The Murders That Haunt The Lizzie Borden House
– This is it. The infamous Lizzie Borden house. You have any idea what happened in there? – No I’m in the dark on this one. – Well let’s just say that some brutal murders happened in there that won’t lend itself to being haunted. – Okay all right. – I’m also freezing so as
scary as it is in there let’s get inside.
– Let’s go in. – You can’t go in
through the front anymore you have to go in through the back. Are you ready for this? (gentle music) – Shit. (gentle music) – So apparently this room
is haunted by children. – Go get a toy. – How about like a baby? – Yeah a babies good. Or a baby and a ball. Give that baby a basketball. Make the baby hold the basketball. – Are you PDing this? – Oh.
(laughing) (toy doll laughing) – Holy shit.
(laughing) (scary music) – [Narrator] This week
on BuzzFeed Unsolved we investigate the Lizzie
Borden house as part of our ongoing investigation
into the question are ghosts real? A house that had such a
tragic murder inside of it or should I say murders, should be haunted. – Yeah but why is it
only them why is someone who choked on a peanut
doesn’t get a ghost? – (laughs) I don’t know
that’s not how things work. – Let’s yuk it up then. – Okay great. All right let’s get into it. – [Narrator] On August
4th 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts the bodies
of Andrew and Abby Borden were found hacked to death in their home. Both of the Borden’s were
believed to be killed with a hatchet or an ax. Abby Borden had been axed 18 times and Andrew Borden had been axed 11 times. Their bodies were found in
different spots in the house. As far as evidence only one
thing concrete was found a handleless hatchet in the basement that was clean of blood. Let’s establish who lived
in the house at the time. There was 32 year old Lizzie Borden, her 41 year old sister Emma Borden, her father Andrew Borden, her stepmother Abby Borden, her uncle John Morse who was
visiting from out of town and the family maid Bridget Sullivan who the family called Maggie. It’s worth mentioning that
Emma Borden was out of town at the time of the murders. – So the woman who was murdered she was the stepmother the two daughters that lived with him. – You know people don’t
like their stepmothers. – They don’t. – I guess that’s not
fair to a large amount. – Well I mean that’s widely perpetuated by the media any movie you see the evil stepmother. There’s never like oh my
stepmother she’s a real doll. – So you think like 90% of people who have stepmothers are like oh my stepmother I’d love to bury an axe in her face. – [Narrator] Now let’s
examine the timeline of the day of the murder according
to eyewitness testimony. At around 10:40 AM
Andrew Borden takes a nap on the living room couch. At this time Mrs. Borden
was believed to be at the doctor’s office. At about 10:50 to 10:55
AM Lizzie claims she is in the backyard barn. Maggie the family maid
claimed to be taking a nap in her room upstairs. At around 11:15 AM Lizzie in the back yard reportedly heard a quote heavy fall and a subdued groaning end quote. According to Lizzie on
her approach to the house she noticed the screen door was now open and goes inside. Maggie the maid had not yet fallen asleep when she heard Lizzie
Borden crying out quote Come down quick! Father’s dead! Somebody’s come in and killed him end quote. Maggie ran down the
stairs to see the brutal murder scene of Andrew Borden
laying across the couch. Maggie also noted that the
distraught Lizzie Borden was wearing a blue unstained dress. There was no sign of a struggle
as Mr. Borden was believed to be asleep when he was murdered. – This is where it happened. So you walk down. I don’t know if it was this
staircase or the other staircase but this is where she found
Mr. Borden laying down. – Was it on this exact couch? – I don’t know if it is this
exact catch but it sure as hell looks like the exact couch. I mean look at the
picture, it’s over here. – Is that his head? – That was his head. – Good Lord. – [Narrator] Right after Shane speaks our audio recorder catches
a female voice possibly saying, “”Help me.” – Good Lord.
– Help me. Help me. – [Narrator] Is this the
voice of Mrs. Borden? – Andrew, does this look familiar? – Oh my God. Oh.
– Ahh. (laughs)
Ahh! – That’s so fucked up. Get away from me. What’s wrong with you? – Can you imagine though
that’s the last thing you see? – No I can’t imagine that I would never want to imagine that. Are you imagining that? – Yes I am.
