Read All ABout It

  • New Play Makes a Debut

    The Huntsville Times- by Sara Cure  Dateline: September 9, 2010

    “HUNTSVILLE, AL. – A new play written by Wayne Miller called “The Ax” will debut at the Renaissance Theatre, 1214 Meridian St., this weekend. Performances will be Friday and Saturday, both at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

    Although the play’s title conjures up morbid images, Miller said it’s really a farce.

    Based on the Lizzie Borden case, an ax belonging to a famous serial killer in the early 1900s basically has a life of its own. It’s soon in the possession of a man who has a weird interest in collecting serial-killer memorabilia.

    The man’s wife is a stereotypical repressed housewife who is not satisfied with her place in life. To make matters worse, her husband is cheating on her. She then starts to hear the ax communicate with her and it offers a solution to all of her problems through violence.

    “Even though it sounds grim, it will be a fun and humorous experience,” Miller said.”

  • Where was all the blood?

    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)

  • Getting #92 ready for her close-up

    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.

  • August 4th means Lizzie Borden in Demand!

    Those interested in the Borden Case will have a week ahead chock-full of things to see and do.  It has been a long time since the conference at Bristol Community College and many who are fascinated with the case and needing a good dose of Bordenalia are heading to Fall River this week to take in as much as possible. Great weather is predicted!

     

    THINGS TO SEE AND DO

    1.  The Fall River Public Library is hosting a book reading with author Richard Behrens, reading from his new book, Lizzie Borden, Girl Detective beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 3rd.  Costumed cast from the annual Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum August 4th performances, The Pear Essential Players, will attend in character with a few words to say about Wednesday, the 4th on Second Street.

     

    2.  The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast will have daytime tours on the hour from 11 a.m. -3 p.m. on August 3rd.  Don’t miss the gift shop! Advance tickets are on sale for August 4th performances of CSI Lizzie Borden.  Richard Behrens will also be autographing his book on the 4th in the gift shop. A drawing will be held at the end of the day for a night’s stay for two at the house.  Program GPS devices for 230 Second Street or 230 2nd Street. 

     

    3.  Oak Grove Cemetery has convenient black arrows on the pavement from the office gate to the Borden plot and is open from early morning until dark. Many other case personalities are buried in the historic Victorian cemetery.

     

    4.  The Fall River Historical Society will be open with a special augmented Borden exhibit, featuring some items which are generally not on display all the time  This is a must-see on the list for visitors coming to Fall River for the day. The society can be found at the corner of Maple and Rock streets.  There is also a great gift shop selling Lizzie Borden merchandise and books.

     

    5.  A little drive around the city in the late afternoon might be a great way to end the day.  The Andrew Borden Building is still standing on the corner of Anawan St. and South Main, Lizzie’s little school can also be found in the South End on Morgan Street, and Maplecroft is convenient if you plan to see the cemetery as it is only a short drive from Prospect to French Street. There is much beautiful Victorian architecture to be seen on The Hill and some fantastic restaurants in which to sample the local cuisine for dinner at the end of your day. 

  • Cast for Annual Presentation at Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum

    Some of the cast will be appearing at the Fall River Public Library on Tuesday, August 3rd at 6:30 for a special reading by Richard Behrens from the new Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective!  Tickets are presently on sale at the museum 508-675-7333.  Advanced ticket purchase is suggested to avoid disappointment on the 4th.  Tickets are usually sold out by noon. First performance at 10: 30 a.m.

    Cast interviews and photos may be found at http://pearessentialproductions.org/

    Lizzie Borden:  Lorraine Gregoire

    Detective Seaver  Ben Rose

    Abby Borden:   Shelley Dziedzic 

    Andrew Borden: Logan Livesey

    Bridget Sullivan  Kathleen Troost-Cramer

    Emma Borden:  Barbara Morrissey

    Addie Churchill:  JoAnne Giovino

    Alice Russell:     Kristin Pepe

    Uncle John:  Joe Radza

    Officer Medley:   Justin Dunne

    Miss Manning from the Herald:   Molly O’Brien

    “Cub reporter and Girl Detective” from the Herald, and Miss Manning’s assistant: Kathryn Woods

    The Distinguished Undertaker Winward:  Michael Brooks

    Officer Harrington:  Will Clawson

    Marshal Hilliard;  Ray Mitchell

  • More Heavenly Portents

    If the largest meteor on record was not interesting enough a fact, blazing through the sky on July 20, 1860, a total eclipse of the sun took place on July 18, 1860 and a rare alignment of the planets.  In between these heavenly displays was born Lizzie Borden on July 19th.  The likelihood of these circumstances being repeated are remote.  The New York Times has this to say http://www.nytimes.com/1860/07/18/news/the-eclipse-of-to-day.html?pagewanted=1 The following is an excerpt:

    The Eclipse of To-Day,

    Published: July 18, 1860

    “To-day occurs the most impressive of all celestial phenomena — a total Solar Eclipse! Not only is it total, lasting three entire and precious minutes, but the chief planets of our system — Venus, Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn, constellated around the sun — “assist” at the fete. Many a century will pass before the numbers which rule the stars shall bring about so rare a combination, and permit other eyes in other ages to contemplate a spectacle so magnificent.

    In our latitudes, indeed, we are only favored with a partial obscuration, our portion of the planet falling not under the umbra, but the penumbra, of the moon: and to us this Eclipse will offer no higher interest than others already witnessed at various times during the present generation.

    It is along the upper sides of our continent — from the mouth of the Columbia River across British America, Hudson’s Bay and Labrador — that the moon projects its black conical shadow, seventy miles wide. Athwart the Atlantic the umbra sweeps, passing over Northern Spain and Africa, and terminating near the borders of the Red Sea. Preparations for observing the grand phenomenon, accordingly, have been going on for months. . . . .”

     A rare time for a singular person to come into the world indeed.

  • An Omen in the Night Sky

    In 1835, the year Samuel Clemens, writer, reporter, and publisher was born, Halley’s Comet passed over. Twain vowed that he would not die until he saw the famous comet again. Then, just before Twain died, Halley’s Comet passed over. He died the next day–April 10th, 1910 at 6:30 p.m. For all the fame Twain enjoyed, his life was greatly marked by failures and heartrending deaths and tragedies in his family.  As Twain lay dying under the tail of the comet, the Titanic was laid down and building in Belfast.  The ship would have a sad and notorious end.

    Recently astonomers, thanks to a painting by Frederic Church,  finally figured out what phenomenon Walt Whitman and others witnessed in the night sky in July of 1860 and mentioned in Leaves of Grass. http://www.aolnews.com/science/article/walt-whitman-meteor-mystery-solved-by-astronomer-sleuths/19502614?icid=main|htmlws-main-w|dl1|link3|http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aolnews.com%2Fscience%2Farticle%2Fwalt-whitman-meteor-mystery-solved-by-astronomer-sleuths%2F19502614

     As Sarah Morse Borden lay upon her birthing bed in the house on Ferry St.,  on July 19th, high above in the sky, a massive meteor was hurtling toward earth. The New York Times, Smithsonian, and Harper’s Weekly all covered the event, with Scientific American calling it “the largest meteor that has ever been seen.”
     

    Breaking into many smaller pieces, it produced a parade of fireballs in the sky on the evening of July 20th as Lizzie Borden lay in her cradle on her first day of life.  She would also become- notorious.

    Walt Whitman died in 1892- the year of the Borden murders.  Here is the poem, “Year of the Meteor”-

    Year of meteors! brooding year!
    I would bind in words retrospective some of your deeds and signs,
    I would sing your contest for the 19th Presidentiad,
    I would sing how an old man, tall, with white hair, mounted the
    scaffold in Virginia,
    (I was at hand, silent I stood with teeth shut close, I watch’d,
    I stood very near you old man when cool and indifferent, but trembling
    with age and your unheal’d wounds you mounted the scaffold;)
    I would sing in my copious song your census returns of the States,
    The tables of population and products, I would sing of your ships
    and their cargoes,
    The proud black ships of Manhattan arriving, some fill’d with
    immigrants, some from the isthmus with cargoes of gold,
    Songs thereof would I sing, to all that hitherward comes would welcome give,
    And you would I sing, fair stripling! welcome to you from me, young
    prince of England!
    (Remember you surging Manhattan’s crowds as you pass’d with your
    cortege of nobles?
    There in the crowds stood I, and singled you out with attachment;)
    Nor forget I to sing of the wonder, the ship as she swam up my bay,
    Well-shaped and stately the Great Eastern swam up my bay, she was
    600 feet long,
    Her moving swiftly surrounded by myriads of small craft I forget not
    to sing;
    Nor the comet that came unannounced out of the north flaring in heaven,
    Nor the strange huge meteor-procession dazzling and clear shooting
    over our heads,
    (A moment, a moment long it sail’d its balls of unearthly light over
    our heads,
    Then departed, dropt in the night, and was gone;)
    Of such, and fitful as they, I sing–with gleams from them would
    gleam and patch these chants,
    Your chants, O year all mottled with evil and good–year of forebodings!
    Year of comets and meteors transient and strange–lo! even here one
    equally transient and strange!
    As I flit through you hastily, soon to fall and be gone, what is this chant,
    What am I myself but one of your meteors?

