The bedroom furniture in the guest room today is such a very good replication of what was actually in the room on the day of the murders that guests to the house think it is the actual furniture. Abby’s head is seen in the old sepia photographs lining up at the middle knob on the dresser as she lay on the floor between the dresser and the bed. There was a small folding canvas camp chair in front of her head and the sewing machine was in the northwest corner where the large armoire is today. The green dress in the corner was worn by Elizabeth Montgomery in the 1975 film The Legend of Lizzie Borden and was designed by Guy Verhille for the Paramount Studios production.
It was a glorious last two days of summer with temps in the low 70’s and just a nip of chill in the air at night. The autumn light slants through the stairwell window of the Borden house and makes a pattern of lace on the wall.
On Old Second Street the Morning Glories are a riot of blue against the hot pink Impatiens in the little garden behind the Academy Building. On South Main the curving front of the new court house looms over morning strollers taking in the sunshine. The Borden House can still be seen from the south end of the new construction.
After the success of the 1992 conference at BCC, some of the organizers including Jules Rykebusch and Ken Souza wanted to repeat a smaller version of the gathering every year on the first weekend in August. So the Lizzie Expos were conceived and sponsored by the Down Under Cafe. The image above is from the 1994 Expo and details some of the events. This was also the year the mannequin of Lizzie (which held a pear and was in the entry of the Down Under) was kidnapped. A reward was offered and she returned mysteriously by the second day. The Herald featured the tale on the front page. She is shown below with Ed Thibault.
Carriage rides and city tours were part of the fun. Here are some of the city guides in costume and in character as 1892 Fall Riverites on the way to Maplecroft.
The Sweet Nightingales sang songs of the 1890’s at the old Central Congregational Church. This stage area in the photo below is now part of the Abbey Grille restaurant downstairs. The song being performed here is You Can’t Chop Your Pappa Up in Massachusetts! By 1996 #92 Second Street had opened, and the Expos were no more-but they were fun while they lasted!
The diningroom holds a great fascination as a place where many things transpired during the week leading up to the murder. After being served seafood in this room on Tuesday evening, August 2nd, the family became violently ill Tuesday night. Abby Borden sought help from the physician across the street on Wednesday morning. Uncle John arrived later Wednesday afternoon and partook of lunch in this room before leaving for errands in nearby Swansea. On the day of the murder, this was the site for the “Last Breakfast of Abby and Andrew Borden” and Uncle John before the threesome would part company forever. The menu is memorable: mutton, mutton broth, over ripe bananas, sugar cookies, jonnycakes and coffee. The diningroom is also the last place Abby is seen alive by maid, Bridget Sullivan as she discussed the noonday meal with Lizzie before going upstairs to her grisly end. Later, when Mr. Borden returns home, Bridget, in the diningroom, overhears what will be the last conversation between Lizzie and her father before Bridget goes upstairs to the third floor to lie down. At some point around eleven o’ clock a killer will pause in the doorway between the diningroom and sittingroom shown in the photo above, before striking down Mr. Borden. The corpses of the two murder victims lay in the dining room from Thursday through Saturday morning. Mrs. Borden’s stomach was removed in this room.
This is today the room where overnight guests share their breakfast.
Senior editor of Haunted Times magazine, Chris Moon, and a paranormal investigation team will be returning to the Borden house this weekend for a two day session of learning to use special equipment to capture ghosts on film, EVPs and other paranormal tools-all accompanied by great food and conversation and real ghost-hunting onsite. Haunted University has made several weekend visits to the Borden House over the past 2 years. For more on Haunted Times Magazine and Haunted University future projects visit http://www.hauntedtimes.com/ghosthunteruniversity.html
For fans of time travel, Somewhere in Time has captured the imagination of thousands world wide. Based on the novel by Richard Matheson called Bid Time Return, the original setting for the novel was the Hotel Coronado in California in the year 1896. Due to the encroachment of modern day life, the film version with screenplay by Matheson was filmed on Michigan’s Mackinac Island where vehicles are banned and horse and carriage is the mode of transportation. Released in 1980, the film failed to find its audience but was soon taken up as a favorite by Romantics everywhere when the movie went to cable. In 1991 a society of admirers of the film formed INSITE, The International Network of Somewhere in Time Enthusiasts and the society meets in October annually, in period costume, for a long weekend. The soundtrack by John Barry has never been out of stock and is one of the most enduring and beloved soundtracks of all time.
For more information on the film, the society and on Maude Adams, the real-life Victorian actress on whom the novel is based, do visit the INSITE link below. Maude Adams was a top stage actress in the late 1890’s into the first decade of the twentieth century under the management of Charles Frohman, who drowned in the Lusitania disaster of 1915. There is little doubt that Lizzie Borden would have seen Maude Adams numerous times on stage in New York or Boston, especially in her most famous roles as Lady Babbie in Barrie’s The Little Minister and Peter, in Peter Pan. INSITE publishes a quarterly magazine and maintains an online giftshop, events calendar and regularly updated article website at http://www.somewhereintime.tv/ and listen to Barry’s inspired theme.
Somewhere in time
The house on Second Street has many visitors over the year, both day tourists and overnight guests at the B&B and all without exception gravitate to the black sofa, a close copy of the original upon which Andrew J. Borden breathed his last. So many have sat for photos on this piece of furniture that the original one put in the sitting room in 1996 has been reupholstered twice and has retired to the gift shop while a second black sofa had to be purchased for the sitting room. The sitting room, crime scene of the second August 4, 1892 murder is little changed today from what it was 116 years ago. The windows are original, the doors and moldings, mop boards and fireplace are just the same. There were 2 chairs, a sofa, a tripod table and a small center table in the room. The closet under the staircase was used for hats and old coats and jackets. It is a deep closet, with the original hooks intact today. Considering the blood spatter pattern, the general consensus was that the killer most likely stood near the diningroom doorway near the head of the sofa to administer the blows to the dozing head of Andrew Borden. The photo montage below is a 360 degree view of the room beginning north, clockwise around the room.