Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Eddie Gein

A Sexual Psychopath

Gein's sanity was in question and it was suggested that during trial he plead not guilty, by reason of insanity. Gein underwent a battery of psychological tests, which later concluded that he was indeed emotionally impaired. Psychologists and psychiatrists who interviewed him asserted that he was schizophrenic and a "sexual psychopath."

Crimelab Chief Charles Wilson and District Attorney Earl Kileen
Crimelab Chief Charles Wilson and
District Attorney Earl Kileen

His condition was attributed to the unhealthy relationship he had with his mother and his upbringing. Gein apparently suffered from conflicting feelings about women, his natural sexual attraction to them and the unnatural attitudes that his mother had instilled in him. This love-hate feeling towards women became exaggerated and eventually developed in to a full-blown psychosis.

While Eddie was undergoing further interrogation and psychological tests, investigators continued to search the land around his farm. Police discovered within Eddie's farmhouse the remains of ten women. Although Eddie swore that the remaining body parts of eight women were those taken from local graveyards, police were skeptical.

They believed that it was highly possible for the remains to have come from women Eddie may have murdered. The only way police could ascertain whether the remains came from women's corpses was to examine the graves that Eddie claimed he had robbed.

After much controversy about the morality of exhuming the bodies, police were finally permitted to dig up the graves of the women Eddie claimed to have desecrated. All of the coffins showed clear signs of tampering. In most cases, the bodies or parts of the bodies were missing.

Worden's hardware store, where evidence was collected
Worden's hardware store, where
evidence was collected

There would be another discovery on Eddie's land that would again raise the issue of whether Eddie did in fact murder a third person. On November 29th, police unearthed human skeletal remains on the Gein farm. It was suspected that the body was that of Victor Travis, who had disappeared years earlier. The remains were immediately taken to a crime lab and examined. Tests showed that the body was not that of a male but of a large, middle-aged woman, another graveyard souvenir.

Try as the police did, they could not implicate Eddie in the disappearance of Victor Travis or the three other people who had vanished years earlier in the Plainfield area. The only murders Eddie could be held responsible for were Bernice Worden and Mary Hogan.

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