Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Albert Fish

On Hands and Knees

To further demonstrate Fish's strange behavior, Dempsey called to the stand a woman who had received several obscene letters from Albert Fish. The courtroom was cleared of women as Dempsey read the obscene correspondence.

Another defense witness was Mary Nicholas, Fish's 17-year-old stepdaughter. She described how Fish taught her and her brothers and sisters a game. "He went into his room and he had a little pair of trunks, brown trunks, that he put on. He put those on and came out into the front room, and he got down on his hands and knees, and he had a paint stick that he stirred paint with.

"He would give the stick to one of us, and then he would get down on his hands and knees and we would sit on his back, one at a time, with our back facing him, and then we would put up so many fingers, and he was to tell how many fingers we had up, and if he guessed right, which he never did, why, we weren't supposed to hit him. Sometimes, he would even say more fingers than we really had. And if he never guessed right, why, we would hit him as many fingers as we would have up."

Sometimes a hairbrush was used instead of the paint stick. He also stuck pins under his fingernails in front of the children.


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