1. "Modern Forensics and the Borden Case"
Posted by Edisto on May-4th-03 at 9:36 AM
There's an interesting piece in today's "Parade" magazine about Dr. Clyde Snow, a noted forensic anthropologist. He worked on the John Wayne Gacy murders and helped to identify Josef Mengele's remains, among other cases in which he's been involved. His services are used chiefly to identify victims of homicides and other disasters, and of course identifying Abby's and Andrew's bodies wasn't a problem. We've discussed this before, but it might be a topic worth revisiting. How might modern forensic techniques have helped to solve the Borden case, if at all? The most obvious answer is that the minute blood spot found on Lizzie's petticoat could have been analyzed for DNA content, and we would have known for sure whether it really was Lizzie's menstrual blood, the result of an actual "flea bite," or the blood of one of the victims (most likely Abby). If it had been Abby's blood in particular, that would have been powerful evidence against Lizzie, because she didn't find Abby's body and claimed she had never been near it. If it had been Andrew's blood, she might have been able to come up with some kind of excuse, though probably not a valid one. If it was her own blood (as I think it probably was), it wouldn't have helped much. Anybody know of other ways in which modern forensics could have been used?
Good topic Edisto.
There's Luminol which is used to find blood traces on floors, walls, etc. Blood stains are very hard to get rid of and Luminol is very effective in revealing attempted clean ups on all kinds of materials.
For instance I don't remember reading whether anybody got down on their hands and knees and examined the rugs in the rooms and on the stairs for blood. The rugs may have hid it even if they had. If the murderer had blood on their shoes they may have left a trail of their route. It would be nice to know which door was used for his/her exit, if indeed they left at all. Luminol would be excellent for that.
There's also fiber evidence to consider. Did the killer perhaps leave a fiber from a Bedford cord when she straddled Abby's body? It would be hard to explain a fiber on Abby's back or anywhere on her person.
Definitely! (Great topic, Edisto!)
* 1st off, the crime scenes would have been a lot more secure. Far less people allowed in the house. Likely the bodies would not have been moved. Far less people would have been allowed to touch the bodies, let alone move them. All investigative persons would have been wearing latex gloves...all samples put into plastic bags/containers to preserve the purity of the evidence.
* We'd have known exactly whose blood was in that supposed pail of menstrual rags.
* Luminol would have shown where any blood was cleaned up in any areas of the house.
* We'd have known more about what was in contact with any of the hatchets that were found.
* Hair/thread samples found on the victims, anything found under their fingernails.
* Stronger evidence of the stomach contents, more thorough poison testing in general (from hair, fingernail samples). The autopsies would have been more thorough.
* Lizzie could have been tested re drug use.
* More fingerprints would have been found.
* Likely all the food in the house would have been confiscated & tested for poison.
* Everyone may have been subjected to polygraph tests. (Doubt if Lizzie would have passed!)
I was waiting for Fingerprints to be mentioned!
Whadaya mean Tina-Kate, More fingerprints? I'd settle for just plain fingerprints!
Those were great responses. I think I'll add trace elements as to metal in the wounds. They can match the metal composition to the weapon, if found. Then trace the history of the weapon, who bought it, etc.
Yes, this is a great topic, I think just about everything has been covered already. The only other thing that I can think of is that if a modern crew went through that house that Bedford cord dress would have been found and tested for bloodstains. It would be interesting to find out if there were any blood droplets on the carpeting that were missed with the naked eye and see if there was any blood trail at all.
Kat, yr right! I always had the impression (pun intended!) fingerprinting was used since around the 1880s (too many Sherlock Holmes knock offs!). However, it appears it wasn't brought into use in the US until the early 1900s.
Here's a site with a brief history of fingerprinting --
Seems the more we find out re Lizzie & the limited technology of the time, the more things we find she had in her favor!
BTW, just thought I'd share a little chuckle I was having with myself. On the Peterson Thread, it was mentioned re how they checked his computer for evidence. I shudder to think if I was ever a suspect the things they'd find on my computer. All this history of crime investigation stuff...Lizzie Borden links...
(Message last edited May-4th-03 11:53 PM.)
