MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
This morning, my stepson Liam was all excited about a new video game trailer that dropped. He came into the bedroom and said “You like horror films right?” I answered, “yes” and he showed be this new Call of Duty. The Haunting of Verdansk trailer that looked really fun. The game is actually a first person shooter game where you are fighting against chainsaw murderer Leather face and Jigsaw from the Saw films. Of course, there are Zombies you fight along the way and it looks like it is going to be a lot of fun.
I was saying to him that this looks like it would make a great movie – kind of like Army of Darkness where these scary characters form our nightmares become targets for the military or even hunters.
I knew that he was also a big fan of Red Dead Redemption where outlaws and cowboys do basically the same thing. I said wouldn’t it be creepy if cowboys were to hunt aliens, or monsters in the woods or maybe Jack the Ripper or an axe murderer like Lizzie Borden.
Liam said “Who is that?” I explained that Lizzie Borden was a supposed axe murderer who lived in the 1800’s who allegedly killed her parents. I said she was accused of murdering her father and mother and was acquitted so it is literally still an open case and that if she didn’t kill her parents someone else did and that the axe murderer got away with murder.
The grotesque telling of her story has transformed Lizzie Borden from a human being into a spinster that I would say is akin to a mad woman and a witch. Indeed, Lizzie Borden has become a popular culture oddity. She is now interchangeable with both real life killers and fictional killers in the minds of the public due to how the mass media has presented her since the nineteenth century.
I got to thinking about Lizzie Borden because believe it or not when I first got an Ouija Board in my teenage years she was one of the entities that claimed she was on the board. When I was young, I had no idea who Lizzie Borden was and after some research, I decided that Ouija Boards were creepy. Even though I have used them in my adult life, there was a time that I would not even go near one after my encounter with Lizzie Borden.
I first thought that she was a witch and then after I did research on her, I realized who spoke to me on the Ouija Board and then I felt uncomfortable.
In 1892, her parents Andrew and Abby Borden, were hacked to death in broad daylight in the comfort of their own home. A few weeks later Lizzie Borden, Andrew’s daughter from his first marriage, was arrested for double homicide.
She is also the only alleged killer in history to have her own nursery rhyme:
Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks;
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.
To be honest, I do not know why that out of all the years I have been in radio I have felt the need now to talk about Lizzie Borden and the thought of a large axe being used to it its mark continually into the soft skull of a human being.
But it is not imagining the blunt striking of the skull, or the sound of the metal making contact – it is the horror that I am sure the small town in Massachusetts experienced in the process.
It was a time that Mark Twain called the Gilded Age. Things were changing rapidly because of technology and manufacturing. It was a time where many people were suspecting that the turn of the century would again push us ever closer to the apocalypse.
Apocalyptic thinking usually happens at the turn of a millennium and even at the turn of a century and leading up to that moment people begin to lose their minds.
It is also interesting how in the time of the Borden Murders that the Press showed how inaccurate they can be and how salacious they tend to get when they see that blood spattered on the front page sells newspapers.
Newspapers across the country took hold of the story from the very first day; a wealthy, white, woman being accused of murder was no ordinary affair. For the next year the nation was gripped to the news as the case revealed an everlasting list of strange characters and showed the dark underbelly of a small town in Massachusetts. And to climax the dramatic events, Lizzie was found not guilty.
This certainly mirrors how we as a society react when someone who we believe to be a killer – is set free or is acquitted—something that has been happening with police brutality as of late. The media can have the power to create more tension by egging on the public and creating witch hunts even when there aren’t any witches to burn.
Murder and treachery especially when the elite are involved—seem to create bad political infighting and with the media defending or otherwise trivializing things such as pedophilia and blood drinking and calling them conspiracy theory – we begin to wonder if all of the cover up is either evidence of paranoid Satanic panic and blood libel allegations – or that the rich hide behind their masks and participate in bloodletting rituals of the innocent.
The Borden murders reflect a key moment in our modern public consciousness about the reality of violence being done behind the scenes by the rich and the powerful.
Jack the Ripper, highlighted the “underbelly of prostitution and the contrast between their social class and their sometimes surprisingly well-to-do customers.
This can also be compared to how the story of Jeffrey Epstein has its notoriety not only because of his accused pedophilia – but the fact that he also conducted Joseph Mengele like experiments on his ranch in New Mexico and had a list of friends, namely well to do customers who also took part in his brand of treachery.
