Though by most standards not technically a serial killer, no compelation of monsters would be complete without the incomparable Ed Gein. The quiet Wisconsin farmer is truly one of the most goulish criminals in history.
Gein was born in 1906 in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, but his family moved to the now infamous Plainfield early in his childhood. His mother was a fanatically religious woman who preached daily about the evils of loose women and his father was an alcoholic who abused Gein and his brother, both of whom were quite passive boys.
Gein consequently grew up to be a lonely, twisted man. He took an avid interest in anatomy and crime, devouring books on such subjects for years. In 1945 Gein's mother died of a stroke, following his father and brother into the grave and leaving Gein alone to his fantasies. It wasn't long before his lack of supervision allowed him to act on those fantasies and he began robbing graves with the help of an elderly friend named Gus. Gein would take parts or whole bodies, and using skin, hair, skulls, and various other selected portions of the corpses to experiment with.
The materials he gathered from his graverobbing apparently failed to satisfy Gein eventually and in 1954 he shot and killed barmaid Mary Hogan at a local tavern after closing time. Then in 1957 he did the same to Bernice Worden as she worked in her Plainfield hardware store. Worden's police deputy son found the store locked later that day and upon investigating, discovered blood on the floor and the cash register missing. The last sales reciept was signed by local eccentric Ed Gein. Leaving Worden's son behind, the local sherrif went to Gein's run-down farm to locate him.
The scene discovered at the Gein house was shocking to say the least. Walking through an unlocked back door that led into a small room they found Mrs. Worden hanging upside down, headless, and gutted. More was to come and before the house was done being searched a gruesome picture had emerged. The freezer was stocked with human organs. A shoebox contaning women's vulvas and bowls carved from skulls were casually laid around. Masks made from the facial skin of women were hanging from the walls. Skin had been employed in the construction of both a lampshade and a crude coffee-can drum.
Gein was arrested and readily admitted his crimes. He was found guilty but insane in his 1968 trial and spent the rest of his life living uneventfully in menatl hospitals. He passed away in 1984 of natural causes.