The Inspiration of Mr. Gien

By Matthew Sheiner

What’s your favorite scary movie? I personally don’t have one. Scary movies aren’t what attract me to the subject, but the oft used disclaimer “based on a true story” does. Who would have thought some of the most popular scary movies in history such as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, American Psycho, and Silence of the Lamb would be based on this one sick individual.

Ed Gien was born in Wisconsin to a single parent household. His mother raised him and he idolized her. He was known around town as the slow, quiet type so when Bernice Worden was murdered, no one suspected him. Gien was only convicted of two murders so he is not considered a serial killer. He is on the record as being responsible for the killing of Worden and one other person, but is otherwise considered a grave robber. He dug up graves and fashioned himself a belt made of nipples and he kept himself a box full of women’s reproductive organs. The people in the Wisconsin community did not see Ed as a threat though. Ed harvested body parts and made himself a body suit made of women’s skin and had lamp shades made of skin and soup bowls made of crowns of the skull. Needless to say he was not a normal individual!

Gien died in an insane asylum in 1984, years after being convicted of these horrendous crimes. He is known as the Wisconsin killer and is the basis for many of the classic horror films you love to scream at, including Norman Bates and Leatherface. He rubs the lotion on his skin or he gets the hose again. The next time Hollywood feels like it’s running out of ideas, just check the history books. Reality is inspiration enough!

Follow Matt on Twitter @msheiner88

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