"THE BOOGEYMAN TOOK HIM."
-3 year old boy, after witnessing the abduction of a playmate by Albert Fish
Albert Fish, born on May nineteenth, 1870, in Washington, D.C., is the monster to end all monsters. Out of all the cannibalistic killers this world has seen, he is, by far, the worst.
He brought his own brand of Hell on Earth to the Budd family in New York, 1928. The oldest of the Budd children, eighteen-year old Edward, had placed an ad in the newspaper summer work. It was answered by a slight, slender old man by the name of Frank Howard.
Frank Howard, who was an alias of Albert Fish, answered the ad by stopping by the Budd home. He was a polite, gentle man who talked of a successful twenty-acre farm, and of needing an extra hand with the farming and livestock. Edward Budd would be perfect for the job.
A few days later, Mr. Howard called on the Budds, under the pretense of discussing the job with Edward. He brought the family gifts of pot cheese and fresh strawberries, which had come straight from his farm. Delia Budd was taken by the elderly man's gentle, soft-spoken nature, and invited him to stay for lunch. This turned out to the worst mistake they could have made.
Delia and Albert Budd had a daughter, ten-year old Gracie, who looked much older than her years, and was a pleasant, high-spirited child. Over lunch she and Mr. Howard struck up a friendship, with Gracie sitting on the grandfatherly old man's lap and kissing his cheek.
When lunch was over, Frank Howard invited Gracie to his niece's birthday party later than afternoon. Delia Budd was reluctant to let her daughter go with this man, who, though he seemed nice enough, was little more than a stranger. Her husband, however, persauded her to allow Gracie to go, on the condition that she be home early. Mr. Howard agreed that Gracie would return safe and sound.
It was six years before Delia and Albert Budd heard anything of their daughter again. By that time, it was much too late.
Gracie and Albert Fish/Frank Howard boarded a train bound for Worthington, NY. On the way to the train station, Fish picked up a package wrapped in butcher paper from a newspaper salesman, who was holding the package for him. Gracie was excited, as she had only left the city twice in her life, and chatted with Fish on the train ride.
The package Fish had picked up, unbeknownst to Gracie and the newspaper salesman, contained a saw, a butcher knife, and a meat cleaver. Later on, while on trial, Fish referred to these tools as his 'implements of Hell'.
The pair exited the train, but suddenly Gracie stopped, a puzzled look on her face. She darted back onto the train and returned with the package, handing it over to Albert Fish, telling him that he had almost forgotten his package.
Like a gentleman, he thanked her, took her hand, and began the walk to Wisteria cottage, a delapidated two-story house in the middle of nowhere.
Once there, Fish told Gracie to stay outside and pick flowers while he went inside and spoke with his sister. While inside the house, Fish unwrapped his tools and stripped off his clothes, to avoid soiling them. That done, he called Gracie inside.
In Fish's recollection, he stated that Gracie screamed and said she would tell her mother when she saw that he was naked and brandishing a knife. Undaunted, Fish, at only five-foot five and barely one hundred and thirty pounds, wrestled her to the floor, strangling the young girl.
Police officers were driven to tears by the next part of his story
Fish then decapitated Gracie Budd and dismembered her body. He drained the tiny girl of her blood, catching it in a paint can, which he desposed of outside.
The next morning, the Budds sent Edward to the police station to report his sister missing. The police sent out 1,000 fliers, but it would be six years before they heard any bit if information about their daughter. The news came in the form of a letter, from a man named Albert Fish.
Thankfully, Delia Budd had never learned to read. Her son Edward read the letter and immeadiately took it to the police. On December thirteenth, 1934, Albert Fish was found in a local boarding house, drinking tea, when the police came to arrest him.
When asked why he killed Gracie Budd, he said simply, "It occured to me."
As it turned out, Albert Fish was a father of six, a religious fanatic, (he would strip off his clothes and scream, "I am Christ!" inside his cell,) the subject of six arrests dating back to 1903, numerous stays in mental hospitals, and the ultimate purveyor of sadomasochism. (Self-torture and the torture of others for sexual gratification.)
Psychiatrists found Fish to be heavily involved in at least eighteen bizarre fetishes. His children recounted tales of him shoving needles underneath his fingernails, participating in self-flagellation, exhibitionsim, cannibalism, and had a preoccupation with castration. He told tales of shoving needles (including those used to repair canvas, which are very large,) and pins into his flesh, and claimed to have killed at least one child in twenty-three different states, and molesting 'at least' a hundred.
A jury found him guilty of murder, and he was sentenced to death by electrocution. Upon learning of his fate, he said gleefully, "What a thrill it will be if I have to die in the electric chair! It will be the ultimate thrill, the only one I haven't tried."
January sixteenth, 1936 was Fish's last day alive. He cheerfully helped the executioner fix the electrodes on his body, smiling the entire time. Bizzarrely, the first 3,000 volts of electricity did not kill Albert Fish. The twenty-nine needles imbedded deep in his abdomen short-circuited the chair. The lever was thrown once more, and this time Albert Fish got his one-way ticket to Hell.