Borden Psychic File

by Kat Koorey

The Knowlton Papers, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. Lizzie A. Borden, 1892- 1893, Fall River Historical Society, 1994, pg. 339- 345, typewritten transcript, #HK329:


Q. What about the Borden case?
A. Axe – Turkey red – vest – suds – stairs.
Q. Was it her father’s vest?
A. His vest
Q. What about Turkey red?
A. Paint
Q. What dress did she wear?
A. No dress
Q. Didn’t she wear anything?
A. Yes, trousers.
Q. Who wore them?
A. She
Q. Bridget?
A. No; Lizzie
Q. What did she do with the things?
A. Bury
Q. Where?
A. Yard –
Q. What part of the yard?
A. Cellar – furnace – underneath earth
Q. Are they buried there?
A. Yes.
Q. All?
A. No; some burned
Q. Where did she burn them?
A. Kitchen – wet clothes – trousers bury
Q. Did she kill both her father and mother?
A. Undoubtedly
Q. Did she bury the axe?
A. No – burn handle
Q. What did she do with the rest of it?
A. Box
Q. You mean she put it in a box?
A. Yes
Q. Will they be found?
A. No – too sharp
Q. Who hid them?
A. J. Morse hid things under the earth
Q. Does Dr. Bowen know anything about it?
A. All
Q. Did Lizzie tell him?
A. In her chamber let it out
Q. When did Morse bury things?
A. Thursday – 8 P.M.
Q. Did Morse spend Thursday night there?
A. Went out to hotel at 9 P.M.
Q. What about note to Mrs. Borden?
A. No none
Q. Lizzie made it up?
A. All
Q. Was Mrs. Reagan’s story true?
A. Yes
Q. Will she be found guilty?
A. Never
Q. Will Emma’s testimony save her?
A. Lies
Q. Were the hat and trousers buried in yard with Mr. and Mrs. Borden’s clothes?
A. No
Q. Are the things still buried in the cellar?
A. Still
Q. Could we find them?
A. Yes
Q. Any trace?
A. Puddle
Q. Where?
A. Cellar
Q. Puddle of what?
A. Mud
Q. Where?
A. Cellar
Q. What part?
A. Furnace
Q. What about Morse and vest?
A. Stairs – J.M. knows
Q. What about Prussic acid?
A. First intent
Q. What about furs?
A. No furs
Q. Didn’t Morse help?
A. Innocent
Q. Any one help?
A. No accomplice
Q. Why did she do it?
A. 200 M
Q. Do you mean money?
A. Money
Q. Will the verdict be ‘Not Guilty’?
A. Perhaps
Q. Will the jury disagree?
A. Who knows?
Q. __________?
A. J.Morse – vest
Q. What about Morse’s vest?
A. Stairs – note
Q. What about note?
A. Investment
Q. What about investment?
A. Mother
Q. Investment for Mrs. Borden?
A. Talked over
Q. What became of it?
A. Murder
Q. Did Lizzie find the investment in her father’s pocket?
A. Heard.
Q. Has Morse got it now?
A. No
Q. Has Lizzie?
A. No
Q. Was it burned?
A. No
Q. Was it buried?
A. No
Q. Where is it?
A. Led to murder
Q. Is it now in vest?
A. No note – darn!
Q. What became of vest?
A. Investment
Q. And Morse knows of it?
A. Yes – talked over night before with Mr. and Mrs. Borden.
Q. Lizzie heard it?
A. Night
Q. Where was she?
A. Dining-room
Q. Hidden in the dining-room?
A. Accident
Q. You mean she heard by accident?
A. Yes
Q. She said nothing to Morse?
A. No
Q. What investment?
A. Mills
Q. What mills?
A. Real Estate
Q. Did Lizzie have a cat?
A.. Yes – yellow cat – departed – violent
Q. Who killed it?
A. She – axe
Q. Whose lap did it jump into?
A. Jim Wilder – July 7 – 90. *
Q. Where did he live?
A. No. 2 Second street, Fall River
Q. Whom did he tell it to?
A. Susy Wilder – she told it to Tish Thomas – manicure – at Rosalie Butler’s – Tremont street.
Q. What hotel?
A. Fall River House
Q. What time did Lizzie murder her mother?
A. 9:30
Q. What did she do afterwards?
A. Worked
Q. What time did she murder her father?
A. 10:45
Q. What did she do afterwards?
A. Put trousers that she wore in tub in cellar sink
Q. Why weren’t they found?
A. Stupid
Q. What did she do after putting the trousers in the cellar sink?
A. Then dressed and called
Q. What about barn?
A. No barn
Q. What else did she wear besides trousers?
A. Hat
Q. What color hat?
A. Dark
Q. Any gloves?
A. No gloves
Q. Anything on chest and waist?
A. Nothing but trousers and hat
Q. What about paint?
A. Turkey red – smooch on dress burnt – from mop-board in kitchen – May, 1892.
Q. Will she be convicted?
A. Perhaps by Russell – and Bridget at door
Q. Who took trousers from tub in cellar?
A. Morse took trousers from tub night of murder
Q. When did Lizzie burn the handle of the hatchet?
A. Immediately – then put ashes on hatchet
Q. What about suds?
A. Vermicelli – suds – soup-tureen – Wednesday dinner
Q. Why did she put suds in the soup?
A. Sick
Q. Mother and father sick?
A. Yes
Q. Did Lizzie eat any?
A. Tasted
Q. What about vest?
A. Father’s vest – stew-oven – Uncle John vest – going up stairs murder day
Q. Anything else?
A. No – tired – see Herald – Emma.
Q. Did Lizzie wear a water-proof?
A. No – pa’s trousers and hat.” [* Lizzie was on her European trip at this time– June 21- Nov. 1, 1890—kk]