The O.J. Simpson’s case, drew attention to issues of racial perceptions of the police, the invulnerability of celebrity, and domestic violence even in a wealthy household.
For some reason, in the year 2020, we are being told that the rich and well to do today are not at all involved with criminal activity – that there are no dark skeletons in the closets of the rich and powerful.
Those who believe in elite vampires drinking adrenochrome are being called conspiracy theorists and kooks but as we see with the Lizzie Borden case, the rich socialites can and often participate in unsavory behaviors; maybe not to the point of axe killing – but perhaps something more.
The adrenochrome harvesting conspiracy theory is a potent example of “hidden virality” that happens when we suspect that those who are rich and powerful have at their discretion way to attain and maintain their youth like appearance.
The harvesting of it predate all of the conspiracy theories that have been discredited in the media. Aldous Huxley spoke of it long before Hunter S. Thompson claimed it as a psychedelic in, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Many years ago there were warnings that would go out from the conspiracy circles that the elite were into blood lust and that there were vampires among them that prey on young children.
But it wasn’t until the infamous spirit cooking parties by Marina Ambromovich were revealed that people started think that the elite participated in Satanic gatherings and ritualistic orgies.
While I am sure that kernels of truth exist in the conspiracy – the idea that every one of your political enemies are satanic killers – ranks up in the category of modern day Blood Libel.
This is why the case of Lizzie Borden is so important to review and remember in our history.
What separated this from other crimes was the combination of an unlikely suspect, the rise of sensationalized journalism, and the fact that it offered a morbid and wry critique of high society – and we have never lost this ability to seize upon the elite and their crimes against common people.
There have been many theories regarding Lizzie’s potential motives, including that she was the victim of child incest at the hand of her father, or was angry with him for killing her pet pigeons, or simply sick of his strict and rigid ways, ready to inherit his wealth and stop living under his thumb. None can be proven – but that only adds to her mystique.
The salacious elements and the uncertainty surrounding the Borden murders has become modern American mythology. In addition to the fact that the only real suspect was acquitted and the case was never solved, the murder and trial occurred during a time when the quantity, quality and content of American newspapers was changing rapidly.
Lizzie’s was one of the first trials in American history that both fueled and was fueled by major mass-market newspapers and magazines. Moreover, she was a media sensation because her trial exposed the sleazy shortcomings of high society, delighting the poorer masses.
In the Borden case, the prosecution and in turn, the media, used the trial to convey that the wealthy are not exempt from unsavory, violent behavior.
She was one of the first to be judged in the court of public opinion.
Lizzie’s defense was, in some ways, a defense of upper-class society; an attempt to demonstrate that someone from her background could not have possibly committed a brutal murder.
Now it seems we suspect that many of the liberal limousine left are Satan worshiping blood drinkers – but we have to ask ourselves if suspecting all of them is healthy or even sane.
Unbelievably, there are those on the internet that tend to have a list and many of them are very likely political enemies and need to be found and tried in a court of law—until then it all sounds incredibly morbid and terrifying.
It is very much a clash of ideologies like in the time of Lizzie Borden.
This clash of ideologies and opposing narratives made for compelling copy, and newspapers and the public ate it up. Once the media created Lizzie Borden as a persona and celebrity, the process was self-sustaining: the more Lizzie became a household name, the more newspapers people would purchase.
Newspapers often took liberties when reporting the facts – not an uncommon practice in 19th century reporting culture, which focused more on crime and vice than accuracy. Because the case and trial had so many easily sensationalized components, articles often featured very dramatic accounts of what happened in the courtroom – for example, when Lizzie fainted at the sight of her father and step-mother’s severed heads, which were brought in as evidence.
On slower news days, reporters would comment that Lizzie was yawning or looked bored during the trial, planting the seed that a woman exhibiting boredom by such a gory event might be capable of murder. Her every move made headlines, but that still doesn’t explain why, all these years later, we still pore over the evidence in search of something new.
Does anybody remember the Casey Anthony case? Casey Anthony was transformed into a modern day symbol of evil and made a pariah despite her acquittal for the murder of her young daughter in 2011.
It is important to recognize that inaccuracies, atrocity tales, stereotyping and labeling by the media can destroy the lives of people, whether it be the very real tale of an affluent woman who may have killed her parents with an axe or perhaps the internet pushing the boundaries by labeling every rich Hollywood star a blood drinking pedophile.