Monday, October 17, 2016

Scary October: The Lizzie Borden House

It's October, which means I'm sharing spooky stories every week this month. Today's post is about a particularly evil woman, assuming she did what she's accused of doing. Recognize her?



Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

The Lizzie Borden saga goes farther back than people realize. In 1848, a man named Lawdwick Borden was forced to deal with the tragedy of his wife dropping their three children in a well before taking her own life. A few decades later, Lawdwick's nephew, Andrew Borden, moved into the house next door to where all that happened. With him were with his wife, Abby, and his daughters, Lizzie and Emma.



Their home in Fall River, Massachusetts was not a happy one, though. Lizzie called her stepmother "Mrs. Borden" and there were reportedly numerous family battles, especially in the days leading up to the murders.



On the morning of August 4, 1892, Abby Borden was making the bed in their home's guest bedroom when she was suddenly struck on the side of her head with a hatchet. She fell to the ground, only to be struck 17-18 more times on the back of her head.



Andrew Borden arrived home around 11 a.m., unaware his wife was dead upstairs. He lay down for a nap on the sofa on the first floor, where he was struck in the face with a hatchet 10-11 times. This is the sofa.



Lizzie was tried for the murder but acquitted. She and her sister inherited the entire estate, worth $265,000. Seeking privacy, Lizzie and Emma moved to a home they named "Maplecroft." Emma moved out in 1905 after an argument, but Lizzie stayed there until she died.



Today, the home where Andrew and Abby were killed is a bed and breakfast. Yep--not only can you take a tour, but you can sleep in the room where Abby Borden was murdered.



Visitors report hearing doors opening and closing and smelling the faint scent of perfume. Guests often leave the bed and breakfast in the middle of the night, too afraid to stay until morning.

Check out last week's post on the Winchester Mystery House. And be sure to come back next week for the next stop on my ghost tour:


60 comments:

  1. She was acquitted? Wow.
    I certainly wouldn't sit on that old couch. Taking a nap would be out of the question.
    I wonder if Maplecroft still stands?

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    1. Yep--and it looks like they're opening it to the public. It said summer of 2016 but I couldn't find where it was officially open yet. Sounds like most people visit the Lizzie Borden house, then go to Maplecroft and take pictures of themselves in front of the house.

      http://www.heraldnews.com/article/20150729/NEWS/150726398

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  2. Ahhh...I don't think I'd want to sleep in the room where the murders took place. Nice looking house, though.

    The movie with Christina Ricci is quite good.

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    1. I started watching it. I can't remember why I stopped! I remember the Elizabeth Montgomery movie about it. For years I thought Lizzie Borden looked like Elizabeth Montgomery. Not even close!

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  3. I think we will always be fascinated by Lizzie because there's no way to know what really happened.

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    1. True. An Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode speculated her sister did it and she covered up for her!

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  4. I could. Or sleep in that room where the step mom was killed. I know about this case pretty well because it always fascinated me. I believe she would be found guilty today but back then there was the idea that a genteel lady would never be thought of as a killer. I believe she is guilty and I bet DNA evidence would prove it. There was a great 2 part TV movie starring Elizabeth Montgomery as Lizzie Borden which is well worth the watch

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    1. Yeah, investigating was a little tough back then, and they wouldn't have a way to preserve DNA list like they did in the 80s and 90s. Even with all the tech we have today, there are still some unsolved cases with unknown DNA.

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  5. Hi Stephanie, you find the spookiest stories – there is no way I would stay in that b&b! I can’t get over the fact that a mother would drop her three children down a well – she must have been seriously deranged.

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    1. Munchausen by Proxy? Did that exist back then?

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  6. It sounds spooky indeed. I never knew much about Lizzie Borden until now. Not sure I could stay at this B&B either!

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    1. I think sleeping in a spooky place sounds great...then around midnight when you can't sleep and seriously get freaked out, not so fun!

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  7. I had heard about Lizzie Borden...I hope she lived the rest of her life in peace.

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    1. I think she and her sister were basically ostracized locally. I don't think it was a very pleasant "rest of her life," from what I've read of her!

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  8. I wonder if the ones who only spent half the night asked for their money back.

    The whole thing is a bit odd, but because of the forensics of the day, we may never know.

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    1. Yeah, forensic science was pretty much nonexistent in those days!

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  9. I never knew about Lawdwick Borden and his wife. Makes you wonder if that whole family/family name wasn't haunted in some way to have such tragedies.

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    1. Or if you believe in evil spirits and that sort of thing, it could have to do with the land being haunted somehow?

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  10. What a fascinating post. I knew the rhyme but not the fuller story behind it.
    I'd be tempted to start up a B&B next door to take in all those late night refugees!

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    1. I know! Maybe they could work out a partnership...the Lizzie Borden B&B could just hand over the remainder of the pay for the guest's night stay to the partner B&B! Then everyone wins.

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  11. Like many of the other commentators, I saw the Elizabeth Montgomery movie. It was well done and plausible. I've read several other theories of who did it, and how. I have no doubt Lizzie was involved in the murders, either as the culprit, a witness, or a collaborator, but the real story we will never know.

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    1. The issue is that if it weren't Lizzie or her sister, someone would've had to hide in the house for hours to murder both of them...and Lizzie and her sister would've seen them, so they would have had to be in on it either way. But I think it was just Lizzie.

