Lizzie Borden's mansion

Lizzie Borden’s Maplecroft Mansion is For Sale

Own the house where Lizzie Borden lived out her life after the brutal murders she was acquitted of.

The 3 story, 8 bedroom Queen Anne Victorian home in Fall River, Massachusetts once owned and occupied by Lizzie Borden is for sale. Lizzie was accused of the murders of her father and stepmother with a hatchet on August 4, 1892. When she was acquitted the following year, she and her sister Emma left the house where the murders happened and, using the money from their father’s estate, bought the sprawling 1889 mansion Lizzie dubbed “Maplecroft” in a wealthy area of the city known as “the Hill.”

Nearly a year after the murders, despite the fact that Lizzie had been found not guilty, the Borden sisters still could not escape the the scrutiny of their neighbors. An article in the September 10, 1893 edition of the New York Times noted the Fall River community criticized Lizzie’s lack of common courtesy, as they believed she should have been wearing black in remembrance of her father.

“Emma Borden has always worn black since the day of the tragedy,” the article reported, “and whenever the two sisters appear in public together, one in the habiliments of grief, the other in a suit of light-colored material, Fall River takes it all in, splutters about it, and thinks that, after all that has occurred, she might ‘wear a bit of mourning.'”

One of Maplecroft's six fireplaces
One of Maplecroft’s six fireplaces

Though friends of the Bordens told reporters they hoped the sisters could drop out of sight, it didn’t seem likely. The old Borden house had also become a popular tourist destination by the time Lizzie was freed.

“The police stationed at the railroad stations and wharves, and in the center of the city, say that the curiosity of the traveling public to see the famous Borden house on Second street remains undiminished,” the New Bedford Evening Standard reported on July 1, 1883, “and that the first question asked them by any traveler who is obliged to wait, no matter how short a time in the city for a train or boat, is, ‘Have I time to go up to Lizzie Borden’s house where the murder’s were committed?’ This question, they say, is asked of them hundreds of times a day.”

“The insatiable interest and curiosity in the fearful mystery,” the article continued, “has precluded any thought of continuing to reside there unless Lizzie and Emma desire to be stared at whenever they make their appearance, with much the same interest that is shown toward dime museum freaks.”

Maplecroft mansion
Is that Lizzie Borden’s stereoscope?

The first house the sisters attempted to buy was the Butterworth house. Those close to the them found it a surprising choice, considering the notoriety of the home was second only to the Borden’s own. The former owner was a highly respected Fall River citizen by the name of Alfred D. Buttersworth. He was a traveling salesman for the Hargraves Soap Co., a member of the Masonic Hall, and the Butchers Rendering Association. He fell ill in the winter, and hanged himself from a tree on Elsbree Lane in April of 1892.

Despite the history, the home was “far enough removed from the center of activity to afford the sisters something of the seclusion for which they have yearned,” the Evening Standard wrote.

For unknown reasons, possibly due to hostility from the Borden’s prospective neighbors, the sale fell through. The sisters purchased Maplecroft soon after.

“The orphans have shaken from their presense surroundings that must have been a nightmare for them,” the September 24, 1893 edition of the New York Times wrote. “They are reveling in the luxories of bathtubs, substantial food and plenty of it, the actual comforts of home life, and delicacies to which years they were living strangers. And they are at last living in a style becoming to their means and in a manner agreeable to their tastes.”

Emma moved out after an argument in 1905. The sisters never saw each other again. Lizzie, then going by the name Lizbeth, lived in Maplecroft until her death on June 1, 1927.

Lizzie Borden lived here at the Maplecroft mansion until her death in 1927

The current owner has restored to the home and filled it with period-appropriate furnishings. The asking price is $799,000. See more photos right here.

Lizzie’s permanent residence is is nearby Oak Grove Cemetery.

Cult of Weird holiday gift guide

Cult of Weird 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

The gift guide for those of us who would rather find our stockings stuffed with the feet they came from.

