Haunted University returns to Second Street



Senior editor of Haunted Times magazine, Chris Moon, and a paranormal investigation team will be returning to the Borden house this weekend for a two day session of learning to use special equipment to capture ghosts on film, EVPs and other paranormal tools-all accompanied by great food and conversation and real ghost-hunting onsite.  Haunted University has made several weekend visits to the Borden House over the past 2 years.  For more on Haunted Times Magazine and Haunted University future projects visit http://www.hauntedtimes.com/ghosthunteruniversity.html

Somewhere in Time- A Cult Classic



For fans of time travel, Somewhere in Time has captured the imagination of thousands world wide.  Based on the novel by Richard Matheson called Bid Time Return, the original setting for the novel was the Hotel Coronado in California in the year 1896.  Due to the encroachment of modern day life, the film version with screenplay by Matheson was filmed on Michigan’s Mackinac Island where vehicles are banned and horse and carriage is the mode of transportation.  Released in 1980, the film failed to find its audience but was soon taken up as a favorite by Romantics everywhere when the movie went to cable.  In 1991 a society of admirers of the film formed INSITE, The International Network of Somewhere in Time Enthusiasts and the society meets in October annually, in period costume, for a long weekend.  The soundtrack by John Barry has never been out of stock and is one of the most enduring and beloved soundtracks of all time. 

Maude Adams circa 1899

For more information on the film, the society and on Maude Adams, the real-life Victorian actress on whom the novel is based, do visit the INSITE link below.  Maude Adams was a top stage actress in the late 1890’s into the first decade of the twentieth century under the management of Charles Frohman, who drowned in the Lusitania disaster of 1915.  There is little doubt that Lizzie Borden would have seen Maude Adams numerous times on stage in New York or Boston, especially in her most famous roles as Lady Babbie in Barrie’s The Little Minister and Peter, in Peter Pan.   INSITE publishes a quarterly magazine and maintains an online giftshop, events calendar and regularly updated article website  at http://www.somewhereintime.tv/ and listen to Barry’s inspired theme.

Somewhere in time

Crime Scene-Andrew Borden #2



The house on Second Street has many visitors over the year, both day tourists and overnight guests at the B&B and all without exception gravitate to the black sofa, a close copy of the original upon which Andrew J. Borden breathed his last.  So many have sat for photos on this piece of furniture that the original one put in the sitting room in 1996 has been reupholstered twice and has retired to the gift shop while a second black sofa had to be purchased for the sitting room.  The sitting room, crime scene of the second August 4, 1892 murder is little changed today from what it was 116 years ago.  The windows are original, the doors and moldings, mop boards and  fireplace are just the same.  There were 2 chairs, a sofa, a tripod table and a small center table in the room.  The closet under the staircase was used for hats and old coats and jackets. It is a deep closet, with the original hooks intact today.  Considering the blood spatter pattern, the general consensus was that the killer most likely stood near the diningroom doorway near the head of the sofa to administer the blows to the dozing head of Andrew Borden.  The photo montage below is a 360 degree view of the room beginning north, clockwise around the room. 


New England Premiere of Lizzie Borden Live!




Lizzie Borden Live
Columbus Theatre
270 Broadway, 2nd floor ~ Cinematheque
Providence, RI  02903
…Think you know her?…Think again….
Written & Performed by: Jill Dalton
Directed by: Jack McCullough                       Music by: Larry Hochman
Friday November 14, 2008 ~ 8:00 p.m.
Saturday November 15, 2008 ~ 8:00 p.m.
Advance Tickets ~ $25.00
Click on “SCHEDULE “
or purchase at the door
 JILL DALTON As: Lizzie Borden

Winner 2007 Jacoby Award:


“The nod goes to Jill Dalton for her Lizzie Borden in “Lizzie Borden Live.” She runs the gamut of emotions in her performance from that of a mild Christian woman to a ruthless murderer. Her reenactment of the murder of her mother (it was my stepmother!) and father is a chilling scene in this play and Dalton, who also wrote the script, vividly brings it to the audience.”

Jacob Schaad Jr., The Cape May Gazette

Dalton is nothing less than superb in her depiction of the character, as her Lizzie is alternating sweet, innocent, witty and savagely murderous. The audience is left to decide which Lizzie is the real one.”   Cape May Star Wave

“I heartily recommend you see Lizzie Borden Live. . . . complex and most interesting Lizzie, in the person of Jill Dalton.   

Cape May Star Wave

“Absorbing performance . . . Dalton runs the gamut of emotions from supposedly mild Christian woman to that of a ruthless murderer.” 

Cape May Gazette

“Everything from Jill’s facial features (like Lizzie herself) to the way her voice can change throughout the play makes for compelling and oddly sympathetic viewing.”   Exit Zero

“Truly superb . . . the script is fascinating. Jill Dalton is an astonishingly talented actress – she changes her mood and characters in a split second. The play should get a Pulitzer.”   

