she was not one of those women. She was moral. She had committed herself to God. Her bible was her blueprint for life. We don't need to tell you that this kind of overbearing mothering isn't great for kids, especially when you throw demons and hellfire into the mix. We'll get to the crimes soon, but you need to know a little bit more about Ed's pre-skin-suit life. The whisky eventually killed George when Ed and Henry were in their thirties. After that, both men worked on the farm and did odd jobs around the village to make ends meet. They did handiwork for locals, but something Ed really enjoyed doing was babysitting. Yep, the Butcher of Plainfield was great with kids, likely because his own development had been arrested due to his mother's strictness. This is what one of the townsfolks actually said about Ed's way with kids, “Good old Ed. Kind of a loner and maybe a little bit odd with that sense of humor of his, but just the guy to call to sit in with the kiddies.” And get this, people still sent their kids to stay with Ed long after his mother died. Some of those kids told their parents that they'd seen shrunken heads and strange masks around his house, but the parents dismissed this as the kids being over-imaginative. So, Augusta still had a firm grip on Ed's mind even though the child had grown into a man. Henry had at least managed to get into a relationship with a local woman, but Ed was still too attached to his mom to think about another woman. Henry would actually talk to others about how Ed was way too obsessed with their religious zealot of a mom, and when Ed heard this, he wasn't too happy. He didn't want to hear anyone talking badly about Augusta. With that in mind, what happened when Ed was 38-years-old might not surprise you. There was a huge fire at the farm. Firefighters were called and managed to quell the flames, and then they left. Ed later called the police department and told the cops he couldn't find his brother. A search party went out at night with their lanterns glowing all over the farm and they eventually found Henry. He was dead. He wasn't burned at all, he was just lying on the ground with his face in the mud. Surprisingly, the cops said no foul play. The coroner said Henry had died of asphyxiation. He said that even though it appeared Henry had been hit over the head with something. Was is it Ed who killed Henry? Did Ed want to be the sole benefactor of his mother's adoration? Most people now think yes. Had the cops worked a little bit harder they likely could have prevented the rise of the monster. Not long after Henry's downfall, Augusta suffered a terrible stroke that left her paralyzed. Now Ed had to play nurse for his mother, with her shouting orders as her devoted son ran around doing all the jobs in the house. Nothing Ed could do could save her. She had another stroke soon after and died. To say the least, the adoring son of that bible-waving beast was devastated. The house just got messier and messier, but not in one room. Ed kept his mother's room as clean as possible, making it into a shrine for her. He also boarded up many of the other rooms in the house, with his main room being the kitchen. He still babysat from time to time, but his biggest joy was reading books about Japanese and German atrocities during the second world war. He also had a thing for detective pulp fiction, books back then that often included gory stories of cannibalism in the Pacific. Ed managed to get by doing odd jobs and he also enjoyed a windfall from some land he sold that had once been his brother's. What the locals in the village didn't know at this time was that Ed had lost his head. The death of his mother had traumatized him to the extent he was dangerously psychotic. He had become deranged and there was no going back. We don't know the exact time when Ed started playing around with corpses, but it's thought that during the late forties and early fifties he was gravedigging and killing. He'd sometimes wait until someone had been buried and then he'd sneak off to the graveyard in the middle of the night and exhume the corpse. He's now called a necrophiliac serial killer, which means he gratified himself sexually with the bodies before he got to work on making things from them. Let's now fast-forward in time and tell you about what the cops saw when they entered the property and had the shock of their lives, a shock some people say killed the local sheriff. What he saw that day was so terrible, so unthinkable, he was overwhelmed with feelings of disgust, horror, and sadness. He died soon after from heart failure. It was the deputy sheriff that first arrived on the property. He opened a barn door and before his eyes, he saw a dead woman hanging upside down from a beam. To him, she looked like an animal that had been killed and was in the process of being butchered. She had already been split down the middle and her internal organs had been removed. It was enough to make the cop vomit on the spot. Her head had been removed and the tendons in her ankles had been cut and a rod thread through them. It sure was a sight to behold. Worst still, the police found her head in a