Ed Gein Murders

Headlines from the Ed Gein murders (Stevens Point Daily Journal, via Newspapers.com)

Headlines from the Ed Gein murders (Stevens Point Daily Journal, via Newspapers.com)

Edward “Ed” Gein (1906-1984), also known as the “Butcher of Plainfield,” murdered two women in the 1950s and stole bodies from the local graveyard in Plainfield, Wisconsin. His victims were Mary Hogan (killed in 1954) and Bernice Worden (1957).

Gein, a middle-aged farmer and handyman, claimed to have been in a “dazed” state when he murdered his victims and stole cadaver parts from the graveyard. Even so, when Worden’s body was discovered in November 1957, her decapitated corpse was hanging upside down by the heels, badly mutilated. A human heart was found in a pot on the stove, leading investigators to suspect cannibalism.  

Among the stolen remnants of the fourteen cadavers found were ten heads, which had been skinned and preserved as masks. Remains of Mary Hogan, who had been missing since 1954, were also found, and Gein later confessed to killing her. In addition to the masks, other items in Gein’s home were also made from human skin, including a vest, chair upholstery, and belts, among others. Gein’s two murders, numerous grave robberies, and creation of clothing from human skin were said to be motivated by his desire to be a woman.

Gein was initially found unfit for trial. However, in 1968 he was convicted of the murder of Bernice Worden but found not guilty by reason of insanity. He spent the rest of his life in a mental institution and died in 1984.

Psycho (1960) and Silence of the Lambs (1991) are just two of the many films inspired by Gein’s life.

Learn more about the Ed Gein Murders through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.


Articles and Clippings about the Ed Gein Murders

"Woman's Disappearance Hints Slaying at Pine Grove Tavern" (murder of Mary Hogan, 1954) Thu, Dec 9, 1954 – Page 1 · Stevens Point Journal (Stevens Point, Portage, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Widow, 58, Found Slain" (murder of Bernice Worden, 1957) Sun, Nov 17, 1957 – 1 · The Journal Times (Racine, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Signs of 10 Victims at Farm; Police Probe Grisly Scene; Plainfield Stunned, Angry" Mon, Nov 18, 1957 – Page 1 · Stevens Point Journal (Stevens Point, Portage, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Arrest Farmer for Killing 11, Believe Victims Were Eaten" Mon, Nov 18, 1957 – 1 · News-Record (Neenah, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"State Man Confesses Killing, 'Thought He Butchered Deer'; 'In Daze; Robbed Graves for Heads'" Tue, Nov 19, 1957 – 1 · Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Sheriff Believes Mary Hogan Also Victim; Thinks Head, Face Among Remains" Tue, Nov 19, 1957 – Page 1 · Stevens Point Journal (Stevens Point, Portage, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.comPhoto of Ed Gein after being arrested in November 1957Photo of Ed Gein after being arrested in November 1957 Tue, Nov 19, 1957 – Page 1 · Stevens Point Journal (Stevens Point, Portage, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Gein Killed Two At Least, Belief; Mrs. Worden Buried Today" Wed, Nov 20, 1957 – Page 1 · Green Bay Press-Gazette (Green Bay, Brown, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Gein Also Admits He Killed Mary Hogan; Results of Lie Test Announced" Wed, Nov 20, 1957 – Page 1 · Stevens Point Journal (Stevens Point, Portage, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Lawyer Urges Early Sanity Test for Gein" Thu, Nov 21, 1957 – 1 · The Daily Telegram (Eau Claire, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Gein Pleads Innocent By Reason of Insanity; Judge to Decide on Mental Exam" Thu, Nov 21, 1957 – Page 1 · Stevens Point Journal (Stevens Point, Portage, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Bodies Are Missing from Two Graves in Plainfield Cemetery; Digging Done in Secrecy in Gein Case" Mon, Nov 25, 1957 – Page 1 · Green Bay Press-Gazette (Green Bay, Brown, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Goodbye, Gein! Mad Butcher to Criminally Insane Prison" Tue, Jan 7, 1958 – 1 · News-Record (Neenah, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Real Estate Dealers Buy Gein's Farm for Forest Planting Plot" Mon, Mar 31, 1958 – Page 18 · The La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Gein Farmhouse Leveled by Early Morning Blaze; Suspect It May Have Been Set" Thu, Mar 20, 1958 – Page 1 · Stevens Point Journal (Stevens Point, Portage, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"One Year Ago the Grisly Ed Gein Story Unfolded" Sat, Nov 15, 1958 – Page 9 · Stevens Point Journal (Stevens Point, Portage, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Gein Competent, Able to Be Tried; Gein Could be Free Man" Tue, Jan 16, 1968 – Page 1 · Neenah Menasha Northwestern (Oshkosh, Winnebago, Wisconsin) · Newspapers.comPhoto of Ed Gein at his 1968 preliminary hearingPhoto of Ed Gein at his 1968 preliminary hearing Wed, Jan 24, 1968 – 13 · The Post-Crescent (Appleton, Outagamie, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Ed Gein Trial Opens Thursday in Wautoma" Tue, Nov 5, 1968 – Page 3 · Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Gein Judged Insane After Murder Verdict; Ordered Returned to Central State Hospital, Waupun" Fri, Nov 15, 1968 – 1 · Manitowoc Herald-Times (Manitowoc, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com"Ed Gein Story Ends With His Death at 77" Thu, Jul 26, 1984 – 1 · Stevens Point Journal (Stevens Point, Portage, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.comPhoto of Mary Hogan, first victim of Ed Gein; murdered in 1954Photo of Mary Hogan, first victim of Ed Gein; murdered in 1954 Mon, Nov 18, 1957 – Page 1 · Stevens Point Journal (Stevens Point, Portage, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.comPhoto of Bernice Worden, Ed Gein's second victim, killed 1957Photo of Bernice Worden, Ed Gein's second victim, killed 1957 Thu, Nov 21, 1957 – 1 · Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Dane, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.comPhoto of Ed Gein, the Photo of Ed Gein, the "Butcher of Plainfield"; arrested for 2 murders and body snatching in 1957 Wed, Nov 20, 1957 – Page 1 · Stevens Point Journal (Stevens Point, Portage, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.comPhoto of Ed Gein's house, where remains of murdered women and cadavers were found in 1957Photo of Ed Gein's house, where remains of murdered women and cadavers were found in 1957 Mon, Nov 18, 1957 – Page 1 · Stevens Point Journal (Stevens Point, Portage, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.comPhoto of interior of shed on Ed Gein's property where Bernice Worden's body was discoveredPhoto of interior of shed on Ed Gein's property where Bernice Worden's body was discovered Tue, Nov 19, 1957 – Page 13 · The Oshkosh Northwestern (Oshkosh, Winnebago, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com
"Ed Gein Murders," Newspapers.com Topics (https://www.newspapers.com/topics/crimes-mysteries/ed-gein-murders/ : accessed January 20, 2019)
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