Lore Report: “Cutting Ties” (Episode 199)

When that boiling point arrived, though, it would unfold in a way that no one could have expected. Their lives would be shattered, a community would be horrified, and a nation would never forget. And at the center of it all was one young woman, a woman named Lizzie Borden.

The latest episode of the Lore podcast revisits one of the most notorious crimes (and greatest unsolved mysteries) in American history: the brutal murder of Andrew Borden and his second wife Abby, possibly at the hatchet-wielding hands of Andrew’s daughter Lizzie. Host Aaron Mahnke deftly sketches the family background, the prominent details of the gruesome crime, and the leading theories about who actually committed the murders and why. But this being Lore and not just another true-crime podcast, the listener expects to hear more, and this is where Mahnke’s narrative falls disappointingly short. In a matter of seconds, Mahnke glosses over the supernatural encounters that have been reported by modern visitors to the Fall River murder house (now a bed and breakfast/dark tourism site). His turn toward the metaphorical–citing the famous folk rhyme about Borden’s alleged deeds as “a ghost haunting Lizzie for decades to come”–feels forced. Ultimately, “Cutting Ties” is a cut below the usual Lore offering.


But the episode is aptly titled, since I have decided to retire the “Lore Report” blog feature here at Dispatches from the Macabre Republic (several weeks ago, I marked Episode 199 as an appropriate cut-off point). It’s not that I don’t enjoy the podcast anymore; I simply feel that I am risking redundancy by waxing ecstatic (typically) about it every two weeks. Although I still plan to remain a loyal listener, I will not post future reports (instead devoting my attention to other blog features, old and new).


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