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  12. just small anger issues. Nothing to be hung for....quite the story

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    1. LOL, oh yeah, nothing a little anger management training couldn't handle!

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  13. I saw the movie that was made about this. What a family. I wonder how she was acquitted though. I don't remember the why of that.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I think it was just lack of evidence...they did find the axe on the property, but I think proving that she did it was tough in an age where they didn't have DNA and such. I think also it was just too hard for them to believe a woman would do such a thing at that time. We now know women are capable of all kinds of craziness!

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  14. I've seen this house on lots of ghost hunter shows. Was Lizzie a murderer? Likely, but the mystery around it makes it all the more alluring for folks. :)

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    1. Mysteries are fascinating, for sure!

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  15. I saw the Supernatural episode where they were in the Borden bed and breakfast. They had a different theory on the reason for the murders, of course.

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    1. Interesting! Alfred Hitchcock Presents theorized Lizzie's sister did it and she covered up for her.

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  16. I knew some of the story but nothing about the Bed and Breakfast!!! I think I'd be too spooked to stay, but who knows?

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  17. Gads, they say it 'runs in families'. My dawg! That's the actual sofa? How in the world did they clean it up so well? I couldn't stay overnight, but I'd sure visit ;-)

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  18. I found out about this case thanks to the Lifetime movie. I started to watch the series but then I stopped. A sad tale and sleeping in that room sounds morbid. No thanks!

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  19. I just read a book that focused on these murders.

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  20. One of my friends has been trying to convince his wife they should stay at the B and B. It is only an hour and a half away. His wife isn't interested- after reading all of this- I can see why. :)
    ~Jess

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  21. I'm afraid I wouldn't find staying at that B and B very restful....

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  22. Stories like this fascinate me. They make for such good reading. No way do I want to stay in this house.

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  23. Interesting!! Though I'm not so sure I'd like to stay in that B&B :)

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  24. I don't think I would want to stay there...

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  25. I don't think in that day and age that anyone could believe that a sweet girl would do such a thing. Ah, how times have changed...

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  26. Did you ever watch Elizabeth Montgomery's portrayal of her? Loved it!

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  27. I've read several books and seen a few documentaries on Lizzie and I son't think she was guilty. Unfortunately, to this day the police look at who they think is the most likely suspect and give up looking for the real culprit. Thank goodness for the Innocence Project.

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  28. Wow, that is so creepy. I have to say I would definitely not stay in that house.

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  29. I definitely think she was guilty. I believe the community thought so too, and that's why they ostracized her. I might stay in the room overnight--but doubt I'd actually sleep. Great Halloween story!

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  30. You can spend the night where a murder happened? Oy vey. That's too much for me to even consider. However, if someone else wants to do this and tell me what happened during the night, I'm not too highbrow to not want to know every detail!

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  31. I had no idea she was acquitted. I just assumed she spent the rest of her life in prison. Wow, thanks for sharing!

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  32. What a story. I've never heard all of this. Perfect timing.

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  33. I've heard and watched a few ghost hunting shows on the Borden house and would love to visit it. I probably wouldn't stay the night, but I'd take the tour during the day.

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  34. I was in a stage version of Lizzie Borden years ago, playing her father (about 50 years too young, but what are you going to do?) We had some cool special effects and a couple of good performances (I was not one of them) but overall the play was kinda dumb. The script actually had a lot of interesting subtext that suggested the killer could have been any number of people, but the director threw all of that out and made it very clear that Lizzie did it.

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  35. Interesting she was acquitted. Was there perhaps not enough evidence? Or perhaps an OJ sort of thing, where the jury was just not convinced, even though everyone else knew she truly did it? Truly, very creepy.

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  36. That is really creepy!! Why was she acquitted?? That is horrible! I would never stay in that bed and breakfast!!

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  37. Lizzie stories always creep me out.
    And speaking of creep...we are creeping closer to the weekend.

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  38. I do remember some dozen years ago there was a big to-do about whether or not the old law firm that represented her could release their personal correspondence to the masses (so to speak). Ultimately it was decided that they could not, that even though she was long buried six feet under, attorney-client privilege still prevailed.

    Father Nature's Corner

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  39. I never knew much at all about Lizzie Borden or had seen her picture. What a fascinating story! Sounds like her family may have some sort of psychosis in their genes--truly frightening. I'm surprised her sister wanted to live with Lizzie at all after the death of their parents. I think it's great the home is a B and B, but I can't imagine wanting to sleep in a room where such a gruesome murder occurred! Even if it isn't actually haunted, the imagination would certainly run wild in such a place.

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  40. I want to stay there someday. Is that last photo of the house gardens? I adore the image but couldn't be sure what I was seeing. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to the next post, having been fortunate enough to visit the Winchester House in 1988. Neat place, that.

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  41. Oh my goodness what a macabre setting for a B&B, I love a good scary story though.

    Rosy | Sparkles of Light Blog

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  42. One year ago today you left a poem on my blog. Today I have that poem in my post about losing our Little Bit. Just wanted to thank you.

    Have a terrific day. ☺

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  43. Very interesting. I could never stay there though.

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  44. Have an excellent week, Steph:)

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  45. I recently read "Maplecroft" by Cherie Priest, which takes Lizzie Borden's story and puts it in the context of a Lovecraftian horror story. I wasn't very familiar with Lizzie Borden's story before reading it, so it's interesting to read this and see how much the book drew from history.

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