Mad Butcher of Plainfield
Mad Butcher of Plainfield
Ed Gein was a quiet, eccentric man who was considered odd but friendly by most Plainfield residents. He lived on an isolated farm outside of town in the dilapidated house he’d spent most of his life in. He was a handy man, helping out neighbors and babysitting their children. No one knew that in the years after his mother died in 1945, he had been visiting local cemeteries, digging up freshly buried remains, and using them to make ghastly craft projects. It wasn’t until November 16, 1957, when the body of hardware store owner Bernice Worden was discovered in his home, that the true horrors he had been committing finally came to light.
Gein died in 1984 and was buried in Plainfield Cemetery with the rest of his family, surrounded by graves he had once robbed. It’s been a long time, and yet the legacy of his deranged crimes continues to fascinate and horrify us.
Ed Gein’s farm was located several minutes west of Plainfield on the corner of Archer and 2nd Ave. The house mysteriously burned down just before the auction of Gein’s estate was held in March of 1958 following rumors it was going to be purchased and turned into a “House of Horrors” attraction. The property was bought at the auction by a local man named Emden Schey, who had the barn and other remaining buildings torn down. Workers found human bones on the land in the early 1960s. Today, the Gein house is just an empty, overgrown lot and is private property.
You can find Ed Gein’s grave in Plainfield Cemetery beside his brother Henry, mother Augusta, and father George. He was buried there following his death in 1984. His grave has been unmarked since the gravestone was stolen in 2000. It was recovered by Seattle police the following year and returned to Plainfield, but authorities declined to put it back on display as they believed it would likely be stolen again.
Ed Gein is known to have murdered 2 women. The body of Bernice Worden was found in his home the same day she went missing from her hardware store on November 16, 1957. During the subsequent search of Gein’s house, the face of tavern owner Mary Hogan was discovered. Her disappearance in 1954 had been unsolved. Gein may have been involved in additional disappearances, but they were never conclusively linked to him. Most of the human remains found in his home were never identified.
The unofficial Ed Gein museum is the Waushara County Historical Museum in Wautoma. At the time of Gein’s arrest in 1957, the building had been the Waushara County jail, and the cell where he was placed is still there and open to the public. Some of Gein’s belongings may also be on display. Though rare, artifacts related to Gein can be found in private and public collections around the country. Most notable is the haunted cauldron on display at the Haunted Museum in Las Vegas.