For those who cannot get enough of the Borden Case, this will be a four-star weekend featuring the annual dramatization at the house on Second Street ( tickets on sale now at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast) and a VERY special exhibit which opens on August 4th and runs through September 30th at the Fall River Historical Society. For Letterboxers, a special letterbox will be hidden in Fall River to mark the 120th anniversary of the historic crime. Atlasquest.com will have the clue, so bring your stamp and notepad, an inkpad is provided in the box. To see the clue type Fall River, MA in the locator box at the Atlasquest.com site. Got Lizzie? And how!
The Pear Essential Players Present
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Reserved Tickets are Now On sale at
The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum
Turn back the clock to the morning of August 4, 1892. The bodies of Abby and Andrew Borden have been discovered cruelly murdered at their home on Second Street. The friends and neighbors have gathered around daughters Emma and Lizzie as the police and doctors collect evidence and question the inhabitants of #92. Can you help the police solve the mystery? Who could have committed such a grisly deed?
A drawing for the day’s tour visitors will be held after the last performance for a Gift Certificate for Two for a night at the Bed & Breakfast. The Drawing is at 4:15 p.m. Follow the Pear Essential Players on Facebook and at http://pearessentialproductions.org/
Abby Borden- Shelley Dziedzic
Andrew Borden- Don Sykes
Lizzie Borden- Carol Ann Simone
Emma Borden- Barbara Morrissey
Uncle John Morse- Joe Radza
Bridget Sullivan- Suzann Rogers
Marshal Hilliard- Ray Mitchell
Officer Phil Harrington- Mark Lomastro
Dr. Bowen- Jack Sheridan
Mrs. Phebe Bowen- Ellen Borden
Addie Churchill- JoAnne Giovino
Dr. Dolan- Michael Shogi
Miss Manning- Eliza Marks
Nellie Bly, Intrepid Globe-Spanning Reporter- Katrina Shogi
Undertaker Winward- Jerry Pacheco
Alice Russell- Kristin Pepe
A new Miss Lizzie is making her debut! Tickets go on sale July 15th! Call 508-675-7333 to reserve.
For most visitors to the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast house museum, the interest is in two deaths primarily- Abby and Andrew Borden. Psychics who perform seances in nearly every room in the house have picked up various presences and often ask about other possible deaths in the house over the years. Considering the era, and the general occurence of being born, dying, and being waked in one’s home, the probability of other people dying a natural death in the Borden house is high. After the Borden sisters moved out in September of 1893, the house functioned as a rooming establishment, and then in 1918 was sold and changed hands and families over the years.
Built in 1845 by Southard Miller for woolen mill carding room supervisor, Charles Trafton, the house was built on land once owned by Lizzie’s great uncle Lawdwick (or Lodowick) Borden. In the 1850 census Charles Trafron is 45 and living with his wife Hannah, aged 32 and Rhoda White at the house. Unfortunately we do not know exactly the date the couple move into the house nor when their infant son was born and died.
Hannah Trafton died a tragic death from tuberculosis, which at the time was called consumption, a disease which affected young to middle aged adults primarily. Her date of death was January 11, 1851 so the couple had not lived long at the new house on Second Street.
Identifying and understanding the contagious nature of the tuberculosis bacillus, the building of sanitoria, and medications for the disease came several decades after Hannah Trafton’s death. The disease, sometimes called “wasting away” disease caused prolonged coughing, spitting up of blood, and a gradual heartrending decline of the affected victim. The quality of the air and water were suspected causes and the treatment consisted of fresh air and making the victim as comfortable as possible as they grew ever weaker and paler. In 1851 Fall River, it is probable that Hannah Trafton did die in her bed on Second Street. The Traftons inhabited the first floor, and what is now the dining room would have been in 1851, two small bedrooms. It is also very likely that their infant son Charles Jr. died at the house.
The words “Town Lot” on the death certificate refer to the Old North burial ground on North Main at the corner of Brightman, the city lot before Oak Grove Cemetery opened in 1855. Charles Trafton remarried as appears in the 1870 census with his second wife Susan. They had no children. After Charles’ retirement, the Bordens arrive on the scene in 1872, and the Traftons moved to Somerset where Charles died on Feb. 23, 1878. Susan remarried Frank DeCaro, an Italian barber. Frank returned to Italy after her death. As was the frequently- seen custom, Charles is buried between his two wives.
Although not as horrific as the murders of the two Bordens, Hannah Trafton’s sad demise and that of her child is tragic. How many other deaths at #92 can only be imagined. The dining room, which saw the preparation of Abby and Andrew’s bodies, the removal of Mrs. Borden’s stomach, and was the bedroom for owner, Mrs. Josephine McGinn in her final days, was a place which had witnessed much sadness and horror. There should be enough hauntings for almost any psychic.
