Psychosocial And Biosocial Theories Of Crimes: Edward Theodore Gein

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Edward Theodore Gein was born on August 27, 1906, in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Gein’s family owned a small grocery store. They sold the business and bought a 195-acre, isolated farm, with no electric, in Plainfield, Wisconsin. Gein’s mother, Augusta, wanted to ensure sure that her sons were far enough away from town. She was determined to protect them from temptation, evil, and corruption from outsiders of the town. Edward Gein grew up on that primitive farm along with his older sibling, Henry, his mother, Augusta, and his father, George. George Gein was an abusive alcoholic, Augusta, also, was abusive, constantly ridiculing her husband, while berating Edward and Henry, that they would grow to be worthless, lustful, sin-seeking, loud, evil-smelling and offensive as their father. The two boys attended public school, Edward was a good student, but shy. He was bullied; he was viewed as effeminate. However, when Ed attempted to make friends, he was punished by his authoritarian mother; she was afraid he would become corrupted. Eventually, both boys dropped out of school and stayed at home to do chores. Ed and Henry only had each other during their teens and the beginning of their adulthood; they were loners.

As a religious fanatic, Augusta constantly drilled into her two sons, her thesis, that the carnal pleasures of women were to be avoided at all costs, for women were evil, on the path of damnation, and the fires of hell! Augusta daily preached verses from the Old Testament to her sons about the wickedness of the world, that all women, herself not included, were prostitutes and tools of the devil. Augusta was a large boned, extremely unattractive woman. She had no issue with spouting her beliefs regarding other women, the way they flaunted their bodies, flirted with men, wearing indecent clothing, and makeup, all immoral and evil. Throughout her childhood, Augusta suffered physical and mental abuse from her father who used beatings to ensure that she did not stray. Augusta, in turn, became her father, rigid, humorless, unloving and domineering, yet Ed adored his mother. The next five years were devastating to Ed Gein; his father died in 1940, of pneumonia. In 1944, his brother Henry was found dead in the middle of a brush fire on the property; it is believed he had been murdered by Ed. Henry had previously questioned his brother’s deep devotion to their mother and the fact, when Ed had been a good "boy," his mother had let him sleep with her. In 1945, after numerous strokes, his mother, Augusta, passed away. It is believed when his mother died, Edward Gein, 39, lost his “one true love. ” Gein’s bizarre relationship with his overbearing, domineering mother precipitated “approach-avoidance” feelings, always trying to please her yet his living in fear of upsetting her. However, Ed was now, alone. He kept her room exactly as before her death, a shrine. Yet, the rest of the house was filthy. Seemingly gentle farmer, Edward Gein, was so well-liked by his neighbors that he often babysat their children. It is commonly believed that Gein's murders did not begin until after his mother's death. Yet, the mysterious circumstances surrounding his brother's death could suggest that Gein’s deviancy may have begun much earlier. After his mother's death, Ed would search the newspapers for recent obituaries, dig up the corpses, days after the funerals, and robbing female corpses from the graveyard where his mother was buried. Ed Gein used the cadavers for body parts which he then made into various ornaments and apparel. Gein was particularly obsessed with female genitalia and sexual organs. He used skulls were as bowls, he had nine faces of his female victims stretched onto masks, and lampshades made of human skin. Gein made a woman’s jumpsuit of human skin with a vest with breasts. Gein would dress up in the jumpsuit, thinking of himself as a woman, which was attributed to his abnormal relationship with his mother. Gein had a box of noses and shirts made of human skin, which he would wear in private.

