Ed Gein

FeaturedEd Gein

Edward Theodore Gein was born on August 27th, 1906 to George Philip Gein and Augusta Wilhelmine Gein. He had an older brother named Henry George Gein. His mother Augusta hated her husband as he was an alcoholic who couldn’t hold down a job and had worked various types of jobs including a carpenter, tanner, and insurance salesman. George owned a grocery store for a few years, but eventually sold the business and the whole family moved from the city to a 155-acre farm in the Town of Plainfield in the Waushara County of Wisconsin. That was the Gein family’s permanent place of residence.

Augusta was an extremely religious Lutheran, and she took advantage of the isolating farm to make sure her sons weren’t influenced by outsiders. Ed only left the farm to go to school and when he wasn’t in school he was doing chores on the farm. She preached to her sons about the immorality of the world, the evils of drinking, and her belief that all women were naturally prostitutes and were instruments of the devil. She set aside time every afternoon to read the Bible to them, but it was usually graphic verses from the Old Testament concerning death, murder, and divine retribution. Ed was an extremely shy person. In school, his classmates and teachers recalled him having extremely strange mannerisms such as laughing at random times as if he was laughing at his own jokes. His mother would punish him if he tried to make friends. Despite his lack of social skills and development, he did fairly well in school, particularly in reading.

On April 1st, 1940 his father died of heart failure due to his alcoholism. He was 66-years-old. Henrey and Ed started doing odd jobs to pay for living expenses. The brothers were considered reliable and honest by residents in the community. While both of them worked as handymen, Ed would often babysit for neighbors. He enjoyed babysitting which may have shown that he related better to children than adults.

Henry began dating a divorced single mother of two and was planning on moving in with her. He grew concerned with Ed’s attachment to their mother and often spoke ill of her around Ed, in which he would often respond in shock and hurt. On May 16th, 1944, Henry and Ed were burning away marsh vegetation on their property when the fire got out of control and the fire department showed up. At the end of the day when everyone left, Ed reported his brother missing. A search party was formed and they searched where the fire was and found Henry’s body. It seemed he was dead for a while before being discovered. The cause of death of ruled as asphyxiation by the county coroner, but some people believed Ed had killed his brother, possibly relating to him speaking ill of their mother. After the death of Henry, it only left Ed and his mother on the farm.

Shortly after Henry’s death, Augusta suffered a stroke that paralyzed her and Ed devoted all his time to taking care of her. Sometime in 1945 Ed and his mother visited a man named Smith to buy some straw and while there Augusta witnessed him beat a dog to death. A woman came out of Smith’s house and yelled at him to stop, and Augusta was very upset at this scene. She wasn’t upset at the death of the dog, but more upset with the woman who apparently wasn’t married to Smith being there. She said that she had no business being there and angrily called her “Smith’s harlot”. After this event, Augusta suffered another stroke and ultimately died on December 29th, 1945 at the age of 67. Gein was devastated and left all alone. He held onto the farm and earned money from odd jobs. He also boarded up the rooms his mother used and left them untouched while the rest of the house became squalid. He resided in a small room next to the kitchen, and also around this time he became interested in death-cult magazines and adventures stories, particularly ones that involved cannibals or Nazi atrocities.

On the morning of November 16th, 1957 a hardware store owner by the name of Bernice Worden mysteriously vanished. A Plainfield resident reported that the store’s truck has been driven out the back of the building at around 9:30 AM. The store was closed the whole day and people thought it was because of deer hunting season. Worden’s son, Deputy Sheriff Frank Worden, went into the store around 5 PM and found the cash register open and blood stains on the floor. It was discovered that Gein was in the store the night before his mother’s disappearance and said he would come back in the morning for a gallon of antifreeze. A sales receipt of said gallon of antifreeze was the last receipt written by Worden on the morning she disappeared. On that same night, Gein was arrested at a West Plainfield grocery store and the Waushara County Sheriff’s Department searched his farm. A deputy found Worden’s decapitated body in a shed on the property. She was hung upside down by ropes at her wrists and a crossbar at her ankles. The torso was “dressed out like a deer” and she had been shot with a .22-caliber rifle and the mutilations happened after her death. While searching his house the authorities found many more atrocities: whole human bones and fragments, a wastebasket made of human skin, chair sets covered in human skin, skulls on his bedposts, female skulls some with the tops sawn off, bowls made from human skulls, a corset made from a female torso skinned from shoulders to the waist, leggings made from human leg skin, masks made from the skin of female heads, Mary Hogan’s face mask in a paper bag and her skull in a box, Bernice Worden’s entire head in a burlap sack, Worden’s heart in a plastic bag in front of Gein’s potbellied stove, nine vulvae in a shoe box, a young girls’ dress and the vulvas of two females judged to have been about 15-years-old, a belt made from human nipples, four noses, a pair of lips on a window shade drawstring, a lampshade made from the skin of a human face, and fingernails from female fingers. All these artifacts were photographed but then destroyed.

