Deviant

Deviant
Harold Schechter

The true story of Ed Gein is of some interest, seeing as how the “original Psycho” has since become the stuff of modern myth, urban legend, and Hollywood. The real Eddie Gein (rhymes with “fiend”) was not, at least as far as we know, a cannibal or taxidermist. Nor were his credentials strong as a necrophile (he had a fetish for some body parts, but didn’t attempt sex with corpses because of the smell) or serial killer (he was mainly a grave robber, and only killed twice). None of this, however, stopped him from almost immediately becoming America’s “seminal psychotic.” Arrested in 1957, Bloch’s novel appeared in 1959, and Hitchcock’s film a year later. After that it was away to the bloody races. Schechter’s book works Gein’s case history into a tight, dramatic narrative – but in the end nothing in the text is quite as eerie or revealing as the photos juxtaposing the chaotic squalor of the rustic ghoul’s kitchen with the frozen gloom of his mother’s room, long sealed off from the rest of the house.