The Case of Albert Fish
Jessica M. Radi
Everyone is aware there are different types of murders out there. All of them take people’s lives but how they do it in each category is different. In the case of serial killers they kill three or more individuals spaced out over a period of time. They tend to go through phases which include the killing phase, capture phase, aura phase, totem phase, and the depression phase. The phases do not happen in a specific order and not all serial killers experience all of them. Each individual is different. However, during the aura phase the killer becomes withdrawn from reality and tends to have heightened senses. During the killing phase is when the killer actually takes the victims life and that normally leads to the totem phase. This is when the killer tends to take a memento of the ‘moment’. For example, Albert Fish would take body parts to cook and eat. Serial killers may experience a phase of depression after the initial effects of the kill wears off, which is normally why the totem phase takes place (to prolong the experience). There is also the capture phase, which generally takes place prior to killing the victim. During this phase the killer renders the victim helpless in a way in which they cannot escape their captivity (Kitaeff, 2011, p. 102). It is quite complex and disturbing. Let’s move onto a serial killer case that is disturbing and riveting and claimed potentially hundreds of children’s lives. The Case of Albert Hamilton Fish
Albert Hamilton Fish seemed to be a harmless man. He was a great father and husband and no one suspected he could be such a monster. He was about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed about 130 pounds, and was quite frail in his elderly years. Looking at him there was no way of knowing he could pose such a danger (Bardsley, n.d.). One of his known victims was Gracie Budd. He found her after responding to an ad that her brother had placed looking for a job as a farm hand. Fish went to their residence and claimed to be Frank Howard. Mr. “Howard” stated that he would return the next day to pick up the Budd’s son and his best friend to take him back to his farm to begin work. When he returned he stated he had a birthday part to attend and he would like to take Gracie with him, her mother hesitated, but ended up allowing her to go with him. Gracie and the man known to the Budd’s as “Mr. Howard” were never to be seen again (Bardsley, n.d.). The morning after her disappearance her brother, Edward, went to the police to report that his sister was missing. To the families dismay, the address that “Mr. Howard” had given them did not exist. There were only a few solid clues that would help police locate the mystery man who had last been seen with Gracie. They found the original note he had sent from the Western Union Office so they now had a hand writing sample to use for comparison. It also showed that Mr. Howard had some form of education based of the proper use of grammar and how well his writing was. They also found a location in common with the addresses that he had given the Budd’s: East Harlem (CrimeLibrary, n.d). She was not his first victim though. Just a year before Gracie became one of “The Gray Man’s” victims a young boy disappeared from the hall of his apartment building where he was playing with a 3 year old and a 12 year old. The older boy went back into the apartment to check on his sister. When he returned both of the Billy’s were gone. The 3 year old was found on the roof and stated that the boogey man had taken Billy Gaffney. His body was never found (Bardsley, n.d.). Gracie and Billy were not the only victims of Albert Fish. He also abducted and murdered Francisis McDonnel in 1924, among numerous other victims (Jenks & Johnson, n.d.). When an investigator spread rumors that he had new evidence on Gracie Budd’s disappearance the Budd’s received a...
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