Was Lizzie Borden Truly Innocent or was a Brutal Murderer? Double Murder that still Haunts the House
The town of Massachusetts, situated on a rocky hill that slopes down hugging the eastern shore of Mount Hope Bay, Fall River, was once the crown jewel of the textile industry of the United States.
Double Murder Cases:
The town flourished during the 1800s when the mills sprang up along the Quequechan River but have achieved long-lasting glories haunted past with the setting of one of the gruesome mysterious double murder cases in American history: the Borden Murders.
It was the morning of August 4, 1892, which began as a normal fine morning for the Borden family of Fall River. However, before the clock struck noon, the family patriarch Andrew Borden was found napping on a settee in the sitting room, probably been murdered while her wife, Abby was found butchered in the guest room.
Before they were murdered, the couple dwelt in the humble, Greek revival house on the Second Street with their grown daughters Emma and Lizzie along with their domestic help, Bridget Sullivan.
The domestic help was known to be an Irish immigrant and like other days, she served breakfast to the couple, Andrews and Abby. Lizzie Borden, a 32-year old unmarried Sunday school teacher, was the last to join the family, came downstairs after her uncle John Morse, who arrived unexpectedly for a visit the day before and left the house the other day.
The Bordens were prosperous and served on the boards of numerous banks in the city along with carrying forward their sole business as a commercial landlord. While Andrews was absent, Abby went upstairs to make the bed where Morse had slept the night before and left the room once again for some fresh pillowcases.
As soon as Andrews returned home, Lizzie came downstairs and reported that “Mrs. Borden” left the house on receiving a notice that stated one of her friends to be sick. The Borden daughters referred to Abby as “Mrs. Borden” as they had an unfriendly relationship with their stepmother.
Her father believed the story and retreated to his room, where he remained for a few minutes and came back downstairs and settled on the sofa in the sitting room. Sullivan was affected by flu and as she was feeling weak, she went to her room for some rest. Sullivan, during Lizzie’s trial, stated that she woke when Lizzie started screaming about her father’s death.
Lizzie Borden later stated that she found her father dead, sprawling on the couch and covered in blood, his face was badly disfigured, making it hard to recognize. After Sullivan heard her scream, she went out to fetch a doctor and a neighborhood friend of Lizzie, but before she could do that, the neighbors were attracted by the commotion created by the family, resulting in summoning the cops.
Investigation of Murder Case:
When the murder of the couple was committed, only Lizzie and Bridget were present in the house as Emma went out of the town to her friend’s place. Bridget was ruled out of the suspect list as she was taking rest and all the clues and suspects turned towards Lizzie.
Lizzie mentioned the same story about her stepmother to the neighbors. Later she also mentioned her parents to be ill previous days and suspected their milk to have been poisoned. Bridget brought Seabury Bowen, the local doctor to the house, and checked for Abby upstairs, where they found her limp body lying its face down in a pool of her blood.
Lizzie’s arrogance towards her stepmother along with ever-changing justification troubled the authorities. However, Lizzie insisted being innocent, claimed the murder being committed by an intruder who made his way in and out of the house undetected.
After an investigation, Lizzies Borden was accused of all the charges and arrested for committing double murder- her father and her stepmother. Why was Lizzie arrested, though being innocent? During the investigation, the cops found a hatchet with a broken handle in the cellar.
It was found that Abby was struck 19 times and Andrews for 11 times with the same hatchet. Later, the county medical examiner, Dr. Dolan performed a detailed analysis of the body, removed the stomach and tested, but failed to find any traces of poison, claiming that the couple had never been poisoned.
However, there was no concluding proof for convincing the jury about the hatchet being the murder weapon and eyewitness testimony of Lizzie burning a dress that might or might not have been worn by her on the day of the murder.
Paranormal side of Murders:
After 120 years, professional detectives, amateur sleuths and paranormal investigators continued their investigation of the grisly mystery, with a hope to discover some overlooked clues. Several theories and suspects have been debated upon. Andrew Borden’s reputation as a wealthy miser was a well-earned and might have garnered his enemies. Could this be one of the reasons for his murder?
Whether motivated by the morbid fascination or for a desire for cracking the case, the curious folks want to get a peek behind the door of the Lizzie Borden House are considered lucky. The Borden home continues being a mainstay of historical documentaries and paranormal reality shows, remains open to the public for bed and breakfast, and museum.
The violent nature of the double murder cases led most of the researchers, and paranormal experts to believe the house to be a hotbed of paranormal activities and tour guides willingly recount their own as well as others' precious experiences.
There have been instances where people being touched by unseen hands, felt a tug on their shirt and hearing whispers that have been spoken into their ears. Some others have claimed to hear children giggling in the attic bedrooms.
People wanting to choose to spend their nights at the “Lizzie Borden House” are provided with a more in-depth tour of their home. The merit of each of the possible suspects has been highly weighted and debated and after the tour, the guests are welcomed to rest to one of the bedrooms with the opportunity of sleeping in the room where Abby Borden was murdered with an axe.
Folklore state that some of the spirits can even be bribed so that people can enjoy alone. Mr. Borden preferred new coins that are placed in his bedroom, suggesting that the love for money extended into the afterlife, while the children in the attic responded best if they were offered with toys.
No one has seen the ghosts to be present in the house, stating the existence of spirits a mere hoax. The visitors and researchers still question about the acquisition of Lizzie Borden for her father and stepmother’s murder, making the double murder a mystery over time.
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