There are creatures who are born on this earth who are comparable to those created by the best mind in horror for literature, movies and campfire stories. However, every once in a while, a demon is born who trumps even the sickest and wildest imaginations. Albert Fish is one of those…maybe THE one of those. This creature is known as The Grey Man, The Werewolf of Wysteria, The Brooklyn Vampire, and The Boogieman. He is known for extreme sexual perversions, pedophilia, coprophilia, urophilia, and masochism.
Albert Hamilton Fish was born in Washington DC on May 19, 1870. His life had a difficult and tragic beginning. Many members of his family suffered from various mental illnesses and were unfit to raise Fish. He was placed in hyper-religious orphanage and routinely beaten and whipped. He was ridiculed by the other children and the leaders of the orphanage because he would become physically aroused at during the whippings.
His life in the orphanage was extremely difficult and lasted until 1879 when his mother was finally able to hold down a job long enough to look after the 9 year old boy. However, memories of his abuse haunted him his entire life. By the time he was 12-years old he had started a homosexual relationship with a local boy who introduced Fish to sexual practices including both urine and feces. Becoming increasingly sexual, Fish would sneak into bath houses to watch boys undress in the change rooms. Eventually he began to prostitute himself to men.
His highly religious mother made continual attempts to save her son from his sins and even arranged a marriage to a much younger woman in 1898. This sham of a marriage yielded 9 children, but Fish continued his homosexual relationships and became darkly intrigued by male castration. While in a relationship with a mentally handicapped man, Fish bound his boyfriend in a warehouse and attempted to castrate him. The castration was unsuccessful and the bloodied boyfriend was released with a kiss half-castrated penis. Fish later admitted to planning on murdering his boyfriend and hacking his body into pieces, but got scared and released the victim. “I shall never forget his scream, or the look he gave me.”
Shortly after this, Fish focused on children. It is not known for sure if he molested his own children along with others, but his wife left him unceremoniously for another man in 1917. Following this divorce, Fish spiraled even further out of control. He took to masochism and build a favorite toy consisting of a paddle with nails in it. He was also press pins and nails into his abdomen and behind his genitals. He would also often soak wool in lighter fluid and light it ablaze in his own anus.
His perversions mutated into a taste for raw meat and his curiosity was aimed towards cannibalism. Fish believed that children’s meat was more tender and his first attack was in 1910. Fish abducted and murdered Thomas Bedden. He abducted, murdered, molested and ate countless children and even boasted that he had had a child in “every state.” His targets were usually either African American or mentally handicapped because Fish believed that they would not be missed.
In 1928, Fish answered an ad in the paper to be a laborer in Manhattan. Here he met Edward Budd and his family which included 10-year old Grace Budd. Fish ask the Budds if he could take their young daughter to his faux niece’s birthday party and they made the tragic mistake of allowing it. They never saw Grace of Fish again.
It wasn’t until 1934 when the Budds heard from Fish again. They received a letter from Fish outlining the horrific tale of what happened to their daughter. Complete with spelling mistakes, here is the letter from Fish:
“My dear Mrs Budd,
In 1894 a friend of mine shipped as a deck hand on the steamer Tacoma, Capt John Davis. They sailed from San Francisco to Hong Kong China. On arriving there he and two others went ashore and got drunk. When they returned the boat was gone. At that time there was a famine in China. Meat of any kind was from $1 to 3 Dollars a pound. So great was the suffering among the very poor that all children under 12 were sold to the Butchers to be cut up and sold for food in order to keep others from starving. A boy or girl under 14 was not safe in the street. You could go in any shop and ask for steak – chops – or stew meat. Part of the naked body of a boy or girl would be brought out and just what you wanted cut from it. A boy or girls behind which is the sweetest part of the body and sold as veal cutlet brought the highest price. John staid there so long he acquired a taste for human flesh. On his return to N.Y. he stole two boys one 7 one 11. Took them to his home stripped them naked tied them in a closet then burned everything they had on. Several times every day and night he spanked them – tortured them – to make their meat good and tender. First he killed the 11 yr old boy, because he had the fattest *** and of course the most meat on it. Every part of his body was cooked and eaten except Head – bones and guts. He was roasted in the oven, (all of his ass) boiled, broiled, fried, stewed. The little boy was next, went the same way. At that time I was living at 409 E 100 St, rear – right side. He told me so often how good human flesh was I made up my mind to taste it. On Sunday June the 3 – 1928 I called on you at 406 W 15 St. Brought you pot cheese – strawberries. We had lunch. Grace sat in my lap and kissed me. I made up my mind to eat her, on the pretense of taking her to a party. You said Yes she could go. I took her to an empty house in Westchester I had already picked out. When we got there, I told her to remain outside. She picked wild flowers. I went upstairs and stripped all my clothes off. I knew if I did not I would get her blood on them. When all was ready I went to the window and called her. Then I hid in a closet until she was in the room. When she saw me all naked she began to cry and tried to run down stairs. I grabbed her and she said she would tell her mama. First I stripped her naked. How she did kick – bite and scratch. I choked her to death then cut her in small pieces so I could take my meat to my rooms, cook and eat it. How sweet and tender her little ass was roasted in the oven. It took me 9 days to eat her entire body. I did not **** her, though, I could of had I wished. She died a virgin.”
This letter is wicked. It is haunting. But it was also Fish’s undoing. Police discovered stationary marks on the paper Fish used and traced it to where he was stating. Albert Fish was arrested and charged with the abduction and murder of Grace Budd. The actual number of Fish’s victims is unknown, but we do know that it is at least eight with the youngest being 4-year old Billy Gaffney. During his trial, Fish attempted the insanity plea, but was found sane and unequivocally guilty. On January 16, 1936 at 11:06pm, Fish was strapped into Old Sparky at the famous Sing Sing Prison. Fish proclaimed that he “did not know why [he] was there” and that “electrocution would be the greatest thrill of “his” life.” Electrocution took longer than normal because of the number of needles inserted into his body which disrupted the flow of electricity.
Fish’s lawyer has confirmed that a letter was written as final statement from his client, but he outright refused to reveal its contents saying only that “I will never show it to anyone. It was the most filthy string of obscenities that I have ever read.”
The story of Albert Fish is true horror that shows the absolute depravity of a human being. The real life boogieman does not life underneath beds or in closets. He lived in Washington DC and died in 1936.