« Lore

Episode 199: Cutting Ties

2022-05-23 | 🔗

One of the most brutal and notorious unsolved murders in American history is also the seed that grew into its own fair share of folklore. How that affected the lives of those who survived is half the story.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
there was a time when they might have been considered a happy family. Although truthfully it's easy to look back now and wonder if that was ever possible. The final chapters certainly call a lot of things into question. Andrew came from a prominent wealthy family, but forged his own path. Early on, he started out working with his and making furniture for homes and even coffins for graves, but it wasn't until he got into real estate that his fortunes really changed. Family life was just as busy too he and his wife, Sarah had their first child, a daughter in eighteen, fifty one followed another girl nine years later, but all of that changed just three years after that.
when Sarah died at a young age of just thirty nine leaving andrew without a partner, and if we are honest about the social norms of the time, without some one to raise the kids and manage the household, which is probably why he re married two years later from every I've read, they seem like a happy couple, though, but kids process things differently in those two girls missed their mother so much so that their new mom didn't really a chance there is, was a household filled with tension, frustration and a whole lot of unexpressed bitterness. It was the sword Emotional time bomb that we ve learned about over the years from the movies, it wasn't really a question of. If things would reach a boiling point, it was more a matter of when, when that boy,
point arrived though it would unfold in a way that no one could have expected their lives would be shattered, a community would be horrified and a nation would never forget, and at the centre of it all was one young woman. A woman named Does he boarding I'm erin monkey, and this is lore. Before we start, I want to acknowledge a couple of things. First, there's a good chance. You have already heard the story of lizzie boarding and that's ok. I simply hope. The path we take today, through the wreckage of her life, brings a bit of clarity to what you already know and so
This is a massive historical event with more detail. Then I have space for here. So what you'll get today is the core narrative at the heart of a well documented story that has filled entire books, but, as usual, we need to start with a bit of context, like I said before, Things in their house were a bit tents, Andrews, immediate family. Wasn't the only board in household in town, though, in fact there are a number of them in the massachusetts city of fall river and here's the key detail. All the other burdens were better connected and more wealthy than andrew, the rest of them lived up on the hill higher up, both literally and figuratively, than the rest of the community but andrew burden and his family, however rich and privilege they might have been
lived in a more modest house closer to the centre of town on second street, which was why they spent years trying to improve and expand it slowly. Turning a to family building into a large single family home. Now something that's important. Remember about this house. just how much of a maze it was thanks to its original design. As a to family house, it became a rabbits nest of rooms and doorways. Once the dividing wall came down most significantly, the house didn't have, typical lay out where a hallway ran down the middle, with rooms opening up off of it. Instead, many of the bedrooms upstairs opened into each other, you might step into lizzie bedroom, for example, and see multiple doors and not know which one led to her sister emma's room or her parents room because of this, many of them placed furniture in front of the unused doorways or locked unneeded doors.