I think of exactly the same thing every time I get on the computer after watching CSI !! *What would forensics find on my computer when I'm gone?*
All my bookmarks as Favorites are CourtTV, Crime sites... I even have the menu of death row prisoners last meals in Texas.
I also have the Ramsey ransome note and all the horrible pictures of the Black Dahlia.
Mark Twain was first? Puddin'head Wilson, 1894.
(Message last edited May-5th-03 3:45 AM.)
We must be a suspicious lot. Hardly anybody understands my Borden obsession. (Can't say I blame them!)
Here's to creative writers! Trust Twain to take a new concept & put it out there for public awareness. Very cool.
Modern technology or not, a lot still depends on the competence of the investigators. Some of the same mistakes that were made in the Borden case were made in the Simpson and Ramsey cases. In the Ramsey case, a great many extraneous people were allowed to rummage through the house, even though it should have been cordoned off as a crime scene from the very first. After all, a crime of some sort had definitely been committed, even if the police didn't realize it was a murder. (Which brings up the question of why they didn't do a thorough search of the house in the first place.) In the Simpson case, a detective carried a vial of blood around with him for hours, leading to a (probably unfounded IMHO) suspicion that the police might have planted evidence. And so it goes...
I've been rereading Masterton's "Lizzie Didn't Do It." One of his theories, based on the pattern of Abby's wounds, is that she must have been killed by someone considerably taller than Lizzie. I wonder if modern science would be any help in determining the height of an assailant in a case like that. Someone on another board posited that Andrew Borden was in a standing position when first struck by the murderer. I think that would argue against Lizzie as the attacker, because she was so much shorter than Andrew. I also think the sitting-room furniture would have been more disarranged and the blood spots more scattered.
Those are good points. Even with all our taxpayer funded modern forensic techniques of the 21st century we still end up with botched high-profile cases.
Does it just boil down to the first team on the scene?
And the proper preparedness/training?
AS to angle of wounds and height of attacker, and trajectory of blood spatter, I would think that even then they could do the math, and make valid pronouncements as to such things...the experts, that is.
Yes, Edisto, I was thinking about how, aside from the chemical and biological testing we have now, one would hope that (and this is a famous peeve of mine) the Borden crime scene would have been secured, and the family and all those busybodies (no pun intended) removed. Why this didn't effectively occur in the Ramsey case is maddening and mystifying.
Also, don't forget that the CSI staff would be photographing and videotaping the scene and the inhabitants. Imagine! We'd know what Lizzie was wearing right after she "discovered" Andrew's corpse! Her statements and her attitude would ber preserved for all to see.
More accurate forensics could also have given us a definitive word on who predeceased whom. I'm willing to bet no one put an anal thermometer up Abby's...well, you get what I mean.
It is absolutely true that even with modern forensics, it is easy to botch an investigation. A look at the Martha Moxley murder case in Greenwich in the mid-1970's would verify this. I am interested in the comments about fingerprints made in this thread. There was no way to verify fingerprints in 1892 was there? I don't ever recall reading about that approach to solving the case at the time the crime took place. When did fingerprinting become an accepted forensic technology?
I do think that if the investigation could be meticulously operated, and they had DNA testing and all of the other techniques mentioned throughout this thread, ol' Lizzie would have been nailed. It would be remarkable if just some of the evidence from the trial remained untainted and could actually be tested with modern techniques. I have read, for example, that with modern technology, it is now possible to restore the missing 18 minutes from that infamous Nixon tape and that the National Archives has considered doing just that. However, there are those within the National Archives who believe that to tamper with that tape is to tamper with history. It is an interesting situation. Maybe it is better just to forever wonder what truly happened in that house in Fall River on that hot summer day than it would be to actually learn the truth.
Jim, here's a brief history of fingerprinting --
The evidence in the FRHS could be tested; Abby's hair, the stomach contents, the handleless hatchet... Possibly forensic anthropology techniques could reveal a few things with Abby, Andrew & Lizzie's bodies -- prob would never happen tho (permission not having been granted beforehand). Wasn't there an exhumation of a famous outlaw (Jesse James?) that cleared up cause of death & confusion re ancestry?
I'd guess Fall River wouldn't want the Borden murders solved; takes away the mystique. Then again, anything's possible.
Re: Jesse James, can't tell how much was accomplished:
Washington City Paper, Bone Hunter, 3/13/98:
...."The flimsy rationale for the dig was rooted in the legend that Jesse had faked his own death in April 1882. After a lifetime of robbing banks and running from assassins, the story goes, Jesse made it look as if he'd been shot to death by a member of his own gang in his own house. In fact, they say, he escaped and lived a full life under a pseudonym hundreds of miles away. No matter that the body was displayed for hundreds of mourners or that doctors carried out a full autopsy. Within a year of his death, Missouri farmers were reporting sightings of Jesse James. "
"... Starrs and his men crawled into the pit and strained out rotting clumps of the outlaw. In the shadow of a TV microphone boom, they found a rusted bullet, 15 teeth (four of them gold), and a tie pin that resembled the one in Jesse's open-casket photo. The bits of blackened skull were barely discernible against the dirt they came from."
"At the end of the day, it was Jesse James at the bottom of that hole after all. There had really been little doubt about his death to begin with, as even Starrs has acknowledged.
The biggest find: Jesse was buried in a wooden coffin, not a lead one, as everyone had always thought. The more lasting results of the Jesse dig were dozens of newspaper stories and a decent A&E documentary."
Wasn't Abby's hunk of hair a false *switch* that the FRHS has? Could that be used for anything?
I've always wondered that about Abby's switch. If Abby was into the Victorian habit of keeping her hair combings in a hair safe, she'd be able to make her own hair switch with the loose hair she saved. If there was a sample of Abby's DNA from her remains and they tested the hair switch to see if it was indeed her hair, they probably could also check it for poisons and such. I've looked at that pic on Stefani's site and it does look like real hair, but, it doesn't mean that it was her's. Apparently there was quite a market for real human hair accessories then, even more so in the 1880s with those elaborate hairstyles.
And I always see it listed that that hair switch was to cover baldness on Abby's head, though how she accomplished that with a braid is beyond me?
Thanks for the refresher on Jesse James, Kat. Been a long time since I saw that show!
The switch could contain bits of Abby's own hair from habitual wear, unless it has been washed over the years. The stomach contents are definitely there (on display).
Can you recall where you've read that Abby's "switch" was used to cover a bald spot? (I've read it too, but I can't remember where.) In the autopsy photo, she doesn't look bald. Her hair, which is probably wet, doesn't even look all that gray. That well-known photo of Abby in her later years (which I think was actually taken years before she died) makes it look as if Abby had rather short hair. Maybe she didn't want to be bothered with the long hair that many women wore and simply used a fall or switch instead. I remember my mother telling me that the hair saved in those "hair safes" was used to make something called "rats." A "rat" (ugh, what a name!) was a little pillow of hair that was used to make a bun. The wearer's own hair had to be arranged over it, because the rat, true to its name, was pretty unsightly. Realistic-looking synthetic hair is a fairly modern invention. I know that because doll wigs, as late as the 1930s and 40s, were made of either human hair or mohair (or occasionally yarn). It was only after WWII that companies began experimenting with modacrylic fibers and were able to make synthetic wigs that looked natural.
(Message last edited May-9th-03 10:13 AM.)
What kind of a hairstyle is this anyway?
It looks like she has bent over & combed her hair all
to the front & secured it & fluffed it. In the crime
scene photo you can see several hairpins (the source of
the gilt?) -- maybe in her later years she wore her hair
"Aunt Bea" style - done in a topknot?
According to Michael Martins, there is no gilt on those hairpins. Also, isn't it mainly arsenic that tends to collect in the hair and nails?
I'm willing to bet (though I'll check) that it was our favorite novelist/crimesolver, the late Miss Lincoln, who baldly (ha!) states as absolute fact in A PRIVATE DISGRACE that Abby was concealing thinning hair with the "rat." Remember, much of her theory depends on Abby looking as pathetic as possible (friendless, house-bound, balding), so that the trek to the bank would be an out-of-character event that would need to be hidden from eagle-eyed Lizzie with the assistance of John Morse and his trusty note and carriage.
Was the blood evidence planted or forged? Definitely YES!!!
Steven Singular's book tells about this case, and how he got involved. He lived in Denver, and wrote about the assassination of a talk show host by Nazis, circa 1983. He received a call from LA and was told "all the blood evidence is suspect". You can read it and learn for yourself.
EVERYONE who has read more the older books on this case knows that Abby was killed first. Her blood was black, clotted, and not wet. Her body was noticably cooler. Last seen alive about 9:15am. Andy was last seen alive around 10:50am?; his blood was red, liquid, and dripping. His body was warm to the touch.
From this any RATIONAL person can conclude the "red liquid blood found tricking down the sidewalk around 12:15am" says Ron and Nicole were killed after 11:30pm (or closer to midnight). The ME who did the autopsy said "the physical evidence puts the deaths after 11pm".
You can look it up. If you can't understand and accept these real facts, then you wiil be hopeless in solving the older case.
Anyway, AR Brown solved this case a dozen years ago; based on the testimony of Ellan Eagan and Henry Hawthorne. His solution works because it accounts for the real facts, and the "discrepancies" in the later testimony. I tried to explain this as best I could.
I also think I'm smart enought to understand when its time to move on.
"Eagle eyed Lizzie"? Surely you jest!
Both Emma and Lizzie were away on vacation. They met JVM, who must have told them something, so Lizzie returned. "For the meeting" seems like just a rationalization to explain her change in plans.
Abby was NOT house-bound. The testimony says Abby and Lizzie often went to church together. (Kat, please supply the citations.)
Think again. The homes of the wealthy and powerful are treated differently from ordinary people. It wasn't a housing project!!!
The same pattern w/ the Ramseys as with the Bordens. The rich are indeed more powerful, and have friends in city hall.
You maybe need to read some of the fictional works of Raymond Changler, etc. "Fiction" because the lawyers and libel laws also restrict local reporters; their newspaper is usually part of the local ruling class.
Read some Real Life true crime. In some cases, the police can't be bothered to prosecute crimes involving druggies etc. NY city may be different, its reputation of its police detectives, etc. But they also have a bigger budget than a lot of small communities.
They did take the temperature of Andy and Abby using "hand-on" methods. Just like in hospitals today. A thermometer only provides a more precise result.
I don't remember the show and figured there was more to the show than what I read in the article.
So anyone, please don't take the article to be the *last word* on the subjects of James, which were brought up here.
Please can you tell me the stomach contents are really really at the FRHS? Somehow I thought there were just the labels?
The answer about Abby's hair being mixed in with the switch makes sense to me, thanks, I hadn't thought of that.
Thanks, Edisto. I searched in Lincoln as she is the usual source of trouble and couldn't find it, though what I had meant and was not clear on, was that there are those sites about Lizzie and whenever they mention that switch of hair, its to cover Abby's baldness.
Yes, I recall the "rats", from what I understand, those were really big during the "Gibson Girl" style of hair-do. To get that big pompadour a rat was placed under the hair at the front of the head. I'm trying to recall where I read it, but, in some book on Victoriana they had stated that the loose hair was saved to make braids and rats and such.
I did find in Lincoln that she calls Abby's hair switch "fake" hair, it may not be Abby's, but, I do think it was someone's real hair at one time.
You are right about Jesse James. Modern forensics did determine it was him, his wounds and how he died. Modern forensics also determined that President Zachary Taylor was not poisoned when he was exhumed several years ago. In addition, Carl Albert Weiss, the man who shot Huey Long was also exhumed several years ago and tests were done on his body as well. In all cases, I THINK it was the same person who performed all of the testing and I also believe this person has inquired into the possibility of doing some forensic testing on Andrew, Abby and even Lizzie.
Are there any living Borden relatives who have any say over this or is the decision to disallow any forensic testing made by officials in Fall River?
