A lot of us grew up singing this rhyme (admit it, you knew the tune and sang along as you read). Maybe you sang it with a jump rope or clapping with a friend. But if you are like me, you had no idea the macabre meaning behind these phrases (another that gives me chills now – “Ring around the Rosie” – am I right?). It rhymed, was easy to remember, and we had fun with it. (or at least I did, but I tended to be a little different at times, so if I am way off base here, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised) But there is a very sinister, and mostly true, meaning behind this rhyme. A meaning that is still talked about today. Every day… multiple times a day in fact… since the home this massacre occurred in is now a functioning Bed and Breakfast, complete with a detailed historical tour. The B&B is the original home and has been restored and decorated to be true to the time period that Lizzie Borden and her ill-fated family lived there. It even has a little gift shop out back that sells creepy keepsakes like a hatchet key chain covered in blood. There are numerous, frequent, claims of paranormal activity in this home which include siting’s of shadows, mists, movement of items, noises and fear instilled in a lot of the guests that dare to stay the night.So naturally, I had to check this out for myself.
Not alone of course, I am not that brave even though I can talk a good game when I need to. So, I joined my group (PCINJ.ORG) and a few other good friends of the team on an overnight stay. We rented the entire B&B for the night and had the place to ourselves. No problem for us seasoned investigators, right? And no sweat for a medium like me, after all what could happen?
Lou (my husband that has accepted the fact that he will have to accompany me to some of the dirtiest, scariest places around and is usually a good sport…especially if there are some good breweries and Craft Beer to be found close by) and I arrived at Lizzie Borden fashionably late as is my habit. I swear I planned this… and it worked out well (this time) because we missed the tour of the building, which not only gives historical information but also many of the paranormal claims and experiences.
I prefer, whenever possible, to go into a place without any prior information on the experiences, claims, history etc.… This allows me to be completely authentic and not have any of my findings or interactions biased based on what I have already been told. This is important to me – after all I am on a learning journey through life too. Plus, let’s face it, it is pretty cool when I pick up on something that is an ongoing claim and I haven’t been told first.
Obviously, with the Lizzie Borden property, I did have the benefit of the history as well as some of the paranormal claims over the years. I, after all, do love a good ghost story (okay, and a not so good one if I’m completely honest).
I am sure that everyone is on the edge of their seat waiting to know what happened this night, but below is a brief history recap for those that may not be 100% familiar with Lizzie Borden. Feel free to skip down if I am boring you 😊
In 1892, the step-mother and the father of Lizzie Borden were found in their home, brutally hacked to death with a hatchet. Lizzie Borden was accused and arrested for the crime but later acquitted. It is still widely believed that she committed these acts of brutality and murder. There are numerous theories on why, with the main being financial gain, although I have my doubts here. The step-mother was found in her bedroom, on the floor, having been hit so many times with a hatchet in her face/head that she was unrecognizable. Her father, Andrew Jackson Borden, was found dead on the couch. It is documented that he came home from his affluent banking industry job (one of many of his undertakings), took a nap on the couch, and was butchered with a hatchet to the face as he slept. Lizzie, known to be home at the time of the murders, was arrested, tried, and acquitted of the crime (mainly because of the time-period – which just could not accept that a woman could do something so brutal). Lizzie and her sister inherited a decent sum of money. She continued to live in Falls River, MA until her death in 1927 and was buried at the local cemetery alongside her father and other family members. After the murders, trial and acquittal, it is said that Lizzie Borden’s personality changed significantly, and she no longer wanted to be known as Lizzie, preferring to be called Lizbeth.
Fall River, MA looks very little like it did in Lizzie’s day and the home itself now sits right in the middle of a city type district, surrounded by offices and buildings with quite a bit of traffic of going by. But interspersed with these buildings are old, original homes that are quite remarkable and impressive. As we entered Fall River itself, I began to get very anxious and fidgety. I could already feel myself connecting to someone or someone(s), spiritual energy that obviously had a lot to say. As we pulled into the driveway, I was instantly drawn next door, to a large, old historic home that had been standing probably as long as the Lizzie Borden property. I then connected instantly with 2 children Spirits, one a boy and one a girl. They were standing there looking at me, curiously, like I was the odd thing that stood out. I was completely unprepared to encounter a couple of kids at the Lizzie Borden house. They seemed young – like between 4 and 8 – and they were dressed in the early/mid 1800’s style. They were holding hands and felt like siblings to me – and they were wet. They took a good look at me, as I was staring at them probably a little nutty, and ran. I can’t say I blame them.
