Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Eddie Gein


Eddie looked up to his brother Henry and saw him as a hard worker and a man of strong character. After the death of their father in 1940, they took on a series of odd jobs to help financially support the farm and their mother. Eddie tried to emulate his brother's work habits and they both were considered by townspeople to be reliable and trustworthy. They worked as handymen mostly, yet Eddie frequently babysat for neighbors. It was babysitting that Eddie really enjoyed because children were easier for him to relate to than his peers. He was in many ways socially and emotionally retarded.

The downstairs living room
The downstairs living room

Henry was worried about Eddie's unhealthy attachment to their mother. On several occasions Henry openly criticized their mother, something that shocked Eddie. Eddie saw his mother as pure goodness and was mortified that his brother did not see her in the same way. It was possibly these incidents that led to the untimely and mysterious death of Henry in 1944.

On May 16th Eddie and Henry were fighting a brush fire that was burning dangerously close to their farm. According to police, the two separated in different directions attempting to put out the blaze. During their struggle, night quickly approached and soon Eddie lost sight of Henry. After the blaze was extinguished, Eddie supposedly became worried about his missing brother and contacted the police.

The police then organized a search party and were surprised upon reaching the farm to have Eddie lead them directly to the "missing" Henry, who was lying dead on the ground. The police were concerned about some of the things surrounding Henry's death. For example, Henry was lying on a piece of earth that was untouched by fire and he had bruises on his head.

Although Henry was found under strange circumstances, police were quick to dismiss foul play. No one could believe shy Eddie was capable of killing anyone, especially his brother. Later the county coroner would list asphyxiation as the cause of death.

The only living person Eddie had left was his mother and that was the only person he needed. However, he would have his mother all to himself for a very brief period.

On December 29th, 1945, Augusta died after a series of strokes. Eddie's foundations were shaken upon her death. Harold Schechter in his book Deviant, explained that Eddie had "lost his only friend and one true love. And he was absolutely alone in the world."

He remained at the farm after his mother's death and lived off the meager earnings from odd jobs that he performed. Eddie boarded off the rooms his mother used the most, mainly the upstairs floor, the downstairs parlor and living room. He preserved them as a shrine to her and left them untouched for the years to follow. He resided in the lower level of the house making use of the kitchen area and a small room located just off of the kitchen, which he used as a bedroom.

It was in these areas that Eddie would spend his spare time reading death-cult magazines and adventure stories. At other times, Eddie would immerse himself in his bizarre hobbies that included nightly visits to the graveyard.

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