Who was Ed Gein?
Murderer. Grave robber. Necrophiliac. Cannibal. Psychopath. Possibly a fratricidal lunatic, too. All these characteristics make up Edward Theodore Gein's opprobrium. Ed Gein, the Plainfield Butcher.
Monster by nature? Yes. But, ironically, and certainly not in the same sense as the ones he wronged, Ed Gein had been a victim himself. A victim of familial dysfunction, upbringing depravation, and religious fanaticism. (Augusta, Ed Gein's mother, was a vehement Lutheran who preached to her boys from the Old Testament.) The perfect experiential cocktail that paves the way to potentially create a sociopathic monster. That, and the fact that "weird Ed," as the locals called him, was betrayed by his neurobiology and psychology: Eventually, Mr. Gein was found to be schizophrenic.
The cerebral hallmarks for schizophrenia, it was more recently discovered, bear their similarities to those of lucid dreaming. But do not be alarmed by this (and I'll get to this later). "Similar" does not mean "the same." Lucid dreaming is, as far as we know, a safe practice. Ed Gein, as far as I'm aware, was not a lucid dreamer.
The Plainfield Butcher exhumed corpses from graveyards - some of which resembled his mother and one cannot help but ponder about the purpose of memorabilia in that respect - but it was the fresh skin and bones of his victims (some, he felt, resembled Augusta but possessed whorish attributes) that he favoured, especially when it came to his morbid transvestism and autogynephilia (sexual arousal at the thought of himself as a woman).
His mother was in his head. At times, he wore human skin to impersonate her, if not become her. Augusta, in his mind, was a saint. The only good woman who had lived! Other times, wearing the skin partially fulfilled his desire to become a member of the opposite sex. He never had a good male role model in his life (either) as his father George was an alcoholic unable to keep a job. Augusta despised her husband and believed her boys would become "failures" too. Her eldest son Henry rebelled against her, much to little Eddie's dismay.
Ed Gein was more submissive to his mother even though this one prevented him from having friends. Henry accused Ed of being a mummy's boy. Apart from family dysfunction, social isolation is strongly linked to extreme cases of schizophrenia. One day, there was a fire at the farm where they lived. Henry went missing, and, after a search, his dead body was found. The verdict on his death: asphyxiation; circumstances: suspicious. The last person to see him alive: you can guess.
When Augusta died, Ed felt alone in a world where evil thrives. His schizophrenia only made matters worse because the condition reinforced his paranoid beliefs. His desire to become a woman reflects his contrasexual views derived from his mother's gospel, his father's indecorum, and his brother's rebellion. Men were blasphemers and women were devious whores (albeit more successful). The mother was the epitome of goodness, a beacon of hope in a sinful world.
Could he symbolically embody the goodness and righteousness by wearing human female skin? Could he be honouring his beloved mother by destroying the sinners (victims) that populate the world and using their carcasses to build beautiful and useful things (albeit lifeless)? Perhaps he felt that justice was being done, after all, how could his "righteous" mother be dead and all those sinners be living and doing no good? He was not ready for the world. They knew how to hide. He had to play their game, too. So he hid. He needed a disguise. An image. He was alone.
Thus, he treasured his trophies and used them as he saw fit: the bones, the skin, the vulvae, the nipples, and other body parts, can be used as food, to make art, clothing, accessories, masks, tableware, and other appurtenance. His necrophilia almost makes sense to the rational mind: his mother calumniated the living he found attractive by nature, as well as discourage his sexual urges, so, the "evil" attractive gender was better lifeless, dead. That way, the qualities his mother detested were no longer displayed. Still, Ed Gein felt the stench was too unbearable for any possibility of intercourse, so he contented himself with his morbid cross-dressing. The preconceptions that had been imparted to him by his mother prevented him from having proper relationships with people and indulging healthily, and, to a degree, did not help his schizophrenic anhedonia.
Unsurprisingly, his interests lay in crime stories, Nazism, adventure, death cults, and cannibalism. Death had taken his mother and his world was shattered. A part of him, in a sense, had died, too. So he posthumously built a dream world of his own from what he had been exposed to, made of a blend of everything that he liked, shaping reality as he saw fit but with the schizoid challenge of paranoia, not always being lucid in everything he did, lucidly disregarding objective rules, but the most sure-footed of all his traits was his inexorable and quasi-solipsistic view that nothing really mattered apart from the fulfilment of his urges. He had to find a way to bypass mummy's rules whilst honouring them. Ed's malefactions led him to spend the rest of his life at the Mendota State hospital - an insane asylum.
Ed Gein's psychosis can be described as manifesting like a Freudian dream propagating in waking life. A "dream" compromising repression, subjugating rationale, and where lucidity will not help as it only recalls to mind the precarious foundations for reasoning previously laid by a matriarchal idol. (This is not the case for all schizophrenics - lucidity helped John Nash to find and retain a handy connection with reality to the point where he was able to ignore his hallucinations - especially when they are being medicated.) Ed Gein dreamt while awake as the candle burned with delusion at both ends.
Now, there have been deranged individuals who claim to have been lucid dreamers - Jared Loughner is purported to have been one - but, for the sake of avoiding misrepresentations, it has to be stressed that lucid dreaming is not the cause of psychosis in the first place, much less responsible for the loss of touch with reality. Such psychotic individuals have often been troubled way before discovering the practice of lucid dreaming, and, if they had trouble telling the difference between what's real and what isn't, couldn't have been great lucid dreamers either. In Loughner's case, alcohol and class A drugs were involved and more likely to influence the loss of control and insobriety.
To read more about similarities between lucid dreaming and schizophrenia, where lucid dreaming is set in a positive light, check out this link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 184831.htm
In all that I've said about Ed Gein, please do not feel that I wish to exonerate him of his crimes. As the villager would say, "He's was a wrong 'un." A bad seed. The significant impact that his mother's abusive ways and tactless parenting had on little Eddie is undeniable. Her prediction of failure for him is almost prophetic except that he became more than just a failure, and, as much as most of us would hate to admit this, he was destined to excite our imagination and inspire the world in many areas - from song-writing, to film-making, to works of art.
What Ed Gein became was something that Augusta could not have foreseen. As far as we know, the woman did not instruct her troubled son to misbehave in the condemnable manner that he did once she passed away. (At the same time, I do not wish to exculpate Augusta of irresponsibility either.) Ed Gein posed a threat to society and the environment. He lacked regard for human life. He selfishly slaughtered his victims in order to realise his twisted fantasies. He also persuaded Gus, one of his acquaintances, to help him with his grave-robbing and to carry corpses to his house. (Ed told Gus he was performing experiments.)
Ed Gein concealed his crimes for as long as he could before making the grave mistake of killing the sheriff's mother. Nobody needs to be told this human being could not be trusted. In saying this, his schizophrenia would encourage his distrust in those around him.
To finalise, watch the following two videos and pay close attention to how they make you feel. One is a simulation of schizophrenia, the other appears to be an ad influenced by lucid dreaming:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWYwckFrksghttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbBNScrYN10