A lesser-known but equally fascinating murder case involving an axe is the Villisca case of 1912. Follow this link http://docublogger.typepad.com/villiscamystery/ to an excellent blog about the case and the film based on the case, and also some features and comparisons about the Borden murders. The blogger has interviewed the late Florence Brigham back in 1994 and promises to be publishing the interview in upcoming blog installments. There is also a great photo of John Vinnicum Morse’s tombstone at the blogsite.
Another site not to be missed is the Villisca Murders website at http://www.villiscaiowa.com/
The passport applications filed in Boston, June 4, 1890 for Lizzie and her three traveling companions, Anna H. Borden, Carrie L. Borden (distant cousins) and Ellen Marion Shove have been located and published on the Lizzie Andrew Borden Virtual Library document website at this link below:
It is most interesting to note that Lizzie’s hair color is “Light brown” and her eyes are gray. The gray eyes had been noted in the police arrest book, but for many years, popular Lizzie authors have eagerly parroted the notion that Lizzie was a redhead- no doubt perpetuating the idea that redheaded women had a temper! Lizzie’s trip to Europe aboard the Cunarder Scythia will be the focus of an upcoming article for The Hatchet, a magazine devoted to Borden studies.
|Slide Album: Through the eyes of a killer|
On the morning of August 4th, the side screen door may have been unlatched for as much as an hour. With the front door and cellar door locked, the only way an intruder could have entered #92 Second Street was by way of the side screen door on the north side of the house which was left unlatched when the maid went out to wash windows at about 9:15 a.m. If one is to believe Lizzie Borden, her bedroom door and dress closet was locked that morning, as was the communicating door between Lizzie’s room and that of her parents on the second floor. That leaves the only route to the front guestroom where Abby Borden was found dead to follow a pattern beginning at the side door, kitchen, diningroom, sitting room and front hall and up the front staircase. The killer’s escape path would have followed the same way in reverse, and then to some place of hiding to await Mr. Borden’s arrival some time later. Naturally the questions arise : 1. Why did a murderer intent on killing Mr. Borden also kill Abby? 2. How did the killer know the side door would be unlocked? And most puzzling of all, 3. Why did the killer remain in the house after not finding Mr. Borden at home, and then murdering Abby Borden? 4. Where did he hide during the interval between the two homicides? Most would agree the assailant was lucky to have chosen the time and manner so perfectly as to have avoided all of the inmates of the house between 9:15 and 11 a.m. that morning, and to have chosen a day when Emma Borden was out of town and the maid would be out washing windows. That is, unless you believe it was an “inside job”!
Set design and costuming as well as casting, can make or break a film. For those have seen the 1975 Legend of Lizzie Borden starring Bewitched’s beautiful Elizabeth Montgomery, getting the house and costumes just right were very important. The famous house had been photographed and blueprints of the layout have been well- known since the murders in 1892. Lizzie herself is frozen in time in those leg o’ mutton sleeves. The house owners received Lizzie’s famous acquittal dress from Paramount Film Studio, and it is currently on display in the room where Abby Borden met her violent end. It is a popular item for visitors spending the night at the house on Second Street. Miss Montgomery was a size 4 when she wore this dress, which is actually a gray nubby-textured wool blend with a caplet with accordian-pleated long lappets which hang down the front and tuck into a belt at the waist. The very full accordian-pleated wide sleeves give the impression of the popular leg o’ mutton sleeve which was growing ever-larger in 1892. The back of the cape is finished off with heavy metallic bead fringe. Sadly, guests at the house have purloined some of these fringes as souvenirs (see photo).
The late Guy Verhille, veteran costumer of many large screen and television productions won an Emmy, as did the set designer, in 1975 for his work in The Legend of Lizzie Borden. The hat to this ensemble was unfortunately thrown away. It featured a strong vertical embellishment as seen in the photo below, which was exactly correct for the era.
With budget constraints, this was the only copy of the dress made for the television movie, and how lucky that Mr. Verhille’s great design has survived. To see more of Mr. Verhille’s credits, visit the Internet Movie Data Base http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0894181/
Mutton Eaters Challenge Crossword Puzzle Down 1. Street where Alice Russell lived 2. Prosecutor’s first name 3. Street where #22 across lived 5. Middle name of Lizzie’s middle sister 6. Little Abbie Whitehead’s husband 8. Mr. Almy’s spouse 9. Lizzie’s Maplecroft friend 12. Lurana’s spouse 14. City where Lizzie was held 10 months 17. One of the banks where Andrew did business 19. A clerk pharmacist at Smith’s 21. Name of butcher with whom Morse stayed 23. Address of former Borden home
Across 3. A detective agency 4. Tried to hop over the Borden’s back fence 7. Affiliation of Lizzie’s Rock Street church 10. Abby’s sister’s married name 11. Andrew’s “last client” on August 4th 13. Block of shops across the street from City Hall 15. County where Bridget was born 16. Was served at breakfast 18. Type of cornmeal cakes 20. Bordens’ funeral director 22. Family which hosted post-acquittal party in Fall River 24. Town where Borden farms were located 25. Dr. Bowen’s first name 26. Popular name for irons 27. Editor of The Hatchet
The first Lizzie Borden offering from Garden Bay Films has been released today on YouTube. Covering a recent tribute to pharmacist Eli Bence at Fairhaven’s Riverside Cemetery as a first release, this new film endeavor promises to herald a great series of topics and personalities related to the famous case. We will be looking forward to more!
The wind whipped the flags along the route 195 overpass this morning as Fall River temperatures plunged. With lows expected tomorrow of 8- 14 degrees and snow on the way, guests at the Borden house hunkered down with extra blankets last night.
Decorating has begun in earnest at #92 in preparation for the open house on December 16th. Tickets are available for the five house, five historic property tour at New Boston Bakery on New Boston Road, which was also decorated today in fine style with a Victorian theme. The apple turnovers are worth the trip. Appreciative customers sat around the large tree in the window drinking just about anything hot in a cup. Old Yankees grumbled on street corners and muttered ominously about the Farmer’s Almanac predictions for a snowy winter 2007-8 – just like the ones they used to know. . . .