What Happened To Ed Gein’s Car?

If there’s one Wisconsin resident that comes to mind for infamy, it’s Ed Gein.

There aren’t too many Wisconsin residents more notorious than Ed Gein. His chilling story has been told and re-told for decades. He has served as inspiration for numerous fictional characters including Norman Bates from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 movie classic “Psycho” based on the Robert Bloch novel of the same name.Whether anyone likes it or not, Ed has left his deranged mark on American Culture.

Ed Gein is famous to be sure. But what’s not quite as well known is the story of his car. It went from being parked in Gein’s Plainfield farm’s driveway to vanishing after being banned by county fairs statewide as a carnival sideshow attraction.

In 1958 Gein’s estate went up for auction. Included in the auction was Gein’s 1949 Ford. After fourteen bids the car was won by De Pere resident and sideshow operator Bunny Gibbons for 760 dollars, a pretty steep amount for a car like that in 1958 considering new Ford sedans sold for around 1,500 to 2,000 dollars new in 1949. A 1940 Ford pickup was also said to be at auction that day but its fate, if true, is unknown along with any other items auctioned off.

Gibbons plan was to charge 25 cents to view the car at country fairs. It made its first appearance at the Outagamie County Fair in 1958 in Seymour shrouded by a tent. There was a guarantee of a 1,000 dollars if anyone could disprove the claims that the car was used to transport Ed’s victims. The “Ed Gein Ghoul Car” caused immediate controversy. The Mental Health Association of Wisconsin was particularly outraged at it’s display for public gawking. Despite all of this the car reportedly pulled in 2000 viewers during it’s first two days on display. If those viewership numbers are correct Bunny made back 66% of his initial cost in just it’s first couple of showings. There is no doubt Bunny thought he had a good money maker.

The controversy dogged the car and it’s during showing in Slinger and the exhibit was shut down by the sheriff. The car has since disappeared from public view.

Pictures of the actual car are rare, if not impossible, to find. The car is said to be maroon in color and showing signs of rust but little else is known about it. The car has not been seen publicly since its fairground days.

Bunny reportedly continued on in Illinois with his fairground attractions but there’s little evidence he actually showed the car anywhere else.

If the car still exists where did it go?

If it doesn’t, what happened to it?

Was it eventually junked and scrapped or is it sitting in a garage somewhere?

No one seems to know.

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