Killer Countdown Day 1: Meet Ed Gein — Your Neighbor With Mommy Issues

The 20th century saw some of the most prolific serial killers in history. While not all of them had sky-high body counts, the details of their atrocities substantiate this claim. The first serial killer that we’re going to cover in this series is a sick, sadistic man by the name of Ed Gein.

Ed Gein had some serious mommy issues.


Gein exhibited signs of psychological impairment from a young age, but he snapped when his mother died in 1945.

While Gein technically only killed two people, he developed a nasty habit of grave robbing after his mother died.


When he was arrested, Gein admitted to making 40 trips to local graveyards in the years after his mother died. Gein said that during his trips he was often in a “daze” of sorts. During about 30 of those trips he snapped out of it en route to the cemetery and went home. The other times he dug up the bodies of recently buried middle aged women that he thought resembled his mother.

You see, shortly after his mother died, Gein decided that he wanted a sex change.


For Gein, the closest thing he could come to a sex change was creating “women suits” from the skin of the bodies he dug up. Gein would bring the bodies to his home, skin them, and then tan the skin so it could be molded into suits, which he wore regularly. It’s unclear exactly how many suits were found in Gein’s home. He admitted to robbing nine grave in total. But skin suits weren’t the only thing police found when they arrested him…

When Gein was arrested in 1957 for murdering a local hardware store employee, police discovered an insane collection of items made from human body parts. Here are just a few of the macabre items that they found.


This disturbing necklace was made from human tongues.


He made this belt from a bunch of human nipples.


These were Gein’s work gloves…which were also made from human skin.


Investigators came across boxes full of rotting body parts.


Various pieces of furniture inside Gein’s home were crafted from skin and body parts, like this trunk.


The killer took up the art of upholstery so that he could cover the furniture he already had with flesh. Police even found a lampshade made out of skin.

Despite an abundance of dead bodies in his house Gein claimed that he never had sex with any of them. The reason? “They smelled too bad,” he said.


Luckily for Gein, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.


He spent the rest of his life in a psychiatric facility until he died from heart failure in 1984.

With killers like Ed Gein, I always wonder if they would have turned out to be murderers if their circumstances had been different. Is this kind of sickness the product of nature, or is this psychopathy nurtured by one’s surroundings? We’ll probably never know.