It’s that special time of year when we hope to find skulls, vintage occult artifacts, disturbing books, and mummified human remains under the tree…but end up with matching monogram socks and stationary, instead. So this Christmas, whether you’re shopping for a weirdo, or you are the weirdo, the Cult of Weird holiday gift guide is here to ease your suffering.

At least a little. We can’t do much about the music and merriment.

Cursed Decadence Planchette

Cursed Decadence Ouija board planchette
Contact the spirits in decadent style with this lavishly sculpted resin planchette with metallic finish.
BUY NOW

Hearse Enamel Pin

Hearse enamel pin from Dead Sled Brand
From my friends at Dead Sled Brand, this enameled black and silver hearse pin is perfect for the hearse driver or general death enthusiast whose corpse is cooling on your Christmas list this year.
BUY NOW

Bird Foot Crystal Pendant

Bird foot crystal pendant
Conjure some Norse heathenry with this Freja pendant from Bloodreligion, featuring a preserved magpie foot clutching a quartz crystal sphere on black leather cord.
BUY NOW

The Divine Crucible Print

The Divine Crucible art print from Poison Apple Printshop
An original art print by Adrienne Rozzi of Poison Apple Printshop
BUY NOW

Bone Sculpture

Bone sculpture
Created by Lee Harper of History Bones, this small, intricate bone sculpture includes a variety of real animal bones, including a bird skull.
BUY NOW

Illusions: The Art of Magic

Illusions: The Art of Magic book
This book brings together 250 vintage ad posters from the Golden Age of Magic, featuring dark and mystical imagery – devils, skulls, spirits – to promote the acts of Herrmanns, Kellar, Thurston, Houdini, and more.
BUY NOW

Charles Manson Christmas Ornament

Charles Manson Christmas Ornament
‘Tis the season for obscene Christmas ornaments, and with the recent passing of America’s favorite madman cult leader, this seems appropriate.
BUY NOW

Cemetery Dirt & Bone Keychain

Keychain with cemetery dirt and a small bone inside
Nothing says Merry Christmas like a keychain containing a small animal bone and actual dirt from an old cemetery.
BUY NOW

For the taphophile in your life, these two books are Cult of Weird community favorites from this year’s morbid must-reads:

199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die

199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die by Loren Rhoads
A hauntingly beautiful travel guide to the world’s most visited cemeteries, told through spectacular photography and their unique histories and residents.
BUY NOW

Understanding Cemetery Symbols

Understanding Cemetery Symbols guide
While wandering around those cemeteries, this guide will help your favorite taphophiliac decipher the meaning of the symbolism found on gravestones.
BUY NOW

Memento Mori Gothic Death Candles

Memento Mori gothic death candles
Ponder mortality with these ivory pillar candles featuring vintage memento mori imagery.
BUY NOW

Bone Appetit Skeletal Dinner Plates

Bone Appetit skeletal dinner plates
Dine with the dead with a set of four ceramic 9-inch dinner plates emblazoned with skeletal human remains.
BUY NOW

Mourning Eye Onyx Necklace

Bloodmilk mourning eye necklace
This talisman from Bloodmilk Jewels features a sterling silver eye with an onxy tear for comfort and protection.
BUY NOW

Please Go Die Insult Teacup

Insult Teacut
Speak your mind with a fancy insult teacup and saucer from Miss Havisham’s Curiosities.
BUY NOW

A Thousand Creeping Things

A Thousand Creeping Things by Collin Landis
This collection of 18 short tales of the “fantastic, terrifying, and just plain weird” by author Collin Landis is the perfect addition to bookshelf of weird fiction fans.
BUY NOW

Roadkill Keychains

Dead When We Met roadkill keychains from Asylum Artwork
It was dead when we met! These keychains from Asylum Artwork are the perfect stocking stuffers for the ethical taxidermist or roadkill enthusiast in your life.
BUY NOW

Cauldron Bath Bombs

Cauldron bath bombs from The Strange and Unusual
Handmade bath bombs from The Strange and Unusual Oddities Parlor, made with natural ingredients and include small keepsakes inside.
BUY NOW