That would be Professor James F. Starrs of George Washington University. He did some kind of radar study at Oak Grove to ascertain where Abby's and Andrew's skulls were buried. (He also had an interest in doing DNA tests on John Wilkes Booth's remains to find out if Booth was really the person killed in that barn in Maryland. Apparently Starrs was thwarted in that endeavor too.) Rebello cites a source as saying "Lizzie enthusiasts" didn't want the Bordens' remains disturbed. What Lizzie enthusiasts would that be, I wonder??? (See Rebello, pp. 354-356.)
When Zachary Taylor died in 1850 there was a suspicion that he might have been poisoned. In 1991, Miss Rising, an historian and descendent of Taylor, plunked down $1200 to have his body exhumed. Samples were sent to the Oak Ridge National Laboratories where Frank Dyer and Larry Robinson did extensive testing. The conclusion was reached that Taylor had died of natural causes.
Professor James E. Starrs had no connection with this case. He was, however, involved with the exhumation of several historical celebrities (Jessie James, Meriweather Lewis, the Boston Strangler Albert Desalvo et al.) His findings only served to discover what everyone else had known.
In 1992 he attempted to get permission to examine the Borden plot in the Oak Grove Cemetery, and was apparently denied. He did conduct ground penetrating radar testing and located what was purported to be the skulls of Andrew and Abby Borden. Some time ago I contacted Professor Starrs to discuss these findings since I had some expeience in radar technology. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that it was
not something a layman would understand. I acquainted him with my credentials and he quickly terminated the interview.
I was curious if you asked him whether or not the radar could pick up whether there was a ring on Andrew's finger? Wouldn't new technology be able to tell if there was a piece of metal on the skeleton and where?
Good job in asking your questions about the skulls, I suspect that he could have put his findings in layman's terms but didn't want to for whatever reason. At least you got him contacted. Once I asked Dennis Owsley, famous Smithsonian archaeologist, through writing an e-mail to his address on the internet, if he was interested in the Borden case, but his screener wrote back he was too busy to contact me. Ha!
1) It's the tags for the stomach exhibits which survive at the FRHS, of course.
2) "Eagle eye" was meant ironically, commenting on Lincoln's version of the crime, wherein Morse was only there to spirit Abby (who Lincoln portrays as housebound and nearly friendless) off to the bank to sign the deeds.
3) Arnold Brown offers one theory, to which rays fully subscribes, but which many of the others of us don't consider to be the final answer, no matter how much we are bludgeoned... ;}
(Message last edited May-12th-03 12:23 PM.)
I swear I saw a jar of dried up bits @ FRHS that were supposed to be a sample of Abby's stomach contents.
They let people look at stuff like that? It seems kind
of rude. It is bad enough to be hacked to death but to
have your breakfast on display in a museum just seems
like adding insult to injury.
I MEAN, how interesting! Seriously, I don't recall seeing that, but I don't have photographic memory (well, for faces, maybe - not for stomach contents). Sounds like it's time to contact the FRHS. Maybe they don't display it anymore, like Abby's shmatte*, which Martins told me the last time I was up there was fading and falling apart - though the hairpins (non-gilt) in it which convinced him Abby was wearing it as a dust-cap were still in place, he said.
*Yiddish expression meaning rag, usually used to connote piece of clothing.
(Message last edited May-13th-03 12:01 PM.)
I guess it doesn't faze me much. I've seen worse in British museums. I remember it particularly because I thought it was interesting they kept it & it had survived.
I just remembered where to find this. Turns out I transcribed this for the Forum and it was transferred to the Museum/Library web-site. Here listed also is Bob's bloody handkerchief, which is very interesting in itself.
Ashton, Barbara. "The Hip-Bath Collection." Proceedings: Lizzie Borden Conference. Ed. Jules R. Ryckebusch. Portland, ME: King Philip Publishing Co., 1993. 211-214. (Ms. Ashton was President of the Historical Society at one time)
"What Andrew Jennings decided to sequester may turn out to be as important as what he decided to reveal."
