“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 grisly poem above was inspired by one of the most famous cases of murder to ever occur on U.S. soil. The Lizzie Borden murders captivated the entire country during the late 19th century and continues to inspire ghost stories and tales of paranormal activity by anyone who dares to enter the home of Lizzie Borden.
It’s not surprising that reports of haunted activity and paranormal occurrences have been whispered about at the Lizzie Borden House for quite some time. The violent and emotional nature of the tragic events that transpired there have been forever burned into it’s walls and the memories of residents in Fall River, Massachusetts.
The haunted history of The Lizzie Borden House begins on a Thursday afternoon during the year of 1892. Lizzie Borden was the daughter of Andrew Jackson Borden, who was a wealthy and influential citizen of Fall River. He was not particularly friendly to people, but took his business matters seriously. He was the board director for several banks in the local area and had his hand in commercial real estate as well. His choice for a home wasn’t very impressive when compared to homes of other men of his stature. Lizzie Borden had openly expressed her desire to move into a better area and a bigger, more beautiful home. Andrew Borden would have no part of this and being the penny pinching type of fellow that he was, preferred the lesser expensive home that was close to his business dealings.
Many have attributed the sense of entitlement that Lizzie felt as one of the factors that
began to put a strain on her relationship with her father and his second wife, Abby. The relationship between Lizzie and her stepmother wasn’t particularly great either. Nobody would ever have guessed that Lizzie Borden, a Sunday school teacher and well known member of the community would have been responsible for what would happen that day.
Sometime before noon, as Andrew Borden napped on the couch, he was attacked by someone wielding an axe. He was struck repeatedly until he was dead. The body was hacked to the point that it was unrecognizable by most. Little did he know as he laid down for his nap that his wife Abby was already dead on the floor above, her blood seeping through the cracks of the wooden floor. She had been attacked with the same axe. The position of her body when found suggested that she was kneeling down beside the bed when the gruesome attack occurred. Some say she was praying, others say that she was simply making the bed. Either way, Abby Borden didn’t have a chance when her murderer entered the room, filled with rage and armed with an axe.
The news traveled fast in those times and sinister acts such as these were practically unheard of. Lizzie Borden was arrested for the murders although she maintained her innocence. The trial made headlines nationwide as the world became fascinated with the Sunday school teacher that had hacked her parents to death.
Eventually, Lizzie Borden was found innocent of the crimes by the courts. Some of the local townsfolk however, had a different opinion. Lizzie Borden was somewhat of an outcast from the community and forever marked as a murderer.
This didn’t bother Lizzie very much as she immediately purchased a grand home on the hill along with her sister who had always been equally unhappy with the home that Andrew Borden had chosen for them. They named the home “Maplecroft”. Lizzie lived in the home until her death at age 67. She was buried alongside the graves her father and stepmother in Fall River’s Oak Grove Cemetery.
Over one hundred years later, The Borden House has been turned into the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast. Many patrons of the inn have reported various accounts of ghostly activity within the house. The most popular room and reportedly the most haunted is the room in which Abby Borden was hacked to death. People have witnessed a woman in 19th century clothing making the bed. Disembodied voices have been heard coming from empty rooms and echoing through the house. Footsteps that belong to no one are also a common experience inside The Lizzie Borden House. Perhaps the most spooky reports are that of a woman heard crying throughout the home. Is it the sobbing spirit of Lizzie Borden, riddled with guilt for the slaying of her parents? Or perhaps the spirit of Abby Borden whose life was cut short by the edge of an axe? Either way, The Lizzie Borden House will forever remain one of the most interesting and allegedly haunted places in America. If you are ever in Massachusetts, You can always reserve the most special room at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast and test the local legends for yourself.
Below are a few links for those interested in finding out more about the Lizzie Borden murders. Many debate her innocence. Research and decide for yourself.