Overview: My husband and I recently decided to travel to Fall River, Massachusetts to visit the Lizzie Borden House Bed & Breakfast. It may be a bit macabre, but the case is absolutely fascinating to me. (If you're not familiar with the story, check out wikipedia here for a quick overview).
I became a little bit obsessed with Lizzie Borden about a year and a half ago. I'm already quite addicted to history, and true crime stories. Lizzie's story really fascinated me. Not so much because she "allegedly" committed parricide, but more so because of the time period; (The murders happened in 1892). The way the case was handled (bungled?), how certain relevant circumstantial evidence was left out of the trial, and Lizzie's various stories about where she was at the time of the murders. "I was in the kitchen, I was on the stairs, I was upstairs, I was in the barn, I was eating pears...", and because after all that, she was acquitted! Once you delve into the story, it's really intriguing.
I found out the actual Borden house was turned into a bed & breakfast museum in 1996. (The house was built in 1845, the Borden's were the 2nd owners). I kept looking at the website wishing I could visit. Finally, I found out there's a bus terminal only a 3 minute walk from the bed & breakfast, and that kind of sealed everything for me. I booked the trip!
My husband I booked Mr. & Mrs. Borden's room. You access it from the back stairs. Mr. Borden's dressing room had been turned into a bathroom. There was a claw foot bathtub shower. (The other rooms in the house, you have to share a bathroom with the other guests. Mr. & Mrs. Borden's suite is the only room with a private bath). So... did we have any ghostly experiences? We may have... I myself have lived in houses before with paranormal activity- (See my blog post: Ghosts you do or you don't?)
When my husband I went to our room after the tour. (The other couple was watching a Lizzie Borden movie downstairs). We opened the door to look into the attached room in our suite, which was Mrs. Borden's dressing room, originally. All of a sudden I hear two footsteps above me in the attic room. It kind of vibrated. Just two. No more. I was like okay... whoa... because no one was staying up there! That was pretty creepy...
Also, when my husband was in the bathroom getting ready for bed, I was brushing my hair in the mirror in the bedroom. My husband's cell phone had been plugged in since we got upstairs. I'm brushing my hair and hear this audible pop cap gun noise. I turn around and my husband's plug had popped out of the wall. At first I was like okay, it fell out. I put it back in, turned around, continued brushing my hair and- that loud pop cap gun noise. Plug popped out again. At that point I called to my husband who was still in the bathroom, "Okayyyy- I'm moving your cell phone because someone doesn't want it plugged in here!" In the morning I tried this plug out again as a test, thinking maybe it had just been loose. Nope. It was snug, and it did not pop out in the morning, haha! My cousin said maybe Mrs. Borden didn't want newfangled devices plugged in below her photograph. :-p
We slept okay. We actually turned off the lights because the streetlights illuminated the room pretty well. At times I was kind of freaked out that I was so comfortable falling asleep, then I would start thinking of the history of where I was and kind of startle myself awake. I got about 3 1/2 hours of sleep.
Another weird experience was, I woke up with what looked like a fingerprint bruise on my right bicep. Not sure if that was from all the traveling we did. I showed it to my husband in the morning. He had slept on my left. On my right... my husband had pushed a chair next to the bed, facing me, so my purse and cell phone could sit on it. He then proceeded to creep me out by suggesting, maybe someone had sat down there last night, and gave me a pinch! (My bruise picture is here if you want to see it). Coincidence or not... kinda creepy, right?
The only other creepy thing was after we got home and I uploaded all the photos I took. There's a strange foggy blue mist in the upper left corner in Mr. & Mrs. Borden's room. I swear the fog is coming out of the vent... that was not noticeable when we were actually there, so- I have no explanation! :-o
At 9:00am breakfast was served in the dining room. It was a little funny eating with the other couple, only because we didn't know them that well. But they were very nice, and told us a little about some of their travels to other historical sites. Breakfast was really good. We had scrambled eggs, Portuguese sausage potatoes, pineapple, orange juice, coffee, and Johnny cakes! (The flavor reminded me of spiced wafers!) I loved the place setting and the fact we were eating in the Borden dining room, where they ate all those years ago.
Not the original stove, though we were told this one is a good 100 years old. The closet to the left is where Lizzie kept the dress with brown "paint" that she burned and destroyed...
There's always been a rumor that the Borden's autopsies were done on the dining room table, that is false. They were done on portable autopsy tables. Mrs. Borden in the dining room, Mr. Borden in the sitting room. But- after the autopsies their bodies did remain in the dining room for three whole days before being taken to the funeral home! (Ack! And it was summer, in August!)
"I ate a pear... I ate three pears..." This pear is fake, but I had to take a photo because pears played a role in some of Lizzie's statements about what she was doing when the murders occurred.
We checked out around 10am, and visited the gift shop. Then we decided to walk around downtown Fall River for an hour before we had to be at the bus terminal to start our long trip home. It was cold and windy, but I wish we had more time to walk around down there. We saw the Taunton River from one of the streets and tried walking down to it, but we didn't have time. We also didn't have time to visit the cemetery (Oak Grove), where the Borden's are buried, or see Maplecroft, Lizzie's home after the trial, until she passed away. Maybe on another trip, there's been talk Maplecroft may become a bed & breakfast sometime soon.
View from the side steps at the Borden house.
Downtown Fall River MA.
Taunton River in the distance.
Borden Street was actually around when the Borden's lived here, there were a lot of Borden's in Fall River. only now the name is infamous.
The Living Dead mini Doll of Lizzie Borden I found on eBay, the hatchet key chain is the perfect size for her. ;-)
Our entire trip photo album with captions can be found on Photobucket here. There's 142 photos. The whole trip was an amazing experience. I understand the house layout so much more now, and when I re-read books I can say... I was there!
References & Links:
*TripAdvisor: Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum
I like these books about Lizzie Borden and the trial:
A Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden by Daylight
Lizzie Borden on Trial: Murder, Ethnicity, and Gender*Actual trial transcript and inquest in .pdf format can be found here for free:
Parallel Lives: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River
Parallel Lives: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River
*While I've been absent from this blog for several months, I've still been active on Instagram & Facebook.