Charles Alexander, writer for Time Magazine

If Walls Could Talk- Entry and Kitchen #1


This is the first of a new series featuring 360 degrees of still photography of each space within the Borden house on Second Street as it appears today.  The entry and kitchen were scenes of much action on August 4th. The side (North) entry door would appear to have been the only way a killer could have sneaked in unaided, during the time the maid was out washing windows and Lizzie was in the barn.  The bottom of the back stairs was the spot where Lizzie told her neighbor Mrs. Churchill, first on the scene, all about what had happened.  Lizzie was seen leaning against the screen on the inside.  Later pharmacist Mr. Bence would peer down this same back entry hall and identify Lizzie as the woman who had tried to buy Prussic acid on the day prior to the murders.  Many neighbors, friends and police would pace up and down the short length of back hallway that day, coming in and out of the house.  Emma, returning from Fairhaven would walk into this space after she got off the train, finding shocking things going on in the sitting room and diningroom.  The day after the funeral, Lizzie would be observed burning up a skirt and blouse in the kitchen stove by her friend Alice Russell.  If walls could talk, the entry and kitchen would have plenty to say!

New from Garden Bay Films



Bridget’s Run, filmed May 2008 Lizzie Mini #4

Q. Did she say anything when you got down stairs?

A. She said “go for Dr. Bowen”. I ran ahead, I did not know what was the matter. She told me to “go quick and get Dr. Bowen.”

Q. What did you do then?

A. I went right over to Dr. Bowen’s.

Q. Who did you find there?

A. Mrs. Bowen.

Q. You told her what had happened?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. Dr. Bowen was not there?

A. No Sir.

Q. Then what did you do?

A. Came back.

Q. Dr. Bowen lives right across the street?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. Who was there when you came back?

A. Nobody but Miss Lizzie. I told her he was not in. I told her what Mrs. Bowen told me. She told me to go after Miss Russell.

Q. What did you do then?

A. I went after her.

Q. Where does she live?

A. On Borden street.

Q. How far away is that?

A. I do not know, it is a good ways away. I could not tell you exactly how long it is.

Q. Did you find Miss Russell?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. Had anybody else come in when you came back there, telling that Dr. Bowen was not there?

A. No Sir, I did not see anybody.

Q. Where was Miss Lizzie when you came back from Mrs. Bowen’s?

A. Where I left her, standing at the door.

Q. At that time when you went out after Dr. Bowen, did you find the screen door locked?

A. No Sir.

Q. Shut up?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. Did you come back with Miss Russell?

A. Ahead of her.

Q. When you came back, who did you find there then?

A. Dr. Bowen was ahead of me, he stepped out of his carriage as I came up Second street. Dr. Bowen went in ahead of me.

Q. When you got in, who did you find there?

A. I think Mrs. Churchill was in when I got in there.

Q. She is the next door neighbor?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. She was in when you got back?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. What was said when you got back?

A. I cannot tell.

Q. Where was Miss Lizzie when you got back?

A. She was there.

Q. Wherebouts?

A. I could not tell you where, I think she must be in the kitchen; I think she was in the kitchen.

Q. Who else was there besides Mrs. Churchill?

A. That is all I remember, Mrs. Churchill and Dr. Bowen.

Q. Did you then see the body?

A. No Sir.

Bathsheba Spooner



 Most folks who study the Borden case will, at some point, run into mention of another famous Massachusetts lady who had a more final brush with the gallows in 1778, Bathsheba Spooner. Brent Abrahamson has made a visit to the site at Brookfield and posted about the visit at this link: http://massachusettsobserver.blogspot.com/2008/08/murder-most-foul-in-brookfield.html

Lizzie Borden Live ! Schedule of Performances


 Actress and playwright Jill Dalton accepting her 2008 “Lambie” for best actress from the Second Street Irregulars at the annual Mutton Eaters’ Banquet.
Sept.7, 2008,  Sunday 3:00 pm 78th Street Theatre Lab, 236 W. 78th St.,NYC,Between B’way & Amsterdam
Sunday Oct. 5, 2008, 3:00 pm 78th Street Theatre Lab, 236, W. 78th St.,NYC,Between B’way & Amsterdam
Friday Nov. 14,  2008, 8:00 pm Columbus Theatre, 270 Broadway, Providence, RI
Saturday Nov. 15, 2008, 8:00 pm  Columbus Theatre, 270 Broadway, Providence, RI
Sun. Dec. 7, 2008, 3:00 pm 78th Street Theatre Lab, 236 W. 78th St.,NYC,Between B’way & Amsterdam
Thurs, Fri, Sat, January 8,9,10, 2009, 7:30 pm Canyon Moon Theatre  6601 Highway 179, Sedona, AZ
Sunday Jan.11, 2009, 3:00 pm Canyon Moon Theatre  6601 Highway 179, Sedona, AZ
Thurs, Fri, Sat, January 15, 16, 17, 2009, 7:30 pm Canyon Moon Theatre  6601 Highway 179, Sedona, AZ
Sunday Jan.18, 2009, 3:00 pm Canyon Moon Theatre  6601 Highway 179, Sedona, AZ







Pear Essentials Players launch new blog


 Over the years since the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum opened, many staff employees and their friends have undertaken the task of bringing the Borden story and Lizzie to life via annual August 4th re-enactments.  All have shared a passion for the story, and a pleasure at sharing it with others.  Some have taken their show “on the road” to local schools, libraries and civic groups.  Since 1996, when the B&B opened, the roles of the Borden family and other personalities in the case have been assumed by many professional and amateur actors.  The new site will feature photos and anecdotes about the 12 years of “bringing Lizzie to life” for visitors and guests at #92 and other places.  Perhaps you have met one of the troupe on a visit to the house.  If you were a member of the cast in 1996-2007, we’d love to hear from you! 

