Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lizzie Borden Not Guilty - Her Period Did It

This is the bedroom where Lizzie Borden allegedly took a hatchet to her step-mother.

(And you can actually stay here in this room - the house is a bed & breakfast now.)

I've long known about the infamous axe murder of her parents and the fact that Lizzie was generally thought to have done it even though she was acquitted at trial.

Someone was certainly after them, as they had suffered from suspicious food poisoning. And Lizzie had bought poison at the drugstore.

So why a hatchet?

Well, according to The History of Murder and A Private Disgrace, Lizzie's father had recently chopped off the heads of her pet pigeons with a hatchet. (Makes ya wonder what was going on in that house - what a sick, cruel thing for a father to do.)  And she may have been thinking about that when she had a petit mal epileptic seizure. These are also known as absence seizures. Basically, the person suffering from the seizure can walk and talk and function but isn't conscious of their actions. Such seizures can happen during one's menstruation.

And it is a recorded fact that Lizzie Borden was menstruating on the day her parents were killed.

This was mentioned in Flow, that Lizzie committed the murders during - and due to - her period, and I was like, what? Seriously?

So I looked it up in The History of Murder and, sure enough, there it is. No wonder men are so afraid of a female with access to nuclear weapons. It's not just the PMS you have to worry about. It's the period during the period itself, as well. So that's, what, two weeks each month where women could be indiscriminately violent. As opposed to men....

Anyway, this theory was first put forth by Victoria Lincoln in A Private Disgrace, which I have yet to read. The theory about Lizzie and her period, that is, not the theory about man-fear. Obviously. Just checking that you were still reading attentively.  ;)

On top of the pigeon massacre, there were also some financial dealings with which Lizzie took issue. So money was a motive as well. And then the menstruation-instigated seizure caused her to act out her feelings.

It's an interesting solution to the crime.

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