“Lizzie Borden took an axe. Gave her mother 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41” — Children’s rhyme late 19th century/early 20th century.
Lizzie Borden was just another 32-year-old New England single woman who loved her family and was devoted to her church. On the morning of Thursday, August 4, 1892, her world turned upside down with the murder of her father and stepmother in her home. Each was hit multiple times in the head with an axe and with no witnesses, and Lizzie was the only one in the house when the crimes occurred–she was charged with their murder.
What happened next was one “trial of the centuries” the media likes to play up along with a mystery that has never been solved. Lizzie was acquitted and lived the rest of her life as a pariah.
Who were the Bordens, and why would anyone want them dead? If Lizzie didn’t do it, who did? Did her sister Emma know the truth behind the murders? Why is her crime still a source of fascination with dozens of films, books, and documentaries about this one crime? We will discuss this in today’s creepy murder mystery!
Sources for this episode:
Lizzie Borden Wikipedia
Legends of America
PBS News Hour
The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (2015) Christina Ricci
The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975) Elizabeth Montgomery
Lizzie (2018) Kristen Stewart
The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson
The Borden Murders by Sarah Miller
CBS 48 Hours (December 2020)
The New York Times 2021
The New York Post
The Inhabitant (2022)
A & E Lizzie Borden: A Woman Accused (1996)
Trigger warnings: Sex abuse, animal abuse (quick mention), and murder