The Lizzie Borden House

Posted by in US Ghost Adventures

Located in Fall River, Massachusetts, the Lizzie Borden House is one of the most terrifying and haunted locations in America. The gruesome murders that occurred here on August 4th, 1892, have captivated both otherworldly and true crime enthusiasts ever since. 

The trial that followed would go down in history as one of the most convoluted and well-known of the late 19th century. Today, the home has been renovated to allow for maximum comfort and maximum paranormal investigations. Tours and overnight stays are available to those brave enough to discover the truth behind the gruesome murders. 


Why is the Lizzie Borden House haunted?


“Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.” This famous poem tells the story of the infamous Borden murders. Thirty-two-year-old Lizzie murdered her sixty-four-year-old stepmother and sixty-nine-year-old father with a hatchet on the morning of August 4th, 1892. Their spirits, some say along with Lizzie’s and two children who were previously murdered next door by another Borden in 1848. 

Find out for yourself and stay the night or take a tour at the Lizzie Borden house.

The Borden Household

When Andrew Borden bought the home on 2nd Street in 1872, he was a self-made, well-to-do man within the Fall River community. The Bordens came from a long line of wealth, but Andrew’s father was seemingly the only one in eight generations to squander it all away. This created an unmatched determination in young Andrewm, and he went into the carpentry business. 

Eventually, he started a casket company with his first wife’s (Lizzie and her sister Emma’s mother) brother, John Vinnicum Morse. From here, he expanded to own multiple properties in Fall River, including three major cloth mills. He eventually became president of a major bank in the town. He was a stingy man who always wore all black despite the weather. Many believe his attitude on life dictated his eventual downfall at the hands of his daughter. 

Andrew’s second wife, Abby, entered the picture in 1865, two years after his first wife Sarah’s death. Lizzy grew to resent both her father and stepmother for varying reasons. She was 32 at the time of the murders, and her older sister Emma was 41. They were both “spinsters”- unmarried women living alone or with family. Lizzy was never known as an attractive woman, with the word “homely” being used to describe her quite often. 

She was an unhappy woman due to the social standards of the time and her oppressive father’s policy on his wealth and family life.  Any suitors within her social class did not see her as acceptable, and any suitor below her social class was disapproved of by her father and chased away. He saw them as “treasure hunters” after his massive wealth. 

A wealth he withheld from Lizzy. Leaving her sad, alone, frustrated, and most of all, jealous of her stepmother Abby’s position to inherit said wealth. Despite this, Lizzie was known as an upstanding, good Christian woman—an active member of her local congregation and social debutante.

This scenario led up to the morning of August 4th, 1892, when the town of Fall River and soon the entire nation would be rocked by the events that ensued.

The Murder and The Trial

The fiasco began when neighbors heard screaming emanating from the modest Borden home. Despite his wealth, Andrew never allowed his family the things in life he could afford – a matter that made Lizzie jealous, as she wanted to move to the more upstanding neighborhood “The Hill.” Upon entering the home, guests were met with the gruesome sight of Andrew Borden’s body. 

His face had been mutilated by the sharp edge of an ax. The report would later reveal he had suffered from ten blows in total. His wife and Lizzie’s stepmother lay dead upstairs with 19 strikes counted upon her body. Lizzie told the police and nearby neighbors that she had entered the home from the barn to discover her father’s body after sending their Servan Bridget “Maggie” Sullivan for help. 

Many began asking where Abby was. Lizzie told the large crowd that she had gone out to visit a sick friend and that she had heard her earlier upstairs. The police and crowd soon discovered Abby’s mutilated body in the guest room. 

Soon, a local Portuguese man, an immigrant, was arrested. Nativism was rampant among the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant community. Catholics, a group rapidly increasing in numbers in the town, were seen as the enemy and, as such, immediately targeted. Their servant Maggie, an Irishwoman, was seen as a suspect before Lizzie. 

But five days after the murder, Lizzie took the stand. Her story began changing, telling it with a disturbing calmness. Not a tear was shed while giving her testimony. Investigators discovered that she had bought prussic acid the day before the murders. That same day, everyone in the household fell ill except for Lizzie. 

While her suspicious activity screamed guilty, many in the town believed otherwise. She was an upstanding Christian woman and a wealthy one at that. Feelings of “Native” pride pushed many to defend her innocence. Including her family doctor, who claimed he prescribed her morphine after the incident, hence the calm testimony. In the end, she was found “probably guilty” due to Maggie’s inability to account for her whereabouts during the time of the murder.

The Aftermath

Lizzie was held in a cell for nine months while the outside world rallied for her protection. Suffragists and women’s groups like the Women’s Christian Temperance Union called for her innocence. She was eventually brought before a grand jury, and her innocence was reclaimed. She and Emma moved to the upstanding neighborhood Lizzie had always believed they belonged to. 

The two lived a lavish lifestyle, becoming oddities to locals and visitors to the town, until Emma left her in 1905. Their falling out remains a mystery to this day. Lizzie Borden passed in 1927, Emma following her to the grave nine days later. The two are now interred next to their father in the Oak Grove Cemetery. Her guilt or innocence has remained a national phenomenon till this very day. 

Now, true crime addicts and spirit seekers come far and wide to the little town of Fall River to see the gruesome murder scene for themselves. The Lizzie Borden house is haunted by the spirits of the Borden family. Andrew Borden appears particularly restless, with tour guides claiming he has punched them in the back. 

If you sleep in his room, it is said that a monetary gift is to be left out in tribute to him. It keeps his money-hungry spirit at bay and ensures the weary traveler a good night’s sleep. Yes, that is right, you can spend the night at the infamous Lizzie Borden house. In addition, it has been renovated to include all the modern amenities not found in Victorian times, all while keeping the era’s decor intact. 

Andrew is not the only one to remain behind in the home; many say Lizzie still haunts the ground. There have been reports of children laughing, supposedly the two who were murdered next door in 1848. The fire alarm goes off once every couple of months, always at 3 am. Apparitions are often caught on camera, and ghostly faces appear in the basement. 

Are you feeling strong enough to survive the night at the infamous Lizzie Borden house? Stay the night or book a tour with US Ghost Adventures to experience the carnage for yourself.