Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Taking a Final Rest

Magnet # 379:  Borden Crime Scene Photo

Material:  Acrylic

Purchased By:  Me

Let's get this much straight - I did not, as is implied on this magnet, spend the night at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast.  Sleeping there didn't turn out very that well for Mr. Borden all those years ago, as you can see here.  Of course, there was also the price, the fact that I was staying in Salem, and that I'd heard booking a room there could take years.  I really didn't think it would be easy to book a room there, and I was pretty surprised when I learned they had a vacancy.  Maybe I'll consider an overnight stay someday.  But for now, I'll settle for having toured one of the most infamous and creepy places in all of the United States.

The Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast actually came in at the number one spot on the Travel Channel special of the Top Ten Creepiest Destinations in the World.  Of course, they left out the haunted Catacombs of Paris, where thousands of skeletons line the walls, and included Area 51, the supposed site of alien investigations, so I don't completely agree with their list.  But there really does seem to be something unusual going on at this seemingly peaceful home in Fall River, Massachusetts.  As you probably know, back on August 4th of 1892 Andrew Borden, the father of Lizzie Borden, and Abby Borden, her stepmother, were hacked to death there with either an axe or a hatchet.  Both suffered many blows to the head and the crime scene was indeed grisly.  Even more disturbing, both of their autopsies were performed at the residence.  The only person ever arrested and tried for the crime was Lizzie Borden, their unmarried daughter who lived with them.  Despite all sorts of odd behavior, she was acquitted - some think that the men on the jury just couldn't believe that a young woman would be capable of such horror.  Whoever murdered the Bordens was never brought to justice and the debate still rages over the identity of the killer - or killers.  The Borden residence was given up by Lizzie and her sister Emma after the murders.  It was a private residence for a time, but it was eventually turned into the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, where eager guests can spend the night in the room where Abby Borden was slaughtered, or sit on a sofa just like the one where her husband died.  Given their violent, sudden deaths, and the fact that their killer was never punished, this pair have every cause to be active poltergeists, and many now think that's exactly what they've become.  There are all sorts of odd phenomenons going on at the former Borden residence.  A rocking chair rocks on its own.  People claim to hear a woman weeping in the night, shoes moving across the floor and up the stairs, and bits of conversation going on in empty rooms.  Some have even claimed that an older woman in Victorian era clothes has tucked them in at night.  Others have reportedly seen the figure dusting the furniture and making beds and she's generally believed to be Abby Borden, but her husband is also believed to still be haunting his former home.  And the spirits aren't limited to the couple - it's also said to be haunted by a pair of children who supposedly drowned in the backyard.  Also, a former caretaker of the bed and breakfast named Michael who died in a fire in Connecticut apparently haunts the third floor.  The reputation of this place, its grisly murders, and its alleged spirits has brought in many television investigators, including MonsterQuest and Ghost Hunters.  And considering their murders will likely never be solved, the spirits of the Bordens many be at their former home permanently, trying in vain to have their killer brought to justice.

The tour guide who led us around the house during my visit there was clearly very interested in the Lizzie Borden trial, but he didn't strike me as much of a ghost enthusiast.  Still, he did tell us about one strange occurrence he'd had in the house.  He was lying on the bed in Bridget, the maid's, room when he felt something grab his chest.  But there was no one in the room with him and he wasn't sure what could have made such a gesture, so it freaked him out a little.  I asked him how many terrified people fled in the middle of the night during their stay, and he told me in his time there, he'd only encountered one couple who never showed up for breakfast, and it turned out that they were gone when he checked their room.  Usually, when the guests get terrified, they venture to one of the downstairs rooms, where they sit awake for the rest of the night.  He'll see them every so often when he comes to cook breakfast and they just give each other a knowing, sheepish nod.  He also said that the endless string of ghost hunters coming there can get irritating, as they stir up the ghosts for a night, and then leave him and his coworkers to deal with the aftermath.  Personally, I didn't feel anything odd while I was walking through the home, but I was also there during the day and with a group.  I'm not sure just how I'd feel there if I stayed the night, alone in the darkness.  But there are some fearless souls who stay overnight and leave change beside a photo of Mr. Borden, a banker, hoping he'll stop by.  And others may hide the money, daring his spirit to come looking for it.  Seances are performed there almost on a regular basis and guests can bring in their own supplies to try to rouse the dead, like ouija boards.  So stop by this house of horrors and spend the night if you dare - you never know, you might get a full night's sleep, but in this place, who would really want that?

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