As we entered the home, I was instantly and completely drawn to the basement area. It was strong and immediate but honestly, I was hesitant to go down there. The energy felt heavy, strong, and made me anxious and fearful. Fearful is not something I encounter often, especially once I am connecting. I have been known (quite to the absolute frustration and annoyance to those watching over me I might add) to take off into small, dark, and scary areas completely alone and without warning. After all, that is where the Spirits hide out normally and watch.
So I put off the basement for a bit and did a walk of the home instead. I picked up many residual scenes as we went (residual means that it is just a replay of a prior moment in time), not just from Lizzie Borden’s time frame but from many years after. Every room in this home has a strong energy and emotional vibe to it. Many of the antiques brought in to recreate the time-period of the home carry strong energy with them as well. There was a piano in the formal living room that completely and totally drew my attention. It had such a strong energy associated with it and it sorta “clashed” with the energy of the room.
It felt like it was pushing back on the thick, soupy energy of the living room and trying it’s hardest to stand out and shine. I felt it was owned by a woman that was quite talented in playing but only did so for her family and for love. There was a lot of time, energy, love and happiness spent around this piano and it stood out for sure. This is only one example of the various pieces represented throughout the home that adds energy, charm, and likely paranormal activity in their wake.
As I climbed the stairs to the second floor, a female presence made herself known to me. She did not want me to come upstairs and was trying to block the way. She had a strong, powerful energy about her and I would not be surprised if people saw her at times. I also recommend holding onto the railing of those stairs anytime you walk up or down them – she certainly can, will and has pushed. This female spirit followed me a bit, trying to distract me from what I was seeing play out in the upstairs bedroom where the step-mother had been murdered.
In no uncertain terms, quite clearly, I saw this female Spirit, when alive, ask a woman to wipe something off her foot or her shoe. As the woman bent down, clearly annoyed but not in the mood to argue, she was struck with a hatchet… again and again and again…. well you get the picture. I have to say, that the woman doing the striking looked rather pleased with herself and quite honestly a little insane at the time. I then saw this woman walk out of the room, into another room upstairs, sit down on a bed, and appeared to be waiting with a smug smile on her face and hum in her voice.
Quite disturbing to see, hear, feel and witness. These things feel very real to me at times, nothing like a movie replay or looking at a picture – and this was one of those times.
As we moved on, many residual scenes and feelings continued to reveal themselves to me. On the 3rd floor, I encountered a different female Spirit and she appeared to be from a later time frame than the Borden family. She resided in the back bedroom, and she was honestly trying to get the only man joining us that night to engage her. I didn’t share this at the time, alive or not it is never fun when another female is hitting on your husband, especially one that you can’t tell to back off without looking a little crazy. A day in my life right!
I felt that this space, at some point after the Borden family, was used either as a brothel or at least by desperate, sad women that worked in that field for a living. This Spirit was one of those women. We attempted to communicate with her using the Spirit Box (a radio designed to scan through radio channels quickly, creating white noise which Spirits can use to speak). Although we did receive a female voice, the same female voice a few times, we couldn’t make out the words. However, I did receive spikes of EMF (electromagnetic field which it is believed a Spirit can give off) as well as two separate hits on the REM pod (which lights up and beeps when it senses energy breaking through it’s field). This type of validation is always exciting. We moved on from the 3rd floor at this point but I would encounter this woman again later – my bedroom was up here.
As we were returning downstairs, finally ready to visit the basement, I encountered a male Spirit. He showed himself at first as a tall, dark shadow. He darted from one room to the back room and into a bathroom quite quickly. I believe that people would witness this shadow and this movement at times. This Spirit was annoyed with us being there and invading his space, he felt ownership of this house and I have no doubt this was Andrew Jackson, Lizzie’s father.
Now onto the basement. The energy in the basement was strong, heavy and everyone on the team felt it. It was intimidating, and it felt a lot like being in a building you knew you weren’t supposed to be in. As if you had broken into a building, and were sneaking around, unsure if you were going to get caught at any second. Knowing it is a bad idea, knowing you should just leave, but feeling like you JUST have to take a look around first. That’s how the basement here felt. I again picked up a lot of residual scenes and two stood out:
One was an argument between a young girl, what appeared to be a mother and a father. They were arguing over a baby, or what seemed to be a body of a baby. The young girl was fiery mad and desperately sad and wanted this baby buried properly and respectfully. The father, indifferent to the girls suffering and indifferent to the baby, refused and shoved her out of the basement and upstairs. Although I have thoughts on who this family is, I won’t reveal such tragic stories about people who are no longer here to defend themselves or give their side of the story. But this scene was powerful and left a strong mark on the property and on me.
