When Ed Gein died on July 6, 1984 at the age of 77, his body was returned to Plainfield to rest beside his mother Augusta, brother Henry, and Father George. Despite the fact that he was surrounded by graves he had desecrated and plundered decades earlier. It’s for this reason that some believe Ed is buried in a secret place where no one would be able to dig him up. Where is Ed Gein’s grave?
Ed Gein’s grave is located in the Plainfield Cemetery on 5th Ave just outside Plainfield, Wisconsin. His unmarked grave is located between his brother and his mother. The Gein family plot is located just behind the grave of Eleanor Adams, a grave that Ed had robbed and remains empty to this day.
After Gein’s death at the Mendota Mental Health Institute at the age of 77, there are a variety of stories concerning where and when he was laid to rest. Some say he was buried in a secret grave to prevent curiosity seekers to dig him up and steal his remains as a morbid souvenir. Other stories claim he was buried in Plainfield Cemetery at midnight under the cover of darkness to prevent the media and crowds from turning it into a spectacle. Some visitors have found themselves being directed to the nearby Spiritland Cemetery. Gein did exhume certain freshly buried remains there, but that is certainly not where he is buried.
Plainfield resident Betty Petrusky had been the caretaker of Plainfield Cemetery for close to 30 years and personally attended to his interment.
“Everybody says he was buried at midnight,” Petrusky once told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “That wasn’t true because I buried him. It was 4 in the afternoon.”
Petrusky helped his Gein’s grave, and stayed for the service as his remains were committed to the earth.
Curiously, it was Petrusky who discovered Gein’s gravestone had been stolen while she was visiting the burial place of her husband on a quiet Saturday in June, 2000.
In the years following Gein’s death, his gravestone was frequently subjected to vandalism. Visitors chipped pieces from it and wrote on it. But in 2000 the entire 150-pound stone vanished.
Authorities began watching ebay, expecting the stone to turn up for sale there just as various objects taken from the former Gein property have over the years. But it never ended up on the auction site. Instead, it was found nearly 2,000 miles away in Seattle.
The gravestone was in the possession of the Ed Gein Fan Club founder Shane Bugbee. He was selling charcoal rubbings of the stone on his band’s website, and exhibiting it at stops along his punk rock and art tour. That’s where Seattle police recovered the stone and confirmed its authenticity.
The gravestone was returned to Plainfield, but authorities there decided against returning it to the cemetery, where they believed it would just be stolen again.
The Waushara County Historical Society expressed interest in the gravestone. The historical museum is located in the old county jail in Wautoma where Gein was held after his arrest, and they considered creating an exhibit with the stone – possibly inside the cell where Gein had resided, which is still publicly accessible to museum visitors.
However, the historical society decided the controversy an exhibit like that would cause was not worth the trouble.
Ed Gein’s gravestone remains in storage and will likely never again be displayed in Plainfield Cemetery or elsewhere.
Makeshift Grave Markers
Though Gein’s gravestone remains in storage, his burial place continues to remain marked by visitors. Besides the hole from which Gein grave dirt is procured, visitors frequently leave other objects on his grave such as crosses, flowers, copies of his serial killer trading card, and even a brick with the words “Gone but not forgotten” written in thick black marker.
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