Lizzie Borden (July 19, 1860 – June 1, 1927) was tried and acquitted in the 1892 axe murders of her father Andrew Borden and stepmother Abby in Fall River, Massachusetts. The Borden home, originally built for two families in 1845, was turned into a single family dwelling by Andrew. The house remains a city landmark and is now the “Lizzie Borden Bed And Breakfast.
Andrew Borden married Sarah Anthony Morse, a seamstress, in 1845 and had three children with her: Emma Lenora (1851), Alice Esther (1856; d. 1858), and Lizzie Andrew (1860). Tragically, in 1863, Sarah succumbed to uterine congestion, also called a “disease of the spine” by her death record. He was a wealthy, Influential man In Fall River. He prospered through the manufacture and sales of furniture and caskets and went on to become a successful property developer. He also directed several textile mills including the Globe Yarn Mill Company, Troy Cotton, and Woolen Manufacturing Company. In addition to that, he owned many commercial properties and was both president of the Union Savings Bank and a director of the Durfee Safe Deposit and Trust Co.
Abby Durfee Gray Borden was the second wife of Andrew Jackson Borden, and for nearly three decades, the stepmother of his children Emma and Lizzie.
Lizzie had a relatively religious upbringing and attended Central Congregational Church. As a young woman, Lizzie was very involved in activities related to her church, including teaching children’s Sunday school and other Christian organizations. she served as secretary-treasurer in the Christian Endeavor Society, and was involved in contemporary social movements such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.
Even by those who knew her, there were many divided opinions about Lizzie, as if she had different personalities. Some say she was a kind, good daughter. The type that would tuck her father in on the lounge for a nap (the same lounge he would be killed on). Others say she was incisively bitter and would say bad and mean things behind his back when she was angry with him.
On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden yells for their maid Bridget “Maggie” Sullivan. “Maggie, come down! Come down quick; Father’s dead; somebody came in and killed him.” A half hour or so later, after the body–“hacked almost beyond recognition”–of Andrew Borden had been covered and the downstairs searched by police for evidence of an intruder, a neighbor who had come to comfort Lizzie, Adelaide Churchill, made a grisly discovery on the second floor of the Borden home: the body of Abby Borden, Lizzie’s step-mother. Investigators found Abby’s body cold, while Andrew’s had been discovered warm, indicating that Abby was killed earlier–probably at least ninety minutes earlier–than her husband.
Earlier that morning, Abby was upstairs cleaning the guest room that John Morse has stayed in the previous night. Forensics determined that Abby was initially facing her killer when she was struck in the head with a hatchet cutting her just above the ear. The blow spun her around and caused her to land face down on the floor. From there, the killer assumed to sit on Abby’s back and continued to deliver 18 more direct blows to the back of her head.
Once the killer finished with the victim, the 200-pound corpse lay sprawled out on the knees face down waiting to be discovered two hours later.
Meanwhile, Andrew Borden went calmly on his rounds of business to the Union Savings Bank, to the National Union Bank, to the First National Bank of Fall River and then to see one of his tenants, the hatter Jonathan Clegg. At 10:40 a.m. his next-door neighbour Mrs. Kelly saw him at his front door as she hurried on to a dentist’s appointment, unkown to the fact that he would not leave the house alive.
Less than an hour later his daughter Lizzie called up to the maid, who was resting in her attic room.
It was there, in the small little sitting room, where the dead body of Mr. Borden lay, with his head and face so hacked as to be unrecognizable even to his friend and physician, Dr. Bowen, who attended the scene.
Again, the mysterious murderer struck violently to the head. According to Robert Sullivan:
“Borden’s head was bent slightly to the right, but his face was almost unrecognizable as human; one eye had been cut in half and protruded in a ghastly manner, his nose had been severed, and there were eleven distinct cuts within a relatively small area extending from the eye and nose to the ears. Fresh blood was still seeping from the wounds, which were so severe that the first of the eleven blows must have killed him.”
Although she was tried and acquitted of these gruesome crimes, Lizzie Borden and her hatchet have caused more confusion, speculation and debate than any other murder case in American history.
The Spirit of Mr. Andrew Borden is said to still inhabit the home. Seething that his life was so brutally taken from him. Finding some comfort that the living are bringing things to light.
He enjoys watching the activity in the home, and has started to answer evp questions.
Goes about his business, what he used to do while alive.
The spirit of Mrs. Abby Borden
In the guest bedroom, now called The John Morse Room, an indentation of a body on the room’s bed was discovered by a staff member, like someone had just laid on top of it, one month after renovations and refurnishing the home was complete.
Faint cries are heard in here as well.
The spirit of Lizzie Borden
An apparition of a woman, that looks like Lizzie has been seen down in the basement, looking around the basement, possibly making sure that she disposed of all the evidence.
The spirit of Bridget “Maggie” Sullivan – Still trying to say what happened; the truth.
Cold spots are reported in Maggie’s room.
An apparition of a woman dressed in maid’s clothes is seen doing her chores around the house.
Other paranormal happenings:
Former owners, The McGinns, and present day owners of this home had some experiences:
lights turning on and off.
doors open and close, followed by footsteps.
Shadow people have been seen, especially on the staircase going down to the main hallway, and walking into the other parts of the house.
Sometimes staff and guests can feel someone brush against them on the stairs and in various parts of the home.
Disembodied voices have been heard as well.
Owner Leanne Wilbur felt the cold touch of a finger run down her back. When she quickly turned around, no one was visible.
Entities of two young children
Have been seen by the living, in various parts of the house.
Have been heard playing marbles.