In the 1920’s in New York City, children’s bodies were turning up mutilated and dismembered in alley ways and streets all over Gotham. The residents thought the act was too gruesome for an ordinary person, so they believed it to be the work of the boogieman.
As far back as ancient Egypt and Babylonia, half humans were consuming the blood of their victims. Half men, half beast, these vampires of the night were associated with the boogieman. A beast that lurks under the bed of children, waiting to savor a limb as it drops by the bedside.
In English folklore, their hunger was satisfied by human flesh. To live, a vampire had to continue consuming human flesh. It was a way for them to feel whole, to become a part of their kill. Among these kills were children. And although children are among the most innocent of creatures, no one shatters that innocence more than a pedophile that preys on children.
Albert Fish, the notorious “Vampire of Brooklyn”, was born May 19, 1870 in Washington DC. His father died when he was very young and he ended up at an orphanage. He witnessed gruesome beatings, and although he should have been terrified, he enjoyed watching young boys getting whipped.
It wasn’t until he was 24 years old, when he moved to New York City, that his dark side started to emerge. He frequented brothels where he insisted on being whipped himself and inserted with needles in his stomach and private areas.
In 1917, his wife Anna ran away with another man, leaving him to take care of their six children. Around this time, the World War was ending and New York was Mecca of industry, technology, and progressive thinking.
It was the time of the roaring 20’s where prohibition made the sale of alcohol illegal. The challenge was met by citizens drinking more than ever before in gangster run underground clubs.
There was lawlessness in the Big Apple. With over 6 million people in 1929, there were not enough jobs to support the influx of new people. People felt isolated and friendless.
At this time, Albert H. Fish was working at the nearby YMCA and the center for mentally challenged children. He was fired when “things about these children came out”. He was quoted as saying he “liked killing disabled and black boys because no one would miss them”.
February 11, 1927 Billy Gaffrey was snatched from a hallway in an apartment building. A witness said “it was the Boogieman that got him”. Albert Fish had taken the boy back to the boarding house he was staying at and got right to work. Using a saw, knife, and cleaver he dismembered and drained the blood of Billy Gaffrey. He drank the blood and saved the meat for food. He took the ears and face and made it into a stew with carrots and onions and his behind was roasted in the oven.
His perversion never went away. On June 3, 1928 he contacted the Budd family that had placed an ad for employment at their cottage. When he went to visit the family, he had the intention of kidnapping the son, however when he caught a glimpse of Grace Budd he changed his mind. She was timid and innocent and he knew she wouldn’t put up a fight.
When Albert Fish acquired the child, he went quickly to work. He killed, cooked, and ate Grace Budd leaving nothing.
Showing his true persona, he wrote a sadistic letter to the Budd family detailing her death:
“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. She died a virgin.”
This letter was ultimately the end of Albert Fish’s killing spree. William King, an investigator, was hired by the Budd family to find Graces killer. King noticed that the letter had a typed out letterhead that had been crossed out. He traced it back to a room at a boarding house Albert Fish was staying at.
Fish was arrested on December 13, 1934. He confessed to five murders and 100’s of molestations. While in custody, Fish underwent an x-ray that showed needles embedded in his stomach and genital area.
In 1935, Fish pleaded insanity; however it was proven that all of his murders were premeditated.
On January 16, 1936 he was put to death by electrocution at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in the Town of Ossining, New York. Legend has it that he shorted out the electric chair the first time around.