Fall River, MA: 40 whacks, dozens of theories.
Maybe Lizzie Borden whacked her father and stepmother on a hot summer morning in 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts. And maybe she didn't.
Somebody did, though. After 100 years, we're no closer to knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt who perpetrated the crime, even after dozens of books, movies, television shows devoted to the subject, and countless theories.
Maybe the motive was over the terms of an eventual inheritance. Maybe Lizzie's sister Emma did it. Or the maid, Bridget. Or it was a conspiracy–between the sisters or between Lizzie and Bridget who, one premise goes, were having an affair. Or John Morse, a houseguest. Or it was a stranger.
There are enough blind alleys and teasing clues (what about the prussic acid Lizzie had tried to buy the day before the murder?) that you can spend a lot of time—and many do—constructing plausible she-did-it scenarios and just as many versions in which Lizzie did not. In a 1997 Stanford Law 'retrial' of the case, with Supreme Court Justices Rehnquist and Sandra Day O'Connor participating, Lizzie was again acquitted.
One way to reach your own conclusion is to spend the night at 92 Second Street, in the house where the crimes were committed, at what is now the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum.
Lizzie's father, Andrew Borden was found murdered lying on the sitting room sofa. Her stepmother was found murdered in the second-floor guest room where John Morse had been staying. That's, of course, where you want to stay, if you're into this saga and that sort of thing.
And you really want to stay there on the night of August 4th, which is the day when the murders took place. Lots of other people do, too, so the owners of the B&B are doing the very un-Victorian thing of auctioning off that night's stay on eBay starting June 1st.
Crazy, huh? But we've got to warn you, once you start delving into the details of the Lizzie Borden case, it's hard to let it go.