When I was younger, I never believed in monsters. I shrugged at the notions of real boogeymen, vampires or witches. To me, they were creatures of the imagination that were created for fun. It wasn’t until I grew older that I realized that we really did have monsters among us.
Not imaginative creatures of the night with claws and fangs. But real monsters who looked just like any normal human living a normal life. People you would look at and never guess that they live a double life behind closed doors.
Now that I’m older, when I hear “monster”, one name definitely comes to mind: Albert Fish.
Albert Fish looked like your average little old man. He was quiet, about 5’5 in height, 130 lbs in weight. Pretty much harmless. No one could have guessed that this friendly elderly man had been kidnapping, killing and EATING children for years. I was actually watching a documentary that said that Albert had confessed to about 100 murders. Whether that number is true or not, only Fish knows.
A case that he is widely known for, and is what got him caught in the first place, was his murder of Grace Budd. The story goes that Albert Fish had been living in New York City when he came upon an ad in the newspaper. 18 year old Edward Budd was looking for work at the time. Albert had decided that he would meet this boy, kill him and eat him. He personally met with Edward and his family. Introduced himself as Frank Howard and chatted about the farm he had and the work he needed done. He had instantly charmed the family and had gained their trust. That day, he left without a victim. Letting the family know that he would pick up Edward on Saturday. Though when Saturday came around, Fish had written a letter to the Budd’s explaining that he had gotten busy and would pick Edward up the next day. On Sunday, Fish arrived at the Budd residence with treats from his “farm”. The Budd’s invited Fish to have lunch with them and that’s when he saw her: 10 year old Grace Budd. Instantly, Fish knew he had to have her. So he made up a story about going to a friend’s daughter’s birthday party and he asked if Grace could go with him. Her parents could see no harm in this and let Grace leave with Fish. Grace did not come home that night. By morning, the Budd’s finally called the police. For 6 years, no one knew where Grace was nor where Albert Fish had gone. The case was all together a mystery, but never forgotten. It wasn’t until Mrs Budd received an anonymous letter, which Edward read since the woman was illiterate, that horrifying told of Grace’s end.
The letter 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 for 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 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 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 said 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-year-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 the head – bones and guts. He was Roasted in the oven (all of his ass), boiled, broiled, fried and stewed. The little boy was next, went the same way. At the time, I was living at 409 E 100 St., near – 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 wildflowers. 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 the stairs. I grabbed her and she said she would tell her mamma. 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 tho I could of had I wished. She died a virgin.”
The police were able to trace the emblem of the letter and link it to a NYPCBA (The New York Private Chauffeur’s Benevolent Association). A young janitor working there had told the police that he had left paper and envelopes in Albert Fish’s room. And in December 13th 1934, Albert Fish was arrested.
He never denied the murder of Grace Budd. And once his picture was printed in the newspaper, more people were able to identify him and link him to other crimes. Like the disappearance of Billy Gaffney which happened a year before the death of Grace Budd. When questioned about Bill Gaffney, Albert said:
“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 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 wlked back and took the trolley to 59 St. at 2 a.m. and walked from there home.
Next day about 2 p.m., I took tools, a good, heavy cat-of-nine-tails. I whipped his bare behind till the blood rap 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 pickjed 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 through the middle of his body. Just below the belly button. Then through his legs about 2 inches 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.
I came home with my meat. I had the front of his body I liked best. His monkey and pee wees and 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 of his monkey and pee wees and washed them first. I put strips of bacon on each cheek of his behind and put them in the oven. Then I picked 4 onions and when the meat had roasted about 1/4 hour, 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 hours, it was nice and brown, cooked through. 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 a sweet as a nut, but his pee wees I could not chew. Threw them in the toilet.”
Police had Fish examined by doctors, who were able to diagnose Fish as legally insane. To give you an idea as to way they came up with why he was insane, Albert had confessed to sticking needles in his groin area. When they took xrays, doctors could see 29 needles right where Fish had left them.
Fish’s kids also told police and doctors about how Fish would hit himself with a nail studded paddle and would constantly punish himself. Though doctors claimed these reasons made Fish legally insane, the jury wanted to see Fish killed for his actions even though they all agreed that Fish was insane. Albert Fish was killed by electrocution at 11 pm January 16, 1936.
And so ended the terror of Albert Fish. That, my friends, is a real monster. Though I can’t be sure if he was in fact insane or sane by our modern standards. All I know is this man’s words bring chills down my spine in a horrible way.