Albert Fish was a prolific serial killer, rapist, and cannibal who was known as Gray Man, the Werewolf of Wysteria, the Brooklyn Vampire, the Moon Maniac, and The Boogey Man. He said he had over 100 victims, claiming he had “children” (victims) in every state”.
Background: Albert Fish becomes The Brooklyn Vampire
Albert Fish was born in Washington, D.C. in 1870. His father was 75 and his mother was 32. He had three older siblings but spent much of his youth in an orphanage.
Many members of Fish’s family were mentally ill. His mother hallucinated, both his brother and sister had diagnosed mental illnesses along with his uncle.
At the orphanage, physical abuse ran rampant. When he was able to get out of the orphanage to visit his family, he hung around with his mother’s boyfriend who taught him to drink urine and eat feces. In his youth he picked up habits like going to public bath houses to watch people undress and sending obscene letters.
In 1890 when Fish was 20 years old he moved to New York City where he became a prostitute and began raping underage boys.
In 1898 he married Anna Mary Hoffman. They had six children. He continued abusing young boys. During this time he also became obsessed with sexual mutilation after seeing a bisected penis at a museum.
5 Creepy Facts About Albert Fish
- Albert Fish claimed to have raped, murdered, and mutilated as many as 100 people, though he has only 3 confirmed victims and is suspected of only a handful more.
- Because he specifically targeted victims “no one would miss” no one knows if he was exaggerating or if police weren’t even aware many of his victims were missing/murdered.
- When he was convicted, Fish’s lawyer said he wrote a “final” statement before he was executed but that it was so grotesque and obscene that he would never show it to anyone.
- Because of the gruesomeness of his crimes, Fish was known alternatively as The Gray Man, The Werewolf of Wysteria, The Brooklyn Vampire, The Moon Maniac, and The Boogey Man.
- His nickname “The Boogeyman” was because of what a 3-year-old described him as when he was questioned about whether he witnessed anyone strange following the disappearance of Billy Gaffney.
In 1910 Fish met a 19-year-old man named Thomas Kedden who may have been intellectually disabled. Fish acted out his sadomasochistic fantasies on Kedden, torturing him for two weeks before finally bisecting his penis. When he was done, Fish “originally intended to kill Kedden, cut up his body, and take it home, but he feared the hot weather would draw attention to him; instead, Fish poured peroxide over the wound, wrapped it in a Vaseline-covered handkerchief, left a $10 bill, kissed Kedden goodbye, and left.”
Of the experience, Fish said “I shall never forget his scream, or the look he gave me.”
In 1917 Fish’s wife left him, taking most of their possessions and leaving him to care for their six children. Fish began devolving into mental illness, experiencing hallucinations and believing that the apostle John was giving him direct orders.
He never physically harmed his children, though he traumatized them by involving them in his sick sadomasochistic fantasies, asking the children and their friends to spank him with a nail-studded paddle and serving them dinners of raw meat as he explored cannibalism.
During this time Fish also began experimenting with sticking needles into his groin and abdomen. At one point an X-ray showed 29 needles embedded in his groin.
Albert Fish Victims
[*] Francis McDonnell (9). In 1924 Albert Fish sexually assaulted McDonnell and left him hanging from a tree. Fish said he had wanted to castrate him, but didn’t have enough time in the not secluded area.
