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Remembering Augusta Wilhelmine Gein – A Pioneering Spirit

Remembering Augusta Wilhelmine Gein

Augusta Wilhelmine Gein was a pioneering spirit. She was the mother of one of the most depraved serial killers in history – Ed Gein, aka The Butcher of Plainfield.

She instilled in her son the belief that sex was evil and women were instruments of the Devil. This was the catalyst for Gein to turn the defilement of human bodies into a form of art.

Augusta Wilhelmine Gein (1878-1960)

Born Augusta Wilhelmine Lehrke in La Crosse, Wisconsin on the Mississippi River across the border from Minnesota, she was one of eight children born to German immigrants Amalia and Frederick Lehrke. Their family had moved to the Midwest from Prussia during the great Old Lutheran exodus of the mid-19th century.

Augusta grew up with Old Lutheran beliefs that all human acts and thoughts are sinful and that all humans deserve to be condemned to hell. She feared that women were instruments of the devil and was determined to raise her sons to be God-fearing Christians.

Ed and his brother Henry were not allowed to leave the farm, even for school. When they did, Augusta would reprimand them and lecture them on the evils of drinking and women. She also scolded them when they tried to make friends and forbade them from talking to anyone outside the Gein family. This was a traumatic childhood experience for Ed and left him sexually confused.

Augusta Wilhelmine Gein’s Life

The mother of the famous serial killer Ed Gein, Augusta Wilhelmine Lehrke was born in La Crosse, Wisconsin on August 27, 1878. She was the daughter of German immigrants Amalia and Frederick Lehrke, who fled their home country in the great Old Lutheran exodus of the mid-19th century.

Her marriage to George Philip Gein was not a happy one; he was an alcoholic and timid man who could never hold down a job. The couple had two sons: Henry and Edward.

They eventually moved to a farm outside Plainfield, WI. This isolated location was an attempt to prevent the influence of outsiders on their children.

A devout and extremely religious mother, Augusta was devoted to her beliefs. She would regularly preach about sin and carnal desire, telling her boys that all human thought and deeds were rooted in evil and that they would end up in hell.

Augusta Wilhelmine Gein’s Legacy

In the 1950s, Ed Gein’s crimes inspired a number of horror movies including Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Silence of the Lambs. In addition to his murders and grave robbing, Gein made a number of ghoulish trophies out of human body parts.

Gein’s mother Augusta Wilhelmine Gein was a domineering, puritanical Christian who instilled fear and violence into her sons. She often read The Bible to them, and she would preach about the sins of lust and carnal desire.

She also tried to influence her children to be better people and not drink alcohol. She was a strong-willed Christian who believed that women were tools of the devil.

During her lifetime, she lived on a small farm in Plainfield, Wisconsin with her husband George Philip Gein, and their sons Edward Theodore Gein and Henry George Gein. After her death in 1945, Gein boarded up his mother’s rooms while the rest of the home was destroyed.

Augusta Wilhelmine Gein’s Impact

Augusta was born to German immigrants who had left Prussia in the great Old Lutheran exodus of the 19th century. The Germans were the largest immigrant group to settle in Wisconsin in that period, spurred by political, social, religious, and economic upheavals in Europe.

In 1900, Augusta married George Philip Gein, whose father was also a German. They had two sons, Henry George, and Edward Theodore Gein.

As their children grew up, Augusta became overprotective and babied them. They were never allowed to go outside the house, only for school and chores on the farm.

Every afternoon, she would read to them from the Bible about the innate immorality of the world, the evil of drinking, and the belief that all women were prostitutes and instruments of the devil. This instilled fear and hatred in Ed which led him to commit murders. It influenced many fictional serial killers, including Norman Bates in Psycho and Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs.

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