Growing up in Southern California I was always intrigued by the macabre. I loved reading Lovecraft, McCammon and Barker. I often found myself drawing decapitation and dismemberment pictures on my PeeChee folder at school. I wore my Ozzy t-shirt with pride. Teachers often found such behavior disturbing. For me it was just a way to pass the time. I read Fangora magazine religiously and dreamt of someday becoming a special effects artist in Hollywood. I even turned my garage into a make-shift studio. I made a sign and hung it above the work bench. I called it Future Studios Incorporated. Even though I had no idea what the hell incorporated ment. But it was there that I would spend my afternoons and weekends melting down plastic and making space ships out of whatever I could find around the house. Then I would burn them or blow them up. I would create masks and costumes and use fake blood to stage various gruesome scenes. I even used an old tape recorder to create sound effects and scary noises.
One of the stories that always interested me was the Lizzie Borden murders. I remember seeing the movie as a child and reading a couple of books on the subject. For some reason it fascinated me. So you can imagine when I found out that they turned the old house into an inn and let people stay overnight there I was more than thrilled. I am not sure my wife was too much however when she found out that the romantic getaway I had planned for our anniversary was in a house once a location of a famous murder. And a bloody axe one at that.
But she was a good sport about it and we set off on our journey into the past.
The house itself was set on a modern street. It looked like most areas in New England. But upon arriving to the house in Falls River I instantly got an eerie feeling. Pulling into the driveway I could feel the hair on my neck stand up. I couldn’t believe that I was actually standing in front of the very house I had seen in so many pictures and read about in so many books.
We chose to stay in the maid’s room on the second floor. It was said to be the most haunted room in the house. The inside was beautiful, completely restored to it original decor. As we walked into the parlor I took notice to the couch on which the father was killed. At one point we took a picture of me lying on the couch with my wife standing over me with an axe in her hand. It was truly priceless.
There was another couple staying in the room next to us, along with a couple of women in another room. There was a third couple on the first floor and a mother staying with her son. Everyone was very nice and we all got along well. We took a tour of the house with the inn keeper who told us the entire history of the case. We got to see original photographs of the murders taken by the police. We got to see the basement where they found the murder weapon. It was quite an experience.
That night they brought in a medium to perform a séance. That I found a little ridiculous. I have never really believed in the whole ghost and spirits thing. So when this woman came in and attempted to contact the dead it was like watching some b-rated slasher movie. She rocked the table and talked to people who weren’t there. I suppose it was all part of the experience. She did nothing to convince me that my disbelief was unfounded however.
But as it grew late and we all went to our rooms I was told by the inn keeper that the rocking chair in our room often moves by itself and that it shifts across the room on its own. This information I could have done without. Even to a non-believer it was enough to keep my mind on high alert. So needless to say I never slept. I watched the chair all night, thinking to myself, if that thing even so much as moves a hair, I’m out of there.
The next morning we were cooked breakfast. The same meal the family ate before the ment their ugly demise. That afternoon before we left for home we visited the grave sight of the Bordens. Of course just their bodies rested in the ground. Their decapitated heads were sent to a lab in Boston as evidence during the trial and never returned.
All in all it was a great experience and true part of American history. I would highly recommend an over night stay if your ever in the Boston area. I would love to go back and explore a little more. Although I did return home with a small bottle of brick-dust taken from the basement of the house. I always smile when I walk by it as it sits in a glass cabinet on the wall of my livingroom. I do however keep my axes and any other sharp objects far beyond the reach of my daughters.