This collection was, in part, donated to the FRHS, in 1968, with some items requested returned to the (Waring) family. Ms. Ashton, author, had a look and made some notes:
Contents Of Collection:
1. Photographs: Yard, hall, entrance hall, north side of house, Second street looking north and south, backyard between house and barn, Mrs. Churchill's front steps. guest chamber, Abby, sitting room, south side of house and south yard, Borden house (enlarged), side views of pool of blood, Mrs. Borden with feet showing, Mrs. Borden's matted switch, Andrew Borden on the horsehair couch, Andrew naked on the floor, skulls--front with hatchet marks, Mrs. Borden with huge hole in side of head, courthouse.
2. Hatchet and Hood: This is the one that fit the wound and was found with a broken handle in the Borden cellar. It was never proved to be the murder weapon . . .
3. Tags from Trial Exhibits: They read, Stomach of Mrs. Andrew J. Borden; Stomach of Mr. Andrew J. Borden; Dried Blood, Mrs. A.J. Borden.
4. Hair Switch and Bloody Handkerchief: Worn by Mrs. Borden at the time of the murders.
5. Pillow shams and Bedspread: Taken from the bed Mrs. Borden was making when she was murdered.
6. Newspaper Clippings of the Case: In 3 scrapbooks, 2 large, 1 small.
7. Stenographer's Minutes of the Preliminary Trial: Five books: Edward S. Wood, Abram G. Hart, Lizzie A. Borden (sic??) Bridget Sullivan, Dr. William A. Dolan. They are the only known copies of these minutes.
8. Blueprints of Floorplans of Borden House: Cellare, first floor, second floor.
9. Boston Globe: Day-to-Day Record.
10. Boston Herald: Account of the trial, brown and brittle.
11. Hair In Envelopes: Snips of hair from Mr. and Mrs. Borden.
12. Red Leather Notebooks: There were two, a thick one and a thin one. The thick one contains newspaper clippings of the case from August 4, 1892, to August 11, 1892. The thin one contains Andrew Jennings handwritten notes gathered on Lizzie's behalf."
Perhaps that is what Tina-Kate saw, after item 3 it states that Abby's dried blood was saved, possibly in a jar? Could that be the dried bits? DNA anyone?
I'm positive I saw a jar with dried bits in it. There was either a "tag" on it, saying what it was, or there was an exhibit tag.
This was separate from the bloody bedding, Abby's switch, etc. I distinctly remember saying to myself, "Wow. They kept the stomach contents."
I wonder what happened to them? Maybe the janitor
finally flushed them? It is really yucky to think
about it/them this much.
I would think that the Professor Dr. Wood would have disposed of such things as stomach contents at Harvard after testing. I couldn't imagine that those contents were given to the defense attorney Jennings to be stored in a hip-bath on a porch or attic, and survived to be donated to an Historical Society.
The contents were not evidence, after all, were they? It was the stomachs which were important to be examined as to poison irritants.
I also don't think the stomach contents were at the trial because the exhibits there were named as *Tags* as well.
Maybe the stomachs were saved?
Boy, its times like these that I wish that the FRHS had an email address. They save so many frightening things that turn up at auctions and such, do you remember the one where a part of Napolean was saved and auctioned off by Christies?
I was being funny (I hope) - I actually watch surgical operations on TV, so I'm not put off by the jar o'tummy idea.
This item, if you really saw it, mught have to go on a list with that elusive chapter/book rays said he read about Lizzie and Bridget each doing one of the murders.
(Message last edited May-13th-03 12:10 PM.)
From the available information, the book I read in 1965 seems to be the 1963 edition of Edmun Pearson's "Trial of Lizzie Borden" edited by G Gross.
The copyright limitation of 28 years would expire for the 1937 work; a new edition would extend it and protect their property.
You can look up the listing in the Congressional Library. Why is it unavailable today?
(Message last edited May-13th-03 1:33 PM.)
Perhaps this was just a recreation to impress the paying visitors?
Remember the "Paul Bunyan"? exhibits in Minnesota?
Well...I have to admit I arrived in Fall River on no sleep & no food. Strange I'd hallucinate a jar of dried stomach contents tho.
Frankly I'm surprised no one else recalls seeing this -- kinda hard to forget.
