Albert Fish

A True Sadist

Dr. Wertham considered Fish's unparalleled perversity unique in the annals of psychiatric and criminal literature.  "Sado-masochism directed against children, particularly boys, took the lead in his sexually regressive development."

Fish told him:  "I always had a desire to inflict pain on others and to have others inflict pain on me.  I always seemed to enjoy everything that hurt."

Wertham told "experiences with excreta of every imaginable kind were practiced by him, actively and passively.  He took bits of cotton, saturated them with alcohol, inserted them into his rectum, and set fire to them.  He also did that with his child victims."

Fish confided in Dr. Wertham a long history of preying on children -- "at least a hundred."  Fish would bribe them with money or candy.  He usually chose African-American children because he believed that the police did not pay much attention when they were hurt or missing.

He never went back to the same neighborhood.  He said that he had lived in at least 23 states and in each one he had killed at least one child.  Sometimes, he lost his job as a painter because he was suspiciously connected to these dead or mutilated children.

He had a compulsion to write obscene letters and did so frequently.  According to Dr. Wertham," they were not the typical obscene letters based on fantasies and daydreams to supply a vicarious thrill.  They were offers to practice his inclinations with the people he wrote his graphic suggestions to."

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