Baphomet Mug

Baphomet mug from The Satanic Temple
This Baphomet mug was designed Matthew Murray of The Black Veil Studio for The Satanic Temple.
BUY NOW

Stardust Ring

Stardust Ring from The Small Beast
Handmade to order by The Small Beast, the Stardust Ring features a highly textured, hand-carved sterling silver ring with 3 raw Herkimer diamonds held in claw settings.
BUY NOW

Tarot and Oracle Card Bundle

Tarot and oracle card decks
Animalis Os Fortuna tarot deck and Azúcar Bone Oracle deck with companion books featuring original artwork by Megan Weber of Zaheroux.
BUY NOW

Pentacle Pendant

Pentacle pendant from Burial Ground
A sterling silver twig pentacle on antiqued chain from Burial Ground.
BUY NOW

Ride or Die Pin

Ride or Die cloisonné pin by Bill Crisafi
Ride or Die cloisonné pin featuring a witch riding a goat by Salem, MA artist Bill Crisafi.
BUY NOW

Wisdom Art Print

Wisdom art print by Rebecca Yanovskaya
Gallery-quality giclée print of “Wisdom,” an original ballpoint open and gold leaf work by artist Rebecca Yanovskaya.
BUY NOW

Deaths Head Moth Pendant

Deaths Head Moth pendant
Mortuus pendant with magical garnets in the wings from Bloody Mary Metal.
BUY NOW

Bat Figurine

Bat figurine
These small bat figurines from The Bleep Bloop Shop would make the perfect addition to the gothic Christmas tree this year.
BUY NOW

Articulated Bullfrog Skeleton

Articulated bullfrog skeleton
A genuine articulated bullfrog skeleton in display case from Hammer and Bone.
BUY NOW

“Self Portrait” by Crystal Lee Lucas

Self Portrait photo print by Crystal Lee Lucas
This is one of many beautiful and haunting works by Crystal Lee Lucas available on her website.
BUY NOW

Framed Spider Web

Framed spider web
A real preserved spider web in a black oval frame from Half Embalmed.
BUY NOW

Plush Bunny with Removable Organs

Giblets plush bunny with removable organs
Giblets the white plush bunny holds it’s own brain, and opens up so you can remove other organs. Best stocking stuffer ever.
BUY NOW

Go to Hell! Board Game

Go to Hell board game
Try to avoid Heaven as you navigate Dante through the 7 deadly sins in a race to the 9th circle of Hell.
BUY NOW

Heilung Live at Castlefest

Heilung live at Castlefest
Download the full live performance of neofolk band Heilung’s hypnotic live debut at Castlefest 2017.
BUY NOW

Of course, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without Krampus:

Krampus Ornament

Krampus ornament
An adorable Krampus for your Christmas tree, complete with a switches for punishing anyone who’s been naughty.
BUY NOW

Naughty or Nice? Krampus Soap

Krampus soap
These “anti-claus” stocking stuffers are made with 100% coconut oil and come in two different scents: Fjord and Glogg.
BUY NOW

Krampus Candle

Krampus candle
Illuminate your Christmas festivities with these Mulled Wine-scented soy candles from Heathen Wax Works featuring the beloved Christmas devil himself.
BUY NOW

Gruss vom Krampus Throw Pillow

Gruss vom Krampus throw pillow
Red and black Krampus throw pillow inspired by vintage Gruss vom Krampus postcards.
BUY NOW

Need more weird gift ideas?

Take a look at gift guides from previous years for inspiration:

Share your weird Christmas with us on Instagram! Throw a Santa hat on something strange and tag your photo #MerryCultmas.

What Happened to Ed Gein’s Gravestone?

