Lizzie Borden was Guilty…with Good Reason(s)
Lizzie Borden took an axe
gave her mother 40 whacks
when she saw what she had done
she gave her father 41
There are three things wrong with that pretty children’s nursery rhyme: Lizzie Borden didn’t kill her mother. Her beloved mother had been dead since Lizzie was a child. Lizzie killed her stepmother. Watch Lizzie Borden the true story and murder house
Lizzie gave no one 40 and 41 whacks. She was an axe murderer, she wasn’t Superman. You know how exhausting that would be? The total number of whacks for her stepmother was 18. Her father was blessed with approximately 14 whacks. Naturally this makes sense for 2 reasons:
It doesn’t take 40 swings of a hatchet to kill someone so why waste time and risk getting caught? A dead parent ain’t getting any deader.
Lizzie was laced up in the extremely binding Victorian corset of the day. It must have been a challenge to swing the axe 33 times, never mind 81.
And finally the delightful nursery rhyme accuses Lizzie of murder when in fact she was acquitted. Watch American Justice: Lizzie Borden
August 4, 1892 was the last morning of Abby and Andrew Bordens’ lives. At 10:30 a.m. Lizzie ran screaming upstairs to the maid, Bridget Sullivan, saying that her father had been murdered. Sullivan found Abby upstairs hacked to bits on her bedroom floor. Only Lizzie was charged with her parents’ murders even though the maid had been in the house the whole time. It was also entirely possible that an unseen visitor could have entered and exited the house unnoticed since it was divided into two completely different households – the front was occupied by the two girls, Lizzie and her sister Emma, and the back by the parents. Seldom did the house’s occupants meet and even more seldom did they enjoy dinner together. Watch Arnold Brown’s Theory of the Lizzie Borden case
Although Andrew Borden was very wealthy, he was so tight-fisted that there was no running water or electricity inside the house and the family used excrement buckets to dump their personal waste into the backyard. The family lived on 2nd street, a much poorer part of town than “The Hill”, where the affluent resided. The girls were both spinsters by the time Andrew Borden died since he refused to allow young suitors to court his daughters and kept them all to himself. Ugh. The girls had no marketable skills and no marriage prospects, and thus their future was anything but bright. Andrew Borden didn’t lose sleep over any of that. To say this was a strange, unpleasant household is to make a remarkable understatement. Watch Lizzie Borden Ed McBain’s Theory
We all know that Lizzie was acquitted of the crime and free to spend what was now her half of her late father’s money in any manner she liked which she promptly did. She sold the hateful, old house with its torturous memories and moved onto “The Hill“, the richest neighbourhood in Fall River, Massachusettes. She employed servants, took a lesbian lover, visited the theatre and frequently entertained her guests, most of whom were actors, at her luxurious home. However she was ostracized by the rest of the Falls River community for her parents’ murder for the remainder of her life and ultimately died alone in her prized, fancy house without a friend in sight. Even her sister Emma broke off all contact with Lizzie during the last several years of her life. Such a shame. The Lesbian Bride Murders 1963 true crime case.
Her father was incestuous. The house was divided into two sections so that Andrew Borden had hidden and easy access to his daughters without his second wife knowing of his whereabouts.
Lizzie’s affection for her father was a self-defence mechanism. Not unlike the Stockholm Syndrome, many incest victims convince themselves they are close to the incestuous parent and that the relationship is “consensual.”
The Borden home was literally a house divided. The physical barriers in the house reflected the dysfunctional familial relationships. The citizens of Fall River considered the Borden household to be a house filled with hatred. Watch American Justice: Lizzie Borden
Andrew Borden was cheap and miserly. The house was woefully out of date so the family lived in discomfort. That was unfortunate considering Lizzie’s desire to live on “The Hill.”
Lizzie displayed a possible personality disorder. In spite of her wealth Lizzie was known to thieve (kleptomania). When the Borden home was burgled one afternoon, Andrew didn’t openly accuse his daughter but he suspected a household member. Girl murders parents after 1961 graduation.
Lizzie’s father refused to divide his assets fairly among his immediate family. In fact he left the bulk of his estate to his wife by the time he was murdered. He even bought a house for her relatives after Abby cajoled him into it.
Andrew denied his girls the right to get married. He limited their social lives hence the reason they were spinsters.
- Andrew had many enemies in Fall River. Lizzie knew it and she figured no one would shed a tear over his murder, much less suspect her of it, so what the hell? She was right about the former at least.
- Lizzie attempted to buy the poison prussic acid the day before the murders.
- Soon after the murders Lizzie was seen burning her dress.
Did Lizzie Borden kill her folks? Yes she did. By 32, Lizzie had no marital prospects, no job, no skills, no social life, no and no future without the bulk of her father’s money, money that was not going to her (not without a struggle anyway). She was a prisoner in her father’s house. She had a strained relationship with her stepmother whom she referred to as “Mrs. Borden“. Abby’s murder was less justifiable but utterly necessary. What was the point in finishing off Andrew Borden if Lizzie remained bereft? Lizzie Borden Theories
Times then were not like they are now. She couldn’t just run away or leave. How would she live? How would she eat? Unless Lizzie ended up in a workhouse or became a street prostitute there was no way she could have supported herself. Besides the drop in social status would have been almost as scandalous as the murder itself. Proper young ladies didn’t run away from home. That was slattish behaviour. Lizzie couldn’t win for losing. The Killer Spinsters: 1941 True Crime Case
In the 21st century I would dismiss her as a selfish psycho, although I would certainly point a finger at her loathsome father for his part in causing the devious deed. In 21st century America there are too many options for a 32-year-old woman to have to remain at home with her incestuous, cheapskate father and then murder him with an axe to gain her freedom. Inheritance be damned. We have things like subsidized housing, subsidized education, social services, and women’s hostels to assist women in Lizzie’s situation without causing a social scandal. It’s all too easy to dismiss her as a demented woman who committed an unthinkable crime. Yes it is cringe-worthy but then again so was Lizzie’s life. Lizzie Borden Mini #2 Lizzie Borden’s Cellar
Had it been me in her unhappy shoes (filled with holes) during that era I can’t say I would have done much better. I’d like to think I might have figured a better way out than patricide and matricide. We all do, smug in the knowledge that we will never have to survive Lizzie Borden’s hellish life. Lizzie Borden forensics.
Meh, what the hell.
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