When Gein was questioned, he stated that between 1947 and 1952 he made as many as 40 visits to three local graveyards at night to exhume recently buried bodies while he was in a daze-like state. On about 30 of those visits, he said he came out of the daze and left the grave without taking anything. On other occasions, he dug up graves of recently married middle-aged women who he thought resembled his mother. He would take the bodies home and tanned the skin to make his paraphernalia. Gein did choose his victims that resembled his mother, but the only difference was that how they presented themselves was totally against what his mother thought. An example would be Mary Hogan was a tavern owner with a sailor’s mouth. Gein knew his mother would disapprove of her entirely, and it seemed that Gein killed these types of women to satisfy his mother in some delusional way.

Gein admitted to stealing from 9 graves and led investigators to the locations. Authorities were uncertain if Gein was capable of robbing so many graves single-handedly in one night and so they exhumed two of the graves and found them empty except for one that had a crowbar instead of a body in it. Soon after his mother’s death, Gein started making a “woman suit” so that he could become his mother and actually crawl into her skin in a way. He denied having sex with the bodies and said they smelled too bad. He also admitted to shooting Mary Hogan who was missing since 1954.

A 16-year-old whose parents were friends of Gein reported that Gein kept shrunken heads in his house which were supposedly sent by a cousin who had served in the Philippines during WWII. Upon investigation, it was determined that these were human facial skins that were carefully peeled from the corpses and used by Gein as masks.

On November 21st, 1957 Gein was arraigned on one count of first-degree murder in Waushara County Court where he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and found mentally incompetent and therefore he was unfit for trial. He was sent to Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane (it is now known as the Dodge Correctional Institution) located in Waupun, Wisconsin. He was later transferred to Mendota State Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1968 doctors determined Gein was able to stand trial. Gein’s trial was held without a jury by request of the defense. He was found guilty on November 14th. A second trial dealt with Gein’s sanity. He was found “not guilty by reason of insanity” once again and committed to Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane for the rest of his life.

Gein’s house and property were scheduled to be auctioned March 30th, 1958 but on March 27th the house was destroyed by a fire. Arson was suspected but the cause was never determined. Ed Gein died at the Mendota Mental Health Institute due to respiratory failure secondary to lung cancer on July 26th, 1984 at the age of 77. Over the years souvenir seekers have chipped pieces from his gravestone until the stone itself was stolen in 2000. It was recovered the year after near Seattle and was placed in storage at teh Waushara County Sheriff’s Department. The gravesite itself is now unmarked, but not unknown to people. Gein is buried with his parents and his brother.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Almas

Almas

The Almas is generally believed to be wild people in appearance and in habits than compared to apes. They are usually described as human-like bipedal animals that are between five and six and a half feet tall with reddish-brown hair covering their whole bodies. Their facial features are anthropomorphic including a pronounced brow ridge, flat nose, and weak chin. It’s also described as hairy, stinky, mute, and living in “paleolithic squalor” at the base of the Himalayas. Many cryptozoologists believe that there is a similarity between the Almas and the modern reconstructions of how Neanderthals might have looked, but there is no physical evidence to support that statement.

