Lizzie Borden & The Dead Files

24 Apr

Upate:  Whoa.  This isn’t related to The Dead Files – it’s just an eBay offering, but appropriate to show here as another example of how people GET THINGS WRONG. 

I’ve been busy in California with my grandson and haven’t written anything new in a while.  Thorry.  (And excuse my lipsth).  Anyway……

The home Lizzie Borden lived in the entire second half of her life and where she died in 1927, is again for sale. .

If you watched that gawd-awful episode on Lizzie Borden on The Dead Files last week you’ll  be interested in these comments from Lizzie case experts:  They were posted to MondoLizzie on Facebook.  I posted the photos in question on my own Facebook page,

The remarkable aspect of these posts is the three people (“MondoLizzie”, aka Stefani Koorey, Shelley Dziedzic, and me, Faye Musselman, who come together to post their insights and opinions about which they are all experts and scholars in the case.  It’s rare to see  “we three” posting together anywhere.  The following comments are worthy of your reading:

Michael J. ShogiYeah, it’s absolutely unbelievable that they try to pass this off as fact – and some people will, unfortunately, believe it. That’s entertainment, I guess.

  • Mondo Lizzie BordenYou can’t call it entertainment and an investigation. IMHO.

  • Faye MusselmanI, too, think the photo thing is FRAUD, but those shows ARE for Entertainment. The so called psyhics are paid to “entertain” not do research. I posted on the LB B&B Friday night. Here it is.: Lizzie & Emma sexually involved with each other. Now there’s a new one. You see kids, these shows are all about ENTERTAINMENT AND MONEY. Or, if you prefer: MONEY AND ENTERTAINMENT. Like books with hooks, each new so called paranormal investigator needs to have a “new discovery”…this one is the sisters as lovers. The hosts, like that muscular hunk from Ghost Adventurers, aren’t paid to do research, they are paid to Entertain. It’s like all the “reality” shows like “Housewives of (name yoru city or sport)” – they get ratings and that means sponsors and that means money – money for the station owners (Travel Channel), money for the producers, money for the sponsors (viewers buy their products/services), yadda yadda yadda. IT’S NOT FACT, FOLKS, SO KEEP THAT IN MIND. IT’S ENTERTAINMENT. And that picture of “Lizzie” well, the face was sooooooooooo doctored as to be laughable. The Fall River Historical society’s book PARALLEL LIVES has pictures of Lizzie in her senior years and one in which she wheres a white dress like that holding a cfane like that but looks nothing like she did in that photograph when she was in her 30′. This Dead Files episode stooped to real lows on that one – faking a photo just to give credibility to the psychic (read “paranormal entertainment hostess”) saying she saw that image. Lordy, Lordy, do they really think we are all that stupid? Apparently so because these shows keep on a comin’. Lizzie and Emma. Good Lord. What’s next? John Morse was a transvestite? No, Bridget was. No, wait, Jack the Ripper did it…he was the man Lizzie saw at the side of the house a couple nights before. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Seems these shows attract viewers and I mean that literally = they don’t attract readers. Read the material that’s out there…the books, the legal proceedings, anything….People know the ditty (that inaccurate quatrain); they know the Elizabeth Montgomery movie and they know all these “ghostly” investigations. Because they viewers. Please READ A BOOK! Lizzie and Emma. Good Lord. Save me now.

  • Shelley Dziedzic I did provide Steve with all of the source documents from witness statements to transcripts several weeks before the taping and pre-taping we had some lively discussion about the material. The tech crew was great, the director was wonderful. Emails flew back and forth full of useful info,links, photos etc. On the day of the taping we were very impressed with Steve, his questions and approach and still, in the end, I was told the editors would have the final say and probably 98% of the many hours of interviewing would end up on the cutting room floor.They had loads of great material and even a few ghostly tales which were entertaining for those who like that stuff. None of us met Amy or had any idea what she would come out with. I think these people all watch each other’s paranormal shows and dream up ways to top the last one. A great opportunity was once again lost to do a good program. The audience was once again- underestimated. The TOTAL dumbing down of America. This was a mammoth disservice to history and a revolting assault on the Borden family which I think has backfired.
    3 minutes ago · Like.

  • Mondo Lizzie BordenShelley, who was “frank”? Is that Frank Knowlton, Jr? He looked familiar but I don’t think I have ever met him.

