The snow was falling in the main street of Plainfield, Wisconsin, when Frank Worden, deputy sheriff of the county, entered into Worden’s hardware store at around 5:00 PM of November 16, 1957, and noticed two things: one, that the cash register had been opened; two, that there were stains of blood on the floor.
Even though he was an agent of the law and had seen part of the underworld’s ugly face, his blood curdled uncontrollably.
The owner of the store (and his mother), Bernice Worden, was nowhere to be found since the morning of that same day.
A few hours later, Deputy Sheriff Worden arrested local farmer Ed Gein, who was the last person to buy something at Worden’s shop according to a half-made receipt to his name “for a gallon of antifreeze,” and written the night before.
Gein calmly protested his innocence, claiming: “I didn’t have anything to do with it.” Worden took him into custody anyway, while Sheriff Art Schley and other of his deputies went to Gein’s farm to investigate.
There, they found Miss Worden: she had been hung upside down from the shed behind the farmhouse, decapitated, and her entrails pulled out like a deer’s.
Her heart was in a saucepan, on the stove, and with hers, law enforcement officers found the remains of at least nine other women used as decoration around the house. That number, in time, would rise to fifteen.
The owner of the farm and murderer of Berenice Worden (among others), had been living in Plainfield during almost his whole life, since his family (his mother, father, and elder brother Henry, who he would kill in 1944) had moved to the town from La Crosse County, also in Wisconsin, during his childhood.
Like so many serial killers, he was mainly brought up by his domineering, repressive, and fervently religious mother.
She used to preach to the boys the inherently devilish nature of all women besides herself, the evil and dirty character of the world, and the necessity of staying away from all temptations.
His father was an alcoholic, and not much more was there to say about him: the remains of his meager personality had already been long ago done with when he died of an alcohol-caused heart failure in 1940.