Fans of unsolved mysteries can spend a night at one of the most notorious—and spookiest—crime scenes in the country: the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum in Fall River, Mass., about an hour south of Boston.
In 1892, Lizzie Borden was accused of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe in their home. Though Borden was acquitted, her name is still synonymous with the gruesome murders that to this day remain unsolved.
At the B&B in the former Borden home, you can sleep in the master bedroom that belonged to the hacked up couple, or in the room where the body of Abby Borden, Lizzie’s stepmother, was found dead. If you dare, that is.
Lee-ann Wilber, a proprietor of the B&B, said it’s not unusual for guests to run out of the inn in fright.
Wilber herself said she has not encountered any full-on ghosts, but has experienced some strange happenings in the house during the nine years she has owned it. She’ll occasionally hear a floor creak above her when there’s no one upstairs, or notice doors opening and closing. She’s also smelled a faint floral scent from time to time. But it doesn’t unnerve her.
“I’m not used to picking up on things; they just sort of blend in now,” Wilber said. “Nothing to drive me out of here.”
Guests, she said, are another story.
“Sometimes I think some come in already worked up about it,” she said. “It could be something as simple as a light bulb burns out, and their mind starts going into overdrive. Some guests scare themselves out of here.”
Ever the sensitive host, Wilber tries to calm her guests’ fears.
“I usually tell them if I could live here nine years, you can get through one night,” she said.
In fact, there was a night when Wilber was too scared to sleep in the house. It was in 2004, just after she had bought the house. She had nodded off on the couch in the parlor room and awoke at 3 a.m. She peeked down into the front entryway and took in the shadows cast by a special old chandelier that was always lit; the chandelier could only turn off if someone got up on a ladder to remove the bulbs.
Wilber said she made sense of all the shadows in the hallway, except for one. “And as I’m looking at it, it walked up the staircase.”
Meek or murderous? Watch this Lizzie Borden’s clip and decide:
As her mind started to process what she was seeing, the power in the chandelier surged for about three seconds and then everything went black. Each light bulb had burned out.
“I said to no one in particular, ‘You win tonight,’ and went to sleep in my car.”
A Rhode Island-native, Wilber said she was drawn to the house as a history buff, though she gets all kinds of visitors, from forensics students and lawyers to ghost hunters and self-proclaimed psychics. She said she can see why paranormal enthusiasts like the house.
“Living here,” said Wilber, “very quickly, I became a believer.”