If anyone's going there or talking to them in the near future, could you pls check this out? Thanks!
to anybody who has an answer to this:
i must admit the ash-covered axe in the cellar looks funny and victoria lincoln's theory would work except for one thing. no one could find a trace of blood on it. were the forensics at the time so primitive that this could be the explanation, and in fact this axe was the murder weapon? i even remember a detail from someone's testimony to the effect that there was found some white dirt in a crevice that could not possibly have escaped a blood stain.
if you were lizzie and planned this for a while -- why not steal a new axe from a store, or steal one from a neighbor or someone (perhaps implicating someone) -- use it and just leave it there in the sitting room? ironically, one of knowlton's key points was that an outsider would have left the weapon rather than risk being found with it.
If the handleless hatchet did kill Abby why didn't they find gilt on it? Would a new hatchet been likely to have had the handle easily broken? There was detailed evidence on the handleless hatchet at the trial and testimony as to the not finding of any blood on it. It seemed to be thoroughly searched for blood.
One of the doctors suggested that it might have been an ice axe of the kind used in the day's refrigerators. Did the police ever check the Borden's ice box/refrigerator for such an ax. I don't think Bridget ever mentioned one but if so no one considered that at the trial.
Knowlton was trying to get the jury to believe the handleless hatchet, which was left at the scene only in an obscure spot in the basement did do the killings, he just couldn't say that, so he said it might have done so. That is probably why he said that the killer
if an intruder would have taken the weapon away. I don't think so. Weapons have been known to have remained at the scene and been taken away. Because there is an intruder doesn't automatically mean that weapons are always left at the scene of the crime. If the weapon did belong to Billy Borden, then the weapon belonged to him, not one he picked up just to do the crime, so naturally it would have been taken by him from the scene. Since he always carried it, if stopped, he would have had a natural alibi, it was always with him. And by the time anyone would have caught him the blood would have been cleaned off, and even if not, he could always had said he just killed a chicken.
Could this be a reference to what you saw?
Could it have been a glass slide?
In addition to this there were a large number of vegetable pulp cells which resembled those of some fruit, or a pulpy vegetable such as boiled potato, or an apple or pear, and there was also an undigested skin of a vegetable or of a fruit, one piece of which I have removed and have there. (Indicating something held in the hand). It looks like the red skin of an apple or pear.
Q. That came from the stomach?
A. Yes, sir, of Mrs. Borden. I have another preparation of that which shows the color more distinctly and which readily shows that it is a vegetable fibre. That is sealed between two pieces of glass, so that it may be seen more readily. That is a piece the same as in the bottle,---the little chip that I removed
Way to go, Kat! Trust you! I'm positive I saw something under glass, & that very well may have been it. Could be it was near the jar & my memory placed it in the jar.
**** Detective Award ****
Yeah, Abby liked her starches! Very cool work!
Yay, Kat! Good thinking!
Not trying to re-open the subject of the stomach contents but I was browsing an old LBQ (Winter, 1995) and in there was an article by a Sue Abraham. The article written apparently before the 1992 anniversary didn't make the LBQ until 1995.
In that article there is mention of the exhibits at the FRHS. I quote from the article:
"....The exhibits, displayed in the glass casing, were fascinating to my son and me. My Husband decided he could do without viewing the stomach contents of the deceased and other forensic treasures. ......".
It still could very well have been the slides or maybe they did have both at one time. Another question for Michael Martins.
Jeesh! That's a Great Find, Har!
We've got to find out about the Stomach contents!
I may call MM Monday morning. I don't usually do mornings but my cat is staying at the vets and I'm to call Monday; the last time I stayed up to call the vet, I did call FRHS and stayed on the phone for 90 minutes! (And got my questions answered and some sympathy for my dying kitty)
Koorey & Widdows, Private Investigators & Photographic Alterations. Oh gosh...what a potentially volatile business that could be!
Oooh, I'm all excited now I might be proven right after all. My memory's not so shot as I thought it was!
Odd that they disposed of the clothing & that piece of Abby's
head & kept that mess all these years. And on display?! Are
dead people not allowed any dignity at all?
In this and the other exhibits: is there a chain of custody, or is it a "recreation"?