that's the house now a moment to discuss the people living there. Of course, there was andrew boarding and his second wife abbe one bit of evidence that the daughters disliked abbe was in the fact that the almost never called her mother, despite knowing her since childhood, The sisters also demanded the same amount of allowance as their stepmother and typically took charge in household matters honestly for a victorian household setting. It was just add, and I would assume also at tense. Lastly, rounding other household were to others. John morse was the brother of Andrews first wife, and while he didn't live there all the time it seems he came and went ass. He pleased and the family also employed at domestic servant, name brigitte sullivan, o into further proof how stubborn and privileged emma and lizzie board, and actually were they never called brigitte by her real name. They referred
whereas Maggie, which was the name of the previous servant, apparently they refuse to learn a new name and just kept calling the new woman by the old woman's name now through the late eighteen eighties into the early eighteen name. Lizzie was a bit of a handful when Andrew helped his wife by out part of her own That sisters house to help her financially lizzie and emma through a fit until andrew transfer, the same amount of cash into accounts under their own names. Next lizzie took a trip to europe with friends and then almost refused to come back home when she did her father gifted her with a sealskin cape and, while I most certainly reading into things here, it does feel like Andrew was bribing his daughter to maintain the peace. It was at the very least, a language that we know she spoke well. In june of eighteen. Ninety one, the family reported a robbery which included only a small list of items taken: cash and gold from andrew and jewelry from lizzie
and looking back on it all from today. I have to say that a lot of it seems odd. First, this robbery supposedly happened at midday when every one was up in about throughout the house, and even though lizzie pointed out a broken lock on the cellar door. That only suggested the impossible that someone loudly broke, the lack entered the seller and then made their way all the way upstairs without caught and without getting lost in that unusual maze of rooms I described earlier, then, not august. Second of eighteen. Ninety two everyone started to get sick. Apparently that was the day they had left. Overs swordfish for lunch by evening, every one was nauseous and down for the count except lizzie idly who seem to fare better than the others. Ab was so sick that a doctor was called to the house the next day, and one of the causes he suggested was intentional poisoning but then again, food point
in during the hot new england. Summers was so common that it had its own term the summer complaints, so they dismissed it and moved on that night august. Third, lizzie left the house visit a friend and during their conversation she let slip that she believed their family was in danger men. She. He used to name were apparently threatening her father and lizzie was afraid of what might happen next less than twenty four hours later. All of those fears would seem justified Andrew boarding came home early from work on august, fourth, it seems his body wasn't quite finished with the food poisoning and he wanted to take a nap that was about one thousand and thirty, a dot m. If you're taking notes, but the house was running smoothly, as you might expect Brigitte the servant.
we won called maggie, was also pretty rough that morning, except she didn't have the privilege of being her own boss and the board and had given her the task of making breakfast cleaning up. From that, and in washing all of the windows in the house inside and out. So when I tell you that she had to run outside around nine, a m and vomit on the lawn. I hope you can understand why think Lee lizzie allowed her to go, take a nap which is where brigitte was when MR borg and came home they finally arrived. He found the front door locked, sick and tired. He struggled to get it open, the noise of which caught bridge its attention- and she came downstairs to let him in andrew then took a package upstairs briefly and then came back down to nap on us alpha in the sitting room. Interestingly, lizzie apparently also heard her father come home and stepped out of a room on the second floor, to laugh at his struggle from the top of the stairs
lizzie, however, would later deny being up there despite brigitte testimony to the contrary. Instead, she claims she was taking care of chores around the house as well as looking through the barn outback forth Jeanne, lord of all things, but it was lizzie who also discovered the scene of the crime when she stepped into the sitting room little after eleven, a dot m and what she found was grisly beyond imagining andrew had taken his coat off and placed it folded with care beside himself. Now, though, it was covered in blood, as was the sofa. Two ribbons of blood had also been flung onto the wall, even as high as the framed artwork that hung above him, there was so much blood, but if we're glad seen that is by one could easily understand why Andrew wardens head had been struck violently and repeatedly with a hatchet carving his face into a ruined mess. Ten blows in total each one devastating the man's face and head one of them.
