Is the home of Lizzie Borden a haunted vacation spot?

Lizzie Borden

The Borden House today

CASE DETAILS

On August 4, 1892, wealthy businessman Andrew Borden, and his wife, Abby, were brutally hacked to death in their home.  Andrew’s 32-year-old spinster daughter, Lizzie, was arrested for the double murder.  Over a century later, the scene of one of the most gruesome unsolved mysteries in U.S. history is open for business.  The Borden home is now the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast.

Andrew Borden, Lizzie’s father

Visitors can enjoy an informative chat about the sadistic murders while eating a breakfast of johnnycakes and mutton broth—the same meal Abby and Andrew Borden ate on their final day.  Then after a long day of sightseeing, they can sleep in the same bedroom where Abby Borden’s body was discovered, lifeless on the floor.

Not surprisingly, most people do not sleep easily.  According to owner Martha McGinn, many guests have reported that the inn is haunted:

“I think the apparitions and all the activity that has been happening in the house, it’s a possibility that the spirits are trying to communicate through myself, my staff, or my guests of who really committed the murders so they can rest in peace, put the story to sleep once and for all.”

Lizzie Borden was never convicted of the brutal murders.  Nobody knows who committed the savage crime… Nobody, except the victims themselves, all of whom are long since dead.  Or are they?

Abby Borden, Lizzie’s stepmother

In 1968, Martha McGinn moved into the Borden house, which had been purchased by her grandparents 43 years earlier. According to Martha, she soon became aware of an unsettling presence lurking in the shadows of the aging building:

“When I was about 16 years old, I was in my bedroom reading a book, and above my room I could distinctly hear footsteps and the sound of, like marbles being played and it almost sounded like little children’s laughter.”

Later, Martha witnessed another strange phenomenon, this one far more disturbing than the last:

“ I went up the stairway, and the window at the end of the second-floor corridor just began opening and slamming shut.  It was just violently going up and down.  I got the creepy crawlers that time.”

Martha became convinced that a ghost was prowling her home, tormenting her at every opportunity. But who? And why?  The answer to that question may have come when Martha made the mistake of entering the basement alone:

“A shadow, sort of like a silhouette, floated maybe four inches above the floor. I could tell it was a woman.  I could tell it was Victorian clothes.  I just turned around and ran back up the stairs.  That experience really did frighten me. That actually did make my hair stand on end.”

Did a ghost sleep in this bed?

In 1994, Martha inherited the Borden house and decided to capitalize on its infamous reputation by turning it into a very unusual bed and breakfast:

“When we first opened, I had hired my staff.  Most of them, at the time, did not believe in ghosts or apparitions or anything like that.  And then odd things started happening to them.”

Kerri Roderick was one of the first employees to be hired:

“I arrived at work to start cleaning the house, and I was on my last room, and I had made the bed and cleaned, dusted, and everything.  And then I turned around, and there was the perfect impression of somebody laying on the bed. The indent in the pillow, in the bed.  I looked at it for, like, a couple of seconds, and then I booked it out of the room.  I had to leave. I was just—it scared me.  ‘Cause I’d never seen anything like that before in my life.”

But the most frequent sightings occurred in the downstairs parlor, the very location where Andrew Borden was killed.  Eleanor Thimbault, the night manager at the bed and breakfast, recalled one such sighting:

“I was sitting in the parlor, and on the phone, and this strange feeling came over me, a very eerie feeling.  When I looked up to the kitchen door, I saw what I thought was all this smoke coming out of the kitchen, like a foggy smoke.  And I thought to myself, well, that’s strange. There isn’t anybody in the kitchen cooking.  Why would all this smoke be coming out?  The way it traveled, very slow, until it got to the sofa—where Mr. Borden was hacked to death—and it just dissipated.  I know I saw something that was out of this world.  It wasn’t from this world, that’s for sure.”

Actual crime scene photo

Author and ghost-hunter, Katherine Ramsland, believed that Andrew and Abby Borden were trying to tell the employees who killed them.  In an attempt to document the paranormal activity, Ramsland went into the basement of the bed and breakfast armed with a voice-activated recorder:

“It was very dark. And I just simply said, is anybody here? And we could see that the recorder was activated.  But we could hear nothing. It was absolute silence, and yet it was clear something was being recorded.  So I decided, instead of asking any more questions, I would just see what we had gotten.  We shot up the steps… ‘Cause we weren’t staying down there with that, whatever it was.”

A noise from the dead or static electricity?  No one knows for sure.  Katherine Ramsland believes the recording is the first solid evidence that Abby and Andrew Borden are ready to share the chilling circumstances of their bloody end.  And she hopes that maybe, someday, one of them will tell us what really happened on August 4, 1892.


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season eleven with Robert Stack and in season three with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

 

24 Comments

  1. Amy

    I don’t think that Lizzie did the murders, I think someone else did it and left, so everyone would think that Lizzie did it. Lizzie was eating her lunch in the barn and the house keeper was washing the outside windows when it happen. there was these physics that went there to see if could find out who killed them. one of the physics said she heard a man yelling at the father, moments before the murders happen. the man is Lizzie’s uncle. they just blame her, cause she was there.

    Reply

  2. LovesAgoodMystery

    I double checked and I’m a huge idiot and apparently can’t read. Lol! My bad! My apologies!

    Reply

  3. LovesAgoodMystery

    Just a bit of confusion. If you read the very first paragraph it states that Lizzie was “Andrew’s spinster SISTER,” which would have made Abby and Lizzie sisters-in-law. But the photograph of Abby states she was Lizzie’s STEP-MOTHER. Just wanted to make sure you were aware.

    Reply

  4. Anonymous

    For starters, the idea of LIzzie’s stepmother being hacked 40 times and her father receiving 41 is taken from a children’s rhyme of that era. Abby Borden was struck 19 times and Andrew Borden was hit 10 to 11 times. If, in fact, Lizzie was responsible (there are a number of plausible theories that she might not have been), there’s a long list of reasons why she did it that have nothing to do with her father’s money. Andrew Borden was a tight-fisted (he refused to have running water or electricity in the house), cold, emotionally-detached man that made his daughters lives a living hell while he was alive. There is also some very valid evidence that both Lizzie and her sister, Emma, were being sexually abused by their father and had been since their childhood.
    https://jl10ll.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/lizzie-borden-was-guilty-with-good-reason/

    Reply

  5. Anonymous

    Apparently she hated her mother who became stepmother the day before she died and she had to kill her father because otherwise he would suspect that she killed her (stepmother)

    Reply

  6. Liz Swiezy

    I’ve always believed it was Lizzie who killed her father and stepmother! The “setup” was too perfect: Emma was conveniently out of town when the murders took place, Bridget was conveniently cleaning (outside) windows. Emma HAD to know something about it or she wouldn’t have “left town”at just the right time! Bridget was simply following orders or she would’ve been considered an accomplice too. Lizzie Andrew Borden was years ahead of her time with forensic knowledge and she was consumed with a bitter resentment for BOTH victims! It was a perfect, premeditated murder! Kudos to Lizzie for her cunning ability in 1894? I’m fairly certain that she and her victims still roam the halls of this home!!! I’d love to spend some time in that home (during daylight hours) and see for myself. I’ve always been fascinated by this story *smile*

    Reply

  7. Johnny

    The Lizzie Borden case one of those great mysteries that continues to fascinate 120+ years later. My guess Lizzie axed Abby & Andrew standing naked or she would have been splattered with blood and her clothes would’ve been saturated. A quick cleanup of face and body. Emma the other sister underrated. What did she see? What did she know?
    The blows to head show a deep anger and hatred for Abby & Andrew. Overkill! That would point towards Lizzie as the perpetrator. Wonder if they have any of the bloody clothes of the deceased or any other photo evidence. Maybe, they could test it somehow. There’s no doubt Lizzie would be a prime suspect in 2017. The Prosecution would have to prove that Lizzie committed the crime. No saying what a jury would decide in today’s climate. Fascinating case to be sure.

    Reply

  8. anoyamous

    it had to be lizzie i read the story in a book and it said she was in jail they saw an axe it had blood and found lizzies mom’s clothes in the chimany

    Reply

  9. Brenna Rini

    this article is idiotic and false!

    Reply

  10. Mark

    I think a lot of people at the time too had a hard time believing that a woman would commit such an act.

    Reply

    • Susan

      What about the noise? Someone must have heard something! The fact nobody admits to, suggests someone is lying! This suggests a conspiracy – ie more than one perp. Re gender, statistically a violent crime is more likely a man than a woman. That doesn’t mean a woman couldn’t do it – but I struggle with the fact that she could do it in that violent manner twice without someone hearing the screams! Others helped!

      Reply

  11. Johnny

    They could have solved the Lizzie Borden case nowadays. The interviewer would have separated Lizzie and her sister comparing their accounts. Might have been able to get the other sister to talk. The personalization of the crime suggests severe hatred or anger towards these parents. Such a brutal crime. I think there was a belief that a young lady could not commit a killing of this nature. One of the greatest mysteries of all time.

    Reply

  12. Patricia

    My husband and I are psychics. We each have a unique gift through communication with those who are already passed. I strongly agree that that the murded victims are trying to communicate.

    Reply

  13. Lisa

    Lizzie did it! I think because of lack of evidence analysis she got away with this heinous crime but I am sure that she has paid for her consequences in the eyes of God.

    Reply

  14. Sabrina

    Lizzie was the one that did it not hard to figure out who gave her mother 40 whacks and her father 41

    Reply

  15. jada harris

    what was the point of her killing her dad and stepmother.

    Reply