The Lizzie Borden House: Virtual Haunted House Tour Stop #6

Lizzie Borden took an axe

And gave her mother forty whacks.

When she saw what she had done

She gave her father forty-one.

I’m sure everyone has heard that little jumping rope ditty at some time or another in early childhood. It is a sordid reminder of another unsolved crime that grabbed national headlines in the late 1800s: the tale of Lizzie Borden.

The History

The morning of August 4th, 1892, Andrew Borden and his wife Abby were discovered murdered in their home. Focus quickly settled on Andrew’s daughter, Lizzie, as being the perpetrator of the crimes. The murders were violet- each victim being struck multiple times with a “hatchet-like” weapon. The rhyme above is not quite accurate- Andrew Borden will struck 11 times while his wife suffered from 18 or 19 blows.

There was reportedly a great deal of tension between Andrew and his daughters, Lizzie and Emma, over his financial gifts to Abby’s family members (she was Andrew’s second wife and Lizzie and Emma’s stepmother.)  Andrew had done very well for himself over the years, but was quite frugal with his money in other matters. This could have provided a motive for the murders- Lizzie and Emma inherited everythin on their parents’ passing.

What is odd about these murders is that both Lizzie and the Borden maid were at home during the time of the murders. The maid was resting upstairs in her attic bedroom, while Lizzie said that she had gone outside to retrieve something from the barn.

Andrew Borden was killed while he was resting on a couch in the front parlor while Abby was struck from behind while she was making up a bed in the guest room.

The evidence linking Lizzie to the murders wasn’t strong enough to stand up in court and she was eventually acquitted.

An Infamous Address

The Lizzie Borden house is consistently ranked one of the top haunted houses in the country. It is a commonly held belief that when people die horrible, untimely deaths, there is residual energy left that can lead to hauntings.

The ghosts of Andrew and Abby Borden are said to still remain in the home, especially in the areas of the house where they were murdered. The house is now a bed and breakfast, and visitors can request to stay in the room where Abby Borden was murdered (pictured here).

Visitors of the hotel have reported hearing a woman weeping, muffled conversations from vacant rooms, doors opening and closing, and seeing an apparition of a woman dusting and straightening the bed linens.

Cege’s Thoughts

The Lizzie Borden story has fascinated me for years. I still can’t believe that there could be 2 people at home during the murders who didn’t hear or see a thing. But I wasn’t sitting on the jury in 1893. This is another one, like the Villisca Ax Murder case, where we may never know what actually happened.


(photo credit dbking)

Tomorrow we’ll be visiting the Griggs Mansion in St, Paul, MN. If you are enjoying the virtual haunted house tour, please share it with your friends! See you again soon!

Don’t forget that there is a Monster of a Sale going on. Just in time for Halloween, three of my monster-ish tales are on sale for $0.99 through October 31st. Click the book cover to snag your copy now!



Villisca Ax Murder House: Haunted House Tour Stop #4

When a place openly declares itself to be an “ax murder house”, you can’t help but sit up and take notice. When you see the slightly garish sign that sits outside this small, unassuming white clapboard house, you may think that you’ve stumbled upon some kind of staged amusement attraction.

Not the case here. Welcome to the Villisca Ax Murder House. The walls of this house witnessed a horrific set of events late one night in 1912. And this little town in Iowa hasn’t been the same since.

The History

The house was owned by J.B. Moore at the time of the murders. He and his wife, Sarah, lived there with their four children. On the evening of the June 9th, 1912, the Moores had spent the majority of the day at church where Sarah organized children’s activities and their own children participated. At the end of the evening, Sarah invited two friends of her daughter to spend the night at their house. The family walked home and entered the house around 9:30pm.

The next morning, a neighbor noticed that the Moores were not up and about yet and called J.B.’s brother. What the brother found inside was horrifying. Sometime during the night, someone had bludgeoned the entire family to death with an ax, including the two young guests.

It is widely speculated that because of the mismanagment of the crime scene after its discovery, potential crucial evidence was likely tampered with or lost. Panic and suspicion gripped the small town, and although several suspects were investigated, no one ultimately was charged with the murder.

The case remains unsolved.

A House of Unrest

Based on numerous accounts of visitors to the house, as well as mediums, and paranormal investigators, it appears that the house is without a doubt haunted. Children’s voices can often be heard, and items in the house move about.

Investigators have been able to secure audio, visual, and photographic proof of paranormal activities. (Check out the Ghost Adventures page for evidence from their investigation of the house.)

The current owners offer daily tours of the house, and even the opportunity to stay overnight if you want to stage your own investigation. The only thing they ask is that you share whatever evidence you collect with them. Clearly, they are believers too.

If you want to keep a safe distance but still see the inside, you can find a virtual tour of the house here.

Cege’s Thoughts

Nothing disturbs me as much as hearing about violence against children. The brutal murders that took place inside the house that long ago night are incredibly tragic, and I feel queasy thinking that six of the eight victims were children. Whoever did it must have been a sick and twisted person. My hope that all of the victims were able to eventually find peace.

Tomorrow we’ll be visiting the Palmer House in Sauk Centre, MN. If you are enjoying the virtual haunted house tour, please share it with your friends! See you again soon!


Don’t forget that there is a Monster of a Sale going on. Just in time for Halloween, three of my monster-ish tales are on sale for $0.99 through October 31st. Click the book cover to snag your copy now!


(photo credit Jo Naylor)