I was actually sliced one of his eyeballs right down the middle. The result was a body that, even to those who knew him was unrecognizable. Lizzie claimed that she shouted for brigitte, who was upstairs resting in her third floor room come down, quick lizzie had shouted father is dead. Somebody came in and killed him, but when brigitte arrived lizzie, wouldn't let her look into the sitting room. Instead, she sent the woman to fetch two people, their physician, doktor, seabury, bowen and a friend name Alice Russell. The same woman lizzie had visited with the night before When they arrived along with a neighbor woman, nay, mrs churchill, all of them, were shaken by what they saw. Even the position. and who had seen a lot in his career found Andrews body to be more than disturbing, but one thing was very clear:
The murder had only just happened in someone suggested. They searched the house to see if the killer might still be there. There is also the question of where abbe board and had gone. Emma and John, the brother of it this first wife weren't home, but no one was clear on where abbe might be I'm busy insisted that she had received a hand delivered message from a friend and gone out to visit them a bridge. It had no memory of the woman leaving either so mrs churchill join bridge it's in slowly creeping up the stairs. They were looking for a killer, but in the back of their minds. They also half expected to find another body and just as they reached the point on the staircase, where their heads were level with the floor of the upstairs bedrooms, churchill turned toward one of the guest rooms and saw something on the floor. Another body, It was abbey and, judging by the evidence she had been struck by the same person wielding the same weapon. She too had been hits over
over on and around the head nineteen times. According to the autopsy, aware. Andrews body had still been bleeding when they found it. Abbeys lay in a pool of thick drying blood. Is there another called Alice Russell from below? Yes, MRS Churchill replied her voice, shaking with fear they killed her too the local police got to work immediately. Not wanting to know about fall river in the eighteen is that while crime was relatively low, the decades leading to the board and murders saw a massive influx of immigrants from less desirable places like Portugal, ireland and horror of whores canada. They took the less desirable jobs and quickly
it became the go to boogeyman for any and all fear related topics of conversation. So by no evidence to suggest it was necessary. The police started to look for clues in the immigrant community. Surprise, surprise that well came up dry, but they did find another source of suspicious activity and testimony the victims, youngest daughter lizzie, and while it might be obvious to some let's take a moment to unpack, why first was lilies whereabouts at the time of the murder. The medical experts placed abbeys too of death at around nine, a m and Andrews. At about eleven, a m which mean that someone brutally murdered abbey and then stayed in the house for two hours unnoticed by all the others before doing the same to andrew or that the killer wasn't really
true to her at all and when you remember brigitte testimony that lizzie had been on the second floor landing when her father returned home at ten thirty laughing as they both struggled with the locked door. It's easy to wonder how in the world could she have been up airs and not heard the murder of her stepmother take place, there's also story that abbe wasn't home because she'd been called away to see a friend, a friend who reached By sending a hand written note via a messenger but try as they are, The authorities could not track down who that messenger might have been if they existed at all and the person who declared that story is truth. Lizzie boarding, and then there was the situation involving the dress. It seems in the aftermath of the murders, family friend Alice Russell stayed at the house with lizzie and emma claimed that one day she stepped into the kitchen to find lizzie burning, a blue dress when asked
why she was doing its lizzie replied that the dress had paint on it, but it does require us to ask hard questions about how the killer managed to escape without leaving a bloody trail or how, if that killer was lizzie, She might have managed to look needs and clean when the police arrives, then I know folks had done the math the best guess at the time between andrew wardens, time of death and the exact moment, lizzie shouted for brigitte too, I'm down stairs was a small window of maybe ten to fifteen minutes. Could lizzie have done the deed gone, her room and changed and then returned to the sitting room to cry for help I believe the answer is yes and bridges. eleven was clear with the police when she described what lizzie had been wearing that morning before the murders took place, a blue dress, I'm not saying it's definitive
but I also pretty sure the last thing you would want to do in the wake of a brutal murder in your own home is burdensome clothing just because it has some paint on it. On august, ninth, just five days after the murders, the police held an inquest to discuss the case. Many of the people involved questioned, including lizzie and brigitte, and after giving a lot of confusing information, lizzie drew enough suspicion to be formerly arrested on august eleventh she would spending. ex nine and a half months behind bars waiting for her trial to begin which finally took place on june fifth of eighteen. Ninety three and look: these sorts of trials are incredibly complex and intricate and there's just no way. I could adequately capture everything that transpired in just a few minutes here, but I do think the important things to point out that all of those inconsistencies I mention just a moment ago, were brought
during the trial and justice quickly, they were dismissed away, the confusing stories and testimony about where lizzie was during the murder that was blue, and on the low dose of morphine the doktor bowen had given her causing as he claimed mental confusion. That window of time required to finish the murder and then run upstairs to change, was also brought into the discussion. But again this just as not possible, plus they never found the hatchet used by the killer and how could lizzie have possibly had time to hide it so well and to make matters worse above, Testimony from lizzie herself was thrown out because it was given without an attorney present, and she had it been properly informed of her fifth amendment rights. Add to this these supportive emotional testimony from her older sister Emma and lizzie.
suddenly looked like a victim rather than the killer. Her guilt hadn't been proven without a shadow of a doubt and that left the jury with a difficult decision to make a june twentieth of eighteen. Ninety three: they left the courtroom to deliberate and returned just ninety minutes later it was a crime of epic proportions, one that had captured attention on a national level and every one was eager for their decision. The verdict that was read aloud would bring relief to some and anger to others, but either way it was the final word lizzie burden they declared was innocent.