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts VS. Lizzie A. Borden, The Knowlton Papers 1892- 1893, Fall River Historical Society, Fall River, MA., 1994. #HK004, pg. 6-7: Lynn, Aug. 10, 1892 

Mr. Knowlton Dear Sir,
I don’t know as what I am about to say to you will be of any use to you as I am a spiritualist and believe in the communications of the dead. I get it there is a closet at the end of the sofa upon which Mr. Borden lay and in that closet was a man secreted at the time. Mr. Borden lay down upon the sofa immediately upon Mrs. Borden going out he came out and commited the murderous act he went out by the end of the barn and cleaned the hatchet and threw it into the celler the hatchet was bretty broad blade claw hammer head.

I don’t think a western life as a cowboy and farmer had the tendency to make Mr. Morse so very tender hearted as Mr. Davis would like you all to believe I think there was an old animosity an old grudge of the past to be settled and he settled it.

Yours most respectfully,
Delia Wilson

P.S. I do not know any of the parties involved in this tragidy. There is a man here by the name of Willis Edwards 9 Smith St that could tell you every detail even to the names.”
Pg. 524, GLOSSARY B: 
“Wilson, Delia A. (Gibson) c.1838- 1903: born in New York, widow of Jason G. Wilson…A housekeeper in Lynn, Mass., she died at her residence there.”
Pg. 432, GLOSSARY A: 
“EDWARDS, WILLIS: a clairvoyant physician. He is recorded as residing in Lynn, Massachusetts, for two years only, 1892 and 1893. His unusual profession probably caused him to be itinerant. Delia Wilson, writing to Attorney Hosea M. Knowlton, suggested that he be contacted for information on the Borden case as he could provide ‘every detail even to the names.’ “

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts VS. Lizzie A. Borden, The Knowlton Papers 1892- 1893, Fall River Historical Society, Fall River, MA., 1994. #HK005, pg. 7-8: Worcester, Mass. 535 Main St. August 10, 1-92 

