Friday, January 12, 2018

Lizzie Borden's staircase

The staircase, seen from the top looking down

In any story, there’s always some detail, large or small, that sticks with you. For me with the Lizzie Borden narrative, it’s the idea that the front stairs curved around such that at some point as you climbed, you’d be looking into an upstairs bedroom at floor level. And that when Mrs. Borden was lying murdered on an upper floor and the maid Bridget Sullivan was trying to open the front door to Mr. Borden (thus facilitating his murder), Lizzie Borden stood on the stairs behind Bridget and laughed.

She may have been looking at Mrs. Borden’s body, eye to eye, when she did that.

I believe I'm standing on the step that lets me see under the guest room bed

The idea simply chills my bones. I opened my novel with that scene (and circled back to it towards the end in an altered, poetic-license kind of way).

The 1893 jurors actually visited the Borden household to see its strange layout and, yes, to climb those stairs and see if it was possible to see a body on the floor underneath the guest room bed.

If you visit the Lizzie Borden B&B, you are given the same chance the jurors were given. A docent may even lie down on the floor where Abby Borden lay, so that you get a more visceral experience.

Stairs are somewhat creepy even without corpses at the top. Discuss?

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Definitely chill inducing. Scary!