The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - Again
With the recent release of the remake of the 1974 movie, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a lot of our patrons are asking about the murderer. They want to know if we have anything on the murderer, "Leatherface". What prison unit was he assigned to? How many people did he really kill? Did he kill anyone while in prison? When the first version of the movie came out, inmates in the Texas Department of Corrections became convinced that Leatherface was a particular inmate assigned to the Huntsville "Walls" Unit. Even today, some people are not completely convinced of the inaccuracy of this belief.
The answer to these questions is that the leading character in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is loosely based on the real life man, Ed Gein. Ed Gein was one of two sons born to George and Augusta Gein. Ed's father, George, was a hard working farmer. His mother was overbearing. Ed was born in 1906 and his brother Henry was born five years before. George became an alcoholic and died in 1940. Augusta was a very religious woman and very protective of her two sons. She kept the boys busy working on the farm and discouraged them from socializing with women. Henry died in 1944 leaving only Ed and their mom. Some believe that Ed got rid of Henry so that he would not have to share his mother's love. Augusta suffered a stroke a short time later, with a second one coming in 1945 which killed her. Ed was left alone at the family farm. But instead of farming, Ed enrolled in the soil conservation program offered by the federal government. He sealed off certain areas of the farm house, including his mother's room.
What happened next would make Ed one of the most infamous murderers in US history. He began to read medical journals. Ed Gein became very interested in female anatomy, enough so that he began robbing the local cemetery of female corpses. Without going into detail, Ed did weird things with the body parts, especially the skins. After several years, Ed apparently became tired of removing freshly buried bodies from the graveyard and turned to killing. Ed's final bizarre and heinous act came in November of 1957 when he shot to death Bernice Worden in her hardware store. The authorities found her body hanging in the shed of Ed's house that night. Ed had "dressed" her out as a hunter would do a deer.
Ed was declared insane and committed to an asylum where he lived out his life, dying in 1984. The movie industry has shown a great deal of interest in Ed Gein. Alfred Hitchcock's thriller, Psycho, based on the Robert Bloch book, was based on Ed. Some say a similar relationship is evident in Silence of the Lambs, as well as other movies. This brings us back to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. So now we know that old Ed never went to prison for his acts. Ed was never sent to any location in Texas. Ed Gein lived his entire life in Wisconsin.