To The District-Attorneys- General of Fall River, Mass.
Mr. Pillsbury and Knowlton
Dear Sirs-
I an A Business Medium located in this City since 1882. I have met duing the last 10 years many People in trouble about various things and have done them I trust a good deal of good, so it seemed to me from the Way They Talked. Now I frequently have some very good visions. In thinking recently about the Mr and Mrs. Borden Murder that has startled the entire Community & World, I talked the Matter over to some extent on Tuesday afternoon The 9th Inst. to my Wife Who has the name of an Excellent Clairvoyant or Spiritual Seer. After thinking It over and over Who could have been Guilty of such a Terrible Crime and the True Motive I laid myself down on the Bed to take a rest and soon fell fast asleep I dreamed or saw in a vision as They are Wont to call it sometimes. I will now try and relate what I saw. Was taken in the spirit to a House it seemed to be in Fallriver went into a nice Square Room & met a lady that I had never seen before. She was a thin faced woman average size I talked with Her. While Talking a Door opened and I saw a man with a Hatchet raised. When I looked again the Door closed partly but I could distinctly see the man and would know Him right off should I ever see Him again. The next thing I see is the Dress of the lady. In the Room she had on it seemed a Print Dress with Dark figures on it the features of the lady was grivious sort of long instead of fat face with Dark Eyes- the voice said to me this woman was Murdered first the Man last with Hatchet & knife. The voice still further said to me come with Me I followed to the West side of the House. She took me to a Place like a Henery Coop. I looked in and saw in one corner of the Coop A Box of iron sort of Pig iron in another of it was something like a Mattress half filled with Hair on one side of the Mattress She drew out a long rusty knife with long round handle bound with brass wire. The knife was an unusual ugly looking- the brass on it run length wise on the handle- still further a voice said to me ‘Oh’ this is some of my Daughters plotting with Uncle Morse & the strange man ‘Oh’ my daughter did this. Lizzie put her fist to my Mouth When I tried hard to call some one it now seems to me that after having such a wonderful Experience Spiritually as the above account that it may lead to some clue of the Murder. I give the facts to you Gentlemen as I have relived them. Some will say ‘Oh’ it is only a dream. Well even so consider the Matter and please look in the very perculiar place where I was taken and if there is anything found like What has been described then it will no doubt be the means of hunting up the Guilty Parties the Intelligences say that 3 three persons know who committed the Double Murder and that the Mayor of the City of Fall River should at once offer a Reward of one thousand Dollars, independent of the one offered by the sisters Emma & Lizzie Borden. Should you Gentleman think at any time that My presence in Fall River would aid you and the Officers I will come at once and do all that I possibly can for you as a Medium to unravel this great Mystery I am yours Most Respectfully,
J.Burns Strand
Trance Medium and Physician
P.S. The Voice says to me now in closeing this Missive ‘Arrest Morse Lizzie and the Man at West Port’.

Pg. 520 , GLOSSARY B” 
“Strand, John Burns 1848- ? : born in Massachusetts. Marrying in 1882, he settled in Worcester, Massachusetts, with his wife, Lucy. A psychic medium and clairvoyant physician, he appears in that city’s directories listed as such until 1891. The following year, his last in Worcester, he maintained an intelligence office. His letter to Attorney Hosea M. Knowlton offered his services as a trance medium to the prosecution in order to ‘unravel the mystery’. He relocated to Gardner, Massachusetts, and was residing there with his wife in 1900.”

The Lizzie Borden Sourcebook, David Kent, Branden Publishing, Boston, 1992. “The Fall River Herald, [undated–prob. after Lizzie’s arrest, but before Aug. 22] pg. 120-1: 

A. J. Borden Speaks to the Public Through a Medium
Tendered the Marshal by Persons with Fancies of Different Kinds.

‘There is no end to the letters of advice and counsel,’ said Mr. Hilliard Sunday, ‘and the theories I am receiving on this case. I have a host of offers from clarivoyants, who offer, for so much money, to put me in the way of getting the murderer. Now, while I won’t say that there is nothing in spiritualism, still they would have to convince me pretty positively that it was really a communication from any deceased friend of mine before I would give it much thought. If any man sends in a clue or statement of any suspicious man seen, even if it looks like a fake, I will send an officer who will not stop until he has run it down, but this correspondence is from cranks or people endeavoring to get some money by working on the case.

‘Here is a good specimen of many of them, a letter from a woman, and reads: “Your honor, I am a person born with the qualifications of a detective, and if you would like to try my skill in that direction I will officiate by asking suspicious persons questions, thereby causing them to confess the deed if they be guilty. I should require you to send me $8 by post-office order to pay expenses for myself and husband there and back. How much would I get if I was the cause of the guilty parties confessing the truth?”

‘It is needless to say that I hardly felt as though the lady’s services were required. There are a number of others like this from women who rate their ability to obtain confessions very highly. Here is a clairvoyant, one from Rochester, N. Y. The writer, in putting forth her abilities, is also candid enough to admit she will also be making a good thing out of the transaction. She writes:

“Dear sir–I am a great clairvoyant and I have the charm in this world that I could make the parties give out who murdered them. If you want to buy this charm you can have it. I am poor and if I can make a couple of thousand dollars it would be good for me and that would save you a great deal of trouble..”

‘A charm is a good thing, but really I don’t thing the one she wants the $2000 for would be of enough use to warrant our purpose. I received a great many from clairvoyants, but they are all in the same general tenor of this one. They hope that I will think enough of their abilities to engage them to transmit the name of the murderer from the murdered to me. I have found some queer people in the world since I have been at work upon this murder. Here is a man whose father was mysteriously killed and he evidently thinks some gang like the mafia had a hand in this double murder. This man writes from Boston, and so as to be sure I had opportunities of using his idea in this case, he sent this letter written two days after the murder. This is his letter:

“Dear sir–Why not clear up this mystery by an examination of the retina of the eye of one or both of the murdered parties? If either were conscious at the time of the murder, the last object seen by them will be found impressed thereon. In the case of Mrs. Borden it would be a sure test, I would think, if she turned, as is supposed, and faced the assassin. Dark mysteries have been brought to light in this manner by the means of photography. Do not care to be known at present.” He signed it “Detective,” and writes a bold hand , like a person of some education. This is the most unique of the many theories that I have received.