[*] Billy Gaffney (4). In 1927 Gaffney was taken from his apartment hallway in Brooklyn. Fish described what happened in a letter to his lawyer:
“I brought him to the Riker Ave. dumps. There is a house that stands alone, not far from where I took him … I took the G boy there. Stripped him naked and tied his hands and feet and gagged him with a piece of dirty rag I picked out of the dump. Then I burned his clothes. Threw his shoes in the dump. Then I walked back and took trolley to 59 St. at 2 A.M. and walked home from there. Next day about 2 P.M., I took tools, a good heavy cat-of-nine tails. Home made. Short handle. Cut one of my belts in half, slit these half in six strips about 8 in. long. I whipped his bare behind till the blood ran from his legs. I cut off his ears – nose – slit his mouth from ear to ear. Gouged out his eyes. He was dead then. I stuck the knife in his belly and held my mouth to his body and drank his blood. I picked up four old potato sacks and gathered a pile of stones. Then I cut him up. I had a grip with me. I put his nose, ears and a few slices of his belly in the grip. Then I cut him thru the middle of his body. Just below his belly button. Then thru his legs about 2 in. below his behind. I put this in my grip with a lot of paper. I cut off the head – feet – arms – hands and the legs below the knee. This I put in sacks weighed with stones, tied the ends and threw them into the pools of slimy water you will see all along the road going to North Beach. Water is 3 to 4 ft. deep. They sank at once. I came home with my meat. I had the front of his body I liked best. His monkey and pee wees and a nice little fat behind to roast in the oven and eat. I made a stew out of his ears – nose – pieces of his face and belly. I put onions, carrots, turnips, celery, salt and pepper. It was good. Then I split the cheeks of his behind open, cut off his monkey and pee wees and washed them first. I put strips of bacon on each cheek of his behind and put in the oven. Then I picked 4 onions and when meat had roasted about 1/4 hr., I poured about a pint of water over it for gravy and put in the onions. At frequent intervals I basted his behind with a wooden spoon. So the meat would be nice and juicy. In about 2 hr., it was nice and brown, cooked thru. I never ate any roast turkey that tasted half as good as his sweet fat little behind did. I ate every bit of the meat in about four days. His little monkey was as sweet as a nut, but his pee-wees I could not chew. Threw them in the toilet.”
[*] Grace Budd (10). In 1928 Albert Fish answered a classified ad placed by Grace Budd’s father, Edward Budd, in which he was seeking employment. Fish pretended to be a farmer looking for a farmhand with the plan of killing and mutilating the man. However, when he met Grace Budd he convinced her parents to let him “take her to a party” instead. Grace was never seen again.
Six years later, Fish sent an anonymous letter to Grace’s mother. It read:
“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 ass 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 fuck her, though, I could of [sic] had I wished. She died a virgin.”
[*] Fish claims to have as many as 100 victims and at one time bragged about having a child (victim) in every state. Other suspected victims are: Emma Richardson (5),
Yetta Abramowitz (12), Robin Jane Liu (6), Mary Ellen O’Connor (16), Benjamin Collings (17).
7 Creepy Albert Fish Quotes
- “A boy or girls behind which is the sweetest part of the body”
- “He told me so often how good human flesh was I made up my mind to taste it.”
- “Grace sat in my lap and kissed me. I made up my mind to eat her.”
- “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 cut off his ears – nose – slit his mouth from ear to ear. Gouged out his eyes. He was dead then.”
- “I stuck the knife in his belly and held my mouth to his body and drank his blood.”
- “I never ate any roast turkey that tasted half as good as his sweet fat little behind did. I ate every bit of the meat in about four days.”
Albert Fish Modus Operandi
Fish selected victims he believed people would not miss. To him, this meant African American boys or boys with intellectual disabilities.
He called his torture and murder weapons (a meat cleaver, a butcher knife, and a handsaw) the “implements of hell”.
During some periods, his mental health was so poor that he believed god was commanding him to sexually mutilate young children.
Albert Fish Imprisonment And Death
In 1935 a trial was held for Grace Budd’s murder where Fish’s lawyers made a case that he was criminally insane. The jurors agreed, but they still wanted him dead.
In 1936 he was executed by the electric chair in New York.
Albert Fish In Culture
In 2007 a Documentary was made about Albert Fish. This was the trailer:
He is the subject of the 2011 film The Gray Man, which was one of his many nicknames:
Fish has also been the subject of subject of many true crime podcasts. A notable and in-depth discussion was held on The Last Podcast on the Left which was in three parts: