History Uncovered

Episode 40 - Ed Gein, The Butcher Of Plainfield

April 8, 2022

Most people have seen Psycho, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and The Silence of the Lambs, all of them classics within the horror genre, anchored by some of the scariest villains in movie history. But what many don't know is that the terrifying killers depicted in all three of these iconic films were actually inspired by the same real-life murderer: Ed Gein, the Butcher of Plainfield. 


When police entered his home in Plainfield, Wisconsin on November 16, 1957, following the disappearance of a local woman, they had no idea they were walking straight into a house of horrors unlike almost anything else in history. Not only did they find the woman they were looking for — dead, decapitated, and hung from her ankles — but also a number of gruesome, stomach-churning objects, including a chair upholstered with human skin, and a window shade string fashioned out of human lips. 


What the police would soon learn is that Ed Gein had spent the last decade collecting human bodies — some belonging to those he’d killed himself — to use for his many twisted purposes. The main purpose, as he unashamedly explained to investigators, was simple: he wanted to create a suit out of human skin, which Ed could use to reconstruct his deceased mother. 


And that was just the tip of the iceberg. This is the story of Ed Gein, perhaps the most horrifying serial killer in American history. 

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