Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Your Daily Creepout: Ed Gein’s skull and human face mask

One of America’s most famous murderers, Ed Gein does not fit the definition of serial killer. Tried for only one murder and believed to be responsible for one more, Gein nonetheless inspired some of the most famous serial killers in film, including Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs.

It seems that Gein was more interested in mutilating human bodies than he was in killing people. He routinely dug up bodies from graveyards, cut them up and fashioned morbid crafts with their skin and bones. In 1957, Gein was arrested for the murder of hardware store owner Bernice Worden, whose headless body was found hanging upside down in Gein’s shed. A further search of his Plainfield, Wis., property yielded an assortment of human body parts, including a shoe box filled with vulvae, four noses, twelve female heads, a belt made out of nipples and bowls made from human skulls. One of these bowls and a mask made from a human face can be seen below.

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