Grootslang

Grootslang

The Grootslang, also known as the Grote Slang (which means “big snake” in Afrikaans and Dutch language) is a legendary cryptid that supposedly lives in a deep cave in Richtersveld, South Africa. According to legend it is as old as the world itself. Centuries ago, the gods made a terrible mistake when they created Grootslang. They gave it incredible strength, made it cunning, and made it intelligent. After they realized their mistakes, they turned the Grootslang into several animals, resulting in the first snakes and elephants. However, one escaped and that is where the other Grootslang were born from it. It supposedly devours elephants that it lures into it’s cave. The cave is known as “Wonder Hole” or “Bottomless Pit” and it’s supposedly filled with diamonds. The Grootslang is said to be able to live in warm rivers as well as lakes. In Benin, it is supposedly a large elephant-like creature with a serpent’s tail.

The Murder of Shanda Sharer

FeaturedThe Murder of Shanda Sharer

Shanda Sharer was a young 12-year-old American girl who was tortured and burned to death in Madison, Indiana by four teenage girls.

Shanda Renee Sharer was born on June 6th, 1979 in Pineville, Kentucky to Stephen Sharer and Jacqueline. After her parents divorced, her mother remarried and they all moved to Louisville, Kentucky. She attended fifth and sixth grade at St. Paul School and was on the cheerleading, volleyball, and softball teams. Her mother divorced again and moved to New Albany, Indiana in June of 1991 where Sharer went to Hazelwood Middle School. Early in the school year, she transferred to Our Lady of Perpetual Help School.

In 1990, Melinda Loveless was dating a girl named Amanda Heavrin. After Loveless’ father left her family she started behaving erratically. She got into fights, complained of depression which caused her to get counseling. In March 1991, she came out to her mother who at first was furious but eventually did accept it. As the year went by, her relationship with Heavrin got worse.

Heavrin and Sharer met in the fall semester at Hazelwood Junior High when they got into a fight. They became friends however after spending time in detention together and eventually they started giving each other romantic letters. Loveless was angered and jealous of their relationship. At a school dance, she confronted them about it. Heavrin and Loveless never formally ended their relationship, but Loveless started dating another girl.

Heavrin and Sharer attended a festival together and Loveless began talking about killing Sharer and was even threatening her in public. She had to transfer to a Catholic school because of her parents’ concern about her relationship with Heavrin.

On January 10th, 1992, Toni Lawrence, Hope Rippey, Laurie Tackett, and Melinda Loveless drove to Sharer’s house and told her that Heavrin was waiting for them at the “Witch’s Castle”, also known as Mistletoe Falls which is located on an isolated hill overlooking the Ohio River. Sharer said she couldn’t go because her parents were awake, but to wait until midnight when they were asleep. Loveless was angry, but Rippey and Lawrence assured her they would return for Sharer later. After a few hours, the four girls went back to Sharer’s house. Loveless couldn’t wait to kill Sharer, but also stated that she just wanted to scare her. As Tackett and Rippey went to get Sharer, Loveless hid under a blanket in the back seat with a knife.

Sharer was reluctant to go with them but agreed to after she got changed. Once she got into the car Loveless came up with a knife and held it against Sharer’s throat. She then questioned her on her sexual relationship with Hearvin. When they arrived at the Witch’s House, Sharer was sobbing and tied up. Loveless took off Sharer’s rings and gave them to each of the girls. They told her that the Witch’s Castle was full of sacrifices and that she would be the next. To threaten her even more they got a t-shirt from the car and lit it on fire, but they worried that the light would attract people, so they all piled back into the car and put Sharer under a blanket. They had to stop into a gas station and ask for directions and later ended up near Tackett’s home in Madison, Indiana.

Tackett took them to a garbage dump in a densely wooded area. Lawrence and Rippey were scared and stayed in the car. Tackett and Loveless made Sharer strip naked, and then Loveless began to beat her brutally with her fists. She even slammed Sharer’s face into her knee, causing Sharer’s mouth to be cut on her braces. Loveless then tried to slash her throat, but the knife was too dull to do anything. They then strangled her until she was unconscious, and took her back to the car and threw her into the trunk. They drove to Tackett’s home to clean up. When they heard Sharer scream in the car, Tackett took a paring knife and stabbed her several times. At 2:30 AM, Tackett and Loveless went driving and heard gurgling sounds coming from the trunk. They stopped the car and opened the trunk. Sharer sat up covered in blood with her eyes rolling into the back of her head and unable to speak. They beat her with a tire iron until she was quiet again. Loveless and Tackett returned to her house and told the other girls about the torture. This caused Tackett’s mother to wake up and to yell at her for being out late and bringing home her friends. She then said she’d take them home and went to the burn pile. They opened the trunk and looked at Sharer, but Lawrence refused to look at her. Rippey sprayed Windex on her and said, “You’re not looking so hot now, are you?”

