The Ghoul of Plainfield
Edward Theodore Gein was born on August 8, 1906. He and his family moved to a farm near Plainfield, Wisconsin. His father was an alcoholic who was always either drinking or working. Since the father was not an active part of his children’s lives, the mother was the dominant parent. Augusta Gein was devoutly religious and raised her two sons with an iron fist. To her, everything was a sin, but sex was the worst sin of them all.
She did not allow her children to have any social relationships, especially not with the opposite sex. Gein’s father passed away in 1940. Four years later, his brother, Henry was killed while trying to fight a marsh fire (There is speculation that Ed killed his brother due to the strange circumstances and the inexplicable bruising on the back of his brother’s head). Ed had developed an ambivalent attitude towards his mother; on one hand, he loved and adored her, on the other, he resented her for disabling him from having a normal relationship with a woman. The year of Henry’s death, Augusta had a stroke. Ed cared for her until a second stroke killed her in 1945. The death of his mother symbolized the loss of all that was familiar to him and was the onset of his deviant behavior.
Edward Gein is a typical example of what is known as a “Disorganized Killer.” According to the FBI profiling manual, this type of killer is usually of average intelligence or below. He
has difficulty maintaining a job, usually because he is mimicking his father’s poor work ethic. People in this category are socially inept and are loners. Many of them are sexually incompetent. The crimes of a disorganized killer are just that, disorganized. The murders are very impulsive and not pre-meditated.
The killer usually lives or works near the scene of the crime and targets a neighbor or local acquaintance. Since the attacker usually knows the victim, he attempts to depersonalize the victim. The killer does this by covering and/or defacing the victim. Little or no effort is made to hide the crime or clean the site of the crime; everything is left as is. Because of this, clues are often left at the crime scene. The killer executes his victims quickly, usually via a gun. The killer is not familiar with having a sexual relationship with a living woman, so any mutilation or sexual abuse is committed after the victim is dead.