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The 25 Craziest Real-Life American Horror Stories

21. Lizzie Borden

On August 4, 1892, Fall River, MA, resident Lizzie Borden finally reached her breaking point. The only child of undertaker Andrew Borden, the then-32-year-old Lizzie has endured her father's miserly ways (such as ridding their home of indoor plumbing just so he could save some cash), his marriage to her stepmother, Abby Gray, after Lizzie's birth mother died (Lizzie refused to call Abby "mother"), and various other incidents, like the time Andrew killed Lizzie's beloved pigeons with a hatchet because he felt they were attracting intruders to their barn.

As the story goes, Lizzie, armed with a hatchet, struck her father's head 10 or 11 times while he was asleep, splitting one of his eyeballs in half, and also caved Abby's skull in with 19 hatchet strikes.

After being arrested that August, Lizzie was acquitted the following June, due to a lack of evidence. Still, many people believed she was the culprit and that Lizzie had been in a fugue state at the time and was simply unable to remember doing it.

The public immortalized Lizzie with folklore and even a delightful nursery rhyme that goes, with statistical exaggerations intact, "Lizzie Borden took an axe/And gave her mother forty whacks/When she saw what she had done/She gave her father forty-one." Perfect for kids, isn't it?

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