Lizzie Borden House: Echoes of a Grisly Past

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 1 February 2024
  • Time to read: 11 min.

“Lizzie Borden took an axe,

And gave her mother forty whacks,

When she saw what she had done,

She gave her father forty-one.”

While this rhyme has been recited by generations and has cemented its place in American folklore, it’s important to note that it isn’t factually accurate. In reality, Abby Borden, Lizzie’s stepmother, was struck 19 times, and Andrew Borden, Lizzie’s father, was struck 11 times. The rhyme’s enduring popularity underscores the fascination with the Lizzie Borden case, even though it doesn’t reflect the true details of the crime.


Step into the chilling world of the Lizzie Borden House, located in Fall River, Massachusetts. This infamous Victorian-style residence has become synonymous with one of the most perplexing murder cases in American history. With its dark past and lingering mysteries, the House continues to captivate visitors and paranormal enthusiasts alike.

History of the Lizzie Borden House

Lizzie Borden House
Lizzie Borden House | Credit: alyssa_eilish

The Borden family

The Borden family of Fall River, Massachusetts, on the surface, appeared to be a typical well-to-do family of the late 19th century. The patriarch, Andrew Borden, was a successful businessman who had accrued substantial wealth through his various real estate and furniture businesses. However, despite his wealth, Andrew was known for his frugality, which was reflected in the modest house they lived in on 2nd Street, far from the upscale neighborhood befitting the family’s wealth.

His two daughters, Lizzie and Emma Borden, lived with him along with their stepmother, Abby Borden. Their mother, Sarah, had passed away when the girls were young, and Andrew had remarried three years later. The relationship between the daughters and their stepmother was strained, and over the years, relations within the family grew increasingly tense.

Lizzie, the younger of the two daughters, was active in church activities and charitable work, making her a familiar face in the community. Emma, the elder daughter, was more reserved and private. Both women were unmarried and lived at home, as was common for women of their social standing at the time. However, beneath this veneer of respectability and normalcy, the Borden household was rife with tension and animosity, setting the stage for the infamous events to come.

The Murders in Fall River

The Lizzie Borden House, located in Fall River, Massachusetts, has a notorious history that dates back to August 4, 1892. On that fateful day, the house became the setting for a brutal double murder that shocked the nation. Andrew and Abby Borden, Lizzie Borden’s father and stepmother, were found brutally slain by an ax.

The Lizzie Borden case, one of the most notorious murder trials in American history, unfolded in the quiet town of Fall River, Massachusetts. At the heart of the case were the brutal axe murders of Andrew and Abby Borden, a wealthy couple found dead in their home on the morning of August 4, 1892. The primary suspect was their youngest daughter, Lizzie Borden, whose strange behavior and contradictory testimony aroused suspicion.

On the fateful day of the murders, Lizzie Borden claimed to have discovered her father’s body on a living room couch, bludgeoned to death. Abby Borden, Lizzie’s stepmother, was found in an upstairs bedroom, also slain in a similar brutal manner. With no signs of a break-in and Lizzie being one of the few people present at the house, she quickly became the main suspect.

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The Trial of Lizzie Borden

The trial, which took place at the Bristol County Superior Court in June 1893, captivated national attention. Lizzie’s defense team argued that there was no physical evidence linking her to the gruesome crime. They highlighted the lack of bloodstains on her clothes and the absence of a murder weapon. The prosecution, on the other hand, pointed to Lizzie’s inconsistent statements and her strange behavior, including a reported attempt to purchase prussic acid, a deadly poison, the day before the murders.

Lizzie Borden on Trial, 1893: A Tense Courtroom Drama Unfolds.
Lizzie Borden on Trial, 1893: A Tense Courtroom Drama Unfolds.

The all-male jury delivered a verdict of not guilty after deliberating for just an hour and a half. The decision was reportedly influenced by the prevailing societal norms of the time, which found it hard to believe that a woman of Lizzie’s social status could commit such a horrific crime. Despite her acquittal, Lizzie Borden was ostracized by the Fall River community, many of whom believed that she had gotten away with murder.

While the trial resulted in Lizzie’s acquittal, the case remains one of the most famous unsolved mysteries in American history. The lack of a definitive conclusion has led to ongoing speculation and numerous theories about the murders. Even today, the Lizzie Borden case continues to fascinate criminologists, historians, and the public, who continue to dissect and debate the puzzling details of this chilling tale.

Post Trial

After her acquittal in 1893, Lizzie Borden and her sister Emma moved away from the house on 2nd Street, where the notorious murders took place. They bought a large, modern house on French Street in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Fall River, Massachusetts. The house, which Lizzie named “Maplecroft,” was a symbol of their new life and social status, financed by the substantial inheritance they received after the death of their father, Andrew Borden.

