“sleep at site of one of the most grisly axe murders in history”
August 4, 1892. A wealthy businessman and his wife are found brutally murdered in their Victorian home in Fall River, Massachusetts. The Accused: the youngest daughter, Lizzie. The Verdict: Not Guilty! So goes the lore of the most famous crime in the annals of American history. The mystery remains: If Lizzie Borden did not wield the murder weapon, who did? Our beautifully restored Greek-revival home is now a first-class bed & breakfast. You are invited to choose one of 6 beautifully appointed bedrooms and roam the house to learn the true facts about Lizzie Borden and the murders of 1892. What were the thoughts of the first police officers on the scene? Who were the suspects? What was the publics reaction? Will you join the legions who think Lizzie guilty, or will you choose to be a stalwart defender? In the morning we invite you to enjoy a hot breakfast reminiscent of the food the Bordens ate on that fateful Thursday in 1892. The story: Lizzie Borden's father, Andrew Jackson Borden, despite being the descendent of wealthy and influential residents of the area, grew up in very modest surroundings and struggled financially as a young man. As he grew older, he prospered through the manufacture and sales of furniture and caskets. He later became a successful property developer and directed several textile mills including the Globe Yarn Mill Company, Troy Cotton, and Woolen Manufacturing Company. At the time of his death, he owned considerable commercial property and was both president of the Union Savings Bank and a director of the Durfee Safe Deposit and Trust Co. Despite his wealth, Andrew was known for his frugality. The Borden home, for instance, lacked indoor plumbing on its ground and first floor, and was located near Andrew's businesses; the wealthiest residents of Fall River, Massachusetts generally lived in a more fashionable neighborhood ("The Hill") that was farther away from the industrial areas of the city and much more homogenous racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically. During the inquest, the Bordens' live-in maid Bridget Sullivan testified that Lizzie and her sister rarely ate meals with their parents. Further during questioning by police and during the inquest Lizzie indicated that she did not call her stepmother "Mother" but rather "Mrs. Borden" and demurred on the subject of whether or not they were cordial with each other. In May 1892, there was an incident in which Andrew, believing that pigeons Lizzie kept in the barn were attracting intruders, killed the pigeons with a hatchet. A family argument in July 1892 prompted both sisters to take extended "vacations". Tension had been growing in the family in the months before the murders, especially over Andrew's gifts to various branches of the family. After Abby's relatives received a house, the sisters demanded and received a rental property—which they later sold back to their father for cash —and just before the murders a brother of Andrew's first wife had visited regarding transfer of another property. The night before the murders John Vinnicum Morse, the brother of Lizzie's and Emma's deceased mother, visited the home to speak about business matters with Andrew. Some writers have speculated that their conversation—particularly as it related to property transfer—may have aggravated an already tense situation. For several days before the murders the entire household had been violently ill. The family doctor blamed food left on the stove for use in meals over several days, but Abby had feared poisoning—Andrew Borden had not been a popular man. On August 4, 1892, Andrew Borden had breakfast with his wife and made his usual rounds of the bank and post office, returning home about 10:45 am. The Bordens' maid, Bridget Sullivan, testified that she was in her third-floor room, resting from cleaning windows, when just before 11:10 am she heard Lizzie call out to her from downstairs, "Maggie, come quick! Father's dead. Somebody came in and killed him." (Sullivan was sometimes called "Maggie", the name of an earlier maid.) Andrew was slumped on a couch in the downstairs sitting room, struck 10 or 11 times with a hatchet-like weapon. One of his eyeballs had been split cleanly in two, suggesting he had been asleep when attacked. Soon after, as neighbors and doctors tended Lizzie, Sullivan discovered Abby Borden in the upstairs guest bedroom, her skull crushed by 19 blows. Police found a hatchet in the basement which, though free of blood, was missing most of its handle. Lizzie was arrested on August 11; a grand jury began hearing evidence on November 7 and indicted on December 2. The case was memorialized in a popular skipping-rope rhyme: Lizzie Borden took an axe And gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done She gave her father forty-one. Folklore says the rhyme was made up by an anonymous writer as a tune to sell newspapers. Others attribute it to the ubiquitous, but anonymous, "Mother Goose". In reality, Lizzie's stepmother suffered 18 or 19 blows; her father, 11 blows.
Staying Lizzie Borden's house was no doubt the most horrifying moment of my life, and I would do it again in a heart beat. By the time my friend UJ and I got there we were exhausted from a long road trip that day so we made the mistake of trying to sleep instead of exploring at night, but we still had a thrill, and we had no sleep at all. We heard voices, footsteps, and who knows what else was going on. Great place to visit for the horror geek!
The house offers tours if you aren't willing for fork out $250 a night to spend the night... or it's just too creepy for you. If you're a big paranormal geek this place should absolutely be on your bucket list.
Loved it was amazing!
$250 a night might sound like a lot for a Bed and Breakfast, but you GET TO SLEEP IN THE SAME BEDS WHERE PEOPLE WERE AXE MURDERED.
Ok, maybe that doesn't excite everyone as much as me, but if you're into getting wigged out, this place will do it. Make sure you have your picture snapped on the couch in the hall. They've got handy photos you can refer to in order to accurately recreate the crime scene with your friends.
We loved it! The tour was great, lots of info and the house is well cared for. My kids were very creeped out. We didn't stay the night as my youngest was not old enough yet.
Absolute must see, even if you can't stay it is worth the trip. We lucked out and managed to get the final tour of the day and our tour guide asked if it was ok if he took his time and gave some extra information since we were the last group of the day. I don't know how much more he shared with us than the previous groups that had a time limit, but it was the best tour of any historical place I've ever visited. He was very knowledgable, interesting, funny, detailed, and answered tons of questions about the house, the Bordens, and the items in the house. He was a wealth of knowledge. I tend to be sensitive to spirit energy, not something I advertise, and I can tell you I had a hard time standing up straight the entire time we were there, I was dizzy like I've rarely ever been. Children are not allowed to stay overnight, combination that the house is full of expensive and priceless antiques, as well as the legit concern for them being scared. Despite what some may tell you, the beds are not the originals, most of the furniture pieces are exceptional reproductions that are scary close to the originals. The Borden daughters moved away from this house and obviously took their belongings with them, why wouldn't they? The owners spend a ridiculous amount of their time looking for household items that are accurate for the time period the Bordens lived there, as well as tracking down vintage and antique furniture, fabrics, wallpaper, etc. They truly love this home and take very good care of preserving it's rich and creepy history.
We did the house tour about 10 years ago and were not disappointed. Our guide was wonderful and told everything with a macabre matter of fact tone. I still have pictures of my youngest son lying in the spot where Mrs. Borden fell. Strange kid...
Absolutely had the best time there. Totally haunted; not a negative energy. I used to professionally ghost hunt, the second floor was too active for me. I was too shaky in the room that the mother passed in. That was the worst room. In the room over the front sitting room, and the sitting room (front of house in general) my one year old kept laughing and saying hi to no one... my baby doesn't even say hi to strangers at the store. He began laughing and trying to run towards empty rooms. The guide was amazing and also a paranormal investigator herself. She was very knowledgeable and kind. We will be back.
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Lizzie Borden's Bed & Breakfast / Museum
- Sun - Sat: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
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- 3 pm
- 11 am
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