– Well there’s something wrong with you. Mr. Borden if you’re here right now show me a sign. – Should we turn the light off? – Yeah we can turn the light off. – Okay. All right we’re gonna turn the light off. Three two one. (dramatic music) Was that you? – No. – Where did you hear it,
where is it coming from? – Somewhere in this is it this room. – Is it this room or that room? – I think it was in here. (haunting music) – Hmm interesting. – [Narrator] Shortly
after Lizzie asks Maggie to go find the doctor across the street. At this time the whereabouts of Mrs. Borden were unknown. Maggie returned to the
house with a neighbor and claimed that Lizzie
said this about Abby Borden quote Oh Maggie! I’m almost sure I heard her come in. Go upstairs and see if she is there end quote. Maggie and the neighbor walked upstairs to discover to their horror the body of Abby Borden laying face down on the floor of the guest bedroom. It was thought that Mrs.
Borden may have been present for the murder of Mr. Borden and fled to the guest bedroom where she was also murdered. – That’s strange because.
– Why why why. – If your pa is laying there his head turned to blood oatmeal and you hear mom come in you’re probably not just like oh I wonder what she’s up to today. You’re probably like hey ma you should probably come here. Not just, oh I wonder
if she’s gonna go take a little nap right? – Yeah yeah I got a life-changing
thing to tell you here. – Yeah I got some heavy
news not, oh yeah I think she ducked in.
(laughs) We should probably give
her a little holler. – Yeah.
– Let her know. – Also the fact that
she goes, look upstairs I think I may have
heard her go up that way and that’s when they find the body. – Yeah. – So you could start to
see where things start to pile up against her. So this is where Abby Borden was actually found. They walked up the stairs much like we just did and from that little
landing they saw her feet right there. And they actually thought
she may have just fainted or something like that
because she saw her husband dead downstairs. But when they looked at her I mean obviously you could
see the pictures right there that’s how they found her. – Oh my goodness. – And look at her head. – Jesus Christ. That is fucking awful. – Abby if you’re here right now. – If you’re here right now or
if anybody’s here right now make a noise. What the fuck was that? Unless it’s just probably
furniture creaking. We’re gonna leave. I’m gonna ask one final question. – I was just gonna yell, “Showtime” – Okay I’ll ask the
question then you could yell, “Showtime.” How about that?
– Okay. – Who killed you?
– Showtime. – [Narrator] Both of the
Borden’s were struck in the head multiple times suggesting
a crime of passion. And with that let’s get into the suspects starting with the top
suspect Lizzie Borden. To this day many believe
that Lizzie is guilty. Let’s examine why. starting with her potential motive. At the time of his death
Andrew Borden was very wealthy. His net worth at the time would be around 10 million
in today’s standards. However despite this wealth Andrew was reportedly a
bit of a penny pincher. In trial Maggie testified
that the Borden family lived frugally and ate a mutton-based diet Lizzie reportedly smiled as
this was being described. – Maybe she’s thinking back
on the good old mutton days. – Or maybe she’s like, ha
no motton for me anymore. – No more mutton for me, father. Did they describe the smile though? Or was it sort of like.
– No they didn’t describe this.
– Or was it like. – Was it smug you mean or was it like? – Yeah like because
there’s a nostalgia like that was the good old days. – But there was like that slight smirk . – There’s like the smug. – Like took care of that not for me anymore. So this is the master bedroom. This is where Mr. and Mrs. Borden slept. – It reminds me of Downton
Abbey a little bit. It’s very proper. I feel like a little fence
fancy little Lord in this room. – Well one of the things that’s supposed to piss Mr. Borden off
is he was very frugal. So that’s why you see money
right here by his picture. – Uh-huh. – People leave it there. And people also report being scratched if you take his money. – Oh.
– Of course yeah. You’re just gonna take it all? You’re not even gonna leave a little bit? A penny at least. – I’ll leave him a penny. – He was a penny pincher,
leave him a penny. – I just I’m not doing this
because I want to steal. I’m doing this because I
want to give the ghosts significant reason to haunt me. – Okay.
– You know. I want them to be upset with me. – I think they’re already
inherently upset with you. – I stole from you. You hear me? – I think they could sense energy. Mr. Borden who killed you? – Was it you? (laughs) – The cat. – [Narrator] Five years before the murders Lizzie had a falling out
with her stepmother Abby that resulted in Lizzie going
from calling Abby mother to Mrs. Borden. The dispute was over Mr. Borden buying a house for Abby’s half-sister rather than Lizzie and her sister Emma. And sure enough after Mr.
and Mrs. Borden’s murders 32 year old Lizzie and her
41 year old sister Emma inherited the estate and later
bought a house on the hill in a wealthy neighborhood in Fall River. – Cool.