Visit http://pearessentialproductions.wordpress.com/ 

August 11th Autopsies


It was on this day in 1892, 127 years ago, that the bodies of Abby and Andrew Borden were removed from the holding tomb where they had reposed for a full week, and transported to the Ladies Comfort Station just inside the gates of Oak Grove Cemetery. It was here that the heads of the victims were removed from the bodies.

The holding tomb was a fixture in all cemeteries in the North where extreme winters made gravedigging impossible until the Spring thaw.

The Ladies Comfort Station, which is now a break room for the cemetery grounds staff, consisted of two rooms, one white-tiled with sinks and lavatories, the other paneled in dark wood wainscotting.

Andrew Borden:  Aged 69 years. Autopsy performed by W. A. Dolan, Medical Examiner, assisted by Dr. F. W. Draper. Witnesses F. W. Draper of Boston and John W. Leary of Fall River. Clerk D. E. Cone of Fall River. Time of Autopsy 11.15 A.M. August 11th, 1892, one week after death.

Abby D. Borden, aged 64 years. Thursday August 11, 1892. at 12.35 P.M. One week after death.The Autopsy was performed by W. A. Dolan, Medical Examiner, assisted by Dr. F. W. Draper, and witnessed by F. W. Draper of Boston, and J. H. Leary of Fall River. Clerk of Autopsy D. E. Cone of Fall River.

Preliminary Testimony by Dr, Dolan describing the skull removal.

Q. He told you to remove the skulls?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. The Attorney General?

A. The Attorney General of this state, yes sir.

Q. I do not assume the Attorney General of any other state has anything to do with this case. You did so?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. What did you do with them?

A. I cleaned them.

Q. You cleaned them?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. Do you mean to say these bodies are now buried without the heads?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. Where are these skulls?

A. In my possession.

Q. Where?

A. At my office.

Q. Has it been said to any member of this family, or any friend, that these people were buried without their heads?

A. I do not know.

Q. Have you said it, or caused it to be said?

A. No Sir.

Q. Did you photograph them, or cause them to be photographed?

A. Yes Sir.

The Controversy Rages On



The approach to the Braga Bridge, Fall River signs on 195E (and also 195 westbound) feature a mention of the Lizzie Borden Museum and have done so for some time.

Still garnering front page news is the continuing battle between Salem and Fall River over who owns the rights to the Lizzie Borden story, and the all-important word, “Museum”.  Channel 25 Fox television out of Boston ran this segment yesterday http://www.myfoxboston.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=7177254&version=2&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=3.2.1  Sounds like several of those interviewed for the news clip might benefit from a visit to a museum telling the facts!  No date has yet been given out for the Salem opening.

Undertaker Winward


, ,

James E. Winward was the man Lizzie Borden wanted immediately to undertake the funeral of her father.  On the day of the murders, just a very short time after Lizzie said she found her father on the sofa, she requested the services of Mr. Winward, who at the time had his business address at 13 South Main Street.  Even before the body of Abby Borden was found on the second floor, Lizzie was voicing the opinion that she would be the one to go down to Oak Grove Cemetery to arrange her father’s funeral and burial.  This may be construed as a curious statement as Mrs. Borden would have had this task herself-did Lizzie already know Mrs. Borden was lying dead upstairs?

Young Mr. Winward (aged only 38 on the day of the murders) came as requested, and was to find not one, but two bodies at #92 Second Street. He and his assistant had the grisly task of removing the heavily blood-stained sofa from the sitting room later in the day. 

Mr. Winward enjoyed a successful career in his field, and fitted the ideal of a funeral director in every aspect of appearance and decorum.  A photograph of Mr. Winward is soon to be published.  At the end of his life, Mr. James E. Winward lived in a prosperous section in the north end of the city on Madison Street.  He is buried with his wife Annie, his daughter Helen Winward Brown and his son-in-law in the cemetery where he spend  so many years organizing funerals for so many city clients- Oak Grove.

The role of Mr. Winward was ably performed by funeral director Andrew Correia for the recent August 4th re-enactments at # 92 Second Street.

Just in Time for August



There’s no end to Lizzie merchandising ideas.  Here’s something new- a Lizzie with hellfire flames card case,  by Sweetheartsinner, which can be used for anything you need to carry around.  The novelty design, plus other similar merchandise may be found here http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=10792219