The Lizzie Borden story has captured the public’s attention for over a century.
The axe murders were immortalized in a schoolchildren’s rhyme that is still recited decades later. The incident has been dramatized many times, with various takes, notably in recent films with the accused killer played by Kristen Stewart and Christina Ricci (pictured above in the Lifetime original film Lizzie Borden Took An Axe). But is it possible more than just the story has endured? Could there be something else still hanging around the scene of the crime??
That kind of interest is exactly what the owner of US Ghost Adventures is counting on — it’s the whole reason he purchased the house where it all happened!
First off, we need to clarify we are not talking about Zak Bagans, star of the ghost-hunting reality show Ghost Adventures (and ex of Holly Madison), who has been known to purchase haunted items and real estate.
No, this is US Ghost Adventures, a company which offers ghost tours of supposedly haunted places in over 33 cities around the United States. Owner Lance Zaal jumped at the chance to own the original Fall River, Massachusetts residence where “Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother 40 whacks.”
The house went up for sale in January at the shockingly brutal price of $2 million bucks. Why so much? It’s been a functional bed-and-breakfast tourist attraction for the past couple decades. And yes, people are convinced it’s haunted. In fact, one guest on Trip Advisor rated it as “the most haunted place that I’ve ever stayed.”
Zaal tells Realtor.com he plans to keep the museum open for both day tours and overnight stays — only he wants to ramp it up even more with axe-throwing activities and an official Lizzie Borden Axe patrons can purchase (the sale comes complete with rights to the intellectual property). He says:
“We’ll be adding several different events for both visitors and locals. We want this to be a place where people can kind of come in just to have a good time as well. We really want to give more people a reason to go there—so more activities and more events.”
But when it comes to the tours, Zaal claims, his team don’t EVER embellish with fake haunting stories:
“We don’t sensationalize anything, we just tell the story. We talk about the history and the things that happened there, and then we talk about the hauntings and the things that people experience.”
What happened there?
It was not Lizzie’s mother but her stepmother, Abby Borden, who was killed, along with her father, Andrew Borden, on the night of August 4, 1892. After Lizzie, then 32 years old, gave unsatisfactory and sometimes contradictory statements to police, she was charged with the murders. However, she was eventually acquitted — leaving the killings technically unsolved for nearly 130 years.
As for the house at 230 Second Street, well, it has its own scary history over the past century. Suzanne St. John, the realtor making the sale, told Rolling Stone back in January even she has experienced some scary phenomena:
“I don’t go looking for it — I’ll put it that way. But I have definitely had things happen.”
For instance, St. John, who also works part-time as a tour guide in the house, says she was portraying Bridget Sullivan, the Bordens’ live-in maid who was a witness in the trial against Lizzie, during the annual re-enactment when something happened:
“All of a sudden, I got a pain in my eye, and it starts watering and watering, and I’m like, ‘What the heck is going on?’”
But then some of the other actors talked about having been poked in the eye by some unseen force.
“And that’s when I realized what it was: I got poked in the eye. I’ve had several experiences like that. It just happens. I don’t freak out about it.”
Either she’s incredibly chill about being attacked by a ghost or she’s an incredibly savvy real estate agent! LOLz!
But there have been plenty of other accounts of people staying on the property and having spooky encounters, from articles everywhere from Country Living to The New York Times. And yes, even the OTHER Ghost Adventures has done an episode on the house, as has just about every other ghost hunter show.
The question is, is the place really haunted? The owner of US Ghost Adventures may hope so right now… but be careful what you wish for, right??
[Image via Lifetime/YouTube.]