This Is How Ed Gein Was Really Captured

Deranged killer Ed Gein was notorious for being a necrophiliac who skinned the bodies of his victims to make clothing and furniture. The wild nature of his crimes inspired a wave of horror movies and books that are cemented in pop culture today, such as The Silence of the Lambs and Psycho. But it all started on a Wisconsin farm in the 1950s.

Gein spent most of his childhood on this farm land, living with his parents and brother, and spent most of his life there, rarely leaving, except for school. In the early 1940s the family lost their patriarch when his father, George, died, leaving behind the brothers and their mother. Their upbringing under her guidance was considered to be controlling and iron-fisted, per Biography. And apparently, she taught her sons to have what can be considered problematic views, based on her religious beliefs. By 1945, Ed was the last living member of his immediate family. His mother died that year, and his brother had died in a sketchy fire the year before, says History.

Gein begins his deviance and murder streak

Gein had grown up on the farm, secluded from society, and he remained there after the death of his mother. But after her death he spiraled downhill. It is believed that during this time period Gein was grieving, but also honed his sick and depraved nature. He would later confirm to police that he visited graveyards to recover the bodies of dead women. Gein is said to have defiled the corpses, dismembered parts and preserved organs, and skinned them to wear, according to History.

But it's possible no one would have known what he was up to until a local woman who ran a hardware store went missing in 1957. Shop owner Bernice Worden vanished in November that year. Her son, a police officer, began investigating her disappearance and suspected one person in particular: Gein. Despite Gein keeping to himself on his farm, locals mostly knew him to be an odd loner, and it raised suspicion. He was the last known person seen with Worden, and had even attempted to invite her out on a date days prior (via Newspapers). When he was spotted driving her pickup truck, he became the main suspect in her disappearance.

Police capture Ed Gein

When police descended on his farm house, what they found was one of the most shocking crime scenes. A trail of blood led to a shed on the property. Not only did they find Bernice Worden, who was dead and hanging inside the shed, they also found the severed head of Mary Hogan, who went missing in 1954. Investigators eventually determined that both Worden and Hogan's deaths were caused by a gunshot.

Investigators would also discover the body parts of other women in different parts of Gein's house. Police recovered various "household items" actually made from human remains. They included things like a belt made up of nipples, human skulls as bowls, chairs made of skin, and more, per Listverse. The skulls of 10 women were found on his property, but police believe the parts he defiled came from a total of 15 women, some whom were never identified. Gein was found at a neighbor's house. He was then arrested and charged.

Gein would admit to killing Worden and Hogan, the grave robbing, and his warped practice of skinning and wearing human flesh. He spent the rest of his life in a mental institution, until he died in 1984 (via Biography).

Decider reports that Discovery+ will stream the documentary Ed Gein: The Real Psycho beginning April 9.