Murder Most Foul
The Killer Book of Infamous Murders, by Tom Philpin and Michael Philpin will be published in February and available on Amazon March 1st.The book examines crimes recent and past, going as far back as the 1800s. The book includes the Lizzie Borden case, the horrifying murders that inspired Truman Capote’s novel, “In Cold Blood,” and the Dr. Sam Shepperd case, which inspired “The Fugitive” movie and TV series.
This is a follow-up to The Killer Book of Serial Killers which was published January 2009 by the same authors.
In case you missed it- an old theory back for another round. Review at http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/8028572-lizzie-borden-didnt-do-ittrue-crime-solved Hard copy by Branden Books, or available now for Kindle.
Among the Library of Congress collection of unusual broadsides, (those prolific paper tributes written by budding writers about popular topics of the moment), rests this Lizzie Borden case effort by Mr. Beard of New Hampshire, who gives his home address at the bottom of the page, no doubt in hopes of hearing from a publisher keen to publish his opus.
Thanks to CLEWS crime blog for bringing this to our attention a few years ago. If you missed it then, here it is again.
As the blizzard approaches, here’s a recent chilling release to curl up with detailing the real-life serial killer who inspired the well-loved Cary Grant feature, Arsenic and Old Lace. The real saga, however, was not light-hearted and comic, but rather horrifying in its scope and as unbelievable as the carnage inflicted in Chicago by H.H. Holmes at his “Murder Castle” in the 1890’s. Whoever said a woman could not do such things never met Amy. She makes the charges against Lizzie Borden pale in comparison. The motive? GREED.
” In 1911, Amy Archer-Gilligan was known to her neighbors in Windsor, Connecticut as “Sister Amy.” Seemingly a kind, devoutly Christian woman, she took the frail and elderly into her home to live out the rest of their days. In reality, “Sister Amy” was a calculating murderer who poisoned her residents (and two husbands) with a brew of lemonade and arsenic. She is believed to have murdered sixty-six residents during the early twentieth century. M. William Phelps details the story of Amy’s greed and deception, which led to her becoming America’s most deadly female serial killer. This shocking true tale inspired the play and film Arsenic and Old Lace. ”
The December 20th anniversary date of mill worker, Sarah Cornell is usually forgotten in the bustle of the holiday preparations. The tragic story of a young girl found hanging near a haystack on Mr. Durfee’s farm has been the inspiration for several books, and much sympathy over the decades since the deed. Sarah indicated in a note that if she were to go missing, the Rev. Ephraim Avery would be the man to find. The pregnant girl’s message from beyond the grave and the circumstances surrounding her demise convinced authorities to bring in the minister for questioning and ultimately for trial. Aided by his standing in the Methodist church and the influence of important people, Avery was aquitted. He then fled to Ohio and led an uneventful life. Sarah’s thin and worn gravestone in Oak Grove Cemetery still stands as a reminder of the pitiful tale of Justice unserved. The costs for her burial and stone were undertaken by the Fall River Congregationalists when the Methodist congregations of which she had been a member declined the responsibility. Sarah was laid to rest on Christmas Eve. For more on the story http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Maria_Cornell
(photo January 9, 2011)
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.
Middletown Daily News August 18, 1892 (Middletown, N.Y.)
Did Lizzie know that her father was seriously thinking about making a will? She seemed to know a great deal about her father’s real estate holdings. Here is her inquest statement about knowledge of a will:
Q. Do you know something about his real estate?
A About what?
Q. His real estate.
A I know what real estate he owned; part of it. I don’t know whether or not I know it all or not.
Q. Tell me what you know of.
A He owns two farms in Swansea, the place on Second Street and the A. J. Borden Building and corner and the land on South Main Street where McMannus is and then a short time ago, he bought some real estate up further south that formerly, he said, belonged to a Mr. Birch. .
Q. Did you know of your father making a will?
A. No sir, except I heard somebody say once that there was one several years ago. That is all I ever heard.
Q. Who did you hear say so?
A. I think it was Mr. Morse.
Q. What Morse?
A. Uncle John V. Morse.
Q. How long ago?
A. How long ago I heard him say it? I have not any idea.
Q. What did he say about it?
A. Nothing except just that.
Was Lizzie lying in her testimony? Had she overhead Andrew and her Uncle the night before the murders discussing such details about a will? Andrew was nearly 70 years old, perhaps he had decided to put something in writing and was making an inventory of his assets. A good many people seemed to think a will favoring a hefty settlement on his spouse provided a good motive for murder.
Axe or hatchet? – Most likely a hatchet or a short-handled axe.
Top Ten List of Most Often-Quoted Borden Case Errors
1. Lizzie was found guilty by jury of the murders of her mother and father.
Actually Lizzie was acquitted on all three counts, the murder of her father, her stepmother and both at the trial in New Bedford, June 1893.
2. Lizzie Borden was a redhead.
According to her passport she had light brown hair.