Tatyana Jula, a Philadelphia graphic designer and illustrator made a visit to the Borden house in October, opting for the day tour, but not quite brave enough to spend the night. She has captured her unique vision of Miss Lizzie as a hospitable “innkeeper” of a bed and breakfast, a mix of gracious charm with wicked intent! (images used with permission)
To see how these designs were created step by step, and to order a poster visit these links http://tatyanahjula.com/post-itsngs/lizzie-borden-bed-breakfast/ To order on paper or canvas http://society6.com/tatjula/Lizzie-Borden-Bed-amp-Breakfast_Print
Visit Tatyana’s web site for more travel posters, postcard and travel art. http://tatyanahjula.com/
Popular Travel Channel program, The Dead Files, will be making a visit to the Borden house. Ghosthunters and psychics are nothing new at #92 but this show has a different slant. According to the channel web site -
“On The Dead Files, physical medium Amy Allan and retired NYPD homicide detective Steve Di Schiavi, combine their unique and often conflicting skills to solve unexplained paranormal phenomena in haunted locations across America.”
Ms. Allan, will “go into the house cold” and form impressions and hopefully channel information about what happened in 1892. It is up to NYPD detective Di Schiavi to investigate actual factual data to support her findings. Air date for this program has not been released, but it will be posted here when the time has been set. To learn more about the investigation team visit http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/the-dead-files/articles/meet-amy-and-steve
Guests and employees at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast enjoyed watching the TODAY show feature this morning in the parlor. Already the online clip has had nearly 500 comments and the phones are briskly ringing on Second Street. The interest in the Borden case?- Keen as ever.
The Borden house is hosting guests from the TODAY show this afternoon. The filming, which was to have taken place last Wednesday, was postponed until today. The segment is slated to air sometime in May. The crew will be filming at the house, with an interview by Barbara Borden Morrissey and will then relocate to the Fall River Historical Society to film case artifacts and to discuss the upcoming Parallel Lives. The crew picked a beautiful day to be in the city, with high temps and plenty of sunshine.
Many visitors at the Borden house are delighted to capture video and photos of peculiar phenomena while on tour or spending the night. In the photo above, it is clear that the glass door knob and brass lock above it are merely smears, perhaps from motion of the camera while the picture is being taken. Even the round “orb” at the top center might be explained as dust or moisture. What is very odd, however, is the appearance of a wooden handle which seems to appear springing from the middle of the door. Do you see anything peculiar in this photo which was taken August 4, 2010? Maybe the missing hatchet handle is making an appearance at last!
Denise Noe has compiled a fascinating array of facts in this recently released online article for Men’s News Daily about the Fall River Police force, focusing on the men in charge during the 1892 Borden case. City Marshal Rufus Hilliard and Fleet are prominently featured. The article first appear in a 2009 issue of The Hatchet.
The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum will be hosting its first Murder Mystery Weekend over the Valentine’s Day weekend. Characters from the past will be coming together to hear the revelation of city marshal Rufus Hilliard, who has received startling new information which leads to unveiling the identity of the REAL Borden murderer.
The action will commence with a tea on Friday afternoon, followed by a themed dinner, a murder mystery play, followed by a lively round of sleuthing, games, and off-site activities. Saturday night will feature the grand revelation of Whodunnit at the Quequechan Club banquet. Guests will try to portray their historic characters throughout the weekend, with costumes and props encouraged. The event is sold out, but hopefully will be repeated again soon! To follow the storyline of the weekend, you can read Rufus Hilliard, City Marshal’s journal at http://marshalhilliard.wordpress.com/ More details and photos of the event will be posted to W&W.
Tonight the popular Travel Channel program, Mysteries at the Museum, which features unusual artifacts from around the country, presented a segment on the handle-less hatchet found in the Borden cellar. The segment filmed at the Fall River Historical Society and the house on Second Street and showed excellent close-up footage of the hatchet head and break on the handle stub. The seven-minute portion was well-done and worth a look. It airs again tomorrow, December 1st at 3 p.m.
The new issue of Yankee Magazine has a great article called “How New England Are You”, which lists the top 75 things every good yankee should see and do. The Lizzie Borden house in Fall River comes in at #72 along with Salem and haunts of the Boston Strangler! See link below.