burlap bag. Ed had driven a nail in each of her ears and fastened string to them as if to make a kind of hanging trophy. There was much worse to come. The rest of the police department arrived on the scene. Now it was time to check the rooms of the main house. In the kitchen, they discovered Ed had likely been thinking about doing some cooking. On the stove was the heart of a woman, kept next to a bunch of cooking pots. Cops would later say Ed was no doubt a cannibal as well as a necrophile, and what really turned the stomachs of the townsfolks was that they'd often eaten packages of meat Ed had given them. Did that make them cannibals, too? Inside the houses, they found stacks of human bones. They found at least ten severed heads. Some of those heads had had the faces peeled off them. They ended up becoming Ed's face mask collection. To make them more realistic he'd adorned some of their lips with lipstick. One of the cops who saw those masks remarked that the people were very recognizable. One of the faces of a recent victim had only just been removed and Ed had placed that one in a paper bag. The cops weren't anywhere near finished with their search. They found the skin wastebasket we told you about. They found chairs with human skin coverings. There were skulls with the tops sawn off; female genitals stored in a shoebox; they found noses, lips attached to a drawstring, female fingernails, a human skin lampshade, skulls on bedposts, and of course Ed's piece de resistance, his human body suit, replete with the breasts of a woman. So after his arrest, how did Ed explain himself? He admitted that he'd robbed the graves of women. He wanted his mother back and making things from the body parts of women was kind of like having his mother around all of the time. By making a woman suit he could actually become his mother. It turned out that those kids had been right and indeed Ed had kept shrunken heads in his house. One kid, a 16-year-old who sometimes went to see ball games with Ed, said Ed had always told him the heads and faces were all stuff he'd collected that had come from the Philippines. That wasn't true; they were all local women. Cops did wonder how a man could dig up a grave all by himself in just one night, but when they went to the graves of the victims sure enough the women or most of the women were missing from their coffins. Occasionally Ed would take what he needed from the body and later return the body parts he wasn't interested in. So, what led the police to Ed's house in the first place? That was because the police went to a local store and found a trail of blood, the blood of a woman named Bernice Worden. Ed had shot her and slit her throat and then he'd proceeded to drag her body out of the store and take it to his house. Hers was the body hanging from that beam and Ed had literally left a trail of blood for police to follow. The cops also found out from Bernice's son that Ed had been in the store the day before and said he'd come back in a day to buy a gallon of antifreeze. On the floor of the store, the cops found a bloodied receipt for a gallon of antifreeze. Ed didn't immediately admit to this crime, but the cops used a tried and tested technique to get him to confess. It was simple enough. They just made him look at the corpse of the woman he had killed and mutilated and in the end, he cracked. He also admitted to killing a tavern-keeper he knew well, a woman named Mary Hogan. A mask made from her face was found in his house. At first, the cops didn't believe that all those body parts in Ed's house had been robbed from graves. What they thought they had on their hands was one of the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history, but as we said, Ed told them about the graves he'd robbed, and he wasn't lying. He also said he only killed people when the ground was so hard from the cold it made exhuming bodies impossible. He guessed his grave-robbing lasted from 1947 to 1952, and he added that at times he'd been helped by a man named Gus who'd stopped helping Ed when he was forced to live in a home for the elderly. We probably don't need to tell you that the Wisconsin State Crime Lab had never heard a story like this before. At first, Ed was reluctant to open up to investigators, but the longer he was with them the more he talked. They listened as he explained the thing he liked to do the most was put on his tanned skin suit, don one of his face masks, put female sex organs over his male sex organs, and then run around in the garden, especially when it was a full moon. That may sound about as crazy as crazy can get, but with only two murders under his belt, how come Ed Gein is called a serial killer. Isn't it three or more kills that gets a person into the serial killer hall of infamy? Well, it's generally thought Ed killed quite a few more people. Remember he lived in a pretty remote area, and so when we tell you that other people went missing around places where Ed frequented, well, the cops thought he was likely behind those disappearances. Police found the genitals of girls in Ed's house and it's now believed that they belonged to some missing local girls.