One man is responsible for largely influencing the creation of some of the most famous fictional characters in cinematic horror history. The characters: Norman Bates (Psycho), Jame Gumb (Silence of the Lambs) and Leatherface (Texas Chain Saw Massacre) are all influenced by a man named Theodore “Ed” Gein. Gein became infamous for his hobbies of murder and graveyard robbery, but it was only after the discovery of what he did with these bodies that he became notorious.
In 1957 Gein was a suspect in the disappearance of local hardware store owner Bernice Worden. After arousing suspicion the police went to investigate Gein and discovered Worden’s decapitated body in a shed behind the house. Her torso was found hung upside down bound by the wrist and feet like that of a hunted deer. Along with the body Gein’s property contained nine masks of human skin, bowls made from human skulls, human skin covering chair seats, organs’ in the refrigerator and a pair of lips on a drawstring for a window shade. Convicted of first degree murder Gein was sentenced to life in a hospital on the grounds of being mentally insane for the murder of Worden. He also confessed to the murder of missing Tavern owner Mary Hogan and it is suspected that he was responsible for the murder of his brother who died as a teenager mysteriously in a bush fire.
Shortly after the death of his overbearing and strict mother Gein began raiding the local graveyards searching for middle aged female bodies that resembled his mother in age. Gein would take these bodies home and tan them before removing their skin and various other body parts. Gein confessed that this ritual was down to the fact that he wanted a sex change and that he used the bodies to create a women’s body suit so that he could pretend to be female.
There are obvious comparisons between Ed Gein and the fictional characters his life went on to influence. Whether it is the exact comparisons with Leatherface’s character from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Norman Bates association with his mother – the legend of Ed Gein continues to terrify audiences across the globe.