Over the next week we’ll be pulling some interesting pages from The Worst of While You Were Sleeping in an effort to encourage you to go out and buy the book.
I had been fascinated by serial killers for years, and on a trip to Milwaukee, WI, I visited the bars where Jeffrey Dahmer used to pick up his victims. One day, Ben and I were sitting around talking about awesome ways to kill people and awesome ways to dispose of their bodies, and we decided we should write about serial killers in this magazine I had somehow just started. We could write whatever we wanted; no one was going to edit us.
I can’t remember if it was supposed to be a reoccurring column or not, but it turned out to be WYWS’ longest running column, and we ended up covering more than just Americans. There are a lot of admirable European sickos out there too.
- Roger Gastman
AMERICANS I MOST ADMIRE: ED GEIN
By Ben Shupe
Picture this: La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1906. A little boy named Edward Gein was born. Heard of him? Well, let me tell you a little story about Ed.
Gein’s father was a raging alcoholic for most of the day. On the rare occasion that he was sober, he held jobs as a local tanner and a carpenter. He also found time to keep up the family farm. While Ed’s father was outside playing with the livestock, Gein’s uptight, overbearing, religious zealot of a mom was inside on her knees praying to God for the slow and painful death of her husband. She didn’t like men. Hell, she hated women just as much. Ed and his brother Henry were taught that women were nothing more than schemers and whores who would separate the family. They were also taught that premarital sex was a sin, and so was marriage. In fact, the two brothers were forbidden to marry. No problem though, Ed had masturbation! Shit, when Ed’s mom finally died in 1945—not long after his father and brother’s deaths—the coroner found cum stains all over his mothers face!
When Ed was finally alone in the world, he began to question his own sexuality. He considered slicing his own dick off on several occasions after hearing how much a sex-change operation would cost. He also started reading medical books about the female anatomy—basically forcing himself to get interested in women—and books that chronicled the experiments that the Nazis conducted on Jews inside the concentration camps.
Ed qualified for a government subsidiary, which basically meant the farm wasn’t shit to him anymore. In the meantime, Ed would babysit for all the parents of Plainfield, Wisconsin. He would always supply them with pounds and pounds of fresh venison. People thought that having a man in his mid- to late 30s babysitting was pretty fucked, but hey, free food and a night alone.
Over the years, Ed became very curious of how a real female body worked so he often robbed graves. He stored roughly 15 bodies behind the house in a tool shed. After playing with them for a while, he found that they weren’t very good learning tools and decided to dice up a couple broads to fulfill his learning requirements. But Ed wasn’t too careful about covering up his tracks. After a bunch of girls turned up missing, the pigs came a knockin’.
Guess what they found at Casa de Gein? Four noses in a cup on the kitchen counter; several bowls made from the top halves of human skulls; lamp shades, wastebaskets and an armchair all covered with human skin; a refrigerator stocked full of various organs and body parts; a shoebox containing nine vulvas—these are just a sample of their finds. They also found a “woman suit” made out of various body parts that Ed wore to dance under the moonlight. This suit consisted of a woman’s scalp and face, with a skinned-out vest that had breasts. The bottom part of the suit had a strap-on vagina.
As police were wrapping up their search of the Gein complex, they stumbled upon the tool shed. Inside, an elderly local woman’s gutted, headless body hung from the rafters. Several other bodies were scattered throughout the shed, and police also found two freshly cut vaginas that could not be linked to any of the bodies at the scene. Police believe that they belonged to two hikers that were walking near Ed’s house before they vanished.
On January 16, 1958, Gein was found criminally insane by the state of Wisconsin and sent to the nut house indefinitely. That wraps up my little story. I guess he touched a lot of people with his escapade. The movies Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the character Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs were all based on Ed. In 1984, Ed died in the asylum with a smile on his face. To the people of Plainfield who enjoyed a couple nice dinners on account of Ed’s generosity, well, Ed never killed a deer in his life.
Originally printed in WYWS Issue #2