Despite her legal exoneration, Lizzie continued to be a figure of public scrutiny. Many townspeople still viewed her as the perpetrator of the brutal murders, leading to her living a life of relative seclusion. Yet, Lizzie sought to carve out a new identity. She began to use the name Lizbeth, and she opened her home to social gatherings, hosting parties primarily attended by her friends from the theatre.

Emma's Departure, 1905: The Strained Sisterhood of Lizzie and Emma Borden.
Emma’s Departure, 1905: The Strained Sisterhood of Lizzie and Emma Borden.

However, this new lifestyle led to tensions between Lizzie and Emma. Disapproving of Lizzie’s parties and her newfound friends, Emma eventually moved out of Maplecroft in 1905. The exact cause of their disagreement remains a subject of speculation, but the sisters’ relationship was permanently damaged. They lived the rest of their lives separately, with Lizzie staying in Maplecroft.

Lizzie Borden continued to live in Maplecroft until her death on June 1, 1927. Despite her efforts to lead a normal life, she remained a figure of intrigue and speculation, her life indelibly marked by the unsolved murders and the trial that had thrust her into the national spotlight. Even in death, Lizzie Borden continued to be a figure of fascination, her story becoming an enduring part of American crime folklore.

The Legacy

Over the years, the House has become a popular destination for those interested in true crime and the paranormal. It is believed by many to be haunted, with reports of ghostly sightings, mysterious footsteps, and other unexplained phenomena. The house now operates as a bed and breakfast, allowing visitors to stay overnight and immerse themselves in the chilling history and alleged supernatural activity associated with the property.

The Lizzie Borden House stands as a haunting reminder of the unsolved double murder that took place within its walls. Its history continues to captivate and intrigue people from around the world, drawing them to explore the dark and enigmatic tale of Lizzie Borden and the enduring mystery that surrounds the abode.

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

The Lizzie Borden House, located in Fall River, Massachusetts, is infamous for the gruesome murders that occurred on August 4, 1892. Lizzie Borden was accused of killing her father, Andrew Borden, and stepmother, Abby Borden, with an ax. Despite her acquittal, the house has since become a hotbed for paranormal activity and is now a popular bed and breakfast and museum, drawing in visitors from around the world.

One of the most reported paranormal occurrences at the House is the sight of eerie apparitions. Visitors and staff have claimed to witness shadowy figures moving throughout the house, often resembling the figures of a man and a woman. These apparitions are said to roam the rooms, hallways, and staircases, perpetuating the chilling atmosphere of the house.

Recordings and firsthand accounts suggest that ghostly voices can be heard in various parts of the house. Visitors claim to hear whispers, murmurs, and even full sentences spoken by unseen entities. Some of these alleged voices have been captured on electronic recording devices during paranormal investigations.

Lizzie Borden House
Lizzie Borden House | Credit: og_nikosuave

Numerous visitors and staff members have reported hearing unexplained footsteps throughout the Lizzie Borden House. These footsteps are said to echo in empty hallways and rooms, sometimes following individuals as they move through the house.

Many have experienced creaking floorboards, even when no one is walking on them. Additionally, objects have been known to move on their own, seemingly without any physical explanation, adding to the haunting atmosphere.

Temperature fluctuations and sudden cold spots have been documented within the house. Visitors have reported feeling sudden drops in temperature, particularly in areas with a connection to the murders, such as the bedrooms where the victims were found.

The Ghost of Abby Borden

In the haunted halls of the infamous Lizzie Borden House, the spirit of Abby Borden lingers, forever bound to a chilling tale of horror. On that fateful morning of August 4th, 1892, tragedy struck as Abby met her grim fate.

As the clock struck 8:48 a.m., an unspeakable act unfolded, leaving Abby lifeless and her spirit restless. Since that haunting day, the Lizzie Borden House has become a hotbed of paranormal activity, with many attributing the eerie encounters to Abby’s restless soul.

Guests and visitors have reported spine-tingling encounters, from ghostly apparitions to whispers in the dark, all pointing to the presence of Abby Borden’s spirit. The legend of her ghost continues to captivate those seeking an immersive and chilling experience within the walls of this historic and haunted residence. Step inside, if you dare, and uncover the dark secrets and mysteries surrounding Abby Borden at the Lizzie Borden House.

Unraveling Lizzie’s Sinister Secrets

Step into the chilling realm of the Lizzie Borden House, where the sinister legend unfolds. As the clock struck around 10:30 a.m., an eerie incident sent shivers down the spine of the housemaid, Maggie. Laughter echoed from the shadows, believed to be the ominous giggles of Lizzie herself, while Abby lay lifeless, hidden from view.