  • Mondo Lizzie BordenShelley, I realize that a lot of work and conversations went into this production, however, if Steve is so reasonable and his reputation is on the line, why wouldn’t he exert more control? In addition, he is the one who at the end claimed to have discovered this new image of Lizzie. That image was photoshopped. He must have known. And why no last names on the “experts” ? I think this show made the entire study of this case look loony.

  • Michael J. Shogi‎”I think this show made the entire study of this case look loony.” Perhaps, but I think most people realize that it’s just TV and that these so-called “psychics” have no credibility anyway. IMHO, of course.

  • Mondo Lizzie BordenI wish what you said is true Michael, but the fact is that there are a LOT of people who love this stuff, eat it up, and believe it too. Especially when it comes to a detective speaking about what he discovered.

  • New England BitesGreat post, and I completely agree with Faye and Shelley.

  • Shelley DziedzicSad to say, a lot of people come through the house and parrot the garbage from these shows like holy gospel. The number who think Wikipedia, YouTube, personal blogs, and TV reality shows must be presenting accurate info is dismaying. I imagine sooner or later some new trendy thing will come along and this type of program will be replaced by something else- hopefully less sensational and fraudulent.

  • Shelley DziedzicAs far as Steve exerting control- the director said they had no control over the editing. Steve is a hired and paid employee- not the producer, editor or network programming content honcho who decides which direction a program will go and what part gets air time and what hits the cutting room floor.

  • Mondo Lizzie BordenI realize that about Steve, however, I don’t understand why someone as substantial as him would not have some sort of control over what happens on the show because of his reputation. I would insist on that to some degree. And it was him, not the editing, that showed that image that he said he found, which he didn’t find. So he lied, right? Not cool.

  • New England BitesPerhaps after this debacle, the owners of the Lizzie house should be a bit more selective as to what happens there. I’m sure no one expected The Dead Files episode to be full of BS, but I would hate to see the whole Lizzie story turn into a joke. Just my opinion. 🙂

  • New England Bites‎**Regarding the comment I just made, I talked with the fabulous Faye Musselman – Lizzie expert extraordinaire – and she explained that the owners have to sign a waiver excluding them from having a say in what gets produced. How unfortunate if the show is a bust (like this one). I wish that a show would come along that would highlight the Borden family story rather than just focus on a house that may or may not be “haunted”.

  • Shelley DziedzicWell I told him about Parallel Lives of course.So he was aware of all of those photos and he went to the historical society too. I will have to listen again to that part about finding the photo. I cannot recall exactly what was said. And I am not sure, not having been there, if he said he found an image and had more comments about its origin- then some editing was done on the rest of his comments. I am not defending anybody, Steve included.But I know what I said and two different sentences of mine were isolated, segmented and spliced to make one thought which imparted INCORRECT information. All of us in the Lizzie community at one time or another have been involved to various degrees in what turned out to be silly, over-hyped, loopy, inaccurate, and even VILE TV and radio shows where we go with all good intent, are not paid ever, prepare, and give our all only to be sacrificed to the editing room God who could give two figs about history, our reputations, or the Borden family.My advice to anyone who was offended and outraged, write to the Travel Channel and complain that you thought this last program was beyond the pale, a fraud, and unworthy of the network. It probably will do no good, but you may feel better. And for those of us who appear on these programs frequently, well, when you sign your release form, you lose control over what gets done to you. We can either keep trying to fight the good fight or stop appearing in them. You can’t win if you don’t play as they say at Foxwoods. I am always hopeful something intelligent might make it to the final cut- lately the tripe served up has been more than disturbing.

    Sunday at 9:46pm · Unlike · 4
  • New England BitesYou’re right. I’m sure no one signs up for a show thinking that it’s going to be full of false information and twisted words. It must be so hard for the people involved to see what they thought was going to be a good thing turn into something like this. I will complain to the Travel Channel, Shelley. I had a bad feeling about that show from the start.

  • Mondo Lizzie BordenThe historical society doesn’t sign contracts like that. They make them sign contracts. So if Lee Ann and the B&B is working for them, at the whim of them, then that is really backasswards, IMHO.

  • New England BitesMondo Lizzie Borden: Do you blame the B&B owners for allowing this to take place?