For almost two decades now, visitors to the grave of Ed Gein have found the Wisconsin killer’s grave unmarked. This is why.
The grave of Ed Gein in Plainfield, Wisconsin
Ed Gein’s grave in Plainfield Cemetery

Wisconsin deviant Ed Gein was arrested on November 16, 1957, after putting a bullet in the head of hardware store owner Bernice Worden and hauling her body back to his farm outside of town, where she was found beheaded and gutted later that evening. Upon his arrest, investigators made a shocking discovery inside Gein’s dilapidated home: Shrunken human heads, bones, lampshades and suits made of human skin, and other items Gein had fashioned using remains plundered from local cemeteries.

Related:

60 years later, Gein’s depravity still fascinates true crime aficionados and fans of movies inspired by his crimes, including Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Silence of the Lambs. That curiosity lures hundreds, if not thousands of visitors to Plainfield every year to see the property where Gein’s house of horrors once stood, visit the hardware store where his final murder was committed, and pay their respects at the gravesite of the Gein family, situated among the same empty graves whose occupants Ed exhumed decades earlier.

But many visitors to the Plainfield Cemetery are surprised to find an empty, grassy space between Ed’s brother Henry and their mother, Augusta. Where the Mad Butcher of Plainfield’s gravestone once stood, there is now only a small, hand-dug hole from which souvenir hunters have been collecting dirt for years.

Gravestone of Ed Gein
Ed Gein’s gravestone

So where is Ed Gein’s gravestone?

“Everybody says he was buried at midnight,” Betty Petrusky told Meg Jones of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “That wasn’t true because I buried him. It was 4 in the afternoon.”

Petrusky served as caretaker of the Plainfield Cemetery for nearly 30 years. She helped dig Gein’s grave and attended the graveside service after he died of cancer in the Mendota Mental Health Institute in July 1984. She was visiting the grave of her husband on a quiet Saturday in June of 2000 when she discovered Gein’s 150-pound stone was missing.

Authorities immediately began watching eBay, expecting to see it turn up for auction along with other Gein relics such as wood and dirt from the privately-owned land that once belonged to the Gein family.

A year went by with no leads. Then, in 2001, Seattle police made a strange discovery.

In May 2001 the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported the “Angry White Male Tour,” a nationwide summer tour of live punk music, art, and oddities, headed up by “ringleader” Shane Bugbee, was including Gein’s tombstone in their promotions. Seattle police arrived on the first stop of the tour and confiscated the stone, despite Bugbee’s claims that it was a fake.

“It’s a really rude, exaggerated piece of artwork,” Bugbee said. Confiscating it “is the silliest thing I’ve ever heard of. The Seattle police overreacted.”

It turned out to be the real thing. Positive identification was made by comparing the graffiti and jagged edges where visitors had chipped off chunks of the stone.

These days Bugbee is an artist, sculptor, purveyor of Darth Vader penis enamel pins, and founder of the Ed Gein Fan Club.

“I had visited geins homeland a few times,” he told me in an email, “and every time the grave would be trashed… litter, crude and prophane scrawls on the stone and every time, there would be a person trying to have a gentle and sensitive moment visiting their departed loved ones. I just felt I was providing a service, to liberate the stone and bring it to those who had a morbid interest or dark ascetic, so It was taken from those who had no interest, those who were disturbed by the presence of outsiders dancing around a serial killers grave and, I brought it to those who really, really wanted to see it… Those who reveled in it.”

The gravestone was returned to Plainfield, but police weren’t sure what to do with it.

“We could put it back in the cemetery,” Waushara County Sheriff Patrick Fox told the Stevens Point Journal, “but it would only get stolen again.”

The Waushara County Historical Society wanted to exhibit the gravestone in the downtown Wautoma museum that once served as the county jail, the place where Gein was held after his arrest. I haven’t found any information to confirm whether or not the stone was ever actually displayed, but it seems concerns over the possible controversy it might stir up lead to the decision to store it away in the basement of the police department, instead.

Ed Gein’s second gravestone

Ed Gein's second gravestone
Ed Gein’s second gravestone, via Reddit user lucisferis

Huey Long, owner of Emerald City Collectibles near Janesville, Wisconsin, displays a crude, handmade gravestone in his store that he says someone made to replace Gein’s after it was stolen.