3. Lizzie’s father cut off the heads of Lizzie’s pet pigeons with a hatchet.
Andrew Borden did kill the pigeons, but by wringing their necks, according to Lizzie’s inquest statement.
4. Lizzie decapitated Abby Borden’s tabby kitten.
We have only the interview of Abby Borden’s niece, Abbie Whitehead Potter stating that Lizzie killed a kitten. The Whitehead family, with reason, had very little sympathy towards Lizzie, and this tale cannot be validated.
5. Lizzie Borden was a big, mannish woman.
Lizzie was 5 ft. 3 inches tall according to her passport, average for the times. She had put on weight during the ten months she was incarcerated in Taunton jail. Her face did have a heavy lower jaw and was described by one newspaper as a face with attributes very common to the region.
6. Lizzie and her sister sold the house where the murders took place on Second Street after Lizzie was acquitted in 1893.
The sisters held on to the property until 1918.
7. Lizzie was a kleptomaniac.
Legend has it that she shoplifted at local Main St. stores and that the bill for what she had pilfered would be sent to her father to pay. Shoplifting was surprisingly not uncommon among ladies of the period. There is no documentation at present in existence that Lizzie was a kleptomaniac and that Andrew paid the bills. The only corroborating bit of evidence is of a documented thievery of a porcelain wall ornament which went “missing” from the Tilden and Thurber jewelry store in Providence. When the item was taken back to the store for a repair, the owner was questioned about its provenance only to be told Lizzie Borden had been the gift giver. This matter was eventually settled privately. It is possible that Lizzie was a shoplifter in younger years, but not proven so.
8. Andrew Borden was a mortician.
Andrew Borden was trained as a carpenter and then went into business as a furniture and household goods retailer. He invested wisely in real estate, including two small farms, all of which would bring him a good financial return, and as a sideline, he was an undertaker. Undertaker in 1890 parlance meant a person who would supply items needed for a funeral. He was neither a funeral director, embalmer, nor mortician. An invoice has been found for his services and for a casket, signed by Borden. It was not uncommon for furniture retailers to supply wooden coffins and caskets and have a showroom or warehouse facility containing these items.
9. Lizzie committed the two murders in the nude.
Thanks to the 1975 film starring Elizabeth Montgomery as Lizzie, the nude murderess scenario has its supporters. In 1890, the thought was put forth that the killer must be saturated with blood, and it should have been impossible to hide or escape without the telltale blood evidence being detected. In fact, the killer need not have been covered from head to toe with blood, or could have worn, then later destroyed a protective covering garment. It would be unusual for a lady in the era of corsets and petticoats to have stripped bare twice on a sunny morning and walked around the house in broad daylight , then to clean up in between in a large tin basin in the cellar. Not impossible- just unlikely.
10. Lizzie Borden killed her stepmother and father.
So often assumed as fact , – in fact, nobody will ever have the final answer to this one. Based on the evidence given to the jury then, and in re-examinations of the trial evidence now, Lizzie is acquitted. Her inquest testimony, prussic acid evidence, and dress-burning evidence were not allowed at the trial. The fact that a side door remained open for almost an hour, and that an intruder could have entered the house and concealed himself, allows for reasonable doubt. And therein lies the fascination with this case.
Got a favorite oft-quoted but unsubstantiated Borden case statement to share? Please leave a comment!
Bruce A. Brennan, attorney from DeKalb, IL released a novel on November 10, 2010. The book is historical fiction in the crime genre. The book takes place in the late 1880s through the early 1900s and involves Jack the Ripper and other infamous criminals of that period.. Jack the Ripper, Chicago’s H.H. Holmes, the Dalton gang and others make guest appearances. The novel is e-published and can be downloaded at this link. Send us your reviews! http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/11/prweb4774174.htm
About the Author:
“Bruce A. Brennan is a practicing attorney handling criminal defense work. This is his first published novel. A second one is expected within four months. He writes a daily blog and contributes to several others. This is the story of the investigation and crime solving techniques used to track down the most notorious murderer in the world. The killer plied his trade in Europe and the United States during the 1880s through the early 1900s. After an exhausting investigation, Ian Dean gets his man.”
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.
River’s Edge Library in North Jersey is the venue for a unique art exhibit running through the end of the month. Works by the artist are inspired primarily by fictional things such as the Mad Hatter’s teacup, arranged as an artistic “artifact” to give a feeling of reality to a literary character. Lizzie’s hatchet is one of the two items which draws upon reality for its inspiration.
‘”Arcanifacts” is a collection of 21 works taken from a larger project River Edge resident Scot Ryersson began in 2007. Ryersson said he invented the term from the Latin words arcanus (secret) and factum (thing made) to describe an artifact containing both mystery and truth.”
For more about the exhibit visit http://www.northjersey.com/news/105409913_Exhibit_inspired_by_fictional_characters.html
No, the statue above is not Lizzie Borden- but she is to be found in Massachusetts- in the town of Haverhill at GAR Park. Her name is Hannah Duston and her fame commenced in 1697 after an incident with a local Native American tribe. Hannah’s statue is said to be the first erected to a woman in America. For more about this grisly and bloody true story, visit this very informative and entertaining New England folklore blog.