The second was a scene of a girl, cleaning a very soiled dress in a basin in the basement. She was also very dirty, spattered with a dark, flaky substance basically all over her. She was humming and slightly grinning as she worked. It is said that Lizzie cleaned her clothing in the basement and hung them to dry after committing these acts.
On the other side of the basement we encountered a powerfully strong energy, one that interacted with us and affected us throughout the night. I do not know for sure who or what this energy was, but I do know that it brings heartache and pain wherever it goes.
As we came back upstairs, I encountered another female Spirit. This one’s energy was quite frazzled and all over the place and confrontational. It was very odd because this Spirit seemed to be the same energy of the female I had encountered on the steps earlier, yet she looked and felt very different. It felt like two separate halves to a whole. As if one part of you split off and created another. They move independently of each other, almost seemed like two different people, but they were not. These Spirits were two sides of Lizzie Borden. One went by Lizzie. And one went by Lizbeth. And I am not sure I want to encounter either one again anytime soon.
There were other residual scenes, as well as information passed on from my guides, that I hesitate to share too much information on. One in particular I will share, because I believe there have been other findings in this respect in the past that have been shared. I saw a couple particularly disturbing scenes, sexual encounters, between two sisters in the home. These encounters felt like they were fairly routine and likely taught to these sisters by another male influence in the family from a young age. It’s important to note here, there was never any evidence of a relationship between Lizzie and her sister. And there also was not any evidence of abuse by the father. However, due to the brutality and personal nature of the crimes committed, which although Lizzie was acquitted it is widely believed that under today’s standards evidence would have provided a guilty verdict, it has been speculated that the crime was personal and could have been the result of a long-term abuse. I leave the speculation there with my findings.
Curious about the actual investigation? Below are some highlights:
If you have watched any of the ghost hunting shows, you have an idea of how this works. We break off into teams, normally a floor between us to prevent contamination of the evidence and equipment. My team started in the basement and the other team started upstairs, on the second floor.
Everyone on the team, including the other team later on, felt the energy in the basement I described above. We had EMF spikes, REM pod spikes, and most of us were physically touched at one point through the night. This energy in the basement also affected some of our emotions in profound ways, causing one of our investigators to actually have to leave the building. This can be quite powerful, terrifying and overwhelming when it happens. At this point, the team is still reviewing hours and hours of recordings to find any EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon – which is a voice picked up on a recorder but not heard at the time of recording). The basement, to me, was the most active portion of the home this night.
First floor – the entire team gathered to investigate the first floor, sitting in the room where the father was killed. We heard footsteps walking upstairs, footsteps and movement in the rooms around us, as well as saw movement in those rooms. We obtained more EMF spikes as well. The best piece of evidence was an EVP captured and reviewed in real time. I knew at this point that Mr. Borden was hovering around us and was quite angry and mad. Everyone could feel this energy and tension from him. We did a “burst” EVP session, which means that we play the recording back immediately to review. We caught a very clear (Class A) man’s voice come through. Right after I asked, “why are you so angry”, there is a man’s voice that comes through and says a long, drawn out “aa nnnn ggryy”. Pretty cool catch right there!
Throughout the remainder of the night we continued to have personal experiences, see shadow movement, witness a mist form and move, hear movement, feel touches and emotions that were not ours, as well as have EMF spikes and other equipment interactions.
My husband Lou and I slept on the third floor. I use the word slept very loosely. Throughout the night, I had the female spirit I mentioned earlier, the one from the possible bordello, stand over my bed all night and watch me. I also had a closet door open on me, and it was the one that would make a nice, creepy squeaking sound as it did so. I also woke to footsteps and my face being caressed.
It is always an interesting time in the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast.
And remember the children from the beginning? I discovered after our investigation that an uncle of Lizzie Borden lived in the home next door. Prior to the well-known murders in the Lizzie Borden house, the mother of this uncle’s children took them into the basement and drowned them in the family well. She then took her own life.
Cursed family? Cursed property? Does this have something to do with the energy we encountered in the basement? Or is this just simply mental illness and the family connection and proximity are just coincidences? Or is it some combination of all? I know what I believe…. What do you?