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Deviant: The Shocking True Story of Ed Gein, the Original Psycho (1988)

de Harold Schechter

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400447,393 (3.82)11
The truth behind the twisted crimes that inspired the films Psycho, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and The Silence of the Lambs... From "America's principal chronicler of its greatest psychopathic killers" (The Boston Book Review) comes the definitive account of Ed Gein, a mild-mannered Wisconsin farmhand who stunned an unsuspecting nation--and redefined the meaning of the word "psycho." The year was 1957. The place was an ordinary farmhouse in America's heartland, filled with extraordinary evidence of unthinkable depravity. The man behind the massacre was a slight, unassuming Midwesterner with a strange smile--and even stranger attachment to his domineering mother. After her death and a failed attempt to dig up his mother's body from the local cemetery, Gein turned to other grave robberies and, ultimately, multiple murders. Driven to commit gruesome and bizarre acts beyond all imagining, Ed Gein remains one of the most deranged minds in the annals of American homicide. This is his story--recounted in fascinating and chilling detail by Harold Schechter, one of the most acclaimed true-crime storytellers of our time.… (mais)
  1. 00
    Bestial: The Savage Trail of a True American Monster de Harold Schechter (schatzi)
    schatzi: another work by Harold Schechter
  2. 01
    Psycho de Robert Bloch (schatzi)
    schatzi: Psycho was (at least partially) inspired by the real-life case of Ed Gein
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The subtitle is all the synopsis anyone needs: The Shocking True Story of Ed Gein, the Original “Psycho”.

The residents of Plainfield Wisconsin were more than a little concerned when the owner of a local tavern disappeared in December 1955. She was a middle-aged woman with a no-nonsense attitude and a somewhat mysterious past, but who would want to kill her? Yet the evidence was clear: a pool a blood on the floor, a spent .32-caliber cartridge nearby, and a bloody trail indicating the body had been dragged out the door to a spot in the parking lot where presumably it was loaded into a truck.

Nearly two years later another middle-aged store-owner disappeared from Plainfield. But this time authorities quickly honed in on the mild-mannered little man whom everyone thought of as odd but harmless. What they found at Ed Gein’s farmhouse, however, would shock not only the residents of Plainfield, but the entire nation. The gruesome case captured the attention of a novelist, who wrote Psycho based on Gein’s story, and that captured the attention of Alfred Hitchcock.

Schechter writes a detailed account of Gein’s upbringing (as best as he could re-create it), the events and suspicions of the townspeople, his trial and his life in a mental institution. I was too young to know the details at the time the crimes were committed, but I vividly remember the renewed interest when Gein passed away. I’ve always like “true crime” books, and this is a pretty good, though not great, example of the genre. ( )
  BookConcierge | Mar 27, 2019 |
The fascination with serial killers lives within me and has done for many years now. I have a great love and interest for the criminal mind, I am not talking about petty criminals - I mean serial killers. Those that create the most horrific murder scenes - sometimes through accident and sometimes through choice.

Ed Gein is a very interesting person and has influenced many writers (Robert Bloch) and film directors (Tobe Hooper) to create characters based on the characteristics of Gein.

This book was the first that I picked from Amazon about Gein after watching a film about him. This book is wonderfully written, it is easy going and interesting. Over the years criminal books have been written in such an academic way that they become difficult to read and often get put away because the reader loses interest. The author keeps the reader interested, involved and amazed. This has to be the best serial killer book I have read and would highly recommend it not only to those who may be studying criminology but also to those who, like me, who have an interest in the mind of these people. ( )
  scorpiocurse | May 13, 2011 |
I normally don't read a lot about "real" serial killers, preferring to stick with the fictional kind, but this book was highly recommended by a friend, and I quickly saw why. For me, the case of Ed Gein was obscure; I knew next to nothing about him before reading this book, even though I have visited the general area in which the events took place (Wisconsin Rapids, and I'm pretty sure that we drove through Plainfield on our way to visit a friend in Neshkoro). Anyway, I'd never really heard of Ed Gein, or at least not enough to form a lasting impression/memory. And now I'm wondering why I hadn't!

I really enjoyed Harold Schechter's writing style; he really delves into the facts, scant as they sometimes are, and weaves a story that is both interesting and laced with facts. I had a hard time putting this book down, and I found myself saying "just one more chapter" more times than I can count on two hands.

The crimes of Ed Gein are horrific. He served as an inspiration for several fictional serial killers, from Norman Bates to Leatherface to Buffalo Bill. Schechter did a fairly good job of staying away from out and out gore, which I appreciate, although I believe there's a few very disturbing images included (I didn't look through them myself).

I'll be picking up Schechter's other books for sure. ( )
  schatzi | Jul 11, 2010 |
Schechter's strengths are in his choice of subjects and thorough coverage based on events as reported at the time. Much like Ann Rule, his style is consistent, so if you like him first time round stick with him. Personally I find him a bit dry. ( )
  Moomin_Mama | Mar 25, 2010 |
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The truth behind the twisted crimes that inspired the films Psycho, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and The Silence of the Lambs... From "America's principal chronicler of its greatest psychopathic killers" (The Boston Book Review) comes the definitive account of Ed Gein, a mild-mannered Wisconsin farmhand who stunned an unsuspecting nation--and redefined the meaning of the word "psycho." The year was 1957. The place was an ordinary farmhouse in America's heartland, filled with extraordinary evidence of unthinkable depravity. The man behind the massacre was a slight, unassuming Midwesterner with a strange smile--and even stranger attachment to his domineering mother. After her death and a failed attempt to dig up his mother's body from the local cemetery, Gein turned to other grave robberies and, ultimately, multiple murders. Driven to commit gruesome and bizarre acts beyond all imagining, Ed Gein remains one of the most deranged minds in the annals of American homicide. This is his story--recounted in fascinating and chilling detail by Harold Schechter, one of the most acclaimed true-crime storytellers of our time.

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