"The historical society shows macabre memorabilia: the dinner pail Lizzie ate from in jail, the handleless hatchet some believe to be the murder weapon, and a portion of Abby Borden's stomach preserved in a jar."
--John Larrabee, LIZZY BORDEN'S HOUSE OPENS AS BED AND BREAKFAST. , USA Today, 10-27-1995.
Thought there was hope here, but the artcle goes on to include the info that the room where Abby died had a "bed modeled after the one she was napping in when attacked."
Ewww! So what are we dealing with, Abby's stomach in a jar or the contents of Abby's stomach in a jar? Either way, not very appetizing. If and when I get to the FRHS I think that will be one part of the exhibit that I will pass up on.
Well, passing up on it would probably be better than THROWING up on it, which is what I'd be likely to do. When my kids were little and got sick to their stomachs, I would inevitably get sick too.
That happens to me too -- I could never even change kitty litter.
Called MM at FRHS just now.
He said in the *Borden Collection* they had no skulls nor plaster casts of skull, and no parts of stomachs.
They have a little vial and the glass slide.
Those were alluded to by Wood, at Trial, posted here earlier, [pg.992], which part I read to him.
He agreed those 2 items were each one a little dried piece of stomach content of Mrs. Borden, a flake.
He also said they had the original Tags from the jars which had held the stomachs, which were also referred to here, earlier.
Thank you, Kat.
He was pretty funny. After giving info he said he could not chat as he was starting a meeting and there were several patient pairs of eyes on him while he talked to me of stomach contents and he laughed.
He also wished me sympathy on the demise of my cat today.
(Message last edited May-20th-03 4:07 AM.)
Oh, I'm so sorry you lost another kitty! I know how sad that must make you feel.
That's like 2 in 2 months?
I think that's a new record.
It's not one I would like to repeat!
Thank you for the kind sentiment.
This time I remembered to ask the staff not to send a sympathy card. All it does is remind me...
Did somebody mention needing cats? I got lots of cats
for you -- take your pick of:
The Mamma Cat
The Daddy Cat
The Stupid Looking Cat
The Cat with One Ear
The Orange Cat with the Really Bad Gas
That Other Cat
I'm sorry, Kat. You must be going through a tough time of it right now. If you don't mind my asking, how many kitties do you have left?
Kimberly, if I could have a pet where I live, I'd opt for the one eared kitty. I have a thing for misfits and underdogs and I guess, undercats.
I'm sorry, Kat. I'm guessing that must be Isis.
Thanks you guys.
There are 5 left.
Isis' 3 daughters and 2 pure-bred. One is 19.
Everything has changed! Mama cat gone, now daughters want ME.
They are all fish eaters so the kind of food I buy totally changed after 20 years.
One less litterbox, somehow reduced the chore-time from an hour to half an hour!
It's a new regime.
Now I have got to get that dead opossum out of my yard!
I am truly sorry. Tough to lose those loveable little friends.
Are you sure its really dead and not playing possum? I'm serious, those things can be quite nasty, I've had a couple of run-ins with them and they hiss and spit at you. I don't know if they usually bite or not?
Well he stinketh, has his own contingent of flies, has lain there 4 days without moving in two thunderstorms, and the neighborhood dogs are barking at him and an eagle tried to pick him up on Monday.
Animal Services are s l o w to respond.
Yes they put up a show of force. My dog once was in a standoff with O'Perry's grandfather and neither would back down. I had to turn on the hose!
[That just reminded me to go edit my profile!]
(Message last edited May-21st-03 2:21 AM.)
Well, I would think a cat with really bad gas would be something of an outcast...
Yes, I suppose they would be, but, already been through pets with that little feature before, I don't know if I'd intentionally get one of those again! My last cat was of that nature, you can imagine the joy of cleaning that litter box!
As the co-owner of needy calico Lizzie and her black and white, very happy, sister Emma, it goes without saying that I extend my sympathies in this matter.
Thanks for checking with MM on the stomach contents question. I remember the rush I had last time I was there at the FRHS when it suddenly occurred to me to ask about Abby's head-rag: "It's here, in this building, and the guy who can tell me is standing right over there, on the phone!"