We’re all familiar with the infamous Lizzie Borden rhyme: “Lizzie Borden had an axe, gave her father forty whacks, when she saw what she had done, she gave her Mother forty-one,” and if you happen to be a true crime junkie, you probably know about the murders as well as Borden’s arrest, trial, acquittal, and all the gory details in between. But, did you know you can spend a night, or weekend if you dare, at Lizzie Borden’s house? Keep reading for a quick history lesson and get the details about a haunted house with many secrets turned bed and breakfast.
On July 19th, 1860, in Fall River, Massachusetts, Sarah and Andrew Borden welcomed their daughter Lizzie Andrew Borden to the world. Not long after Lizzie’s birth, Sarah fell ill and passed away. About three years later, Andrew remarried a woman by the name of Abby Gray. Andrew, Abby, Lizzie, and Lizzie’s older sister Emma lived together well into the girls’ adult years.
While they all lived under one roof, to say they were ‘one big happy family’ is a bit of a stretch. Lizzie and Emma had concerns that Abby had only married their father to gain access to his money. The girls even referred to Abby as “Mrs. Borden”.
Fast forward to early August of 1892. Andrew and Abby Borden were both found brutally murdered in their home, both victims of violent hatchet attacks. Reports say that Lizzie found her father’s dead body laying on the couch in a pool of blood with his face nearly split in two, and a search of the home once police arrived revealed that Abby too was victim to a brutal attack in an upstairs bedroom, her head smashed to pieces.
The older sister, Emma, was out of town at the time and was never considered a suspect, and while Lizzie wasn’t immediately taken into custody, certain events occurred in the days following her parents murders, such as Lizzie burning a dress that was allegedly stained with paint, that led prosecutors to believe Lizzie may know more about her parent’s death than she was willing to say.
In December of 1892 Lizzie was indicted, and her trial, which began the following June, was covered by every newspaper. In the end, testimony from others was considered inconclusive, and Lizzie’s own testimony wasn’t considered evidence. On June 20th, 1893, Lizzie was acquitted of being charged with the murder of her parents, and no one was ever charged for the murders.
The Notorious Bed and Breakfast
The home that Andrew Borden bought is not only still standing today, but new owners have left the house just as it was. According to the website, owners say that “the furnishings have retained their rightful place, decor has been painstakingly duplicated, and the original hardware and doors are still intact.” Throughout the home, you can view artifacts from the case as well as memorabilia atop shelves and mantels.
When booking a room at the Lizzie Borden house, you have your choice of the Lizzie and Emma Suite, the rooms both Emma and Lizzie resided in; the Andrew and Abby Suite, where Andrew and Abby slept; or the John V. Morse Room where Abby was found murdered. The John V. Morse room is named after an uncle of Lizzie and Emma Borden who had stayed at the Borden house unexpectedly the night before the murders. Abby Borden was tidying up his bedroom when she was murdered. Guests can also book the Bridget Sullivan Room, while she was better known as “Maggie” she was one of two people in the house when Andrew and Abby were murdered and she was the maid to the Borden family, and the last two rooms guests have the option of booking are the Andrew Jennings Room, named after Lizzie’s defense attorney, and the Hosea Knowlton Room, named after the district attorney of Southern Massachusetts for Lizzie’s trial.
If you have a large group, you can rent an entire floor or even the entire house to explore, ghost hunt, and take in the history. Upon arrival, all guests will meet up in the parlor where you’ll hear stories of self-rocking chairs, a heaviness in Lizzie’s room that is so present, many guests don’t even want to step foot in it, and a general discouragement of playing with the house Ouija board that was once stolen, then sent back to the house with a note that simply said “please make it stop.”
All guests of the house receive a complimentary tour of the grounds, but if living that haunted life isn’t for you, there is the option of simply booking a tour and leaving once it’s over.