Ed Gein's Car & It's Sideshow Connection


I have heard that the serial killer Ed Gein's car was exhibited in a sideshow. Do you have any information about his car and what happened to it?   Henry Troy, Wisconsin


Henry, Ed Gein was one of the most notorious serial killers of our time.  Many movies were loosely based on this mild mannered killer.  Although there are no characters that are an exact model of Ed Gein, these movies helped to get Ed back in the spotlight.  Movies such as Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Silence of the Lambs and even House of 1000 Corpses are a few.


Ed Gein's car, which he had been driving on the day of Bernice Worden's murder was put on the auction block. This item started a bidding war with 14 different people competing. In the end, the 1949 Ford sedan sold for the amazing sum of $760. The buyer was a mysterious bidder identified variously as "Koch Brothers", "Cook Brothers" and even "Kook Brothers" from Rothschild, Wisconsin. The buyer later turned out to be an enterprising carnival sideshow operator named Bunny Geiben from Depere, Illinois. The "Ed Gein Car" made its first appearance in July 1958 at the Outgamie County Fair in Seymour, Wisconsin. It was displayed in a canvas tent with huge sign on it, painted to say:




Even though the car wasn't actually used to haul anyone from their graves, more than 2,000 people paid a 25 cent admission to see the car over a two-day period.


Word spread of the macabre attraction and controversy erupted. Plainfield residents, along with officials for the Wisconsin Association for Mental Health were outraged. Geiben however, most likely thrilled with the free publicity, was unfazed by the uproar. Soon though, his display began to run into trouble. At the Washington County Fair in Slinger, Wisconsin, the death car had been on display only a few hours before the sheriff arrived and closed Geiben down. Soon, county fairs all across the state banned the attraction and Geiben headed south to Illinois, where he hoped to find more open-minded crowds.


Whatever became of the car is unknown.


On July 26, 1984, Ed Gein died of a heart attack in the Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Gein is now buried in Plainfield cemetery next to his mother, where he rests to this day. During his final years, nurses say that he was the most polite patient they had ever known and that if all patients acted the way he did that their job would be a lot easier. Ed Gein never had to be sedated like many of the other patients, he kept to himself, usually reading.


Information obtained from a variety of sources

Information submitted by Bunny Geiben's Grandson.


(Sept 14, 2007 by one of Bunny Geiben's Grand Children, The car is on a family farm in The Pulaski area.) When the Wisconsin State Employees went out on strike, I was in the Wisconsin National Guard. My assignment was Central State Hospital and there, I met Ed Gein and played cribbage with him. An experience I'll never forget.) LW


(Add Sept. 16th 2007  My grandpa-whose real name is Boniface-hence the nickname Bunny-lived in Depere, Wisconsin, Not Illinois) LW


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