  • Shelley DziedzicYou will have to ask the owners just what they sign, I do not know for sure, or if every case is identical. Various programs contact the house, just like Ghosthunters U, and a facility usage is arranged. As far as I am aware, the B&B house museum does not endorse any program and it is all pretty detached in that regard- and yes, of late, the thought of requesting or demanding a preview before airing has been floated- or a disclaimer that, as the old saying went “The material disclosed in this program does not reflect the views of the management nor is endorsed by same.” The dubious psychic who came up with the crackpot findings might just as easily have rampaged on in a similar vein in Oak Grove, standing on one foot in the Second Street parking lot, or with a bag over her head in the cellar. My concisely worded commentary is already winging its way to the Travel Channel. And now, I think to give it any more of my attention is to give the entire production far more importance and limelight than it deserves. Rotten eggs should be thrown out.

  • Faye MusselmanThe focus these posts are losing is that these programs are not about truth or accuracy. They are about ratings and ratings translates into MONEY. Paranormal and ghost-chasing programming has gone thru the roof in terms of ratings. That’s why they have multipliled like amoeba. They have become highly competitive. Successful “pitching” for a concept of a new show in this genre requires a hook – something new to be discovered. This time it was the seeping-from-the wall image and the “newly” discovered photo (if the FRHS gave them rights to use that photo I bet they are more than just a bit chagrined at the outcome), as well as the Big Bomb, i.e., Lizzie and Emma being incestuous. No matter. It was something new. After all, you don’t want your viewers saying: “Awww shucks. I saw that already in another show. That ain’t new.” Once again I stress, we have an 18-36 demographic that buys into this stuff. If you doubt me, just read the posts on the Dead Files FB page or the multitude of chat boards on the web for these shows. Gotta agree with Stefani here on that – and Lord knows we don’t agree on much. But it’s a phact. If the FRHS did give the rights to use that photo in a signed “contract” (wrong word, Stef) I hope they had a caveat that prohibited anyd alterinmg or false representation. If so, I say, sue the bastards. Alas, and alack, more of these shows are coming…and each new one has to do the LB B&B because it has morphed into this ghostly haunted house. I liked the days before reality t.v. when 92 Second Street was just known more as an historic edifice where one of America’s most baffling murder cases took place. Adieu old 92, adieu.

  • Shelley DziedzicGhostchasing shows have already reached the saturation point with the young to young adult demographic. It has been done to death which is exactly why desperate ratings seekers are coming up with the most ridiculous and bizarre hooks to grab viewers. I can’t wait for the pendulum to swing the other way. Like the Twilight book series- vampires were red-hot until they were everywhere. Ditto Harry Potter witches and wizards and currently Hunger Games. Too bad things of quality seldom get red-hot or stay so for very long. American audiences have a short attention span thank God- so something new should be coming along soon. Hopefully for me- it will be History Nerds.

  • Heidi KinsI was absolutely sickened by the thought of Lizzie and Emma having innapropriate relations. At that moment I knew something wasn’t right here! The nail that sealed the coffin for me was Lee anne’s reaction during the reveal! She was NOT a happy camper, unfortunately there are so many people that believe everything they see on those shows. So now what do we do about damage control? These untruths are not going to be forgotten any time soon! That “psychic” spoke about “dirty sex” well I think she does “dirty TV”! I also believe she knew exactly where she was and took advantage of the situation at hand!

  • Mondo Lizzie BordenShelley, who is Frank?

  • Mondo Lizzie BordenShelley, it is all well and good that you want to end this conversation, but really and truly, it shouldn’t end. This show and its fraud touches us all. We are all affected by it. I have to disagree completely with you on your belief about saturation. That will never happen with the paranormal IMHO because these shows satisfy two hungers: those who want to be scared and those who want to know what happens to them when they die. The paranormal bent started long before LeeAnn took over the B&B, so she is not to blame for that, but, and as much as I love her, I have to say that she does believe in this (well maybe not this show’s findings exactly) but she does believe. She relates her personal experiences to anyone who asks. My sentiment is that if it keeps the house open, I gladly look the other way. But this show went way to far and this show is the now the new benchmark. The house HAS to take some control. The Historical Society always has. The Lizzie Borden B&B is a business in this city. Pays taxes, has neighbors, works well with others, etc. But shows like this will DESTROY their local reputation. They might get some more ghost hunting types in, but it will kill what little regard the city has for them in the first place. This is a city that barely tolerates Lizzie to begin with. So my point is that unless the B&B takes control of what goes out about them, and they most certainly can, we will forever be sliding down this rabbit hole THAT WILL NOT END.

  • Mondo Lizzie BordenIt is better to be a history spot than a freak show. Isn’t it?

