Maniac Dangled Grandmother’s Carcass Like A Field-Dressed Deer
(Ed Gein Part 2)
“My God, here She IS!”
This article contains extremely disturbing details of murder, disembowelment, and decapitation. Mature audiences only.
Arthur Schley was both excited and nervous about his new position as the Waushara County Sheriff. Thirty-two-years old, tall with broad shoulders, he certainly looked the part, but felt he was a little underqualified for it. His wife assured him that Waushara was lucky to have him, and his deputies seemed to agree.
What the new sheriff didn’t know, however, was of the utter madness brewing inside the mind of one local handyman; a festering mania so volatile that it was capable of erupting at any minute.
It was November 16, 1957, when that explosion happened; Sheriff Schley had just hit his thirty-day employment mark.
“That’s A Lot of Blood”
The crime occurred at the Worden’s Hardware and Implement Store in the small village of Plainfield, Wisconsin, which was ran day to day by Bernice Worden, a fifty-eight-year-old, well-loved grandmother, whom when not serving her local customers, was serving God as a devout Methodist. Bernice took over the store when her husband passed in 1931; she never remarried, and would often get her son, Frank Worden, to help whenever he could.
It was Frank Worden who first found his mother’s blood splattered on the walls and smeared under his feet, leading to the back door. There was a “great deal of blood”, he would later say, and the scene was eerily reminiscent of a 1954 unsolved crime nearby, in which somebody had dragged out a local tavern owner from her establishment.
But unlike the disappearance of tavern owner Mary Hogan, Frank Worden knew instantly who committed this act against his mother. In fact, when the Sheriff and his deputies showed up at the crime scene, the first mumbled remark that Frank spoke was,
“He’s done something to her.”
Chief Deputy Arnie Fritz reported: Over by the counter by the cash register there was a pool of blood on the floor and there was a trail of blood like something had been dragged from that pool around into the back, where they kept the truck. We followed this trail of blood back to where the truck was supposed to be parked. We could see a little messing around in the tracks and there was blood on the dirt and the truck was gone.
Frank Worden knew without a doubt that the person who had kidnapped his mother was local oddball, Ed Gein. Gein had been pestering Bernice Worden for months now; the little man even asking her out on a date to “try out the floor” in the new rollerskating rink in Hancock. He remembered back to the night before when little Eddie strolled into his mother’s hardware store asking about the price of anti-freeze. And then, Frank remembered Ed had asked if he would be out hunting deer the next morning.
November 16th started the nine-day deer hunting season, and any male who was old enough, or strong enough, to hold up a twenty-two caliber rifle would be out in the Wisconsin woods. Every male except Ed Gein, however, who was too squeamish to shoot at anything larger than a rabbit or squirrel.
Gein killed Bernice Worden, and Frank was going to make sure the weirdo fried for it.
“Well, she’s dead, ain’t she?”
The news of Bernice Worden’s death traveled fast through the small village of Plainfield. The red and blue strobes, yellow crime tape, and chirping police radios gave the town population something to do for the evening. Quality entertainment for the entire family.
One person not in attendance was Gein, who had just put down his fork from one of the best suppers he’s had all year. The Hill family seemed to like their closest neighbor, Ed, more than the other folks in Plainfield, often inviting him over for dinner. Ed would return the favor by using his handyman skills: mending their broken fence, changing motor oil in the family car, or just about anything else they needed him to do; he would always tackle any task with a smile — or rather, his shit-eating grin.
Ed had just left his neighbors when two officers pulled into his yard. Officer Dan Chase, approaching the subject carefully so not to spook the meek man into clamming up, asked Ed about his whereabouts earlier in the morning. When asked to verify his story a second time, Chase noticed some inconsistences when Ed tried to repeat his timeline.
“Now, Eddie,” said officer Dan Chase. “You didn’t tell the same story come through there that second time.”
Eddie blinked once, then said, “Somebody framed me.”
“Framed you for what?” asked Chase.
“Well, Mrs. Worden.” Chase leaned closer to his suspect.
“What about Mrs. Worden?”
“Well, she’s dead, ain’t she?”
“Dead!” Chase exclaimed.
“How do you know she’s dead?” Eddie’s lopsided grin seemed frozen in place.
While Eddie was being hauled into the police station for questioning, Sheriff Art Schley and Captain Lloyd Schoephoerster arrived at the Gein home.
The outside of the house sat in complete disrepair, but could never compare to the filth and disgust inside the home. Sheriff Schley would later remark that, “It was hard to believe that anything human could make its home in such a place.”
The two men tried to find a way inside the house, but several locked doors prevented their entry. Finally, Captain Schoephoerster was able to pry open the shed, which was around the backside of the home, connected to the summer kitchen.
Captain Lloyd Schoephoerster reported: It was 8:00p.m. We tried the doors. They were all locked, but the door leading into a woodshed attached to the house didn’t seem to be latched too tight. I put my foot against it and pushed, and the door came open. Knowing Gein had no electricity, we took our flashlights and went in.
By flashlight, the two officers carefully looked around. Mice scurried past their feet, one big enough to jolt the sheriff back a few feet, and into something hanging from the rafters. He couldn’t tell what it was, so he turned around and pointed his flashlight.
“My God, here she is.”
What Schley initially thought was a deer carcass hanged from the shed’s rafters — a normal sight to see during deer season in Plainfield — was actually the dangling, dead-white carcass of Bernice Worden.
Worden’s body was hanging by its feet, slit from the genitalis to the upper chest, eviscerated, and decapitated, leaving nothing but a dark deep red gaping hole where the missing head used to rest. To put simply, she was “butchered like a heifer or a dressed-out deer.”
Captain Lloyd Schoephoerster reported: As I tried to open the door going from the woodshed into the house, Sheriff Schley looked around a portion of the woodshed. I heard him cry out, “My God, here she is.” I went over to where he was and saw a woman’s nude, headless body hanging from the rafters by her ankles.
A crude wooden crossbar, about three feet, covered in bark and sharpened at both ends, held up the corpse; one end jutting through her ankle as if to save the use of a robe. The arms were taut by her side, held firmly by hemp ropes running from her waistline to a handmade crossbar. A rusted pulley and chain were used to lift her skywards so to fit nicely in place.
And there — left to keep in the coldness of the shed like a side of beef in a butcher’s meat locker — the mutilated remains of the fifty-eight-year-old grandmother hung. — Deviant, Harold Schechter
While every other Plainfield family dangled a carcass of deer this evening, so did Ed, but the only difference was his was of his own species.
The sight was too much to bear for Sheriff Schley, and when his mind finally processed what he was seeing, the instant repulsion caused him to “vomit loudly”, barely making it outside the shed and into the snow.
Barely one month as the town’s sheriff, Art Schley was now thrust into one of the most heinous crimes the World has ever seen; the stress would eventually send him to his early grave.
For now, the disappearance of Bernice Worden had its conclusion… well, almost. They still needed to find her head.