IIn the words of a doctor who treated Albert Fish, "There was no known perversion which he did not practice and practice frequently". Indeed, Fish could be described as everything evil, compacted and rolled into a bundle.
Fish was born in Washington, D.C. in 1870. By the age of five he was abandoned after the death of his father, and spent the majority of the rest of his childhood in an orphanage. Managing to carve out a life that seemed somwhat normal, Fish married in 1898 and fathered six children. His eccentric and perverted behavior evidently lay beneath the surface of a normal family man until his wife left him for another man in 1917. Alone and faced with the responsibility of caring for his children alone, his true self began to emerge. Reportedly, he occasionally would screm into the sky "I am Christ!" and forced his own children to paddle him until he bled. Later on, living with his grown son Albert Jr., he admitted that he used the nail-studded paddles his boy found in his father's room on himself, citing the need to torture himself. He also collected literature on cannabilism and other bizarre subjects.
Fish took to answering ads placed in the newspapers by single women, though definitely not in the fashion they desired. He wrote the ladies back with obscene proposals, which included having them paddle him. Just this sort of behavior landed Fish in minor trouble with the law, but he was largely regarded as just a nuisance. Nobody imagined that he was a sadistic killer until 1928.
On June 3 of that year Fish took 12-year-old Grace Budd to his isolated cottage in White Plains, New York from her home in New York City. Once there he strangled the helpless girl, decapitated her and used a saw to cut her in half. He ate bits of her flesh in a stew later and drank some of the girl's blood. The Budd's, who allowed their daughter to go to a fictitious birthday party with the killer they knew as Frank Howard, never heard anything about here daughter until Fish inexplicably sent them a letter telling them he had killed their daughter, adding that he "didn't fuck with her" and that she died a virgin. An address that Fish had not erased well enough on the back of the letter's envelope led police to the old man and the child killer was immediately arrested.
Because of the passage of time and lack of follow up that is customary nowadays, it is uncertain exactly what killings Fish actually confessed to while in custody. He evidently laid some claim to a few killings including the 1910 killing of a man in Delaware, the torture and mutilation death of a retarded boy in 1919,and the killing of a twelve-year-old boy in 1917. He alluded to many others but his confessions were never truly verified and he himself admitted his memory had deteriorated in his last few years. He reportedly admitted to the molestation of approximately 400 children, and incredibly horrifying number if true.
Charged with murder in the Budd killing, Fish's lawyers predictably pursued an insanity defense in his 1935 trial. Just as predictably, it did not succeed and the child killer was sentenced to die in the electric chair at Sing Sing. The aging sadist looked forward to the chair, saying it was the untimate thrill and the only one he hadn't tried. On January 16, 1936, Fish got his wish, but not without some added drama. One of his many perversions was to shove needles into the flesh between his testicles and anus. Quite often the needles went too far in and became lodged. Hundreds of tiny needles remained stuck in the man's body at the time of his electrocution and they short-circuited the first electrocution attempt leaving Fish charred, but alive. It took a second massive current to send this monster to his grave.