The Nightmare closet

Albert Fish

(Killings between 1919 and 1930)

Albert Fish was America's most vile pedophile, serial killer, and cannibal. He is known by many names; Gray Man, Brooklyn Vampire, The Boogeyman and the Werewolf of Wysteria. He was a gentle-looking, benevolent grandfather, a total contrast to the monster within him. His wife considered him a wonderful husband and his children believed he was a model father. Some of his crimes seem unbelievable.

Hamy Fish (his birth name) was born in Washington D.C. He was the youngest of four. Several of his family members had mental health problems. After his father's death, he was put in an orphanage by his mother and he was whipped at the orphanage frequently and that is when he began to realize that he enjoyed physical pain and felt aroused. Then he entered into homosexual relationships at the age of 12 and was introduced to other perverse practices of drinking urine and coprophagia. His weekends were spent visiting public baths to watch boys undress. This led to male prostitution and this continued even after his marriage and six children.

On June 3 of that year Fish took 12-year-old Grace Budd to his isolated cottage in White Plains, New York from her home in New York City. Once there he strangled the helpless girl, decapitated her and used a saw to cut her in half. He ate bits of her flesh in a stew later and drank some of the girl's blood. The Budd's, who allowed their daughter to go to a fictitious birthday party with the killer they knew as Frank Howard, never heard anything about their daughter until Fish inexplicably sent them a letter telling them he had killed their daughter, adding that he "didn't fuck with her" and that she died a virgin. An address that Fish had not erased well enough on the back of the letter's envelope led police to the old man and the child killer was immediately arrested.

Because of the passage of time and lack of follow up that is customary nowadays, it is uncertain exactly what killings Fish actually confessed to while in custody. He evidently laid some claim to a few killings including the 1910 killing of a man in Delaware, the torture and mutilation death of a retarded boy in 1919, and the killing of a twelve-year-old boy in 1917. He alluded to many others but his confessions were never truly verified and he himself admitted his memory had deteriorated in his last few years. He reportedly admitted to the molestation of approximately 400 children, an incredibly horrifying number if true.

Charged with murder in the Budd killing, Fish's lawyers predictably pursued an insanity defense in his 1935 trial.  The aging sadist looked forward to the chair.   On January 16, 1936, one of his many perversions was to shove needles into the flesh between his testicles and anus. Quite often the needles went too far in and became lodged. Hundreds of tiny needles remained stuck in the man's body at the time of his electrocution and they short-circuited the first electrocution attempt leaving Fish charred, but alive. It took a second massive current to send this monster to his grave.

"What a thrill that will be if I have to die in the electric chair. It will be the supreme thrill. The only one I haven't tried." ~Fish