A few years ago, someone brought the stone into Huey’s store on Highway 14 just outside Janesville,” Tim Elliot wrote for NBC 15 in 2013. “After checking with authorities to make sure he could legally buy the stone, he went ahead and made the deal.”

“There’s a lot of people who come in here that are grossed out by it but they have to touch it,” Long told Elliot. “They have to touch the headstone but some people won’t touch it whatsoever.”

Also, the stone may be cursed.

“It’s drawn blood on me at least three times before because of the nails on the backside,” Long said. “People always ask me why do they have nails on there? And I say to keep Ed down.”

The stone can still be seen in Long’s shop, though it is not for sale. He was once offered $3,000, but he hopes to eventually sell it online where he believes it will fetch much more.

Grave of Ed Gein
The graves of the Gein family in Plainfield Cemetery

Post-Halloween blues

Weekend Weird: Post-Halloween Blues Edition

Trick or treat meth, haunted dolls, Chicago mothman attack and more in this week’s roundup of weird news and media.

I’m either too depressed that October is over, or too tired (is it too much to ask for a cup of coffee around here?) to string words together into interesting sentences. The most wonderful time of the year is over, and while skulls and other scary things will remain on display in the Cult of Weird hive, the ghoulish celebrations are over, the branches are bare, and another oppressive Wisconsin winter is quickly approaching.

What’s most depressing is that I barely even partook in the festivities this year. I didn’t get to any haunted houses, couldn’t make it to the 3rd annual Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, totally missed the human sacrifices and blood orgies. But I did get to experience Flags Great America during Fright Fest, see Stephen King in the flesh on the Sleeping Beauties tour with his son Owen, and I managed to dig up some local history on a family of influential spiritualists from the mid-1800s.

So the season wasn’t a complete loss, but we could still use a couple extra months of Halloween.

While I mourn the passing of yet another samhain, here’s this week’s roundup of weird news to fend off the blues:

Weird news

Inside the macabre personal museum of occult collector Calvin Von Crush

Artist Lee Harper’s morbid historical dioramas

Flying Chicago phantom attacks couple in park

Ghost Club: Yeats’s and Dickens’s secret society of spirits

On eBay, a fantastical, earnest world of haunted dolls

Speaking of haunted dolls, has Ghost Adventures ruined the Annabelle legend?

Incredible photos from the exhumation of H.H. Holmes

What do ghost stories actually tell us?

Digital reconstruction reveals the face of the Torryburn Witch

Why do people see ghosts?

Coven of paddle board witches spotted on river

The rise of freelance exorcists in France

Mysterious void discovered deep within the Great Pyramid of Giza

The bizarre reality of Walking Corpse Syndrome

Wisconsin parent finds meth in child’s Halloween candy

Nails, needles found in Halloween candy in two Wisconsin communities

Oxford researcher says aliens would look like us

1865 book disproves ghosts with optical illusions

Mineral called vivianite grows on dead bodies and turns them blue

Santa Muerte: The rise of Mexico’s death saint

NASA releases spooky space sounds from across the solar system

Giant interactive Stranger Things-style Ouija board

Tropical storm Ophelia unearthed an ancient skeleton in Ireland

Cult of Weird on Instagram

This Week’s Featured WEIRD BOOK

Death and Douglas by J.W. Ocker
The first work of fiction from J.W. Ocker of Odd Things I’ve Seen, Death and Douglas tells the story of a boy who sets out to solve a mystery when “incredibly out of the ordinary” murder victims start showing up at his family’s funeral home.
BUY NOW ON AMAZON

More:

Previous: Weekend Weird Halloween Edition

Sin Eaters miniature diorama by History Bones

History Bones: Artist Lee Harper Recreates Strange History with Miniature Skeletons

Explore the scenes of some of history’s most deranged moments with these incredibly detailed and macabre dioramas by artist Lee Harper.