….’A number of letters are evidently written in good faith and with an honest endeavor to be of some assistance, but most of them are like those I have read. It shows how extensive the knowledge of this case has been and also the interest taken in its solution. In this murder, as in all of my cases, I do not want any innocent person convicted. I would rather any time see 20 guilty men go than one innocent be convicted. I am bound to work everything in the nature of clues or information given me.’ “

[Any flaws in the copy have been retained. kk]

The Lizzie Borden Sourcebook, David Kent, Branden Publishing, Boston, 1992. The Fall River Herald, c. Aug. 14 or 15, 1892: 

Both Mr. and Mrs. Borden Talk–The Latter Comforts Lizzie.

Two more messages have been received from the spirit world, says a correspondent of the Boston Post. Sunday evening the spirit of Andrew J. Borden knocked again at the brain of this New Bedford medium, while Monday night from 8 o’clock until 10:30 the spirit of Mrs. Borden whispered strange words that may or may not mean much.

Monday night’s message from Andrew J. Borden read as follows: ‘No one knows where the axe is but you. Now I want you to publish when you go to the hidden scene; start early in the morning when the air is clear. Two weeks from now you will know much more about this. We want justice done to this dear woman.’

‘Do you mean the medium?’

‘Yes; you must see, my friend, that she is well rewarded. I know that you can find the axe. A number of persons have been there but have found no trace. Even the man who hid it cannot locate the place now. You cannot find the axe unless the medium goes with you. They have not got this man’s name I gave you; don’t wait too long before you go for the man.’

‘Shall I write to the Pinkerton’s?’

‘Don’t write; let them come to you.’

‘Did the man have dark circles beneath his eyes?’


‘Were his clothes dark blue instead of a black or dark brown?’

‘I cannot tell; only they were dark. When I was struck I was in the mortal, when I saw I was in the spirit; I feel I am losing my strength; I must leave you; good night. ANDREW J. BORDEN.’

Monday evening the following was received from the spirit of Mrs. Borden: ‘This is Mrs. Borden. I have come to thank you for what you have done for us.’

‘Can you give us a test?’

‘Tell them to take care of my things and a copied picture. I will do as much to help them. Tell Lizzie I know the window was left open; I know the man can be found. Please write this to Emma: “I want to know the reason you don’t go to Fall River.”‘ The reason was given and accepted by the spirit, and the influence left, signing ‘Wife of A.J. Borden.’ “

The Lizzie Borden Sourcebook, David Kent, Branden Publishing, Boston, 1992. “The Fall River Herald, pg. 129:

Job Too Much For The Spirits

An Onset medium assured a Boston Globe reporter that there was a great diversity of opinion in the spirit world as to the identity of the person who murdered Mr. and Mrs. Borden. ‘You see.’ she said,’ spirits don’t know everything, at least many spirits do not. And if they didn’t happen to be looking just at the moment when the murder was committed they couldn’t be expected to know about it.’

‘But’, ventured the reporter, ‘couldn’t Mr. and Mrs. Borden be hunted up in the spirit world and solve the mystery for us?’

‘Yes, I suppose they might be found somewhere if a search were instituted for them. But even if their whereabouts were discovered it’s not certain they would know who the murderer was, for Mr. Borden was asleep and Mrs. Borden’s back might have been turned.’

‘But it would seem,’ the reporter urged, ‘that if Mr. and Mrs. Borden could be found and induced to tell all they know about the circumstances preceding the final deed, some clue or some corroboration of existing suspicions might be obtained.’

‘Yes,’ the medium assented vaguely, ‘but the trouble is that when people go suddenly into the spirit world as Mr. and Mrs. Borden went, they are apt to be in a dazed or half-conscious state for a long while and unable to remember anything.’

The medium said that spirits often find as great difficulty as mortals in solving mysteries and she wouldn’t undertake the job of trying to discover the Fall River murderer.