Deception weaves its dark web as Lizzie spins her tale, denying any presence upstairs. But the crime scene reveals a different story – Andrew lifeless on the couch, his boots untouched. Was Lizzie the puppeteer behind the horrifying demise of her parents? The chilling mystery of the Lizzie Borden House endures, concealing the truth within its haunted walls. Dare you uncover the secrets that dwell within?

Beneath the Shadows: The Basement’s Curse

In the depths of the infamous Lizzie Borden House lies the sinister heart of the mystery—the basement. During the investigation, police stumbled upon two hatchets, one with a broken handle, cunningly concealed with ash and dust. Was it the murder weapon? The basement became a chilling focal point, shrouded in fear and suspicion.

A neighbor’s account of Lizzie and a friend carrying an oil lamp and a slop pail into the cellar added to the eerie aura. Later, Lizzie’s strange act of tearing up and burning a dress intensified the haunting legends surrounding the basement. Despite being acquitted, the house’s dark secret lingers, leaving visitors to wonder if the truth of that dreadful day lies buried beneath the shadows in the infamous basement.

The House continues to be a site of fascination for paranormal enthusiasts, history buffs, and thrill-seekers alike, captivating visitors with its chilling past and unexplained phenomena. Whether it’s the documented paranormal activities or the enduring legends, the house remains shrouded in mystery and intrigue, drawing people to explore the enigmatic world of the Lizzie Borden House.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage

The Lizzie Borden House has not only fascinated paranormal enthusiasts but also gained attention in popular culture and media coverage. Its dark history and alleged hauntings have been featured in various television shows, documentaries, and books. The house has been the subject of investigative programs such as “Ghost Adventures” and “Paranormal Lockdown,” where teams of experts explore its paranormal phenomena.

The infamous murders and subsequent trials surrounding Lizzie Borden have inspired numerous books, plays, and films. One notable example is the made-for-TV movie “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax” starring Christina Ricci, which delves into the events leading up to the murders and the subsequent trial. The house itself has served as a filming location for documentaries and reenactments, further immersing audiences in the chilling atmosphere.

For those fascinated by one of America’s most notorious murder cases, the tale of Lizzie Borden continues to captivate and perplex over a century later. “The History and Haunting of Lizzie Borden” by Rebecca F. Pittman delves into the eerie aspects of the Borden household, blending historical investigation with supernatural intrigue. Simultaneously, “The Trial of Lizzie Borden” by Cara Robertson offers an exhaustive look at the legal intricacies of Borden’s trial, piecing together evidence and courtroom drama with meticulous research.

Together, these two books provide readers with a comprehensive and riveting exploration of a case that still haunts the American legal and cultural landscape. Whether you’re drawn to the ghostly whispers of the Borden home or the legal twists of a murder trial that shocked the nation, these works offer a fascinating journey into a story that continues to resonate.


The Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, Massachusetts, is a testament to the enduring fascination with one of America’s most perplexing murder cases. Its dark past and paranormal encounters continue to intrigue and captivate visitors.

In conclusion, the Lizzie Borden House, now repurposed as a bed and breakfast, has achieved notoriety as one of the “Top 10 Haunted Places in America”. This infamous label underscores the many tales and experiences that have been associated with this historic property.

Visitors from around the world are drawn to its chilling past and the unsolved mysteries that linger within its walls. The house, once the scene of a gruesome family tragedy, has been transformed into a unique destination that intrigues paranormal enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Its reputation as a hotbed of supernatural activity continues to stoke the public’s fascination, ensuring that the story of Lizzie Borden and the eerie tales from her former home live on. As the house stands today, open for overnight stays, it invites the brave and the curious to step into its storied past and perhaps, encounter a piece of the unexplained for themselves.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Lizzie Borden House

Q1: Where is the Lizzie Borden House located?
The Lizzie Borden House is located in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Q2: When did the murders occur?
The murders of Andrew and Abby Borden took place on August 4, 1892.

Q3: Who was accused of the murders?
Lizzie Borden, Andrew Borden’s daughter, was accused of the murders but was acquitted.

Q4: Are there reports of paranormal activity in the house?
Yes, the House is known for its paranormal encounters, including apparitions, footsteps, voices, cold spots, and object manipulation.

Q5: Can visitors stay overnight at the Lizzie Borden House?
Yes, the House offers overnight accommodations for those brave enough to experience its haunted reputation.

Q6: Is the Lizzie Borden House open to the public?
Yes, the House is open for tours, allowing visitors to explore the rooms and learn about the Borden family murders.

Q7: Can visitors participate in paranormal investigations at the Lizzie Borden House?
The House occasionally offers paranormal investigations for those interested in exploring its haunted history.

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