  • Al Rauberok, anyone who cares about preserving their reputations in ANY field that they are representing will not allow a production company free reign over their work. Unfortunately, there are way too many Steves out there who are there only to see themselves on TV and collect a paycheck. This is why, when my partner and I were the first ones approached to do Ghost Hunters, I refused the show as the production company told me they might have to spice up the show from time to time to keep their audience. I’ve since refused to guest on Paranormal State and a few other ridiculous excuses for serious shows on the paranormal for the same reason. Obviously, there are many, many more in the field who would rather collect a paycheck than uphold a reputation. But, that said, these are people who really don’t have a solid reputation in the field to uphold anyway so I guess you really can’t blame them for taking the money. I doubt that any serious researchers in the field had heard of either Steve or the psychic before this show. Finally, there is no excuse for bad research or for misleading the viewers. No one is going to convince me that the psychic never saw that photo of Lizzie before she sat with the artist.

    20 hours ago · Unlike · 2
  • Mondo Lizzie BordenAnd I argue that this goes also for historians. You cannot defend those who take the truth and photoshop it. This show really draws a line in the sand for both the paranormal investigator and the historian.

    20 hours ago · Like
  • Faye Musselman‎@Stef: Shelley neverr stated nor even implied that *this* conversation should end. She was talking about the paranormal stuff in context of being a “trend” and comparing it to otther entertainment, i.e. popular movies, books – i.e., wizzards, goblins, vampires. etc. Also, the FRHS is a non-profit. Comparing em in any way whatsoever is like oil and water – it just doesn’t miix. With reference to Lee-ann and her buying into all the paranormal activity at The House – one’s perception is one’s reality. Indeed, I think working as hard as she does – and often to the point of total exhaustion – and practically living there 24/7 – she is bound to have some sort of unexplainable experiences. Don’t forget, Martha McGinn was the first to make public of such unexplained activity and she lived there, too. Besides, it’s far too late to alter the minds of that demographic I mentioned – they are into it….age and life’s experiences may alter their current perceptions and pasttimes – but for now they “would love to spend the night at the Lizzie house.” The Dead Files will have a short life, IMHO, because it is produced so poorly. There’s no accounting for taste, but there’s some accounting for being duped. And there’s been enough comments around FB and otther web chat boards relative to that very fact concerning this “entertainment” program that many people are pissed enough they longer plan to watch it. If the producers had hired John Edwards as the investigative law enforcement officer and a bona-fide psychic – we might have had a different caliber show. Finally, I think what I like least about ALL OF THIS, is that 90% of t.v. programs, documentaries, etc. on Lizzie and the case have demonstrated the creators spent very little time in research. In the minds of the majority of the populace who know “of” Lizzie, she remains that one dimensional persona of a psychopath wielding a bloody hatchet. And so she will remain, unless Ken Burns deciides to do a multi-part doc on it all. 🙂

    18 hours ago · Like
  • Faye Musselman‎@Shelley: In the 1970’s I used to think WWF (Worldwide Wrestling Federation) fights were just a trend. Then I used to think ( a couple decades ago) that Rap music was just a trend. So I’ve given up hoping the Kardashian franchise is just a trend. Like I said, there’s no accounting for taste.

    17 hours ago · Like
  • Shelley DziedzicI don’t care if this conversation ends or not and was not suggesting it. This is not my Facebook page. As the only person here commenting who had anything at all to do with the program and its crew and detective, I thought I might shed some light on some things. For days after in post-filming, I got call after call wanting to know how they could get permission to use that photo of Lizzie on the porch at Maplecroft with the dog. I referred them to the Herald and FRHS- apparently they did not get permission. I spoke to a lawyer friend of mine recently, as I was also steamed about the photoshopping of that photo, and not being an expert myself, drastically altering a public domain photo to the point where it looks like entirely a new image can sometimes slip under the door without repercussions. And as for the ghostbusting biz, even Chris Moon is not packing them in at Lizzie’s like he used to- the last few Haunted U weekends cancelled for lack of full bookings. One hopes the era of grown men in tight black tees flexing their pecs with eyes glowing in the dark while squealing like girls and drama queen psychics growling and spouting nonsense may soon be over. Commercial ventures like the B&B which rents out the facility should have a disclaimer I think, and that notion has been well-received. If there is a backlash of negativity falling out after the airing of this particular program toward the management of the house, future bookings of a similar nature might be handled differently. The people to write to are the owners. As for the Dead Files, I would vent to the network, and have done so myself. If I were the owner of that photo, I would call my lawyer and see what could be done. As rotten egg programs go- this one was a stinker.

