Albert Fish is a Serial Killer Who Ate Children

One of America’s most infamous serial killers, left a dark and horrifying legacy that continues to shock and disturb to this day. Known as the “Gray Man,” Fish’s macabre fascination with torture and cannibalism led to a trail of heinous crimes that targeted innocent children.


Albert Fish was born on May 19, 1870, in Washington D.C. His father was 75 years older than his mother and aged 75 at the time of his birth. He was the youngest of four children.

Fish’s family had a history of mental illness. His uncle had mania, one of his brothers was confined in a state mental hospital, a paternal half brother suffered from schizophrenia, and his sister was diagnosed with a “mental affliction”. Three other relatives diagnosed with mental illnesses and his mother had hallucinations.

After his father died his mother put him in an orphanage where he was frequently physically abused. These formative experiences likely played a significant role in the development of his psychopathic tendencies later in life.

Victims and gruesome crimes

Fish’s first known victim was Thomas Kedden, who was 19 and suffered from intellectual disabilities. In 1910, Fish, after seducing Kedden, lured him into a farmhouse where he proceeded to torture the young man over a period of two weeks. Fish eventually tied him up and cut off half his penis.

Fish began to have auditory hallucinations; he once wrapped himself in a carpet, saying that he was following the instructions of John the Apostle.

It was about this time that Fish began to indulge in self-harm by embedding needles into his groin and abdomen. After his arrest, X-rays revealed that Fish had at least 29 needles lodged in his pelvic region. He also hit himself repeatedly with a nail-studded paddle, and inserted wool doused with lighter fluid into his anus and set it alight.

Around 1919, Fish stabbed an intellectually disabled boy in Georgetown. He chose people who were either mentally disabled or African-American as his victims, later explaining that he assumed these people would not be missed when killed.

Fish tortured, mutilated, and murdered young children with his “implements of Hell”: a meat clever, a butcher knife, and a small handsaw. After which he would cook and eat the flesh.

Murder of Grace Budd

One of Fish’s most infamous victims was Grace Budd, a 10-year-old girl from New York. In 1928, he lured her away from her family under the pretense to attend his niece’s birthday party. The unsuspecting child was taken to an isolated farmhouse, where she met her tragic end. Fish’s confession about this heinous act sent shivers down the spines of all who heard it.

In November 1934, an anonymous letter was sent to Grace’s parents which ultimately led the police to Fish. Here’s part of the actual letter:

“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 wild flowers. 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 stairs. I grabbed her and she said she would tell her mama. 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, though, I could of had I wished. She died a virgin.”


The police investigated the letter and managed to track him down and arrested him at his home. During his trial, Fish’s erratic behavior and disturbing confessions left no doubt about his guilt.

He later claimed to his attorney that, while kneeling on Grace’s chest and strangling her, he did have two involuntary ejaculations.

4-year old Billy Gaffney went missing and never found, Fish claimed the following to his attorney:

“I came home with my meat. I had the front of his body I liked best. His monkey and pee wees and a 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 off his monkey and pee wees and washed them first. I put strips of bacon on each cheek of his behind and put in the oven. Then I picked 4 onions and when meat had roasted about 1/4 hr., 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 hr., it was nice and brown, cooked thru. 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 as sweet as a nut, but his pee-wees I could not chew. Threw them in the toilet.”

The execution

During his trial, none of the jurors doubted that Fish was insane, but ultimately, as one later explained, felt he should be executed anyway.

Albert Fish was sentenced to death for the murder of Grace Budd. Despite his advanced age, he displayed no remorse for his actions and even relished the idea of his own execution. On January 16, 1936, the “Gray Man” was executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. His gruesome legacy remained etched in the annals of American criminal history.


Albert Fish’s life and crimes stand as a horrifying testament to the darkest corners of the human psyche. His insatiable appetite for inflicting pain and torment upon innocent children leaves us with a chilling reminder of the potential evil that exists within some individuals. The tragic fate of his victims serves as a stark reminder to remain vigilant and protect the most vulnerable members of society. Though the world is now rid of Albert Fish, his heinous actions will forever serve as a haunting cautionary tale for generations to come.

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