Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Cannibal Celebrity: Issei Sagawa

Lust for Flesh, Part II

Albert Fish
Albert Fish

Albert Fish: A religious fanatic and sadist, early in childhood he developed an obsession with punishment. He secretly beat himself with spiked paddles. He also stuck needles into his groin and lighted alcohol-soaked cotton balls inside his anus. In visions he received commandments that made him believe he was Abraham from the Bible, and just as Abraham was called to sacrifice his only son to the Lord, Fish realized he would have to kill children — or at least to castrate young boys. It's estimated that he may have molested over 100 children in 23 states, but it was for the murder of 12-year-old Grace Budd when he was 58 that he was arrested.

He ingratiated himself with the Budd family and then told Grace that he would take her to a birthday party. Her family never saw her again.

Six years went by and for some inexplicable reason, Fish sent an anonymous note to Grace's mother. He wrote about how he had taken Grace away, strangled her, and then dismembered her. Then he claimed that he had cooked certain pieces of her and consumed them. In the stew he made of Grace Budd's flesh, he had added carrots and bacon strips, and as he savored it over the next nine days, he masturbated over his grisly deed. On January 16, 1936, he was executed.

Robin Gecht: During the 1980s, he led a group of three other men known as the Ripper Crew or Chicago Rippers in killing an estimated 18 women. They would kill a victim, sever her left breast with a thin wire, clean it out to use for sexual gratification, and then cut it into pieces to consume. Ostensibly, they were worshipping Satan, and eating the flesh was a form of devilish communion.

Ed Gein
Ed Gein

Ed Gein: Known as the man who inspired Psycho, Gein read extensively about headhunters and cannibals, and when he learned that heads with longer hair were most valued, he turned his own attentions to women. It's not clear that he ate his victims, since unsubstantiated rumors abounded, but he did eat out of a bowl made from a human cranium. At first, he dug up fresh corpses from the cemetery, but then he murdered two local women. When Bernice Worden was tracked to him, police officers found that his house was filled with body parts: four noses, several bone fragments, nine death masks, a heart in a pan, ten female heads with the tops sawn off, human skin covering several chair seats, preserved genitalia in a box, skulls on his bedposts, organs in the refrigerator, a pair of lips on a string, and much more. It was estimated that he had mutilated some 15 women and kept their remains around him. He died in 1984 in a psychiatric hospital.

Georg Grossman: This former butcher engaged in every kind of sexual perversion. His MO was to bring prostitutes home, have sex, and then cut them up. He sold the meat on the streets, and when police were called to his apartment, they found the butchered remains of four women. He hanged himself in prison.


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