If you steal from me, I will HAUNT you down!

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Haunted History Tour... Lizzie Borden Home

"Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks.
When she realized what she done, she gave her father forty-one."

Remember that little saying? I certainly do! I used to repeat that diddy all of the time as a child. I never knew the truth and history behind the poem. But now that I am an adult and have watched documentaries, as well as have read the history behind the condemnation, I have "seen the light" as to why and how the rhyme came about.

Lizzie Andrew Borden was born in New England on July 19, 1860. A "spinster" of sorts, who later on in her adult years would be pegged as the prime suspect in the double homicide of her mother and her father. They were killed on August 4, 1892. This would have placed Lizzie to be age forty-two at the time. Plenty old enough to "know better", if you get my drift.

When all was said and done, Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the heinous murders. And no other people were ever brought forth for the crimes. To this day, the murders are unsolved.

What led to the murders of Andrew Borden and his wife, Abby? Could have been very well over the fact that arguments often ensued over property and possessions that were to be divided amongst her and Lizzie's sister, Emma, BEFORE their father's demise? Or could it be that they were mad that Mr. Borden planned on having the the homestead sold to their stepmother's (Abby) relatives, and were afraid that they would literally be left out in the cold?

Whatever the true intention was for the killings, the stage had apparently long been set. Between anger, jealousy and the "not knowing" of what will happen after their Daddy keeled over, it made a perfect recipe for murder.

On August 4, 1892, Andrew left the house and went in to town, in to Fall River, Massachusetts to the bank. And then the old boy went to the post office. Which all were of his normal activities. Mr. Borden returned home at approximately 10:45 that morning, only to have Lizzie "find" her father dead upon the couch.

During the court trial for Lizzie, it was told, by the family's maid, Bridget Sullivan that she was laying in bed, within the confines of her room at around eleven, she heard Lizzie call up to her and stated that someone had killed her father.

Not long after the doctor and some neighbors had come to the home to help Lizzie, the gruesome discovery of her stepmother, Abby was made by the unsuspecting maid. Abby had died in the geust bedroom upstairs.

Abby and Andrew both had suffered a very brutal end to their lives. Both of them had skull-crushing blows to the head with a hatchet. Mr. Borden's left eyeball was literally split in two.

It came to light later, that not too long before the murders, all in the home became ill. Knowing her husband was a tight-fisted, not too well liked man, she feared that someone was out to seek revenge upon her husband, and take his entire family with him. They suspected poisoned  milk. After the murders, right there in the home, the autopsies were performed. With it, the stomachs of the couple were removed and set on the table to seek out their contents. The contents were then sent for "tox screenings" over at Harvard Medical School.

Lizzie Borden was arrested for the double killing. She was placed in a cell on August twelfth. With her stories determined to be inconsistent through various interviews, she became the town's prime suspect.

On November 7, 1892, a Grand Jury trial was under way. A Bill of Indictment came down on her on December second, almost a month after her arrest. The trial its self didn't start in New Bedford, Massachusetts until June of 1893!

Lizzie's Defending Attorneys were Governor George D. Robinson and Andrew V. Jennings. One "rising star" Prosecutor at the trial happened to be William H. Moody, who would later become a United States Attorney General and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

During the investigation, a hatchet was found within the basement, and assumed to have been the murder weapon. It was clean, but the handle had gone missing. Later in the trial, by word of the Forensics Specialist, there was no time to have cleaned the hatchet after the murders had taken place.

Also on Lizzie's side was the fact that no blood-stained clothing was ever found. Although, there was a blue dress that was torn apart and thrown in to the stove. Lizzie claimed that the dress had fresh paint that was smeared on it, after she accidentally brushed up against a baseboard.

Lizzie was finally acquitted for the crimes on June 20, 1893, after deliberations by the jury that took them a mere hour and a half of their time.

After the dust had settled, Lizzie and her sister Emma had moved and named their new home "Maplecroft".  It is located on French Street , which at that time, was within a posh neighborhood of Fall River. The home included all of the (then) latest amenities a home of it's stature could have. Including indoor plumbing.

Later on though, Emma and Lizzie began to develop a strained relationship. Their lifestyles did not mesh and were apparently like night and day. Complete opposites. So, twelve years after hell had reined upon them, the sisters had parted ways. Emma moved from the home in June of 1905.

On June 1, 1927, Lizzie Andrew Borden had passed away. She required gallbladder removal surgery and she was pretty sick for the last year of her life. She had died basically alone, with only her staff as her 'comfort' in those final hours. Her cause of death was Pneumonia.

The details of her funeral were never brought to light to the public, and only a handful of people attended the services for her. Lizzie is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in Fall River.

Nine days later, Emma too passed. She contracted Nephritis.

Today, the home in which the murders had occurred is now a Bed And Breakfast. As far as the hauntings go, there have been reports of a woman's voice softly crying, seeing ghostly shoes appear, and even an older woman in period dress for Lizzie's time show.

Also, it seems that video equipment messes up, lights have been known to flicker on and off, and Andrew and Abby supposedly wander the home.


Haunted Hamilton 

History of Lizzie Borden


One Cluttered Brain said...

I don't think I EVER want to stay in that Bed and Breakfast.
'Cause I don't like being scared.
Not one bit.
Nicely written story though!

Jessica Penot said...

I have never heard that saying before about giving the father an extra wack. wow. I would love to stay in that bed in breakfast. Nothing like a haunted hotel.

Jessica Penot said...

I passed an award on to you! Stop by my blog to pick it up.

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