Lizzie Borden Past and Present, Len Rebello, Al-Zach Press, 1999, pg. 173: [both cites] 

Boston Advertiser, Aug. 24, 1892 

“A woman, plainly dressed, with short dark hair, called at the police station this afternoon, in search of Marshal Hilliard. Failing to find him, she returned tonight and was closeted with him for half an hour. She refused to give her name and also declined to register at the Wilbur House where she is stopping. She told the marshal that she was peculiarly gifted from infancy, and went on to say that she saw a vision: Miss Lizzie Borden murdering her mother at 10:10 o’clock, Thursday, August 4. Later, she saw Miss Lizzie pass downstairs with a hatchet in her hand, go towards her father, putting a hatchet in a corner while she smoothed the sofa pillow for her father to rest on. Still later, she saw Lizzie standing at the head of the sofa hacking mercilessly at her father’s skull. Marshal Hilliard says the woman appears to be sane.”

“Psychic Takes on Borden House,” Providence Journal-Bulletin, October 10, 1996: D6.
Lovit, Reva, ‘World Renowned Psychic Visits Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast,” Tribune, October 26, 1996: 2.

Kenny Kingston claimed a “transient” walked in, stripped Lizzie and was about to attack her. This traumatic experience caused Lizzie to lose reality, she grabbed an ax, later destroyed by Bridget, ascended the stairs and killed her father and then her stepmother.

Mr. Kingston also believed Lizzie was sexually abused by her father and Mrs. Borden knew about it and did nothing. Andrew Borden gave Abby Borden a “sleeping potion to knock her out so that he could go down to the basement and party.” Emma Borden was also a victim of incest but it was ending. Uncle John Morse, according to Mr. Kingston, was involved indirectly. Mr. Kingston further went on to say Lizzie wanted actress Sharon Stone to play the role of Lizzie, a role that would save Stone’s career.

Philadelphia Inquirer, June 16, 1997: D1. “At Lizzie Borden’s House, Summoning Her Spirit.” 

Jane Doherty, president of the New Jersey Society of Parapsychology, visited the Borden home to conduct a seance. She claimed Lizzie didn’t know anything about the murders nor did she commit them. She said,’ more than one person was involved in the double murder, including one of Lizzie’s uncles.’ Ms. Doherty said, ‘The bodies of Abby and Andrew Borden had been moved to confuse investigators. Money and incest were involved in the killings.’

Spooky Heritage Haunting Us,” Boston Herald American, October 30, 1977: D1. “Lizz’ Ghost?” Fall River Herald News, July 14, 1981: 6.

The main door of Leary Press [234 Second Street, formerly the home of the Bordens] was blown open by a sudden gust of wind. The wind power shattered an inner aluminum and glass door and smashed a panel window at the top of the office. Was Lizzie responsible?

Eerie Events in an Old House on Durfee Street,” Fall River Herald News, July 27, 1981: 1.

Is the ghost of Lizzie Borden responsible for the strange happenings at the home of the Animal Rescue League’s supervisor who lives adjacent to the Animal Rescue League? He has observed empty rocking chairs move, his laundry folded, towels and socks neatly sorted and folded, the TV turned off, and knots that had been tied in towels, and shoes untied.

Mr. Alfonso placed yellow roses on Lizzie’s grave on the anniversary of her death. These were ordered by an unidentified New York woman. He has also experienced eerie events at the Bordens’ family cemetery.

Guides at Borden House See It as ‘Spirited’ Haunt,” Fall River Herald News, August 11, 1997: 7.

Kathie Goncalo and George Quigley say there are “friendly spirits” in the Borden home. Martha McGinn, owner of the home, believes the house is “active.” She recalled hearing footsteps, doors open and shut, and lights flicker on and off. Cameras malfunctioned during a recent filming at the home. While preparing for Governor of Massachusetts Weld’s visit, a maid at the home quit after seeing an imprint of a body in the bed where Abby Borden was murdered.

McGinn, Martha. “Looking Back: My Life at 92 Second Street, 1960 Till Now.”Lizzie Borden Quarterly V.1 (Jan. 1998): 6-7.

Martha McGinn, the current owner of 92 Second Street and the owner of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, relates her memories of living in the house since the age of seventeen when she moved in with her grandparents, the owners at the time.

There were occasionally unexplained occurrences at the house, such as lights turning themselves on and off, doors opening and shutting, a radio that would randomly go on and off, an unwound alarm clock that would suddenly sound the alarm…little things like that. There was never anything like a poltergeist and although we might get a little unnerved at times, it was never frightening….Some nights we would have séances. We never did contact any spirits, but it was a great excuse for the girls to squeal and hang onto their boyfriends.