The murder of andrew and abbe board and has never left us. The blood might have been cleaned up and furniture and carpets changed over the years, but the stain of that violence and horror will never fade away. Death, after all, is irreversible. No matter how hard we wish it wasn't, it does Help that it was such a complex story played out on a massive stage to national attention. It was a crime before the era of dna and one that seem to defy logical timelines. Everyone wanted to find the killer, but no one seemed to be able to put the entire puzzle together to do it. There are also many other pieces to the story that I didn't have time to explore here and all of them have the power to alter our view of lizzie boarded. There's her visit to a local drug store the day before the murder
where she tried to buy prussic acid in odorless and quick acting poison, and there was the fact that lizzie had a lifelong passion for animals and how, just months for the murder. She had discovered that her father had opened her homemade pigeon coop and killed all the birds killed them by the way with a hatchet. The conversation could go on and on which it has for one hundred and thirty years because the truth of the matter is the killer, got away whether it was Lizzie herself, some one else close to the family or truly the act of a strange invader. The unsolved status of this case, has never gone away either. Her trial was an enormous travesty of justice, or it was one of the biggest unsolved murders on record. Both options are difficult to process and each have proven impossible to let go of. Even the house itself has failed to escape the gravitational.
All of those horrific events today the building serves a few different purposes. It's a mixture of a bed and breakfast a museum and a general tourist destination for people who are passionate about the story, and that means lots and lots of people have passed through those walls. Over the years, my friend, amy brownie from the tv show kindred spirits. Set at best on a recent episode of her pied cast hunted road. The energy of the board and house is fed, often and fed well by one of the most notorious true crime cases in american history. Yes, it's just a house, but it's also the epicenter for something larger, something permanence and quite possibly something supernatural. Countless reports from visitors over the years have detailed various unusual experiences from visions of mysterious figures to the touches of invisible hands. The boarding house seems to have it all in the end, though
because ghost is the spirit of uncertainty who was the real killer? What was their true motivation and how did they managed to slip through the net of all the people investigating the murders of andrew and abbe boarding? We might never know the answers to those questions. One thing that might help could be to access lizzie, his own files and documents. Regarding the case, apparently, she kept it all, including legal paperwork correspondence with her defence attorney in anything else. That was part of the journey part of her story, and where is it.