December 1954, Gein shot and killed, a local bar owner, Mary Hogan, and carved her body at the farm. Gein believed she looked like his mother. Three years later Gein shot and killed Bernice Worden. The evening of November 17, 1957 armed with a warrant, Sheriff Arthur Schley and his deputy went to Ed Gein’s remote farmhouse; Gein was not home. Plainfield hardware store owner, Bernice Worden, had been reported missing, Ed had been in the store earlier that day, a sales slip in Ed’s name, blood on the store's floor, and signs of a fight. Schley needed to question Ed Gein the sheriff and deputy broke into the storage shed at the back of the Gein house. In the unlit kitchen, they discovered Worden's decapitated body, hanging upside down, disemboweled, and gutted just like deer carcasses also hanging. Now Gein’s obsession with corpses turned to murder. Along with Bernice Worden’s headless body and her severed head the Sheriff found Mary Hogan’s severed head, and body parts of more than twelve other women. Gein’s lived in a house of horrorsPolice suspected Gein of a small number of missing person cases, in the local area, however, no proof was ever found. Gein's ultimate death count is unknown, it is believed that his killings did not exceed two, contrary to popular myth. He only admitted killing the two women; he claimed the others were already dead!

Following Gein's apprehension and because of his senseless brutality Gein was called the Mad Butcher of Plainfield. When Gein was arrested and in jail for more than 30 hours, he refused to talk to anyone. It wasn't until Gein was confronted with Bernice Warden's corpse and a slice of apple pie with cheddar cheese that he began to discuss the murders. He admitted to murdering both Mrs. Warden and Mary Hogan, along with taking bodies from the Plainfield cemetery for over 12 years. On November 21, 1957, Gein was accused of first-degree murder, but entered a plea that he was not guilty by reason of insanity. After further investigation and testing, the court found that Ed Gein was incompetent to stand trial; he was committed to a state mental hospital for the criminally insane. Ten years later, doctors pronounced Gein mentally competent to stand trial. After a weeklong murder trial, November 1968, he was found guilty of the murder of Bernice Worden; however, Judge Robert H. Gollmar ruled him legally insane, at the time of the murder. Gein returned to the mental hospital and was carefully guarded for the rest of his life. Gein died on July 26, 1984, from cancer, at the age of 78. Edward Gein was buried next to his mother in the very cemetery he often defiled.

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Gein was eventually immortalized as the well-mannered, knife-wielding Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, which is considered one of Hollywood’s great classics along with the inspiration behind Buffalo Bill in Thomas Harris's The Silence of the Lambs. Edward Gein and his crimes have done more than most to promote the image of the terrifying serial killer.

Psychosocial and Biosocial Theories

Psychosocial - The interaction of individuals with their environment, the effects of said interaction, Biosocial: the effects of biological, behavioral, factors interacting with environmental factors which develop certain traits.

Psychosocial Theory: From his early childhood, Edward Theodore Gein was a blameless victim of his environment. His mother, Augusta, was abusive, berating Edward, constantly reminding him that he would grow to be worthless, lustful, sin-seeking, loud, evil-smelling and offensive as their father, an abusive alcoholic. The repetitive abuse and ineffective parenting by both parents, was the causation of Gein’s trait of low self-control, also, affected Gein’s personality, his habitual way of thinking, feeling, and behaving-profoundly immoral.

Augusta’s decision to move to an isolated location to raise her children, not allowing Edward social interaction with his peers, and having him drop out of school caused Edward to lack connection with others, effected antisocial behavior, contrary to the laws and customs of society. Gein also exhibited psychopathic traits, friendly, normal, and trustworthy appearing, neighbors allowing him to babysit their children when in fact Gein was actually detached from society. Gein’s abnormal attachment to his mother, his “one true love,” and her subsequent death afforded him the opportunity, in his mind, to be close to her again by engaging in heinous acts against other women.

Biosocial Theory: genetic factors, brain development, and criminality for Gein was the paternal link of severe alcoholism and the environment supplied by his ineffective parenting of his abusive parents.

Therefore, both Psychosocial and Biosocial Theories of crimes were responsible for the savage criminal behavior of Edward Theodore Gein, which clarifies Durkheim’s expanded hypothesis, that criminal behavior is a normal part of all societies.

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