Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Lizzie Borden: August 4, 1892

Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty wacks,
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

I'm not sure why I'm so fascinated by the story of Lizzie Borden and the murder of her father and step-mother. I can't decide if it's because I think she is guilty and got away with it or that she is innocent. If she is innocent, then who did it?!

I'm sure you all know the basic facts:

  • On the afternoon of August 4, 1892 the gruesomely murdered corpses of Andrew Jackson Borden and Abby Durfree Gray Borden were discovered by Lizzie Borden.
  • Within a few days , Lizzie was arrested for their murders based on the facts that she had tried to buy poison a few days earlier, was known to have a poor relationship with her step-mother, and was seen burning a dress after the murders because she said it had paint on it.
  • There was a great deal of media interest around this story which helped to perpetuate false information.
  • Nearly a year after her arrest, Lizzie Borden was found not guilty after only a 90 minute deliberation by her jury.
There are many, many books that have been published about this trial. I won't even attempt to recommend one. If you just want a quick refresher, I recommend Wikipedia's article and even better, the University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Law has a famous trials website with detailed information about the Borden murders including crime scene photos, inquest testimony, transcript excerpts, newspaper accounts, and even autopsies. 

Did you know that you can sleep in the Borden house where the murders took place? That's right, it's called the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast. The owners don't shrink from the details either. The website features fun activities including a ghost cam and if you're not brave enough to stay the night you can take a tour of the house if you're in the area. They even have a gift shop.

Lizzie Borden B&B Gift Shop T-shirt

Lizzie Borden Necklace

Etsy, of course, has quite a selection of Lizzie Borden merchandise as well.

Lizzie Borden Stuffie by WonderAnn
What Would Lizzie Borden Do? Poster by UncleGertrudes
Forty Wacks Necklace by WhimsyLovelies

Give yourself a treat today and do a little research on the Lizzie Borden story. You could even watch one of the numerous movies and documentaries. You might finally make up your own mind on whether she did or didn't do it.

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