Lizzie Borden: The Spectacular Ghost Story Waiting to Be Heard

_MG_2287 by dbking. (Text added) Licensed under CC 2.0

My great-grandmother lived just down the street from Lizzie Borden, and the information in this post has been waiting to be heard for over 100 years. The crime unfolded this way, on August 4th 1892 the maid of the house, Bridget Sullivan found the first body. In the days that followed Lizzie Borden was indicted for the murder of her father Andrew Borden and his wife Abby. There are a lot of inconsistencies between Lizzie and the maid’s story. Now my great grandmother always believed that it was Bridget Sullivan’s sketchy boyfriend that committed the crime. As someone who was there in the neighborhood she remembered the man as someone who was not to be trusted and was always in the wrong place at the wrong time, probably for the wrong reasons. This however, is not the story everyone remembers.

Everyone knows the infamous story of Lizzie Borden. There’s even a rhyme.

Lizzie Borden took an axe.

And gave her mother 40 whacks

When she saw what she had done,

She gave her father 41.

It was the crime of the century and we are still talking about it today. It’s technically still an unsolved crime, and if the new Lifetime movie is any indication, the buzz around this will continue to live on.

She Had A Few Axes

Lizzie Borden Gift Shop by Jim McIntosh. Licensed under CC 2.0

When the police asked Lizzie if there were any hatchets in the house her chilling reply was “Yes, they are everywhere.” A burned dress, a sketchy alibi, an unbelievable crime, all of these led to Lizzie Borden’s accusal. The trial was epic in it’s sensationalism. There are reports of fainting, a severed head, possible poisoning, and as for the testimony contradictions abound. The estate of Andrew Borden was valued at half a million dollars, in 1896 this was a huge sum, and that added to the notoriety and suspicion surrounding the crime. The defense did present the theory of a “mysterious” man lurking around the home, a story that supports my great grandmother’s feelings at the time. Lizzie Borden ultimately was found “not guilty” by the jury. Lizzie died many years later in 1927, the bulk of her estate going to animal charities.

Ghosts Linger

Lizzie Borden House (Bed/Breakfast) by dbking. Licensed under CC 2.0

There’s nothing like unruly murdered ghosts for stirring up trouble. Even the horror movies know that, you don’t have to be a Voodoo priestess like me. Maybe the reason that this story won’t die is because Lizzie Borden, and the victims are tired of the way history is writing this crime. Maybe not. For those who wish to discover for themselves the truth of this New England legend, they can stay at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum in Fall River. The house also offers tours and has a gift shop. I don’t know if the windchimes are for sale, let me know.

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