Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Albert Fish

The Unspeakable

Albert Fish was facing indictments in Manhattan and Westchester County. First Westchester County indicted him on a charge of first degree murder, while Manhattan was preparing an indictment for kidnapping.

Meanwhile police got a really major break. The motorman on the Brooklyn trolley line saw a picture of Fish in the newspaper and came forward to identify Fish as the nervous old man that he saw February 11, 1927, who was trying to quiet the little boy sitting with him on the trolley. Joseph Meehan, the retired motorman, watched the two carefully. The little boy, who didn't have a jacket or coat, was crying for his mother continuously and had to be dragged by the old man on and off the trolley. The little boy, as it turned out, was the kidnapped Billy Gaffney.

Ultimately, Fish did confess the unspeakable things he did to Billy Gaffney: "I brought him to the Riker Ave. dumps. There is a house that stands alone, not far from where I took him... I took the boy there. Stripped him naked and tied his hands and feet and gagged him with a piece of dirty rag I picked out of the dump. Then I burned his clothes. Threw his shoes in the dump. Then I walked back and took the trolley to 59 St. at 2 A.M. and walked from there home.

"Next day about 2 P.M., I took tools, a good heavy cat-of-nine tails. Home made. Short handle. Cut one of my belts in half, slit these halves in six strips about eight inches long. I whipped his bare behind till the blood ran from his legs. I cut off his ears, nose — slit his mouth from ear to ear. Gouged out his eyes. He was dead then. I stuck the knife in his belly and held my mouth to his body and drank his blood.

"I picked up four old potato sacks and gathered a pile of stones. Then I cut him up. I had a grip with me. I put his nose, ears and a few slices of his belly in the grip. Then I cut him through the middle of his body. Just below the belly button. Then through his legs about two inches below his behind. I put this in my grip with a lot of paper. I cut off the head, feet, arms, hands and the legs below the knee. This I put in sacks weighed with stones, tied the ends and threw them into the pools of slimy water you will see all along the road going to North Beach."


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