  • What’s new this week?

    Today’s Fall River Herald News has a wonderful article about New Jersey author Richard Behren’s book, Lizzie Borden:  Girl Detective and the upcoming Saturday reading and booksigning http://www.heraldnews.com/newsnow/x1834540560/Historical-fantasy-novel-features-Lizzie-Borden-as-a-detective

    photo credit: LeeAnn Wilber

    Popular indy actress and fashion trend-setter, Chloe Sevigny strikes a familiar pose on the black sofa.  Ms. Sevigny has family ties to Fall River and a great interest in the Borden case.  Tuesday marked her second overnight visit to the house on Second Street.

    Painting on #92 has come to a halt due to the weather.  More scraping and primer touch -ups are in the future before color can be applied, hopefully next week.  Costuming and casting have begun for the upcoming August 4th re-enactments.  Busy days on Second Street.

  • A Reading at The Fall River Historical Society

    This coming Saturday, June 5, from noon to 2:30 p.m., come and meet the author of Lizzie Borden:  Girl Detective, Richard Behrens.  The reading selection will take place from 1- 1:30.  Come and enjoy an afternoon of fiction and light refreshments! 

    “It’s Nancy Drew meets Victorian Fall River!”  Copies available at the historical society giftshop.

  • Fall River- City of Opportunity

                                            

    Here is a little brochure extolling the benefits of locating manufacturing and other business concerns to the  City of Fall River.  This publication is connected to  T.R. Vestal at 31 Bedford Street. For more about the Vestal family, please click on the tab above “Another Side of Lizzie Borden”.   This little brochure is a wonderful look into the many assets of the city at the turn of the century.

      “The ratio of failures in business is said to be less in this city than any other one in this vicinity”.  Click on each thumbnail image above to see full -sized page.

    Courtesy of Jack Faria, the Vestal Collection

  • April Mutton Eater’s Article Online Now

    Lizzie Borden’s School Days & The Morgan Street School

    (photo courtesy of Hollie B. Dziedzic)

    Lizzie’s grammar school still stands on Morgan Street.  Re-named the Nathaniel B. Borden School many years ago, the venerable edifice, built in 1868 closed its doors as a school forever in 2007.  This month’s article features a slideshow and article about the school and comments about Lizzie’s school days there. Click on the tab at the top of the page header for April Mutton Eaters Online to read this month’s feature.

  • The Mutton Eaters Online

    Warps & Wefts is pleased to announce a new feature for this site.  Beginning this month, articles and photos of the exploits of the Second Street Irregulars will appear.  The S.S.I. or “”Mutton Eaters” is an informal group of armchair sleuths from all over America who like to go “On the Road” whenever possible to chivvy out obscure and fascinating facts about the many individuals involved in the Lizzie Borden case. When the game’s a’foot there’s no telling what will happen or what they may find-and getting there is half the fun.  This month the spotlight is on William Medley, one of the observant policemen on the scene of the crime August 4th.  Our articles will remain for six months and are for private use only.  To access this month’s feature, click on the tab Mutton Eaters Online Article above or this link http://lizziebordenwarpsandwefts.com/january-mutton-eaters-online-article/  You will feel as if you were riding right alongside!

    For more about the Second Street Irregulars visit http://secondstreetirregulars.org/

  • The Minister & the Mill Girl

    The Rev. Ephraim AveryIt has been just a month over the 178 years since the body of poor Sarah Cornell was found swinging on a post in a Tiverton farmyard on a cold winter’s morning  just before Christmas.  With the recent publication of Rory Raven’s Wicked Conduct,  reviews are appearing in area newspapers and interest is again renewed in the story of the pregnant mill worker and the suspicious circumstances surrounding her relationship with the Rev. Ephraim Avery. 

    Sarah’s grave in Oak Grove cemetery has seen an increase in visitors and there is talk of a new grave marker to supplement the nearly illegible worn stone now in place.  To read the full article by William Moniz of the Spirit, visit this link http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100114/PUB03/1140435

    Amazon is offering the book at 13.59 plus 3.99 shipping and the volume is in stock.