Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Albert Fish (May 19, 1870 - January 16, 1936) was an American serial killer and cannibal. He was also known as the Moon Maniac, the Gray Man, and the Brooklyn Vampire. Over the course of his criminal career, he murdered at least 15 children (many of whom he ate), and molested and tortured countless others across the United States. He sometimes castrated his male vicitims before killing them.
Born Hamilton Fish in Washington, DC, to a family with a history of mental illness, Fish grew up in an orphanage where he was ruthlessly whipped and beaten. In 1898, he was married to a woman nine years his junior and fathered six children before his wife ran off with another man.
Fish was a painter, who drifted across the United States, molesting and torturing children in nearly every state. Most of his victims came from poor, black families who were not likely to be able to do much about his actions, owing to the racism prevalent in the country during that time. Reputed to be a sado-masochist, Fish reportedly indulged in self-mutilation, driving needles into his body, mostly around his genitals; stuffing cotton balls soaked with lighter fluid into his rectum and setting fire to them; and consuming not only the flesh of his victims, but urine, blood, and excrement. He attributed these tendencies and his cruel, murderous history to his abusive childhood. He also claimed that God had sent him on a mission.
Eventually, Fish was tried and convicted for the murder of 10-year-old Grace Budd, whom he choked to death and ate. This was the letter he sent to her parents that eventually got him caught:
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 for 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 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 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 year old boy, because he had the fattest ass and of course the most meat on it. Every part of his body was Cooked and eaten except the head -- bones and guts. He was Roasted in the oven (all of his ass), boiled, broiled, fried and stewed. The little boy was next, went the same way. At that time, I was living at 409 E 100 st., near -- 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 wildflowers. 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 the stairs. I grabbed her and she said she would tell her mamma.
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 fuck her tho I could of had I wished. She died a virgin.
He was executed on January 16, 1936, in the electric chair at Sing Sing. He spoke of the prospect of electrocution as the "supreme thrill", and even helped the executioners fasten the straps that held his body in place. A Daily News reporter who covered the trial wrote that Fish’s “watery eyes gleamed at the thought of being burned by a heat more intense than the flames with which he often seared his flesh to gratify his lust.” It was reported that the first jolt of electricity did not kill Fish, and that a second jolt was needed. A few wrote, facetiously, that the 400 or so needles Fish had inserted into his body over the years had caused a short circuit.
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