Lizzie Borden has been a household name for nearly 130 years. Back on August 4, 1892, the bodies of Lizzie’s father and stepmother were found in the Fall River, Massachusetts home they shared with her. Her father, Andrew Borden, had been killed by a hatchet to the head, and his body was found on a sofa in the living room. Her stepmother was also killed with a hatchet and was found in an upstairs bedroom.
Although Lizzie was arrested for the murders, indicted by a grand jury and tried for the crimes, she was ultimately acquitted. That hasn’t stopped the endless speculation, though. Something about the young girl and the horrific crimes that happened in her home captivated the imagination of millions.
What you may not know is that you can now stay in Lizzie Borden’s former home where the murders took place. The Lizzie Borden House is a quirky, charming place to stay, and some people are convinced that the ghosts of Lizzie, her father and her stepmother still lurk around the home today.
A history of hauntings
“It is haunted,” explains Lance Zaal, the CEO of US Ghost Adventures, which now owns the Lizzie Borden House. “Guests have experienced limbs or ears being pulled, and they have seen figures moving about in the rooms. A woman in a nightgown is often seen in the Andrew and Abby Suite, and this figure is believed to be Abby Borden.”
The manager, Jared, has seen doors move on their own. His parents happened to be caretakers of the Lizzie Borden house in the 1990s, and when Jared was there as a child, he saw a shadow figure move in the basement.
“The new owner encountered a few different things. In May of this year, when sleeping in the Bridget Sullivan room, the wind-up cat toy on the chest started to play on its own. In February, in the Andrew Suite, he stayed alone in the house and heard voices, footsteps and furniture move. Then, one night, he felt a presence enter the side room he was staying in, surround him, touch his leg and pull on the comforter,” explains Zaal.
Other spooky goings-on include sightings of the rocking chair moving back and forth on its own. This past June, witnesses observed the chair moving a few feet across the floor and to a group of guests, according to Zaal.
When you enter the historical Lizzie Borden House, you may feel a bit as though you’ve stepped back in time. They keep the house decorated similarly to how it was when Lizzie Borden and her family lived there, as much as reasonably possible.
“We have books owned by Lizzie Borden and several other original artifacts on display. The art deco radiators are original to the house, as are the floorboards stained by Andrew Borden’s blood from the murder in the ‘Under the Hatchet’ basement suite…” shared Lance Zaal.
It’s not all scares and ghost sightings at the Lizzie Borden House, though. In fact, you can expect to sleep well and comfortably on the aptly titled GhostBed mattresses. All new pillows, pillowcases, sheets, duvets and duvet covers have been added for optimal comfort in each room. Special romance packages are available for guests who are planning a spooky but romantic getaway.
Guests can opt in to eat breakfast for an additional $20 per day. Vegan diets and other special dietary needs are honored, but you’ll need to make your requests to the chefs each morning.
Lizzie Borden’s story has been the subject of films, a popular miniseries and episodes of many TV shows. For example, an episode of the classic show “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” was about a fictionalized version of her story and included the famous folk rhyme, “Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.”
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“The Legend of Lizzie Borden,” the 1975 made-for-TV film, has endured in popularity and is currently available for streaming on apps like Prime Video. It starred Elizabeth Montgomery, who is best known for her role as Samantha in “Bewitched,” and a dress she wore in the film is on display in the John V Morse Suite of the Lizzie Borden House. Guests can choose to stay in the room and get an up-close view of this bit of TV and Lizzie Borden history.
A variety of tours are offered at the Lizzie Borden House each day, and virtual tours were added this year. So, even if you can’t visit the bed and breakfast in person any time soon, you can still enjoy a full tour experience.
A 90-minute house tour will take you through all the rooms of the house. A 90-minute ghost tour is offered nightly and includes other haunted spots in Fall River. Two-hour ghost hunts take place later in the night and are terrific for those who want to do a “ghost hunt” in the Lizzie Borden House.
In addition to tours, the bed and breakfast has offbeat events like Painting with Lizzie Borden, a virtual “Bob Ross”-style event where guests can join a modern Lizzie Borden as she paints a surprise macabre painting with participants able to follow along at home as well.
There’s also a mystery game where you can travel back in time to the afternoon of the murders and play detective. You can talk to the witnesses and try to find the real killer.
In the future, movie nights, Victorian dinners, murder-mystery nights, Thanksgiving dinners, Krampus Christmas events and more will be added. Axe throwing events are even in the works. They’re making their own custom hatchets for that, which will also be sold as souvenirs.
You can book a stay at The Lizzie Borden House all year round.
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