Monster Albert Fish and his Heinous Crimes

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Updated: Apr 20, 2023
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As Marty Rubin once said, “Behind every mask, there is a face, and behind that, a story.” His words hold true in the case of Albert Fish, who was a monster who hid behind a mask. A monster is defined by Collins dictionary as a person who is “cruel, frightening, or evil,” and by Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a person of unnatural or extreme ugliness, deformity, wickedness, or cruelty.” While few actually meet this definition, the media classifies lots of people under it. Albert Fish was born in 1870 into a family full of mental illnesses. His history of mental illnesses is reflected in his wicked actions (Morbid Minds). Albert Fish was a monster in and out of the eyes of the media due to his sadistic nature regarding how he treated and murdered his victims.

A monster in the Marking

Albert Fish had a troubling childhood that led to his troubling actions. When he was young, his father died. His mother lacked the money to afford all of her children, so Albert and his siblings were sent to various orphanages. By the time his mother could afford to take him back when he was nine, enough damage had already been done. In his few years there, he experienced massive amounts of abuse, both physical and mental (Morbid Minds). His life after the orphanage began to spin out of control, and when he was 12, he went to public bathhouses to just watch people.
In 1898, his mother arranged his marriage to Anna Hoffman, and they had six children. During that time, he began to abuse and molest children, using his job as a house painter as a disguise. In 1907, his wife left him and his children for someone else. It only propelled his downward spiral (Juan Ignacio Blanco). He began to act in a sadistic manner. He beat himself with needles and coerced his children into hurting him as well (Morbid Minds).

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His sadist behaviors grew even more. When he was 54, he believed that God was telling him to attack and harm children. He turned to attempt to kill children (Constancia Tijerina). Once captured, Fish stated, “I only killed kids with disabilities or people of color because law enforcement won’t try to investigate” (Morbid Minds). At that time, he began to often change the name he went by with every job he had to stay unknown. His first attempted victim was Beatrice Keil. She was eight years old, and he saw her playing alone on her farm.

When he was about to take her, Beatrice’s mother saw and ran to her rescue (John Borowski). His next victim wasn’t as lucky. Francis McDonnell was 9 when he was reported missing. His body was later found in the woods, and the boy had been sexually assaulted and strangled (Juan Ignacio Blanco). His murder wasn’t known until later, after Fish had been arrested. In February 1927, a four-year-old boy named Billy went missing from the hallway of the apartment he lived at. Just like Francis, his murder remained a mystery until Fish confessed. When Fish confessed, he admitted that he ate some of the children, drank his blood, and through the rest of his body into a pond. The murder that was ultimately his downfall was the murder of Grace Budd (Constancia Tijerina).

Albert Fish is most well known for his murder of Grace Budd. She was ten years old when he brutally murdered her. Her brother put out an ad looking for work. Originally Fish was going to murder her brother but quickly switched his target after meeting Grace. He abducted Grace by asking if he could take her to a party, but that was never in his plan. (Unkenholz, TIm). Fish took Grace to an abandoned house, where he tortured her until he was ready to kill her. Once he killed her, he cut up her body and ate her for over nine days. As if that wasn’t brutal enough, he wrote a note to Grace’s mother describing what he had done.

How she did kick, bite, and scratch. I choked her to death, then cut her into small pieces so I could take the meat to my room, cook, and eat it. How sweet and tender her little ass was roasted in the oven. It took me nine days to eat her entire body (Unkenholz, Tim).

The notes that he wrote eventually led to his capture. The FBI got involved once the mother received the note. They were able to track down a hotel he had been staying at from the postage on the letter. From there, they were finally able to find out his identity and location. Once he was captured, he admitted to three other murders and stabbing other people (John Borowski).

Society at Work

The media shapes the way that society views different individuals. The media’s use of rhetoric shapes the way someone is viewed. Typically the media shifts society’s view of an individual into a more negative light, even if it is not justified. In this case, when the media refers to Fish as a monster, their assumptions are correct.

The media at the time viewed Albert Fish as a mystery man. His identity was unknown for so long that it led to the media making their own assumptions. The media pegged him as the “bogeyman,” “gray man,” “Werewolf of Wysteria,” “Moon Maniac,” and “The Brooklyn Vampire” (John Borowski and Brown, Jerrod, et al.). The rhetoric of the media demonstrates the fear that he caused. The media showed him in a negative light, which is reflected in the names they used to describe him. Bogeyman is associated with something in people’s nightmares. The depiction of him as such demonstrates the fear that Fish instilled in society. (Brown, Jerrod, et al.)

Investigation of Truth

Albert Fish was a monster. He meets and exceeds every definition of what a monster is. He was cruel, frightening, and evil. He committed one of the worst crimes that he could of. He murdered and ate the most innocent of people. He caused pain to many children and families. His impact was long-lasting on the emotional state of his victims who survived and their families. He sexually assaulted many children, and those incidents stayed with the victims forever. The notes that he wrote to the families of his victims were exceptionally cruel. They forced the families to relive the tragedy and inhumanity that he displayed. Additionally, he felt no remorse for any of his actions which clarifies that he is truly a monster and always has been.

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Monster Albert Fish and his heinous crimes. (2023, Apr 19). Retrieved from