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Todd Lunday sheds light on an improbable “Villain”

In 1893 a little book appeared, written under the nom de plume of Todd Lunday. The identity of this man was finally revealed, but it is the content of this small volume and the manner of methodically revealing the difficulty an outsider would have in penetrating the Borden house to commit the murders on August 4th which is thought-provoking. The original was printed by J.A. & R.A. Reid of Providence, RI and thankfully for us, Robert Flynn’s King Philip Publishing Company reprinted this little gem in 1989. It is considered a rare book, the original volume being very valuable. It is well worth reading, as “Lunday” lists all of the hurdles an outside killer, whom he calls “Villain” would encounter.

1893 original publishing date

Here are some of the problems Todd Lunday imagined summarized in THE MYSTERY UNVEILED. You will no doubt think of more issues an outsider would have faced coming in to do away with the old couple :

1. The assassin must leave no traces of his identity.

2. The Villain had a well-formed plan to execute the 2 murders.

3. He must arrive at the house, do his work, hide between the murders and escape undetected.

4. Villain must know the layout of the house, places of concealment and the family daily routine.

5. Villain must know exactly WHO is in the house to know how and who to avoid.

6. Villain would have to linger around the house to “case the joint” and make certain of who is at home, without being seen to be doing so, perhaps for a day or two.

7. He has to figure out how to get into and out of the house based on the only 3 entries and which ones would be locked.

8. Villain would plan on 4 people probably being in the house, and would have to calculate where his intended victims might be.

9. Villain would have to commit one or two murders without raising an alarm and out of sight of anyone else in the house.

10. If Andrew Borden were the intended target, and was in the habit of going downtown after breakfast, it could make the murder of Abby Borden easier but suppose Andrew came back with someone and it would surely make killing Andrew more diffficult. Especially in broad daylight on a busy street.

11. After killing his first victim, he would have to hang around taking a risk the body could be discovered and alarm raised before the second murder could take place.

12. Villain will have to trust to luck and happy accident in achieving his purpose and making a clean getaway.

13. Not knowing if Bridget would be coming out, or if Uncle John, Emma, or another person might be going in or out, Villain took a risk about sneaking in the side door and a bigger risk not knowing if the side door might or might not be locked.

14. Villain would not know the Borden’s bedroom door opening to the back stairs hall was kept locked and the only way to the second floor was up the front stairs.

15. Villain would not have known he would have had to pass through the kitchen, diningroom or sitting room to gain access to the front hall steps to the second floor, putting himself in a tight spot if he needed to escape.

16. Villain must have come upon his victim unawares and struck a first and fatal blow although there was only one entry into the murder room on the second floor and there was no place in the room to hide beforehand.

17. Villain has no idea when his second intended victim may return, perhaps with another person, or when his first victim might be found.

18. Villain must now wait, concealed for an undetermined amount of time because going out and coming in again at a later time to finish the deed would be impossible.

19.Lizzie’s room is locked and upstairs the only place Villain could hide might be under the bed in the guest room.

20. If the Villain hides in the guest room, how will he know when Mr. Borden lies on the sofa, the maid goes to the third floor and Lizzie is out in the barn to launch his attack on Andrew and escape before Lizzie comes back in?

Lunday proposes only an insane man would have considered the double crime under the conditions he describes above.

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