The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism recently released its list of “1,000 Great Places” and six spots were in Fall River, including the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum. The Spirit has an article on the other five places, and comment on the results by B&B owner, Lee Ann Wilber. For the article visit this link
The Fall River Spirit just published a very interesting article about the current exhibit of Bordenalia at the Fall River Historical Society. If you have not seen this- hurry on down as the special exhibit has an expiration date of October 15th!
Assistant curator Dennis Binnette has commented in the article on the surprising amount of blood on the shams and coverlet which were in the guest room of the Borden house on Second St. For the article follow this link http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100812/PUB03/8120358
(photo credit: Dave Souza, Fall River Herald)
This year the house outside was pristine, having just had a new coat of paint. The tent was up for visitors to wait under , shielded from the hot sun, and lemonade and hatchet cookies were ready for refreshment. Thanks go out this year to Debbie, Anna and Walter for keeping everyone cool and refreshed!
Naturally any photographs on the wall inside which were not family photos were taken down. Several crime scene photos were shown to visitors as “just having been developed and sent over by Mr. Walsh who was hired by the police department to shoot the crime scenes.”
For the first time this year, inasmuch as “CSI” was in the title of this year’s adaptation, blood spatter was applied to the wall and doors in the sitting room. After trying several concoctions, cherry preserves was found to give the best effect. John Morse mentions about 60 drops on the door into the parlor. Emma Borden would wash these off later in the evening on the 4th. Spatter was also applied to the framed engraving over the black sofa. Most visitors made a note of this on their exit polls. (photos courtesy of Lee Ann Wilbur)
This year the bed in the guest room where Abby Borden was killed was moved in order to reproduce the photo of Abby taken from the door way. A blood-spattered coverlet and shams were on the bed as well as a tuft of hair. More blood was used than on the genuine article which was on display down at the historical society in a special Bordenalia exhibit.
It is remarkable that the crime scene still exists after so many years, so everyone who visits is very forgiving of modern conveniences such as electric sockets, lamps, refrigerators, etc, and turns a blind eye to these minor things which distract from time travel to 1892.
The dress worn by Elizabeth Montgomery in The Legend of Lizzie Borden, and other clothing items usually on display were put in the upstairs bathroom, which at one time was actually a dress closet. Down in the cellar, the search for hatchets and other possible weapons, conducted by Detective Seaver, gave a glimpse to visitors of just where these items were found, and offers a visit to the Borden cellar, always a place guests wish to see.
Using a detailed sketch of the rooms done by Kiernan in 1892 as reference, Lizzie’s fainting couch was placed where it had been, between the two windows. Lizzie lounged with her pink and white wrapper with cherry ribbons which Officer Harrington would later describe in such detail that it brought a smile from Lizzie in court.
With so many period antiques in place in the house, dressing the house for a performance is easy. The two crime scenes are particularly accurate in furnishings, and most guests take note of this as they examine the 1892 photographs. With just a little imagination, it is not hard to go back in time and visualize how the rooms must have looked. At 9:30 and 11 a.m., a hush always falls on the house as cast and guests recall what was happening so many years ago.
It was a big day at #92 for the cast of the Pear Essential Players as they turned in 10 performances of Lizzie Borden CSI. Tickets sold out and the gift shop was buzzing with activity from early morning until the end of the day when the evening check- ins arrived. All previous records were broken this year.
Rufus Hilliard Ray Mitchell
There were a few new faces this year in the cast including Ray Mitchell who portrayed city marshal Rufus Hilliard and bore an uncanny resemblance to his character! Michael Brooks took over the role of James Winward, Undertaker and was suitably grave and distinguished.
(photo courtesy of Lee Ann Wilber)
For the first time, the bed in the guest room was moved in order to reproduce a lesser-known photo of Abby Borden.
With a nod to Richard’s Behren’s new book, Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective, Kathryn Woods played Miss Nellie Drew, girl detective and interviewed Uncle John Morse.
Molly O’Brien took over as Miss Manning from the Fall River Herald and also had a few things to ask Uncle John.
photo courtesy of Lee Ann Wilber
The men in blue were out in force this year with Ben Rose reprising Detective Seaver, and new B&B museum employees Justin Dunne and Will Clawson playing Medley and Harrington. Mustaches were a key element in bringing the characters to life with Hilliard’s famous walrus mustache and Harrington’s “handlebar” stash adding much to the characterization.
Will Clawson Phil Harrington
Justin Dunne played a young officer William Medley. Medley would become Fall River’s first Chief of Police.
Justin Dunne Chief Medley
Many actors have played Andrew Borden over the years and this year B&B employee Logan Livesey had the tough task of staying perfectly still under the sheet.
Tomorrow: Set dressing the house, our cast regulars, and the cast trip to Maplecroft!