Paranormal tourism, or tourism driven by allegedly haunted places and high profile crimes, is a growing cottage industry, with places like the Villisca Ax Murder House raking in the dough for tours, overnight stays, and paranormal investigations. The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum in Fall River, Massachusetts is another prominent example.
At 11:10 a.m. on August 4, 1892, Lizzy Borden, 32, yelled for the family maid, Bridget Sullivan, to quickly come downstairs. She discovered her father, Andrew, slumped over the sofa. His head had been bashed in. Abby, Lizzy’s stepmother, was found on the floor of an upstairs bedroom, her head and face smashed. Lizzy gave police strange and often conflicting information, and she quickly became the chief suspect.
Her New Bedford trial, beginning in June 1893, was a national sensation, widely reported in the newspapers. It took the jury 90 minutes to acquit her, and with her inheritance, she purchased a new home and lived there with her sister Emma.
Despite efforts to start a new life, Lizzy Borden was ostracized from Fall River society, since many people believed she was the murderer. No one else was ever charged with the crime, and there are several theories about “who done it.”
Interest in the case has come and gone over the past century, but peaked recently with the Lifetime movie Lizzie Borden Took an Ax (2014) and the follow-up historical fiction miniseries The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (2015), both starring Christina Ricci in the title role. The Lizzie Borden House also appeared in an episode of Supernatural in 2015 and Ghost Adventures in 2011.
The house at 92 2nd Street (historical address) was converted into a print shop called Leary Press until the current owners painstakingly restored it to its late-nineteenth century appearance and opened it as a bed and breakfast. They also offer tours, feature an “official psychic,” and you can watch live video feed, or “ghost cam”, on their website.
The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum is located at 230 2nd Street in Fall River, Massachusetts. Tours kick off every hour from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., daily, year-round except Christmas and New Years Day. The tour is approximately 50 minutes long. Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining–definitely worth a detour if you don’t want to spend the $200-$225 to stay the night.