The Wretched Life of Albert Fish
A True Fiend
The 1920’s and ‘30’s saw the Stock Market Crash, which was terrible for the economy, and that incident caused a lot of people to always save what they had. It affected their minds deeply, for it could happen again, and they wanted to be ready. But also in the late 1920’s, the most insane, fiendish, and cunning man ever lived. He had many interests, the most vile of which, was killing children. It took a number of years to bring him to justice, and it has never been proven, but it is believed that he was responsible for the deaths of fifteen children. Was he a serial killer? That cannot be proven. He admitted to the killing of three youngsters between 1924 and 1928, but we have no information on the others…
The Gray Man and His Victims
Albert Hamilton Fish was born to folks that had mental illness on both sides of their families, which could well have doomed him from the beginning. He found his own father prone to his own proclivities as a boy. He turned out the same way, but his father never killed anyone.
Fish married and had six children, and one son knew that his father wasn’t well, especially when the moon was full. This son lived with him for several years, and witnessed his father self-flagellating, identifying himself as Christ, and placing sewing needles in his perenium.
Albert claimed his first victim in 1924, 8-year-old Francis McDonnell, the son of a Staten Island police officer. He disappeared in Port Richmond in an isolated woodland near the family home, strangled with his own suspenders. He was not dismembered, as someone was heard coming and that was the only thing that prevented Fish from doing further harm to the boy's body.
In 1927, he captured and brutally slay 4-year-old Billy Gaffney, disposing of him in the Riker Avenue dumps. He was beaten one day and killed the next, but not buried with all of his body.
Fish was also fond of seeking out potential partners for his sado-masochistic activities in the newspaper. He would write horrific letters and mail them to unsuspecting women in hopes that they would indulge his fetishes. Since his wife left him with their children he learned to seek out those that would have interests of their own.
In 1928, Fish found an ad in the paper under situations wanted from a young man seeking a job in the country. He showed up to “interview” the boy, but found that he liked his little sister better. He concocted a story that his niece was having a birthday party, and asked to take little Grace Budd with him, aged 10. The parents consented, and he killed her, as well. She saw the same type of fate that did little Billy Gaffney.
The “Gray Man” was captured six years later, due to the fact that he mailed a letter with a pre-printed business address and was tracked down. He was captured retrieving a check from his son at a prior residence. He had been searched for relentlessly all those years, when Detective William King got the break that he was looking for.
The Facts and the Verdict
Only then was it discovered how truly sick and perverted that Fish really was, during the investigation and court trial. He was deemed insane by a jury of his peers, given the chair in 1936, fearful at first when he learned that he would be electrocuted. Then he was quoted as saying “that was the only thing that he hadn’t tried.”
In summation, Fish’s perversions were listed as sadism, masochism, active and passive flagellation, castration and self-castration, exhibitionism, voyeurism, piqueurism, pedophilia, homosexuality, fellatio, cunnilingus, anilingus, coprophagia, undinism, fetishism, cannibalism, and hypererotism.
These were the 1930’s and a lot has changed since then, but I guarantee you this. With what we consider just a little off-base now, he is still, even by today’s standards, pretty far out in left field.
I have deliberately left out much of the account of the facts, as readers might want to read about Albert Fish for themselves. It is a demented story and true crime. If you have a strong constitution and would like to learn the facts of the matter, you may obtain the book(s) here: