- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 8, 2006

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) — Mike Fisher has had the unique distinction of owning the land where Ed Gein — the grave robber and murderer whose story inspired the movie “Psycho” — was arrested.

But now he wants to sell it. Asking price? $250,000 — probably double what it would be worth without its ghoulish past. The 40 acres west of Plainfield in central Wisconsin once contained Gein’s ramshackle home and part of his farm.

“I am just a guy who got stuck with this white elephant,” Mr. Fisher said. “I am tired of the frustrations and the headaches. I have a right to ask whatever I want for it.”

Mr. Fisher, who inherited the land from his grandfather, listed the property on EBay last week under the heading, “Ed Gein’s Farm … The REAL deal!” The site received more than 1,200 hits by Friday.

Mr. Fisher’s sales pitch quickly drew the attention of the man leading a national campaign against sales of serial-killer memorabilia.

“This is probably the highest-ticket item in the murder-memorabilia racket that I have seen since I have started watchdogging the industry in 1999,” said Andy Kahan of Houston, who is the victim rights director in the Houston mayor’s office.

Mr. Fisher is linking a horrible crime and the notoriety of it to “hook a higher price” and that’s wrong, Mr. Kahan said.

Gein was arrested for murder in 1957 when the headless body of a hardware store owner was found hanging at his farm home. Investigators also found parts of other bodies. They concluded Gein had robbed graves and may have killed other people.

A fictionalized account of Gein by writer Robert Bloch led to the Norman Bates character in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film classic “Psycho.”

Gein, eventually ruled guilty but criminally insane, died in a mental hospital in 1984 at the age of 77.

Mr. Fisher’s grandfather, Emden Schey, bid $3,883 for Gein’s farm plus another $775 for the homestead site, outbuildings and 40 acres in 1958. The farmhouse on the property burned down before the auction.

Mr. Schey later sold off some of the land and the 40-acre homestead site was passed down to Mr. Fisher and his brother. Mr. Fisher, 40, who lives in southern Wisconsin, said he bought out his brother’s interest.

The 40 acres are covered with trees, planted by his grandfather to try in some way to redeem it from its ugly past, Mr. Fisher said.

But the land is famous because of Gein, and that’s meant problems with trespassers and sightseers, he said.

One time, a mortician touring famous crime sites in the United States stopped by, Mr. Fisher recalled. “He said his wife wouldn’t go on the tour with him, so his sister went because his wife thought it was too freaky,” he said.

The man even asked if there were any artifacts for him to take, Mr. Fisher said.

“We have really tried over the years to minimize the impact that this property has on the community,” he said. “No matter, those efforts are insufficient because of this twisted interest some folks have. I want to get rid of it and hurt as few people in the process as I can and just be done with it.”

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