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Reason First: Fresh Flesh-Serial Killer Ed Gein

by Skyler Saunders about a year ago in guilty

This is the man thought to be the real “Buffalo Bill.”

Hollywood has made Ed Gein quite the source material for a number of films including Psycho (1960), the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991) to name just a few. What would make writers, directors and producers so interested in this homicidal maniac? One would have to start with the fact that he transitioned.

In the beginning, Gein would rob graves. He’d dig up the bodies and cut off pieces from the corpses and save them as trophies. Then he grew tired of this ritual. He wanted “fresh flesh.”

His thirst for human skin knew no bounds. He would slice off noses, genitalia, hands, feet, and organs like the heart. He fashioned lamp shades and belts and skulls adorned a bed. He kept at least fifteen bodies in a refrigerator and the female torso of a woman named Bernice Worden.

All of this led to Gein’s incarceration in an asylum for the criminally insane. But what was the root cause behind such horrific crimes? What spurred Gein to commit the despicable acts? Once again, ideation came into play during Gein’s monstrous life.

Was his a painful or cruel upbringing? No, not necessarily. Gein’s mother Augusta was a religious nut and very strict but neither she nor her husband George ever, as reported, verbally or physically or sexually abused Gein. So that’s put to the side. Was it the school children who teased him? There have been reports that some of the kids teased Gein for laughing to himself in class but there is no mention of bullying or taunting.

Gein just had bad ideas. Evil ideas. He wanted to up the ante on the past slayers of days gone away. In Plainville, Wisconsin in 1957, Gein formulated in his mind to destroy as many corpses and finally the living with his ghastly way of dealing with people.

Ideation created in Gein a system of saying that he could do anything that he felt like doing. Instead of applying thought and reason and overall decency, he stooped to the level of a beast in the streets. Gein’s ideas of murder and mayhem stem from his own daydreams and nightmares. The feelings in his head, the emotions, they overpowered his logical thinking process.

As awful as his ideas were, they came from his failure to properly integrate his inchoate thoughts into something constructive and productive. All that he had to do was simple farm work. This way of life would have provided a moral foundation for his endeavors. Instead of taking lives and performing ugly acts against the bodies, Gein could’ve been a noble farmer.

His incarceration was justified to put him within a system to analyze his psychiatric status. Professionals studied his every action and kept him under lock and key to prevent him from going out and committing more atrocities. His inability to cope with the many too many ideas that swirled around in his head led him to be imprisoned physically and mentally. By just taking the time to peer into his world revealed that he officially killed Worden and another woman named Mary Hogan.

As doctors examined Gein’s consciousness, this led to his permanent incarceration in a maximum security prison/hospital where he died in 1984.

There existed no hearing before his death to declare him insane. Instead, he was found guilty of first-degree murder and embraced his fate.

But in all of this, ideation formed the reason behind Gein’s wickedness. He had been feeling that he should be committing his foul deeds. No abuse, no bullying, no witness to horrendous acts of violence ever cropped up Gein’s youth. Only ideas informed his decisions to act as a savage.


Skyler Saunders

I am a forever young, ego-driven, radical hipster from Delaware. Investor. Objectivist for life. Instagram: @skylerized


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