So what is Psycho all about? Robert Bloch's inspiration for the main character, Norman Bates, was "loosely" inspired by Ed Gein, son of George and Augusta Gein and Wisconsin's most notorious cannibal, grave-robber, and serial killer.
Basically, a real life boogeyman.
Gein's father was an alcoholic and abusive, and his mother was extremely religious, domineering, and controlling. Gein's and his mother had a nontraditional relationship.
Even though she controlled him and belittled him, he was obsessed with her. Their relationship did not go unnoticed. His older brother, Henry, confronted them about it several times. Interestingly, Henry died in a mysterious fire on the family's farm in 1944. This close relationship with his mother is said to be the harbinger to his crimes which escalated after her death in 1945.
Gein busied himself committing crimes around his hometown of Plainfield, Wisconsin (an isolated rural area in Wisconsin) earning him the name The Mad Butcher of Plainfield. During a ten year span, Gein murdered two women and exhumed and defiled at least a 20 bodies from various cemeteries around Plainfield.
With no family left, Gein was alone at the farmhouse and his morbid past time of defiling bodies increased. He turned one of the rooms in to a shrine for his mother which he kept sealed off. He kept her body there.
In 1957, Bernice Worden, local hardware store owner, went missing. Witnesses reported seeing Gein with her before her disappearance. Police paid a visit to Gein's farm at which point not only did they find Mrs. Worden's body but they found the body of local tavern owner, Mary Hogan, who disappeared in 1954.
Her head was found in a paper bag. The police also found socks made from human flesh, a belt made from several human nipples, a vest made from the skin of a woman's torso, a ceiling light pull crafted from human lips, human skulls mounted on the corner posts of his bed, human skin lampshade, chair seats upholstered with human skin, human skullcaps used as soup bowls, and a human heart in a pan on the stove. His entire house was decorated from various items made from the skin and bones of the dead.
He said he killed the two women because they resembled his mother. He did plead guilty to killing the women and was found guilty but legally insane. He was sent to the Mendota Mental Health Institute and resided there until his death at age 77 due to complications of cancer.
Ironically, he is buried beside his family at the Plainfield Cemetery. It is said that people would visit the cemetery, find Ed Gein's gravestone, and chip pieces of it to take as a souvenir. The entire gravestone was stolen in 2000 and recovered in 2001. The gravestone is kept in storage, his grave remains unmarked. Seems fitting to me.
So that is, in a nutshell, what the novel Psycho is about.
The TV series The Bates Motel's Norman Bates is loosely based on Ed Gein and his obsession with his mother.
Momma's boy going manic.
If you have not watched The Bates Motel, go check in now. This is the best show on TV, and the actors and writers have done an incredible job. Realizing that tonight is the last episode ever is harder to deal with than getting divorced. Me and my kiddos were lucky to get to see Nestor Carbonell and Max Thieriot at Walker Stalker Atl two years ago. They were incredibly nice and so darn good looking! Sad to see it end!