Lizzie Borden Took an Axe

Lizzie Borden took an ax, gave her mother 40 wacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41.

Axe Murder Lizzie Borden

Axe Murder Lizzie Borden

Photo Credit: Crime Archives 

This dark children's rhyme doesn't quite tell the full story about one of America's most notorious murders. The victims (her father and stepmom) were violently stuck repeatedly hit with a hatchet but the total amount of strikes was 10 to 18 and technically this double murder is still unsolved. Although, much like today's OJ Simpson case, it is widely believed that Lizzie Borden was the murderer.

The case against Lizzie was built on the fact that she was seen after the murderers burning a dress which she claimed had paint on it. Back then, old clothing was passed on to the help or used for rags as materials were expensive and hard to come by. In addition, Lizzie apparently had a rough relationship with her stepmom and allegedly was forced to remain in the house. She was apparently cruel to animals and there was very little blood found on scene and none found on Lizzie herself. Is it possible that the maid, Bridget Sullivan, aided Lizzie in the cleanup? Not to mention, the murder weapon was never found.  There was the top of a hacket that was found in the basement but it was dusty and it is unclear if that was the top of the murder weapon or simply a broken tool.

It is speculated that Lizzie's father sexually abused her and that was the reason behind the murders. This is because his wounds (violently struck in the face) can be telling sign of abuse and the fact that she wore his High School graduation ring on her pinky has lead people to believe this was an abusive and incestual relationship. It is thought that Lizzie killed her father because of the abuse and her stepmother because she knew of the abuse yet did nothing to stop it, although there is very little evidence to this.

Lizzie Borden's Father

Lizzie Borden's Father

Andrew Borden, murdered. Photo Credit Crime Archives

There are several things which made this case unique. Although Lizzie burned the dress she was allegedly wearing during the murderers, it was done days after the murders and yet police did not find it during their investigation so where was it hidden? There were also strange men visiting the week prior to the murders. If Lizzie was not the murderer, could those men have been involved, perhaps over a business deal gone wrong? The Borden's were a wealthy family so criminals could've had a target on their backs.

Find out more information about the notorious Lizzie Borden case on this week's podcast. Join us as K-town develops into this topic with Rebecca Pittman, author of The History & Haunting of Lizzie Borden which uncovers her secrets from that fateful August day.


by Michelle Adshead, a digital marketing expert

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