Hamilton Howard “Albert Fish” is known for being one of the vilest pedophiles and child serial killers and cannibal of all time. After his capture he admitted to molesting over 400 children and tortured and killed several others, however, it was not known if his statement was truthful. He was also known as the Gray Man, the Werewolf of Wysteria, the Brooklyn Vampire, the Moon Maniac, and The Boogey Man.
Albert Fish was born on May 19, 1870, in Washington D.C., to Randall and Ellen Fish. Fish’s family had a long history of mental illness. His uncle was diagnosed with mania. He had a brother that was sent to a state mental institution and his sister was diagnosed with a “mental affliction”. Ellen Fish had visual hallucinations. Three other relatives were diagnosed with mental illness.
Roots Of Insanity
His parents abandoned him at a young age and he was sent to an orphanage. The orphanage was, in Fish’s memory, a place of brutality where he was exposed to regular beatings and sadistic acts of brutality. It was said that he began to look forward to the abuse because it brought him pleasure. When asked about the orphanage, Fish remarked, “I was there ’til I was nearly nine, and that’s where I got started wrong. We were unmercifully whipped. I saw boys doing many things they should not have done.”
By 1880, Ellen Fish, now a widow, had a government job and was able to remove Fish, at the age of 12, from the orphanage. He had very little formal education and grew up learning to work more with his hands than his brains. It was not long after Fish returned to live with his mother that he began a relationship with another boy who introduced him to drinking urine and eating feces.
Crimes Against Children
According to Fish, in 1890 he relocated to New York City and began his crimes against children. He made money working as a prostitute and began to molest boys. He would lure children away from their homes, torture them in various ways, including his favorite, the use of a paddle laced with sharp nails, then rape them. As time went on, the sexual fantasies he would act out on the children grew more fiendish and bizarre, and often ended in murdering and cannibalizing his young victims.
Father of six
In 1898 he married and later fathered six children. The children led average lives up until 1917 after Fish’s wife ran off with another man. It was at that time the children recall Fish occasionally asking them to participate in his sadomasochistic games. One game included the nail-filled paddle Fish used on his victims. He would ask the children to paddle him with the weapon until blood ran down his legs. He also found enjoyment from pushing needles deep into his skin.
After his marriage ended, Fish spent time writing to women listed in the personal columns of newspapers. In his letters, he would go into graphic detail of sexual acts he would like to share with the women. The descriptions of these acts were so vile and disgusting that they were never made public even though they were submitted as evidence in court.
According to Fish, no women ever responded to his letters asking them, not for their hand in marriage, but for their hand in administering pain.