– So. – That’s pretty cool – They didn’t waste time
going to work with that money. – (laughs) Well, would you? – I think I’d give it a
little bit of a grace period. – If people were already like,
we think you murdered them I’d be like, fine I guess
I’ll spend their money. – So you’re telling me right now if your parents got killed. – Yeah and I hope not because Mark and Sherry Madej are saints. – Okay great, but you’re
saying your first move is let’s head on over the Chase
Bank and make a deposit or make a withdrawal. – I mean if they’re not gonna spend it. – (laughs) Holy shit. – [Narrator] When asked if
her father had previously mentioned a will to her Lizzie said quote He did not, end quote. Moving on from motive
during her inquest testimony Lizzie’s answers were
sometimes wildly inconsistent. Lizzie also reportedly
burned a dress of hers after the murders claiming
there was paint on it. However, this was not
the dress she was seen wearing the day of the murders. That dress was actually
handed over to the polic. The day of the murders
the house maid Maggie saw Lizzie wearing an unstained blue dress. Lizzie could perhaps have
committed the murder and then changed while Maggie
was reportedly sleeping. But the timeframe for that
would have been extremely slim and dresses in that time period were a bit of a process to take on and off. So this seems unlikely. – She could have gotten the dress on that’s not that hard. – Apparently it was pretty hard. I’d like to see you put on a dress from that time period. That came out weird I could
have worded that better. I would not like to see you in a dress. I would like you to try you know what? You get what I’m saying. (laughs) Okay. – [Narrator] Another
damning detail came from a pharmacist who testified at Lizzie’s trial that she had tried to buy a
poison called prussic acid the day before her father
and stepmother were killed. However, this testimony was dismissed. Other than a possible motive
and circumstantial pieces of evidence there was no physical evidence that implicated Lizzie in the murders. The hatchet that was found
in the basement was clean. At the end of the trial
Lizzie was found not guilty. However, many people still
believed Lizzie was guilty. In fact there was even a
creepy schoolyard rhyme that goes quote Lizzie Borden took an ax, and gave her mother 40 whacks and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41, end quote. – All right so we’re about
to go into Lizzie’s room. Big bad Lizzie Borden. I didn’t feel so weird in the other rooms but I do feel very uncomfortable in here. – Oh yeah? – There’s her right there. – Why Lizzie? Why?
– Maybe let’s both say the thing and maybe that’ll get her out. – [In Unison] Lizzie Borden took an ax, gave her mother 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done she gave her father 41. – [Narrator] Strangely, as
soon as we finish reciting the Lizzie Borden rhyme our audio recorder
starts to pick up bizarre interference. It does this again when we whisper it. – What if we whisper it? – [In Unison] Lizzie Borden took an ax, gave her mother 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41. – Lizzieeeee! – Okay let’s get out of here,
we disrespected this room. – She’s gonna kill us. – And we’re sleeping here
we can’t even run away. – [Narrator] The second
suspect is Jon Vinnicum Morse. A theory recently made popular
by a Massachusetts math teacher named Richard little
who wrote a book on the case that listed John Morse
as the possible killer. John Morse was the brother
of Mr. Borden’s first wife and Lizzie’s uncle. Interestingly, according to
Lizzie in the case timeline Morse was not seen from 9:00 AM until noon after the murders had occurred. According to Little, John
Morse’s alibi to the police was that he was visiting a
sick relative down the road during the time of the murders
along with the town doctor. However, the same town doctor was also looking over the bodies
of Mr. and Mrs. Borden. A bizarre contradiction in his story. Furthermore, Mrs. Borden was
found dead in the guest bedroom that Morse had reportedly
slept in the night before. – That’s Morse right there. – Look at his his stare. – So let’s talk to him now. – Ohhhhhhhh what’s his name Morse. – John Morse. John Morse, Come on buddy. Times a-tickin. Show up, murder us. Be the first ghosts to
murder someone in history we’ll get it on film, you’ll be famous. – All right you got one minute John. Say something. You don’t have to get violent. 10 nine. – Eight. – I’m counting in my head. – Oh okay.
– I was giving him the chance to talk. Now I got to start it over. – [Narrator] Also, according
to Lizzie’s inquest testimony Morse may have known
about her father’s will. Here’s a transcript of that interaction. Question, did you know of
your father making a will? Answer, no sir except I
heard somebody say once that there was one several years ago. That is all I ever heard. Question, who did you hear say so? Answer, I think it was Mr. Morse. Question, what Morse? Answer, Uncle John V Morse. Little also cites a
failing livestock business between Morse and Mr.