locked box in the hands of the same boston law firm. She entrusted them to her instructions, guard them forever and never break the seal on the box, and to this day her wishes have been honoured, but it certainly makes a person wonder what could be so innocent that needs hidden from the world. The story of lizzie burden is tragic, bloody and ever so mysterious how the murders could have taken place and who the true killer might have been, are questions that have puzzled historians and researchers for over a century after today. I hope
I can understand why, but there's more to her story than the murders and her trial. And if you stick around through this brief sponsor break I'll, tell you one more tale about her tragic life This episode of law was made possible by athletic greens. Athletic greens is seventy five high quality vitamins, minerals, whole food source, super foods, probiotics an adapted genes in one convenient daily serving. I started taking athletic greens because I, It is simple and easy way to start my day off right and to give a boost to my immune system, nervous system, energy and focus, and it's become a tasty, treat that I actually look forward to each morning right now. It's time to reclaim your health and army are immune system with convenient daily nutrition. It's just one scoop in a cup of water every day that sets no need for a million different pills and supplements to look out for your health plus cassio less than three dollars a day, which is,
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nor dollars off- select mattresses, that's code, history, one zero zero for one hundred dollars off select mattresses. Exclusions applies casper dot com for more details. In a lot of ways, the death of her parents gave lizzie the life she always wanted. Yes, there was grief. Yes, there were sadness and yes, there were this tragedy, but it also afforded her the freedom and privilege she had always seem to be drawn to a horse whether or not that actually mattered more than having her parents around. Only lizzie could tell us- and I'm sure each of us has our own feelings on that within a month of her acquittal, lizzie did what she'd always dreamed of. She moved up to the hill that richie high class neighbourhood that overlooked the rest,
while river and she could afford to as well her portion of the inheritance from her fathers estate needed the modern equivalent of roughly ten million dollars the how she bought was big with eight bedrooms, six fireplaces and a whole lot of space all spread out across three stories of newly adult luxury, her older sister Emma moved in with her, but I imagine they also brought a lot of baggage with them. How can they not and, sadly the community that it let them move on. There would always be rumours that lizzie was the killer. There was mistrust and social distance, and I would imagine that overwhelming feeling that she wasn't welcome, which had to have been frustrating right. She had been declared innocent
And moved into the nice neighborhood, and yet she would always be lizzie burden, and then there were the children. Neighbourhood kids were known to be the most cruel, throwing eggs at her house or gravel at her windows. They would push large needles into the gap between the doorbell button and the metal plates surrounding it, causing it to stick and, of course, there was the rhyme. They would chance it most often in front of her house to the rhythm of their jump rope if you knew about the lizzie board and story before today, youth probably already heard the sun as well lizzie boarding took an ax, gave her mother forty wax when she saw what she had done. She gave her father forty one, the details, weren't accurate. Of course, the number of blows with the weapon, a wrong for example, but you get the eye-
yeah- and I hope you can see how that little rhine became like a ghost haunting lizzie for decades to come guilty or innocent. She suffered through that small punishment for the rest of her life. In eighteen, o five emma moved out. Maybe she had had enough of living in the same space as the pariah of the neighbourhood, or maybe she just needed time on our own, but when she did it left lizzie alone, with her only company, the many animals. She had surrounded herself with over the years that followed she did her best to leave her life on her own terms. She christened her house maple croft and even had a name etched into the stones. Epps leading up to the front porch, but every decision was excruciating and studying intently by the people around her One newspaper article from nineteen thirteen set at best in a piece about her daily life z boarding lives, a recluse as damned by public opinion and as ostracised by former friends and enemies. Allow
as if that same jury had pronounced the one word guilty in eighteen, twenty six sheet into a hospital under a false name, to get help for gallbladder issues the following year. She passed away, there's some speculation as to how well attended her wake was at maple craft, with some accounts mentioning just a few friends and one eye witness who was hired to sing a song during the service even claiming the room, was empty. Lizzie didn't leave any money for her sister upon her death, giving a good sized chunk instead to a local animal rescue organization, but that didn't matter after complications with a broken hip after a fall emma passed away just nine days after her younger sister lizzie burdens, graveside burial service at a grove cemetery was held after the sun, went down in the dark, with no guests there to remember her, and at burial was right beside her father and stepmother
was either a tender reunion or an awkward mistake when one of the prosecutors from her trial, a manning, frank knowlton, heard about where she'd been buried. He asked the question in a letter to a friend that all of us must be thinking. I wonder he said if she will ever rest in peace, This episode of law was written and produced by me. Erin monkey with research by taylor, haggard doorn and music by Chad. Lawson lore is it's more than justified, cast? There's a book series available in bookstores in online and two seasons of the television show on amazon. Prime video check them both out. If you want more lore in your life
I also make an executive produce a whole bunch of other podcast, all of which I think you'd enjoy my production, company, grim and mild. Specializes in shows that sit at the intersection of the dark, any historical you can learn more about all of those shows and everything else going on over in one central place, grim and mild doc. and you can also followed this show on twitter, facebook and instagram, just search for lore podcast, all one word and then click that follow button and when you do say hi, I like it when people say hi and as always, thanks for listening.
Transcript generated on 2022-06-11.