Albert Fish

About the age of fifty-five, Fish started to experience hallucinations and delusions. “He had visions of Christ and His angels….he began to be engrossed in religious speculations about purging himself of iniquities and sins, atonement by physical suffering and self-torture, human sacrifices….He would go on endlessly with quotations from the Bible all mixed up with his own sentences, such as ‘Happy is he that taketh Thy little ones and dasheth their heads against the stones.”

Fish believed that God had ordered him to torment and castrate little boys. He had actually done so a number of times.


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  1. “Hamilton Fish…was the product of a respected family. A closer examination, however, reveals at least seven relatives with severe mental disorders in the two generations preceding Fish’s birth, including two members of the family who died in asylums. Fish was five years old when his father died, and his mother placed him in an orphanage while she worked to support herself. Records describe young Fish as a problem child who “ran away every Saturday,” persistently wetting the bed until his 11th year. Graduating from public school at age 15, he began to call himself Albert, discarding the hated first name which led classmates to tease him, calling him “Ham and Eggs.””

    “At trial, the state was desperate to win a death penalty, overriding Fish’s insanity defense with laughable psychiatric testimony. Speaking for the state, a battery of doctors declared, straight-faced, that coprophagia “is a common sort of thing. We don’t call people who do that mentally sick. A man who does that is socially perfectly all right. As far as his social status is concerned, he is supposed to be normal, because the State of New York Mental Hygiene Department also approves of that.”

    -Michael Newton, The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers

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