    15 hours ago · Like
  • Shelley DziedzicI have no earthly idea who FRANK was. He was never at the house.

    15 hours ago · Like
  • Mondo Lizzie BordenHow did they find him then? He looked familiar. Like he was Frank Knowlton jr? No credits at the end of this show made for frustration!

    14 hours ago · Like
  • Mondo Lizzie BordenShelley, when you said this: “And now, I think to give it any more of my attention is to give the entire production far more importance and limelight than it deserves. Rotten eggs should be thrown out” it sounded like you were ending the conversation. That is what I read into it. Sorry for misunderstanding you. I hate the lack of tone and pitch in the written word!

    14 hours ago · Like
  • Shelley DziedzicLaughable was the notion that Amy did not know where she was according to the intro. They walk her right up the front steps with the huge B&B sign shining in the streetlight, then she slips once and says “So this is where it happened,” pointing to the black sofa. Unless she has been living in a cave under a rock, the psychic community has milked every single scream out of this venue and Amy has probably viewed many of her competitors’ programs. I would be more impressed if the psychic were blindfolded from the minute they land at Green Airport or Logan and deliberately driven all over in various directions before pulling up at the house. Not to mention those psychic kids who drove from Providence over the Braga with Fall River signs all over the place.

    13 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Mondo Lizzie BordenThey turned the photos around, they said, and showed. However, I too saw that big sign there as she came inside ad thought the same thing. Plus didn’t they have that painting of Lizzie by the piano in the parlor still visible the whole time?

    13 hours ago · Like
  • Shelley DziedzicYes- and the one in the hall. Not to mention the very distinctive black sofa which is a dead ringer for the real deal from 1892 and has become almost an icon for the case. The poison and family sickness segment was cut from the program, although it was on the site as a teaser. Funny thing was Amy’s revelation that women were being sick and throwing up- on the third floor in what is now known as the Knowlton room or chimney room, which would have been in 1892 just a storage room. Listening to psychics for many years, I have always wished they would do a little homework on a venue and at least get most of the small verifiable details correct before they expound. They would then have a chance of sounding more believable.

    6 hours ago · Like
  • Mondo Lizzie BordenHa ha ha! Are you saying that if they did their research they could trick people better? Too funny!

    4 hours ago · Like
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4 responses to “Lizzie Borden & The Dead Files

  1. Happy Harold

    October 26, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    I met Amy Allen once and she had some stank-breath.

  2. Joan

    January 26, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    I just saw the episode last night, which has sent me off on yet another bout of armchair detectiving re: The Borden Murders. This happens about every 5 or so years.

    In any event, my comment is about the psychic (?) not knowing she was in the Borden house. As I recall, she stated she knew it was the Borden house, which made things more difficult for her because of course she’d heard of the case.

    The guy who comes in advance of her tour turned all of the photos facing the wall because, while she knew of the case, she didn’t know what Lizzie et al looked like.

    Very interesting about that photo being Photoshopped. Frankly, to me, neither the photo or the sketch looked like Lizzie in later years.

  3. Shadystar

    April 5, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    What I think is interesting is that Ghost Adventurers and The Dead Files are on the same channel and they both did research on the Lizzie Borden house but they have two completely different findings! I think Ghost adventures did the investigation first (a few years ago) and they said that Lizzie Borden didn’t do it and the murder was a home invaision though Lizzie was abused by her father. But in The Dead files says not only did she do it but was also in an incestuous relationship with her sister. Which is proof that at least one of them (if not both) is lying.

    • phayemuss

      April 6, 2013 at 6:26 PM

      Hi Shadystar

      Re Ghost Adventurers and The Dead Files – they are for entertainment value, not historical or scientific fact. And it’s not about the channels, its about the Networks. Interest in the paranormal translates to big books in both print and broadcast media. The higher the viewership, the higher the cost advertising by a sponsor, the higher the costs, the higher the profits to the Networks; that’s why these shows regurgitate themselves. These traveling paranormal shows have to get in, get it filmed and move on. There’s far less time put into serious research. They don’t want people to yawn with facts but rather squeal with shivers of fear. BTW, I think Lizzie did it and MAY have been sexually abused by her father as a young girl. But I think her rage in the overkill had to do with precisely what Victoria Lincoln surmised in her book A Private Disgrace. (That sentence is known as a “TEASER” because if you haven’t read the book, you should. 🙂
      Thank you for posting to this blog.



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