They drove down to a nearby gas station and used a two-liter bottle of Pepsi as a container to fill up with gasoline. They drove north of Madison where they wrapped Sharer in a blanket and carried her to a nearby field. Lawrence remained in the car. Rippey poured gasoline on Sharer and lit her on fire. Loveless wasn’t convinced she was dead, however, so they went back after a couple minutes and poured the rest of the gasoline on her.

After the murder, they went to have breakfast McDonald’s and discussed the murder. Lawrence called one of her friends told them about the murder, and afterward Loveless told Heavrin that they killed Sharer and begged her not to tell anyone. She agreed not to.

In the late morning of January 11th, 1992 two brothers from Canaan, Indiana were driving to go hunting and noticed a body on the side of the road. They called the police and waited by the corpse. They initially suspected a drug deal gone wrong and didn’t believe the crime was committed by anyone local. Stephen Sharer noticed his daughter was missing early that morning and called his ex-wife and together they filed a missing person report.

That night, Lawrence went to the police with her parents and confessed the crime and named the other three girls who were involved. They were quickly apprehended and found guilty. All four girls were tried as adults. To avoid the death penalty, they all agreed to a plea bargain. In exchange for her cooperation, Lawrence was guilty of one count of Criminal Confinement and given 20 years. Tackett and Loveless were sentenced to 60 years and Rippey was sentenced to 60 years. Loveless and Tackett are still imprisoned, but Lawrence and Rippey have since been released with Rippey still remaining on parole.

Ahool

FeaturedAhool

The Ahool is a flying cryptid that is supposedly a giant bat or a living pterosaur or flying primate. It’s a cryptid that is not well documented and there is no material evidence that exists of it. It was named Ahool for its distinctive call that sounds the same. It is said to live in the deepest rainforest of Java in Indonesia. It is described as having large dark eyes, large claws on its forearms as large as an infant, covered in gray fur, and have a wingspan of 3 meters (10 feet) long.

One speculation of its existence is by cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson who says that it might be a relative of kongamato in Africa. Others suggest that it may be a living fossil pterosaur on account of its leathery wings. There are some who believe it’s merely a large owl.

Dobhar-chú

FeaturedDobhar-chú

The Dobhar-chú is a cryptid of Irish folklore, and the name roughly translates into “water hound”. It resembles both a dog and an otter although sometimes it’s described as a half dog and half fish. It lives in water and has fur with protective properties.

There have been many sightings documented throughout the years, one of the most recent ones was in 2003 when an Irish artist named Sean Corcoran and his wife claimed to have witnessed a Dobhar-chú on Omey Island in Connemara, County Galway. His description of the large creature is that it was large and black, made a haunting screech, could swim extremely fast, and had orange flippers like feet.

There is a headstone located in Conwall cemetery in Glenade that depicts a Dobhar-chú and is related to a tale of a woman being attacked by the creature. Legend has it that the woman (supposedly named Gráinne, was washing clothes and her husband heard her screaming for help, and when he arrived he saw his wife dead and the Dobhar-chú over her mutilated body. He killed the creature by stabbing it in the heart and when it died it let out a whistling noise, and nearby its mate rose up and went after the husband. After a long battle, he successfully killed that one as well. Of course, there is no definitive proof of this event taking place, but it’s still an interesting story nonetheless.

Kekkai/Sankai

FeaturedKekkai/Sankai

Sankai (meaning “birth monster”) is known as kekkai in Saitoma Prefecture and Kanagawa Prefecture and kekke in Nagano Prefecture. The legends regarding its out appearance are sparse, but it is said to look like a cattle and is hairy. After birth it’s said to bury under the house to kill its mother. In Urawa, a practice existed of surrounding the bottom of a house with byōbu during childbirth to prevent this from happening. If the kekkai successfully escapes, the mother will die. In order to prevent this someone would have to guard the hearth usually with a shamoji.