Informant: “And then my third one (tradition), my favorite, which is also Chrsitmas…uh and many many years ago my father gave his mother, for Christmas, a book about Ed Gein, the serial killer. And he gave it to her cuz he was a Wisconsin based serial killer and they all lived in Wisconsin. Um and the book was a biography and there were pictures of his house that some of the-that some crime investigator had taken. There were pictures of…if you don’t know, Ed Gein is the serial killer who Hannibal Lector is based off of. There are a lot of famous pop culture serial cultures based off of him because he makes…furniture and clothing and stuff out of his humans, out of his victims. So he has like human skin lampshades and stuff uh… and there are pictures in the book of human corpses just strung up. Uh and severed heads and stuff. [Inaudible]…more like a big cow carcass. Yeah um…he got caught and that’s why they have pictures but there was a book about him and my dad gave it to his mother for Christmas and she thought it was absolutely revolting…and hated it so…the next year, sheee squirted a little bit of ketchup on it, to look like blood, and gave it back to him. Uh…now the ketchup is dried so it’s just kinda like a… a long brownish stain on the book but every year a new person gets the book. And there’s been repeats because it’s been so many years but every year a person gets a book as a surprise and people have tried to trick them by wrapping it in a small package that’s wrapped in a bigger box so they don’t know it’s the book. Uh but there are some rules that go with this tradition. One, you’re not allowed to get it until you’re 18…cuz there’re dead bodies in it. Though I actually got it earlier than 18 years old and my sister was very upset because she was older than me and she hadn’t gotten it yet. But she got it last year so it’s nice. Um…and then the other rule is that you cannot give it to our Aunt Mary or potentially anyone in her family because she claims that if she ever gets it, she will just throw it away, thus ending the tradition and we don’t want that. So she does not get it and yeah it’s it’s it’s fun. It’s fun to see who gets it and taking care of it and I was very honored to get it because it really felt like it was kinda my true real initiation into the Wierzbicki Family. It made me feel like part of the family.”
In the Wierzbicki family, there’s a tradition of giving and receiving an Ed Gein biographical book. It started when the informant’s father gifted the book to his mother. Disgusted by the book, she gifted it back to him with fake blood splotches the next Christmas. Thus began the tradition of regifting the book every Christmas. However, the book can’t be gifted to minors or the informant’s Aunt Mary. Despite this, the informant received the book before turning 18. This seems like a fun and harmless tradition. It’s interesting to see how one small event like giving a present can blossom into such a big family tradition.