Friday, October 12, 2018

A True Horror Story: Use Your Words

Today’s post is a monthly writing challenge. If you’re new here, this is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once. All of the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the recipient will take them. Until now.

Use Your Words, a multiblogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I'm using: glow ~ fall ~ river ~ hit
They were submitted by Jules of The Bergham Chronicles.

I'm from Massachusetts, for those of you who don't already know. Every time I looked at these words, preparing to write my post, all I could see was Fall River, the name of a town in Massachusetts. I couldn't think of those words separately, perhaps because, coincidentally, they were submitted together and in the same order as the name of the town.

Or maybe it's Halloween I have on my mind. Because, it just so happens, that glow and hit work right into the most famous story that comes out of the city of Fall River. Glow, as in ghost. And hit, as in strike.

Fall River is the city where a young girl lived with her sister Emma, father Andrew step-mother Abby and maid Bridget Sullivan. The house where they lived is now suspected of being haunted. As in most haunting stories, it's the scene of a horrible tragedy. But the story starts somewhere else, with a bit of a different cast, some of whom made it to this home, some who did not.

The little girl was born in 1860 to her parents, Andrew and Sarah. They had 3 daughters, Emma, their first, was born in 1851. Their second daughter Alice was born in 1856. By the time their youngest was born (9 years after their first), in the initial tragedy of this story, Alice had died at the age of one from what was then called Dropsy on the Brain but is now known as Hydrocephalus. Just a few short years after the little girl was born, in the second tragedy of this story, their mother died at the age of 39 of uterine congestion (no idea) and spinal disease.

Two years later, dad Andrew remarried a woman named Abby. Emma was 14. Her little sister not quite 5. The family, well off financially, moved to their new home 9 years after Andrew married Abby. It's said that the girls did not like their step-mother, not calling her Mom or even Abby, but "Mrs.", and believing she and her family were conspiring to get Andrew's money.  

In fact, they were so comfortable they had a maid living on the third floor. Bridget, originally from Ireland, was responsible for the dusting, sweeping, laundry and all of the cooking.

On the day of the final tragedy, in 1892, Emma (41 and still living at home) was out of town, and Bridget (who had been living with them for 2 years at this point) was in her room when the younger daughter (not so young any more but at 32 also still living with her parents) cried out. She had found her father dead in the parlor. It's unclear as to whether it was Bridget or the police who then found Abby dead in her room. 

Four months later, the deceased couple's youngest daughter was indicted for their murder. Six months later, with the support of her older sister, she stood trial and was acquitted of the charges in June of 1893. Ordeal over, the sisters sold the family home and, having inherited from their father, purchased another home in Fall River where they lived comfortably for many years.

The family home where the murders occurred is now a bed and breakfast. Where you can sleep in the room where Abby was murdered, and quite possibly see the glow of ghosts late into the night.

Bridget, after being forced to testify but really having nothing of substance to contribute, disappeared after the trial. Rumor had it that she returned, at least temporarily, to Ireland, possibly funded by the sisters. The next we have any inkling of her was 12 years later in 1905 when she married at the age of 35 in Montana (where she had family). It's believed she never again spoke of the sisters or the tragedy. 

And what became of the girls? They lived quite comfortably together in Fall River for many years. This home too may have been comfortable but it also was not a happy home. Although acquitted, the younger sister was thought of as guilty by most of the townspeople and basically shunned by the community. It didn't help that in 1897 she was accused of shoplifting. And in 1905 Emma moved out and, according to legend, never spoke to her sister again. She died in New Hampshire in June of 1927, coincidentally just 9 days after her little sister died in Fall River.

You know who I'm talking about by now, don't you? Heard the story? Perhaps even spoken about it yourself:

Lizzy Borden took an axe,
gave her mother forty whacks. 
When she saw what she had done,
gave her father forty-one. 

Anyone want to go sleep in her bedroom?

Raspberry Swirl Halloween Cake | Recipe developed by | #recipe #Halloween

PS: I always share a new recipe in my posts, but today I just couldn't pass up sharing one I posted a few years ago, my Raspberry Swirl Halloween Cake. It may not be a new recipe, but I'm technically sharing a recipe so let's not split hairs (so to speak), shall we?
Follow the link to the original post to find the recipe.

Here are links to all the other Use Your Words posts:


  1. This story absolutely fascinated my Dad. He researched it and loved following up on the 'clues' and coming up with his own theories. What a tale! Yikes!

    1. I'd love to hear some of what your dad came up with. Do you know what he decided?

  2. Ah yes good ol' Lizzy, so many speculations.

  3. I had never heard of this before! My friend would love to stay there. She loves stuff like that. Not me! I did learn about dropsy which I always wondered about because my mother had a little sister that died from that. Great story!

  4. The Lizzie Bordon story has fascinated so many for years. I guessed it early on - perhaps because my sister in law's SO lived in Fall River for a number of years. Spooky! Alana

    1. Yes, that whole store still captivates and horrors us.

  5. Replies
    1. So glad you enjoyed it. I knew the story, of course, but I had fun doing the research for all of the details.

  6. Cute Cake-I should have had you over last Sunday so you could have made me my birthday cake. Let's see I would love a creme cheese cake with pumpkin-sounds delish.


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