Borden as a possible motive. Little additionally believed
that Morse may have used a meat cleaver to kill the Borden’s as John Morse was also a
butcher for his profession. – So there are some things,
he had a failing business with Mr. Borden.
– Mm-hmm. – He knew about a will. They don’t really know where he was in a certain amount of time, and he was a butcher. Those are four pieces of
circumstantial evidence that make him just as much
of a suspect in my mind. – Yeah, he seems toe and toe there with a. – Maybe not toe and toe. – Neck and neck? – Probably a better way to say that. – Pinky to pinky, thumb to thumb. – Given the context of the story. (laughs)
– What, what? – Neck and neck. – Yeah.
– Both of them seem dubious as hell,
that’s all I’m saying. Okay I can go with that. – [Narrator] The third suspect
is the family maid Maggie. Maggie had gone upstairs
to sleep in her bedroom a floor above the guest room where Mrs. Borden was murdered. Maggie in her own testimony
claims she may not have been fully asleep at the time of the murders. Yet somehow she did not
hear the brutal murder only one floor below. In fact the room that we’re talking in is the room that actually
belonged to Maggie. – What are you doing? – I’m trying to I’m trying
to put myself in her shoes. I feel like I would hear it downstairs. Do you want me to go down
there and make a thud noise? – Yeah why not? (thudding) – It’s pretty light but I can hear it. And if I’m trying to fall asleep I feel like I hear everything. – [Narrator] Piggybacking
on the previous theory some feel that it is too coincidental that a person could sneak into
the house in broad daylight with two people inside or
around the house at the time. Which brings us to our
fourth and final suspect or rather suspects. With the unsubstantiated
theory that Lizzie and Maggie the maid conspired
to kill the Borden’s together. This theory has been the
subject of many fan fiction where Lizzie and Maggie
were romantically involved. Some versions have Lizzie’s
stepmother discovering the romance to which they kill
her and then kill her father to cover it up. Fans of this theory point
to the fact that Lizzie later in her life reportedly
had a crush on an actress a point that some feel caused
her sister Emma to move out of the home they shared. Other than that this theory
has no evidence backing it. – I could see that. – It would answer a lot of questions too about the dress trying
to get that dress on. – Oh yeah because really
her only way out of that is saying I saw her with
a dress it was clean. – Yeah. And then Lizzie saying
nothing about her so like they are both helping each
other with their alibis. – Yeah. – It makes sense to me. Yeah.
– But you know me. I’m a fan of conspiracy theories. But this one doesn’t. – This doesn’t I was gonna
say this doesn’t seem that crazy to me.
– No, right? Okay good I felt like I’m on edge here. (stutters) Because there are certain
elements of each of their stories that don’t seem to add up. But then when you put them together. – Wait, are we agreeing right now? – Baby they sing! – Am I on base here?
– Yeah. Yeah you’re on base. – So I win.
– I mean I’m not saying ghosts are real I’m saying. – No, you just said that. – (laughs) No no I did not say that. (laughs) – [Narrator] Now that
we’ve gone over the history and explored the house
let’s move on to the final phase of the investigation, sleeping in the house. – Can you imagine if you got
sleep paralysis in this room? – Oh my God why would you
fucking say that right before we’re about to sleep in here? – I’m like you lifted your
head up and you saw a face in the window. – Dude, why would you say that? You know one of my great fears is the face in the window. – Or it just shows up in the mirror. – That sounds like literally
a nightmare and you know one of my big fears is
a face staring at me through a window.
– Yeah (haunting music) – This is a Ryan’s captain log update. What time is it here? Holy moly it’s 2:43. Not much progress has been made here. (haunting music) – Well as you can see now morning. We made it. (laughs) – I don’t think this place is haunted. – [Narrator] More than a century later we are still trying to
crack the Borden cold case. – Last look at the Borden house. – [Narrator] Perhaps one day we will know who committed the murders. But many believe that this
case will forever be a victim to time and will always remain unsolved. (haunting music) – [In Unison] Lizzie Borden took an ax, and gave her mother 40 whacks. And when she. – Ohhhhhhhh.
(laughs) – Wait what?
– It’s when she had saw. – Well we got to start over now. – Yeah okay. – [In Unison] Lizzie Borden took an ax, gave her father.
(laughs) – You’re creepier than I am. – But you’re smiling. (laughs) – Okay. (haunting music)