OF ALL the grim and twisted serial killers, few acted as heinously as the so-called “Brooklyn Vampire” Albert Fish.
The evil paedophile and serial killer confessed to the murder of three children and cannibalism of two, but bragged to authorities that he had abused or eaten a child “doeke vroeggebore VSA state” – and claimed his victim count could be as many as 100.
Just before his execution on this day in 1936 op die ouderdom van 65, he wrote to his lawyer setting out the full details of his chilling crimes.
Attorney Jack Dempsey was so disgusted he refused to ever share them, describing them as “the most filthy string of obscenities” he had ever read.
Fish would rape, kill and cannibalism children – deriving sexual pleasure from pain and believing he was being spoken to by God.
Born in Washington DC in 1870, his father was 75 years old when he was born and died when he was just five years old, at which point the young Albert was sent to a state orphanage.
Daar, at St John’s Home for Boys in Brooklyn, New York, he was regularly beaten, while kids were even encouraged to hurt each other.
It was in this cruel establishment that Albert discovered his love for pain, which would shape his future wicked crimes.
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He came to enjoy the punishments and associate them with pleasure, which later turned into sexual gratification.
By the time his mother brought him home from the orphanage in 1880, he had already been deeply damaged.
Two years later he began an unhealthy relationship with an older teenage boy who introduced him the sexual practices of consuming human waste, known as urolagnia and coprophagia.
He became obsessed with sexual mutilation and regularly embedded needles into his groin and abdomen, flogging himself with a nail-studded paddle.
A later X-ray of his pelvis revealed 29 needles stuck into his flesh.
In 1890, bejaardes 20, he moved back to New York, where his sexual appetites turned into crime.
He began molesting young boys, luring them from their homes before raping and torturing them, often using a nail-studded paddle.
Shockingly, in 1898, he married a woman his mother had introduced him to, eventually fathering six kids with her.
Although there are no reports he abused his own kids, he continuing raping and torturing other children throughout this time.
In 1910, he began a sadomasochistic relationship with Thomas Kedden, after meeting him while working as a house painter in Delaware.
One day, he lured Kedden to an abandoned farmhouse before locking him inside, subjecting him to two weeks of sickening torture.
Fish mutilated his victim’s body, cutting off half of his penis, before leaving after giving him a 10-dollar bill.
He later recalled: “I shall never forget his scream, or the look he gave me.”
In 1917, his wife left him, after his severe mental illness became too much for his wife.
This led to his self-harm to become even more depraved, including stuffing wool covered in lighter fluid into his behind and setting it on fire.
Fish became obsessed with cannibalism and believed God and saints were talking to him, commanding him to torture and eat young children.
This started with him searching for vulnerable children he thought wouldn’t be missed such as intellectually disabled orphans or homeless black children.
One day, in Mei 1928, while scouring newspaper ads of young men looking for work, he came across an Edward Budd.
The youngster was looking for work on a farm or in the country, and Fish originally planned on “huur” Edward and torturing him at his country house in Westchester, New York.
But while visiting the Budds at their Manhattan home under a false name, Frank Howard, he became obsessed with Edward’s younger sister, 10-year-old Grace.
Under the pretence of taking her to his niece’s birthday party, he convinced Grace’s parents to let their child go with a total stranger. They would never see her again.
According to a taunting letter sent to the girl’s mother Delia, along with his confession, Fish got naked so he wouldn’t get blood on his clothes and hid in an upstairs bedroom at his house while the little girl picked wildflowers in the garden, before calling her inside.
In the gruesome letter, sent in 1934 six years after the murder, hy het geskryf: “I choked her to death, then cut her in small pieces so I could take the meat to my rooms, cook, and eat it… It took me nine days to eat her entire body.”
Through the letter, police were eventually able to trace Fish down to a rooming house where he had signed under his own name, after getting a description from the Budds of ‘Frank Howard’.
But rather than cover his tracks, Fish instead confessed to even more grisly crimes.
He was concretely linked to the murder of a four-year-old boy in Brooklyn called Billy Gaffney.
Billy disappeared while playing with a neighbour in February 1927. The child later described Fish as the “boogey man”, a thin man with grey hair and a grey moustache.
The boy was never seen again, but after Fish’s arrest, a man came to police claiming he had seen him on a trolley car on the same day Billy disappeared.
He said he had seen the “nervous old man” trying to quiet a little boy sitting next to him who was crying for his mother.
The man then dragged the little boy off the trolley.
Fish admitted kidnapping and murdering Billy, and drinking the boy’s blood, in sickening detail.
A third victim, Francis McDonnell, vanished while playing with his brother and friends on Staten Island in 1924.
His body was found shortly afterwards strangled by his own suspenders. Shortly before his execution, Fish confessed to luring Francis into the woods before assaulting and strangling him.
He admitted that he would have cut up the boy, but fled after he thought he heard someone approaching.
At Fish’s trial in 1935, his defence team pleaded innocent by reason of insanity.
But the jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to death.
As he waited on death row at New York’s notorious Sing Sing prison, Fish wrote a series of notes about the full extent of his depravity.
He chillingly claimed to have “had a child in every state” killed or eaten.
Although this has never been officially confirmed, he is believed to have killed at least nine people – though his true victim count will never be known.