Albert Fish looked a lot like a harmless man but behind the gentle grandfather image, he was known as The Boogeyman.
Albert Fish was born Hamilton Howard Fish on May 19, 1870 in Washington, DC. He took his dead brother’s name Albert to escape his nickname “Ham and egg.”
When his father Randall died, Albert was five years old and for what reason, he was put into St. John’s orphanage. In the orphanage, Albert was subjected to relentless teasing, humiliation and physical harm. His teachers hit him constantly that he came to look forward and enjoyed to the beatings.
After five years, when his mother got a job, she took Albert from the orphanage. He met a boy whom he started a homosexual relationship. His boyfriend introduced him to perverse urges sexual perversions involving human filth. He also started visiting public baths just to watch other boys.
The Fish family moved to New York in 1890 where Albert became a male prostitute.
In 1898, Albert married Anna and had six children. He worked as house painter and used his job as an excuse to travel from places to places. During this time, he had a secret sadomasochistic relationship with Thomas Kedden. Their relationship ended when he took Thomas in an abandoned barn and cut off half his penis. Before he left, he gave Thomas a kiss.
Afraid of being caught, he forced himself to bury his abnormal sexual cravings. However, his wife left him for another man and their children were left to his care. As a result, the event pushed his sexual cravings back to the surface.
By that time, authorities started to receive reports about the boogeyman.
In July, 1924, eight-year-old Francis McDonnell disappeared. Before the disappearance, witnesses said that the boy was seen talking with a gaunt elderly man with gray hair and mustache. Policemen discovered the boy in the woods without clothes and brutally assaulted.
On February 11, 1927, four-year old Billy Gaffney and three-year old Billy were playing outside their apartment before they disappeared. After many hours of searching, the father of three-year old Billy found him on the top floor of the apartment building. He asked about Billy Gaffney to which the boy replied “The boogeyman took him.” The three-year-old described the “boogeyman” as a slender old man with gray hair and a gray mustache.
In 1928, 18-year-old Edward Budd posted an advertisement that he needed work. One Frank Howard answered to his advertisement and invited Edward to work in his farm. The Budd family was grateful with the offer. Frank befriended the family by bringing gifts. He requested 10-year old Grace, Edward’s sister to join him to a birthday party. Grace did not return and so was Frank.
After six years, Mrs. Budd received a letter telling her how the anonymous sender’s friend had eaten a human flesh while travelling to China. The letter sender then said the flesh belonged to a girl named Grace. The letter also contained a graphic description of how Grace was abducted and killed. It claimed that his friend devoured the girl for days.
Authorities traced the paper used to New York Private Chauffers’ Benevolent Association. It was found out that Lee Sicowski stole some stationery and left some in a flop-house where Frank Howard stayed. The landlady confirmed that the man was expected to return.
In the hope to catch the boogeyman, Detective William King waited for three weeks in the flop-house. On December 13, he came face to face with a seemingly harmless man. Frank Howard and Albert Fish were one person. The boogeyman admitted to fifteen child murders including that of McDonnell, Gaffney and Budd. He even told them that God ordered him to kill children. Albert called himself Implements of Hell.
Experts testified to his sexual fetishes but discredited Albert’s plea of insanity. He was sentenced to death by electric chair. Although Albert was unhappy with the verdict, he was thrilled with the idea of electrocution. The Boogeyman was executed in 1936.