Web of Iniquity by Catherine Ross Nickerson
Duke University Press, Feb. 1999
Here’s one that may have slipped by unnoticed. It sells from $6- $131 dollars depending on where you hunt for it. Amazon has the best deals.
“Surveys detective fiction from the Civil War to World War II, describes how women writers created a form of domestic mystery that offered a critical view of the condition of women, and discusses works based on the Lizzie Borden case.”
For more about the book and its author visit the Duke U. Press http://www.dukeupress.edu/Catalog/ViewProduct.php?productid=566&viewby=subject&categoryid=389&sort=author
Hatchets: Not just a Victorian weapon of choice.
Elderly fruit vendor in Melbourne http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/man-jailed-for-killing-wife-of-50-years/story-e6frf7jx-1225914909320
Australia: 76-yr-old man is sentenced in wife killing, 36 blows to the head
Breaking news in Nebraska: Angela Mann’s murder trial http://www.ketv.com/r/25194981/detail.html
Iowa’s Lucas Faulkner hatchet murder trial -Iowa http://www.kimt.com/content/localnews/story/Wright-County-Murder-Trial-Delayed/gnml05_swUqRun0BHzVWug.cspx
California Death Row inmate Kevin Cooper waits for execution in 30 year old case of four 1983 hatchet slayings http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/news/ci_16191554
San Diego– Border Patrol agent Rivera on 10 million dollar bail awaiting trial for hatchet attack http://colorlines.com/archives/2010/09/as_border_patrol_expands_so_do_reports_of_misconduct.html
Texas man wanted hatchet in homeless man slaying http://lubbockonline.com/crime-and-courts/2010-09-15/grand-jury-indicts-confessed-killer-homeless-stabbing
There must be something in the Massachusetts water supply- or is it all about the hot days of August in New England? This story by Joan Patrakis of the Andover Historical Society comes from the Andover Townsman Online and tells of another local lady who went on a rampage with a sharp -edged tool, this one in August of 1895. Not most people’s ideal of Victorian Motherhood.
“Saddest of all is the story of Mrs. Beard whose shocking case rivals that of Lizzie Borden. In 1895 she was declared insane after she viciously attacked her daughter and friend with an ax. The victims survived but the incident rekindled suspicion of her guilt in the deaths of her two young sons who had died in a tragic house fire 20 years earlier. Mrs. Beard was brought before a jury at that time but the case against her was dropped despite there being possible evidence of arson and questions about her sanity. She lived out her life in a Maine asylum.”
Although the attack itself occured in Old Orchard, Maine, where the Andover woman had a summer cottage, Mrs. F.R. Beard was from Andover where she maintained her primary residence. The attack occured on the morning of August 26th , with grievious wounds inflicted upon the body of her daughter, Josephine Beard, a Boston school teacher who was in bed at the time of the attack. A college friend from Andover, Miss Winona Graffen who was rooming with the Beards, received two serious flesh wounds. Mrs. Beard recovered her composure apparently, and accompanied the two girls to the hospital in Portland. (source, NY Times August 26, 1895)
This just in from Andy Propst via Theatermania.com for all those wondering about Lizzie Borden, the rock musical which is included as part of new theatre projects during the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals in Manhattan this fall.
The annual Festival of New Musicals will held in New York City on Thursday, October 21 and Friday, October 22, 2010 for a select audience of NAMT members, producers and other musical theatre industry professionals
“Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer, Alan Stevens Hewitt and Tim Maner’s musical about murderess Lizzie Borden will feature Carrie Cimma in the title role, along with Jenny Fellner, Marie France Arcilla and Beth Malone. The piece will be staged by Victoria Bussert, with music direction by Matt Hinkley.” The production website is at http://lizziebordentheshow.com/index.php/axe/about/ for more.
For a sampling of some of the musical selections http://lizziebordentheshow.com/index.php/axe/media/
“A rock roadshow retelling of the bloody legend of America’s first and favorite axe-wielding double-murderess and Victorian hometown girl
by Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer, Tim Maner, and Alan Stevens Hewitt.”
Most recently the show ran for six weeks in fall 2009 at the Living Theatre in New York as a full-length original rock musical, produced by Took An Axe Productions.
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.
(photo from Amazon.com)
(photo from Amazon.com)
Published in 2003 by Trina Robbins and Max Allan Collins, this one is still available on Kindle or paperback through Amazon. It is a smorgasboard of ladykillers, thoughtfully organized under sections such as “They Did it For Love”, “They Did it For Money”, “Bandit Queens and Gun Molls”, “Fabled Femmes Fatales”, ” and “Shoots Like a Girl- Women Who Missed”, here’s a cozy read for a cold autumn’s night!
For preview pages (some containing great cartoon graphics of Lizzie Borden with other femmes fatales), visit this Amazon link to preview and order now!